Denfeld News

August 2, 2009
Duluth Budgeteer News

Keeping Denfeld strong for another 88 years
By Jana Peterson

For most of the summer, workers have been tuckpointing the brickwork, replacing the electrical system, working on plumbing and boilers in “the dungeon” and generally making Duluth's western high school strong enough to stand strong (and be more efficient) for decades more.

Inside the school this weekend, alumni will be celebrating the school's history with the biggest Denfeld Hall of Fame ceremony ever from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon and an all-class reunion dance that evening. The Denfeld Alumni Association will honor all the graduates who were previously inducted into the hall, and induct 10 more outstanding alumni.

Construction will cease for the weekend, and some scaffolding will come down to free up 40 or so more parking places. That’s still not a lot of parking, so people are advised to arrive early to allow plenty of time to find parking in the area around the school.

Joe Vukelich, alumni association president and unofficial Denfeld historian, said they have reserved space for anyone who will have difficulty walking long distances to be dropped off on Fourth Avenue West between the flagpole and the auditorium.

He said association is expecting close to 1,000 people for the event — many from far away states who are traveling here just for the occasion. Not all of them are Denfeld students or graduates.

Vukelich told of a conversation he had with the construction foreman, who told Vukelich he couldn’t come because he’d been called to a meeting in the Twin Cities this weekend.

Vukelich thought he was just being polite, then the man dropped his smile and said firmly: “I've read all the biographies in the Budgeteer. I was a United States Marine and I wanted to see the Medal of Honor recipient [Mike Colalillo] receive his plaque,” Vukelich wrote in an e-mail to fellow board members.

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