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2021 Recipients


Dick Henderson

Coaches and players from over four decades of Dick Henderson's career at Fargo South will tell you the same thing - He was the silent star behind every championship team. 

The longtime physical education instructor and head of the department was known as a motivator of all students, teaching them the value of personal health and fitness to last a lifetime. Away from the school, he volunteered his time to the church and other causes to improve people’s lives.

“As with any excellent teacher, Dick has sacrificed financial gain for the privilege of influencing young people toward good purposes,” said Rev. Richard Raum, who got to know Mr. Henderson as pastor at First Presbyterian Church. “Always, Dick has been a capable, devoted and humble person, serving and helping others and conforming his own life to the highest standards of moral decency and uprightness.”

Mr. Henderson, of course, was best known as an innovative and inspirational strength and conditioning coach long before others realized the physical and mental value of “hitting the weight room.” He cultivated numerous collegiate athletes, several at the highest level. He was also the person athletes talked to about life.

Athletes to this day marvel at Mr. Henderson's ability to bring out their best. His proudest moments were when students reached personal bests in conditioning. And he was always encouraging when they fell short. Keep going, he would say, you will get there. He did this for 33 years while receiving little credit in the public eye.

And on those rare days when athletes were understandably lethargic, or taking a day off, or just did not want to be there, Mr. Henderson did not react with anger or disgust. He would instead pound his chest and let out a loud yelp that would not only make students work harder. It made them smile.


Crystal Cummins Schneider

Crystal Cummins Schneider’s Fargo South Hall of Fame credentials can be separated into several chapters.

The 1998 South graduate was one of the best all-around athletes in school history and a straight-A student. She was a public servant who fought to build consensus. She has served as coach and mentor. She has been and is one of the most passionate advocates for those less fortunate.

Crystal was best known for her exploits in track and field, beginning her varsity career as a seventh grader. A 2011 inductee of the North Dakota Track and Field Hall of Fame, she set school records in the high jump and triple jump. As an amateur competitor, she won a national championship in the five-event pentathlon, which included the shot put.

She was an award-winning diver and volleyball player for the Bruins, and as a young gymnast was a flyer on the renown F-M Acro Team.

Crystal moved on to North Dakota State, where she helped the Bison women win the indoor national championship in 2001. She was a ten-time NCAA Division II All-American in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump. In 2003 she was named the NCAA regional athlete of the year.

After graduating from NDSU in 2003 with a political science degree, Crystal went to work for Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization dedicated to building homes for families who are homeless or unable to purchase a home due to low income.

She was a member of the Grand Forks City Council from 2014 to 2018, where Mayor Mike Brown said he would want her in his corner in any contest.

“She has had an incredible career athletically and professionally; she continues to be involved in the community in which she lives and offers every opportunity to serve her talents when available,” said Cory Lehman, Crystal's coach at South.


Laura Roesler

Laura Roesler has taken Fargo South High School around the world with accomplishments unmatched by any runner in North Dakota, starring for the most renown college program in the country and eventually turning professional.

 The 2010 South graduate was a 20-time state track champion in a variety of events, beginning her stellar high school career as a seventh grader. Even more remarkable, the athlete known primarily for middle distance, won two state cross country titles. Winning the 100 meters and the 4,000-kilometer cross country races during the same school year was and is unheard of, former South coach Rory Beil said.

“When the announcer at the state track meet would announce ‘Laura Roesler’ prior to her race, everyone in the stadium stopped what they were doing to watch,” Beil said.

Laura set and still holds numerous school and state records. She was a straight-A student who has led by example, from high school through college and beyond.

“She handled a public profile with class and humility,” said Rose Krumwiede, a former South counselor. “She was always proud of her roots, whether it was Fargo South High School or North Dakota.”

Recruited by every big-time program in the country, Laura chose the University of Oregon, where she was one of the most decorated athletes in school history. She was a five-time NCAA champion, an 18-time All-American and a three-time Pac-12 champion. Laura earned the 2014 Bowerman Award, given annually to the most outstanding male and female NCAA track and field athlete in the nation, otherwise known as the Heisman Trophy of the sport. She went on to become a Nike-sponsored professional runner.

“So many of us were enthralled by what she was able to accomplish on the track," Biel said. "Now we are even more impressed at a what a classy human being she has grown to be.”


Gayle Hyde

There are very few people who have made the kind of long-term commitment to forensics as Gayle Hyde, and not only in the Fargo Public Schools. The 1979 Fargo South graduate has earned respect nationwide as an innovator, motivator, and moderator.

Pam McComas, a National Speech and Debate Association Hall of Famer and retired 40-year educator from Kansas, said Gayle’s leadership in curriculum and professional development goes far beyond North Dakota. Gayle is a leader in numerous professional organizations.

“Her 30-plus years of teaching and innovation for teachers in the classroom are indicative of her persona,” McComas said. “Her dedication, her commitment, and her knowledge and leadership make her one of a kind in the educational field.”

As someone who has long understood the intricacies of technology, Gayle helped to rebuild the Communication, Speech and Theatre Association of North Dakota. She is now a member of that group’s Hall of Fame. 

Gayle has volunteered and served as tournament manager for hundreds of forensic contests. She and her husband, Joe, developed a computer program to efficiently schedule and tabulate speech tournaments that has been widely adopted. She has worked to train generations of teachers and coaches.

Her list of professional contributions, presentations, and awards are too numerous to outline.

Gayle has been a special mentor to New American students. Cohort Gwen Stark, a South Hall of Famer, said Gayle instilled confidence by finding selections they liked that were challenging without being discouraging, but Gayle's nurturing has gone much further than that.

“She has fed them, clothed them, transported them, and nurtured them during each season of debate, speech, and student congress,” said Dr. Robert Littlefield, a National Forensic League Hall of Fame inductee. “Her team is her family, and she has worked with all levels of students, encouraging them to reach their potential and strive for success.”


Brian Kesselring

He is one of the top military pilots in the world. Period. 

CDR Brian C. Kesselring, a 1995 Fargo South graduate, was designated a Naval Aviator in August 2003. Following fighter jet training,CDR Kesselring served with several squadrons, trained aircrew at the Navy Fighter Weapons School, also known as TOPGUN, and completed combat deployments in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, and Inherent Resolve. 

At the time of his nomination,CDR Kesselring had more than 3,900 flight hours, 812 carrier arrested landings, over 120 combat missions, and has received numerous medals and awards. He earned a master’s degree in national security strategy from the Naval War College. Kesselring serves as the Blue Angels’ commander, leading a team of 141 members serving as ambassadors to the Navy and Marines.

“His work ethic is an inspiration to all who know him,” says Navy CDR Daniel K. O’Hara. “He fully immerses himself into any task and sees to its completion, no matter how large or small the effort required may be. There is no challenge Brian cannot overcome.”

Under CDR Kesselring’s guidance, the Blue Angels acquired its first fleet of F/A-18E Super Hornets, replacing the flight demonstration team’s aging legacy F/A-18 Hornets. Navy officials called it a momentous step in the group’s transition.

CDR Kesselring graduated from Concordia College with majors in physics, mathematics, and business, while also competing in basketball and track and field. At Fargo South, he was an all-conference performer in basketball and track and field and led the Bruins to a state track title.

He attended Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, where he earned his commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in March 2001.

CDR Kesselring is a “model Naval officer worthy of recognition as one of Fargo South High School’s finest alumni,” Navy CDR Todd G. Royles says.