The class of 1993 in 2013. In front, from left, are Melissa (Christianson) Miska, Missy (Reichstadt) Sweeney, Rachel (Osterhus) Horstman, Shannon (Groth) Nielson, Betsy (Jahn) Zimmerman, Jill (Rollie) Nielson, Sandi Mangan, Kara Franke, Nancy (Jones) Back and Nikki (Rohe) Rockne. In the second row are Brenda (Mix) Musel, Gary Ronken, Jarett Ruud, Bill O’Rourke, Eric Reiland and Christy (Root) Schubert. In back are Tim Eickhoff, Mark Peterson, Chase Ptacek, Ben House, Ryan Ness, Sam Sinke, Jen (Landa) Hanson and Shelly Reichstadt.
The class of 1993 in 2013. In front, from left, are Melissa (Christianson) Miska, Missy (Reichstadt) Sweeney, Rachel (Osterhus) Horstman, Shannon (Groth) Nielson, Betsy (Jahn) Zimmerman, Jill (Rollie) Nielson, Sandi Mangan, Kara Franke, Nancy (Jones) Back and Nikki (Rohe) Rockne. In the second row are Brenda (Mix) Musel, Gary Ronken, Jarett Ruud, Bill O’Rourke, Eric Reiland and Christy (Root) Schubert. In back are Tim Eickhoff, Mark Peterson, Chase Ptacek, Ben House, Ryan Ness, Sam Sinke, Jen (Landa) Hanson and Shelly Reichstadt.
"In the beginning..."

"The joint efforts of the Spring Valley and Wykoff school boards and districts have led to the consolidation of the districts," reads the Kingsland Class of 1993's yearbook introduction, outlining how the Kingsland school district came to be two decades ago...already.

Alumni from that first graduating class met for a class reunion over Ag Days where they shared memories and thoughts about the consolidation, which was a major change for the local residents, but not so much for the students, with fears of losing community identity coming to the forefront.

The combination of districts started in the fall of 1992, while the vote by the districts took place in November 1992. The results overwhelmingly favored the consolidation of the two districts. In July 1993, the Kingsland School District legally came into being as Minnesota Independent School District 2137.

"Twenty years sure goes fast. It sure doesn't feel like we've been out that long. Still feel like I'm wiser only because I've made many mistakes and tell myself I've learned from them. Probably not though," said Spring Valley student Jarett Ruud, who currently lives in Rochester with his family, works for himself in real estate at Ruud Properties, Infinity Real Estate and also at Kuehn Motors in automotive sales.

In preparation for the complete consolidation of the two districts, the student councils and student bodies voted on a new name, mascot and school colors, resulting in the black and silver Kingsland Knights.

"I remember the discussions and arguments we had when trying to come up with a name," said Ruud. "I think I liked the Kingsland name because my good friend Mark Peterson hated it so-oo much. I remember him creating a petition to try to get the name changed after it was finalized."

Spring Valley and Wykoff had been sharing classes since the 1984-1985 school year and the football, baseball, softball and track teams had also been together for quite a while. The consolidation of the rest of the sports took place in 1991-1992.

Eric Reiland, formerly of Spring Valley and now of Rochester, is a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic and has four children. He stated, "We already had a bunch of mixed classes together...but people thought we were going to lose our identities. There had to be a new name...." Ruud acknowledged, "Everyone pretty much got along. It may, of course, have been more difficult for the kids from Wykoff to come here."

Josh Johnson, son of Buster and Annette of Spring Valley, is now a landscape architect living in Huntsville, Alabama, having spent the 15 years prior living in Rochester. He and his wife, Michele, have three children - Cole, 10, Meghan, 9, and Carter, 6. He observed, "A college career and three kids later, I feel as though my parents were right about most things. Course, that took a few years to figure out!"

Regarding the consolidation of the school districts, he said, "I think the biggest hurdle was actually fully combining in the sports we had not been joined in already and finding your place on the team with a new set of people to fill the roles. The classroom setting seemed very easy. I think it just showed us that we need to find new ways to work together and become a bigger team. Just like in life, everything revolves around teamwork. It didn't change my way of thinking at all. It only made me feel like I knew more people in different places do some really good things."

In the fall of 1992, ninth through 12th grade students attended school at the high school in Spring Valley. The seventh and eighth graders attended school in Wykoff, and each district kept its respective grade school. But, in 1993-1994, the district formed a middle school - consisting of sixth through eighth graders - in Wykoff, with one elementary school for the new district in Spring Valley. The high school remained in Spring Valley.

Nicole Rohe Rockne, formerly of Wykoff, now lives in Zumbrota with her husband and three children, ages 7, 5 and 3, attending Luther seminary part-time. Observing the Kingsland Class of 1993's 20th reunion caused some reflection on the changes Wykoff students experienced.

"I thought it was a great experience, and only now, looking back realizing I knew only a handful of my classmates, and then really only for a year seems odd," she said. "To look at the class list and not recognize names, to come to your 20-year reunion and not know where you are going, not so much because the town has changed, but because you really didn't know Spring Valley that well to begin with."

The consolidation reinforced her extroverted personality traits. "I'm naturally an extrovert, but it did help me to learn to adapt, even if at times I didn't want to. I truly feel it was good." And now, she exclaimed, "I just feel old! In some ways it feels like yesterday, but a lot has happened in those two decades."

The years that the new Kingsland students called their "high school career" - complete with rolled and pinned jeans pant- legs, giant sweatshirts, "the higher, the better" hair-sprayed big hair, gas averaging a dollar a gallon and CDs being the highest form of portable music technology - were accompanied by the school motto "Every Kid a Winner, Every Day," heavy metal, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Garth Brooks tunes, and in 1993, the world witnessed the invention of the Intel Pentium microprocessor, the first cloning of a human embryo, the establishment of the European Union, the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement by President Bill Clinton, the first bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, and the debut of the first Beanie Babies and the movies "Schindler's List," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "The Fugitive" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."

Sam Sinke, a satellite uplink engineer in Sydney, Australia, who described himself as single and never married, no kids, "was a little upset the other day when I heard a young kid call some music 'oldies rock' and it was music from 1991, when I was still in high school." He noted that while two decades have gone by, "in some ways, I feel like I haven't grown up because I still have wanderlust and want to see more of the world and keep traveling...in other ways, I know I have grown up because I don't let things bother me as much, and I work hard to keep my cool in very stressful situations."

He cited "the high caliber of people from Wykoff" as one of the benefits of the consolidation, and pointed out that he attended Rochester Community and Technical College with a student who attended Wykoff High School and the two became good friends.

Johnson was unable to make the trip home to attend the class reunion, but he had hoped to catch up with his friends' lives and families, adding, "of course, seeing the changes in Spring Valley is always fun and interesting, too. I think the school consolidation was a lot of work at the time, and many people felt as though they were losing their identity and sense of place. I think many of the parents struggled more than the students.

"Today, you would have no idea that these schools were once rivals on the field. While I was in Rochester, I was fortunate enough to be involved with the Project Lead the Way program recently implemented into the school system. Kingsland is leading the way in their education practices! I am proud to say that Kingsland is where I graduated and that the communities of Spring Valley and Wykoff are where I grew up. Great people with great hearts!"