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From the Archives: Unbehaun Honored at Dinner

August 1, 2019

This news story appeared in the Aug. 2, 1979 edition of  The Brillion News. The Brillion News is celebrating its 125th year and the print edition of The Brillion News is featuring weekly flashbacks from various years in their original form. The newspaper’s first issue was Sept. 7, 1894. 

The Brillion News

BRILLION – Teachers and community members alike gathered at Michiels Brillion Inn last Wednesday night in a tribute to Gaylord Unbehaun, who has resigned his position as superintendent of schools to take a post with the Fox Valley Technical Institute. 

Gaylord Unbehaun featured in the Aug. 2, 1979 edition of The Brillion News.

The event drew about 250 persons. A chicken and salisbury steak dinner was served.

The dinner was followed by a variety show put on by the teachers of the Brillion schools. Carole Gorz began the entertainment by singing a song from the Braodway musical “A Chorus Line.”

Next came a “Whistle Stop” interview, only Richard Sheahan was the interviewer instead of Bob Irish. When Sheahan asked Unbehaun how many teachers have worked under him, the superintendent pulled out his famous calculator and figured the total to be 159.

In the interview Unbehaun noted that when he began the superintendent job 18 years ago, enrollment in the district was 275. It reached a peak in 1977 with more than a thousand. This year the number stood at 959. He also described the building programs that came with the increased enrollments.

When asked how many students have studied in the Brillion schools while he was superintendent, Unbehaun said, “There were 1,420 plus DuWayne and Kristie Unbehaun.”

It was noted that there were about 700 “Faculty Flashes” – the news letters from the superintendent to the staff – but when the last edition came out this spring, no one noticed it was the final “Faculty Flash” ever.

Sheahan tried to wheedle a few embarrassing moments out of Unbehaun, but the superintendent offered only one, saying, “I suppose one is enough.” He then related to the audience how he had made a mere $100,000 error in the school budget one year.

The next part of the evening was an examination of items in a “treasure chest” discovered in the school attic. Among the things pulled out of the chest was a two-wick candle, so Unbeahun could “burn the candle at both ends to balance the budget.”

There was also a supply of midnight oil and a shoebox full of keys which one of the teachers had accumulated over the years. Among the other things in the chest was a map that gave various routes from Brillion to Appleton where Unbehaun will be working. One route is the long way, used when collecting for mileage. Another is the short way for getting to work. Included on the map are the “hot spots” of the area, for Unbehaun’s entertainment.

Unbehaun was presented with several gifts. One was a lifetime pass for him and his wife Dottie to all Brillion athletic events. He also received a Door County watercolor, a plaque with the words “Dedication, Initiative, and Creativity” on it, and a check.

“I don’t know how a person can appropriately say thank you for a presentation like this,” Unbehaun said. He said he appreciated both the gags and the gifts.

He also expressed appreciation to members of the community present for their support.

He told the guests a little about his new position at FVTI. He will be the manager of community services and will be responsible for evening adult classes. He will have 22 agents working under him on behalf of FVTI and will have about 45,000 students enrolled in evening classes this year.

He said FVTI is beginning seven regional learning centers in the area. Two have already started and the third one is scheduled to begin operation in Calumet County by October.

He said where as superintendent he was only concerned with one community, his new position will involve him in many. “I’m putting on a different hat but Brillion will be a part of it.” 



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