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|In 1927, Helen Bergh received her one-year teaching certificate from Northern Normal and Industrial School (now Northern State University) in Aberdeen, and was ready to pursue her teaching career.
The Mertz Rural School near Houghton, SD was Helen's 1st teaching assignment in 1927. In 1929 her home school, Brookside, was in need of a teacher. Helen was hired and held the position until her retirement in 1970. During her tenure, she continued her own education by receiving her State Teaching Certificate in 1934; her Bachelor’s Degree in 1943 and her Master's Degree in 1956, all from Northern State University. <p>Helen was always one to share her expertise with young teachers. Working in cooperation with the faculty at Northern, she supervised the training of rural schoolteachers for 35 years in her own classroom. Here the student teachers learned first hand that the title of rural schoolteacher encompassed not only the duties of teaching students, but the duties of custodian, nurse, counselor, and disciplinarian as well. <p>When Brookside School was closed in 1970 and Helen officially retired from teaching, there was another entity in need of someone with a background in education to help establish its programming. The entity was the Dacotah Prarie Museum. Helen's interest in Brown County history and experience as a classroom teacher singled her out as the one for this task. In April of 1971, Helen began her new position as Curator of Education for the Dacotah Prairie Museum. Over the next 19 years, she developed and gave museum tours, collected and cataloged artifacts and compiled extensive research for exhibits and programs. "An Afternoon in the Past" is one of her most popular programs, which is still in the use today. The program is for 3rd graders who learn about the lives and activities of children in the 1890's by viewing artifacts and participating in chores of that era, such as churning butter and dipping candles. <p>Helen has also been active and held offices in the Brown County Territorial Pioneers, the Brown County Historical Society, the Dakota Midland Corral of Westerners International, American Association of University Women, Kappa Delta Pi, Lyre Music Club, Bethlehem Lutheran Business & Professionals Women, Brown County Landmarks Commission, Brookside Home Extension Club, the South Dakota Historical Society, and the James Valley Pioneer Threshing Association. <p>Bergh's dedication to the community has been recognized with many awards and special commendations. A few of those include: 1969 SDSU Certificate of Merit in Cultural Arts, 1972 Personalities of the West & Midwest, 1976 Who's Who of American Women, 1976 SD Historical Society Certificate of Recognition, 1977 Friend of Education award from the Aberdeen city teachers NSU faculty, and the School for the Visually handicapped, 1977 SD Ambassador of Good Will, 1978 First Lady of Aberdeen, 1981 Service to Schoolteacher Award, LaSertoma Club, 1986 Rural Schoolteacher Award for SD, 1987 Certificate of Commendation from the American Association of State & Local History organizations, and in 1992 the Distinguished Alumni award from NSU.
|Home Town (Aberdeen, SD)|