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2018 Recipients


John Kelley Picture

Cohorts say longtime Fargo South instructor and coach John Kelley was one of those teachers who influenced students in a special way and gave them inspiration or motivation to achieve at a level that made them proud of their accomplishments.

It was that approach, says former South coach and teacher Dale Hertel, that appealed to both the advanced high achievers and students who struggled with school.

Mr. Kelley was a teacher and coach at South from its inception in the fall of 1967 until his retirement in 2001. He was an assistant football coach for 34 years and assistant wrestling coach for 11 years.

Mark Larson, a Fargo South graduate, says Mr. Kelley not only taught teamwork, he lived it. Later, Mr. Kelley agreed to move from teaching physical education to science to fill a need. He was nominated for the Presidential Award of Excellence for science education.

"While John was demanding, he was fair and flexible," says Richard Warner, former South principal. "He had excellent communication skills and was always willing to listen to others whether they were his colleagues or students."

As a coach, he often played a behind-the-scenes role in motivating and conditioning athletes, says Larson, who calls him “consistently patient, supportive, encouraging, yet challenging.”

As a line and special teams coach, Mr. Kelley helped the Bruins to seven state titles and three second-place finishes. Many of his players were all-state performers who went on to bigger and better things. The North Dakota High School Coaches Association recognized him with Assistant Coach of the Year honors.

"John Kelley in my mind was the glue that held our teams together," Hertel says. "He made connections that others were unable to make. He had in his time, and I would imagine still has, the magic that makes champions."


Andy Mariner Picture
The nickname of 1996 Fargo South graduate and U.S. Navy Cmdr. Andy Mariner probably says it all. His fellow officers call him Grand.

He has a job that fits that title. Since 2016 he has been the commanding officer of the Navy's Fighter Weapons School, better known as TOPGUN and featured in the Tom Cruise movie. Cmdr. Mariner is training the best pilots in the world, of which he is one himself.

"During my time serving with Grand, he proved himself time and again," says Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi, commanding officer and flight leader of the Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team. "He was the go-to naval officer for the most challenging missions, which he routinely executed flawlessly. His unwavering dedication to his people truly sets him apart."

Cmdr. Mariner graduated with merit from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2000, earning a degree in aerospace engineering. He graduated from TOPGUN in 2006 and went on to earn a master's degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

He has flown more than 3,000 flight hours on multiple naval aircraft, including numerous combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve.

Cmdr. Mariner has earned numerous awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commander Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and various campaign and unit citations.

Rear Admiral G.N. Harris, now the Chief of Naval Air Training, says Cmdr. Mariner is a pillar in the strike fighter community.

"Grand has dedicated his naval career to caring for and enriching the lives of sailors that work for him and leading from the front in combat," Harris says. "He is a quiet, humble professional who prides himself on mission accomplishment and supporting the sailors that are the lynchpin of our Navy who defend our nation."


Robert Narveson Picture

Robert Narveson has taken a small drug store chain and vaulted it toward the top of the industry, all the while making the business more employee and customer friendly.

The 1980 Fargo South graduate has been president and CEO of Plymouth, Minnesota-based Thrifty White Drug Pharmacy for nearly 20 years. Under his leadership, the company doubled in size and changed its structure to a 100 percent employee stock ownership plan. Cohorts say he succeeds by emphasizing high expectations and teamwork.

"Bob is an accomplished executive who leads by his example of high integrity, hard work, dedication and goal-oriented approaches," says Tim Weippert, Thrifty White Drug COO and executive vice president.

National observers have taken notice. Robert's company was named Pharmacy Innovator of the Year twice by Chain Drug Review in 2014 and Drug Store News in 2016.

"The health care field has never experienced change at the rate of speed they see today," says Larry Stoa, a 1979 South graduate. "To lead this industry because of a company's innovative ability to bring product to the customer is noteworthy."

Robert is a past board chairman for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Weippert says the board referred to Robert's term as "Narvesonian," referring to his "ideal servant leadership, humble confidence and compassionate strength."

Robert has also served as vice chairman for Premier Value Alliance and as a University of Minnesota pharmacy advisory board member.

The 1984 Moorhead State University graduate has undertaken many important speaking engagements, both public and private. He regularly meets with congressional leaders from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Robert has had lunch with former President George W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush and introduced Hillary Clinton for an industry event. He was the commencement speaker for the University of Southern California College of Pharmacy.


Dellis Schrock Picture

From years of dedicated service that included teaching, politics and mission work, Dellis Schrock was a man who valued the importance of standards and community involvement.

Nancy Jordheim, who at one time taught alongside Mr. Schrock in the South High English department, said her first impression of him was someone with a calm and sure presence, comfortable both with his education philosophy and his ability to achieve results.

"He challenged both students and colleagues, he opened our understanding to other points of view, and he warmly encouraged all he came in contact with to try a variety of different directions," Jordheim says.

A native of Grand Island, Nebraska, Mr. Schrock held college degrees from three colleges. In addition to many years as the English department chair at South, he held leadership positions in various state and local education associations. He was president of the Fargo Education Association. He was honored numerous times, including PTA Teacher of the Year.

Away from school, he was the mayor of Casselton and member of the Central Cass School Board. He was a Republican Party precinct committeeman.

Susan Gigstad, who worked with Mr. Schrock for five years, called him warm and compassionate. "Whether his support was emotional or financial, it was unconditional; in many ways, he was like a father figure," she says.

As a public servant, Mr. Schrock often said he believed in the forgotten American, referring to the "ambitious and gifted working man who makes his way up by saving, planning and organizing until he spreads his enterprises in national scope and character.”

Mr. Schrock, Jordheim says, will never be forgotten.

"Mr. Schrock's extraordinary talent of bringing people together to meet a common goal was evidenced time and again," Jordheim says. "It ended when he passed away doing mission work building for others."