BHSU educator, alumni featured in Rose Hill Cemetery Walk

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, September 16, 2014/Categories: 2014


           Bobbi Sago, special collections librarian at BHSU, will portray Ida Henton, who taught at the Black Hills Teaching College for 43 years, during the fourth annual Rose Hill Cemetery walk on Sept. 27.

           Ida Henton, who taught at the Black Hills Teaching College for 43 years, is one of the public figures portrayed at this year's Rode Hi

Two Black Hills State University figures will come to life through the annual Rose Hill Cemetery Walk this month in Spearfish.

Ida Henton, a former faculty member of the Black Hills Teaching College, and BHSU alumni Jessie Litschewski will be portrayed in the fourth annual event that brings iconic figures from Spearfish&rsquos history to life.

This year&rsquos walk is Sept. 27 at Rose Hill Cemetery in Spearfish. The event is free to the public. There will be two performances: the first is at 2 p.m. and the second at 4 p.m. Each walk lasts approximately one hour.

The walk includes nine stops. Actors talk, dress and act like the historical figure they are representing, providing a first-person encounter located at each individual&rsquos grave site.

"This really helps Spearfish understand where they came from," said Linda Wiley, one of the organizers of the walk. "We select people that were key in the community either developing business, culture or a strength somewhere in Spearfish. Sometimes that means they were a wonderful homemaker, but that was part of Spearfish and its culture."

Bobbi Sago, special collections librarian at BHSU, and Bert Juhrend, assistant professor of theater at BHSU, are two of the actors in this year&rsquos walk. Sago is portraying Henton. Henton retired in 1957, and her 43 years at Black Hills Teaching College are well remembered.

"Ida was such a dynamic figure and very important in Black Hills history," Sago said. "I&rsquom portraying someone I&rsquove been reading about for my whole 11 years at the University."

Henton was very active during her years at BHTC, not only in the classroom, but with campus organizations.

"I&rsquove been told that if something needed to be done, Ida would step up and take care of it," Sago said.

Sago drew inspiration for her character through BHSU archives, including past yearbooks.

"This combines my two loves - history and acting," Sago said. "I get to introduce someone to the community they might not have otherwise known about. "

Litschewski, who is also featured as a part of the Cemetery Walk, was a Spearfish teacher who earned her degree from Spearfish Normal School and was recertified at the Black Hills Teachers College.  

"Jessie was a loyal teacher to the Spearfish schools and to the community," Wiley said. "She was a forever teacher and a staple over the years."

Juhrend will play George Schar, a founding member of the Spearfish community. Juhrend said Schar came to the Black Hills in 1877 looking for gold.

"He sold his claim and bought land in Spearfish to raise cattle," Juhrend explained. "Then he sold the cattle land for home lots, which is the Schar addition here in Spearfish."

BHSU alumni Jon Wiley, along with his wife Linda, modeled the cemetery walk after one they attended while living in Pennsylvania. Linda Wiley said she and her husband thought Spearfish would be a perfect fit for a cemetery walk. They partnered with Jon&rsquos friend and fellow BHSU alumni Paul Higbee who writes the scripts for each character. After this year&rsquos walk, 40 historical Spearfish figures will have been featured.
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