Weather Forecast


Small-town tech developing: Clubb speaks at National Honor Society induction in Blackduck

Junior Andrew Nissen shakes hands with Bruce Clubb after the National Honor Society Induction Ceremony at Blackduck High School on Dec. 11. Nissen was a new inductee. Photo by Jillian Gandsey.

When Bruce Clubb arrived in Blackduck last Monday, it was the first time he had felt weather this cold since teaching at the University of Minnesota in 1981.

Making the journey from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Clubb was invited to speak at the National Honor Society (NHS) Induction Ceremony at Blackduck High School on Wednesday.

“The students at Blackduck High School may be the only people in the world who could get me to come up here in the middle of winter,” Clubb said.

Principal Randy Hansen was approached by students in NHS and asked if Clubb could come and speak at their ceremony.

“I started making up all kinds of excuses,” Hansen said.

Finally, he decided to give it a try and sent Clubb an email and the response was surprising.

“It’s very hard to turn down that request,” Clubb said. “So, I decided to come up and then we sort of tacked on this planning session.”

Clubb and his nephew, Curt Madison, were in town until Thursday. They were able to see firsthand how the technology upgrade has been coming along at the school since their most recent contributions from the Clubb family trust.

“We’re all very pleased with the way things are going,” Clubb said. “I think Curt and I are becoming convinced that these guys can really do it.”

Clubb and administration at the school are finding out that the upgrades will be more costly than imagined, but all are optimistic that it can still be done.

“If you had all the money in the world it’s still a difficult transition,” Clubb said. “But it promises to pay such huge dividends from an education standpoint that you have to try to do it.”

The planning stage is well under way, according to Clubb, who thinks that the decision to implement two experimental pilot classrooms was a good way to move forward.

“The teachers got behind it and now all we have to do is come up with the right devices and money and we’ll find a way,” Clubb said.

While visiting, Clubb and Madison had a chance to visit classrooms to see how the teachers have been using some of their new technology.

The first stop they made was during a lecture on the solar system in Debra Sandvig’s classroom. Sandvig was using one of the Smart Boards that was purchased in 2011.

“I can’t believe I ever taught without it,” Sandvig said.

Small town advantage

During his speech at the NHS Induction Ceremony, Clubb reflected on growing up in Blackduck and how it benefited him in life.

“One of the things I’ve discovered is that people make fun of small towns,” Clubb said. “But you learn the lessons of life in a small town a lot better than you do in a larger community.”

He listed openness, honesty, decency and good character as values of small towns. “It’s the norm here,” Clubb said.

While meeting with Hansen and Superintendent Wally Schoeb on Tuesday, Clubb recalled a time he was chosen to speak at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Washington, DC.

He described the security detail of the school including metal detectors and police officers at the door.

“You don’t realize how much of an advantage you have on a school like that for not having to supply all these disciplinary materials,” Clubb said. “The people who go to school here have already won the lottery.”

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

(218) 333-9786