PHOTO: The children of Larry and Milly Kramer (2010 photo), from left: Dianne, Dale, Dean, Pat, Dan, Rick, Keith, Kevin, Mary, Julie, Sheila and Lori. (Photo submitted)
PHOTO: The senior photo of Dianne Kramer (now Diaz-Miranda) from 1967. (Photo submitted)
PHOTO: Luke Kramer’s Class of 2013 photo. (Photo submitted)
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
When Luke Kramer received his diploma during Maquoketa Valley High School Commencement in May, it marked the end of an era.
This fall, for only the second time in 60 years, there will not be a descendant from the family of Larry and Milly Kramer attending school in the Maquoketa Valley district.
“I didn’t realize it until about two years ago,” said Luke’s father Keith Kramer, who is an MV graduate from 1975. “This was going to be the last of them.”
Larry and Milly’s 12 children, and then eight grandchildren, went through the MV school system. It started with Dianne Kramer, who entered kindergarten at Hopkinton Elementary School in 1954; and ended with Luke.
Larry and Milly Kramer are both deceased. All of the children and grandchildren are alive except for Kevin, a 1975 MV graduate who passed away in April 2011.
Only one school year, 1987-88, passed by without a family member in the district. Lori (Kramer) Welter graduated in the spring of 1987, and Matt Kramer – the first grandchild – didn’t enter kindergarten until 15 months later, in August of 1988.
“There can’t be too many families like that,” Dianne said.
Luke said he didn’t think about being the last in the Kramer line until last year, when his father told him.
“It’s kind of a weird feeling,” Luke said. “It’s cool. It’s an honor.”
Dianne now has the last name Diaz-Miranda. She lives in Austin, Texas with Mariano, her husband of nearly 44 years. She recently retired from teaching after 34 years.
She has memories of her school days ranging from the one-piece, green P.E. uniforms the girls
had to wear, to not being allowed to wear pants because she was a girl.
”I just remember my knees being so cold and red in the winter,” Dianne said. “Sometimes, because I was walking to school, I would put pants on (for the walk), and then I would roll them up underneath a skirt or dress or whatever I had.”
Keith remembers that walking to school was the norm for kids who lived in town.
“The kids in town never got a ride to school,” he said. “And we were on the other edge of town.”
The building situation has undergone numerous changes in the Kramer years. Dianne started out on the Lenox College campus in Hopkinton, utilizing three different buildings before she went to Delhi beginning in ninth grade.
She was in high school when five towns – Hopkinton, Delhi, Earlville, Buck Creek and Oneida – consolidated into what is now Maquoketa Valley. It took 11 bond issues, Keith recalls, before it was passed.
“Everybody was against it, I remember that,” Dianne said.
Keith also had school in the buildings on the Lenox campus, and went to Delhi for middle school and high school.
Both Dianne and Keith remember having lunch in the basement of what is now the Delaware County Historical Museum in Hopkinton.
Luke, like most of the others in his generation, has had the benefit of mostly newer buildings. He attended Johnston Elementary in Hopkinton, and was in the new middle school in Delhi before going to high school.
Dis-ciplinary methods have certainly changed, as well. Dianne said she re-members being sent out in the hall once for laughing, and that more serious infractions called for a trip to the detention hall.
Keith remembers a more serious punishment for rule-breakers.
“We had the seventh-grade paddle,” he said. “And they used it.”
Rules, too, have changed.
“My (teacher) friends and I talked about what they do now compared to what we did then,” Dianne said. “Back then it was no talking, no gum, all this stuff. Now, we have bigger fish to fry.”
Technology and social media have driven some of the rule changes for today’s students.
”We weren’t allowed to have cell-phones, no texting in class, no Facebook and no Twitter.” Luke said.
One other change they
acknowledged is the expanded use of ACT testing.
“I remember taking the ACT, but the number of people that took it was so limited, maybe 10 or 12 out of a class of 124,” Keith said.
“Almost everyone in my class took it,” Luke said, “unless you were going to the military or going to community college. If you were going to community college, you could take the COMPASS, which is pretty much the same thing.”
All three of them have enjoyed the successes of attending Maquoketa Valley schools. Dianne went on to a teaching career of her own. Keith is executive vice president of F&M Bank in Anamosa and Manchester, and was one of the founders of MV’s successful Dollars for Scholars program. And Luke plans to attend UNI to study business, hoping to become a banker himself someday.