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Odermann: Home can be rebuilt

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Dickinson, 58602
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Home.

It’s a word that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

As children, we most often associate “home” with the place our family resides and where we go to sleep at night. Mine was a ranch north of Belfield.

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But as we grow older, our definition of home grows a little deeper. It’s not necessarily a fixed place, or even where we lay our head to rest at night. Sometimes it’s just a place we feel comfortable. Where we feel a sense of belonging. A place where, you know, it wouldn’t be all that terrible if I didn’t have to leave all too soon.

We come to understand that we can have more than one “home.” Often, we always had more than one.

For most of us, as adults, home is still the place we spend the majority of our time away from work with our families and friends.

For the lucky few, however, it’s also where we work. It’s also where we went to school.

I’m lucky enough to find myself in that second group. As the director of advancement for the Dickinson Catholic Schools, I get to “work from home” every day. And I get to work with my family.

Following the fire on March 3, I was asked by a friend, “Why are people so upset? It was just a building.” I’m sure it’s a question many have asked. And it’s a good one.

For the Titan family, Trinity High School isn’t just the place Gregg Grinsteinner taught us math. It’s not just the place Ken Keller taught us English or Deborah Medler taught us the ins and outs of the Constitution. It’s our home.

Titans spend the majority of their first 18 years on earth — when they’re not at home — in the halls of Trinity High School. It’s the place where we cheer our brothers’ and sisters’ wins and losses. The place we spend more time than we’d like volunteering at Mardi Gras. It’s the place we sometimes hate to love.

There’s one thing, however, bigger than all the others that makes Trinity High School more like a home than a school.

Our families built it.

In the late ‘50’s, progressive-minded Catholics in Dickinson decided they wanted to build a Catholic high school where the students from St. Joseph’s, St. Patrick’s and St. Wenceslaus could go when they left junior high. There were even some non-Catholics on board.

In cooperation with the three parish pastors, they put their blood, sweat, tears and financial support into a building that has become a center for not only Dickinson over the past five decades, but for southwest North Dakota.  

In 1961, Trinity High School opened its doors and in 1965, the first graduating class walked across the stage of our auditorium. Among those individuals was Leona Schmidt, who would later be known as Leona Odermann, my mother. Close to 50 years later, Leona has seen all eight of her children walk across the same stage she did.

It’s the same story for countless families throughout Dickinson and the surrounding area. We have third- and even some fourth-generation Titans proudly walking the halls of our schools.

And our family continues to grow. We have first-generation families jumping onto the Big Red Train every year. We even have a couple that skipped a generation and are back aboard. Once a Titan, always a Titan.

Now it’s our turn.

Our parents and grandparents built our home.

Now, Titans, it’s our turn to rebuild it.

Odermann is the director of advancement for the Dickinson Catholic Schools and is the Titans’ football coach. He is a 2002 graduate of Trinity High School. He can be reached at john.odermann@sendit.nodak.edu.

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