Viewpoint 181: The Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools

10 women will be inducted as the 2020 class of Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools.

Sherri Delahunt

“Legendary ”means “celebrated,” “renowned,” “acclaimed,” “illustrious,” “esteemed,” “honored,” “prominent,” “distinguished,” “outstanding” and “unforgettable.” These words describe all ten BHS women selected as the 2020 Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools.

Lea Hanson, Christy Hohman, Jean Echternacht, Connie Savor Price, Lauren Nickisch, Kyung Endres, Jennifer Nyberg, Julie Beasley, Elsa Hasch Garrison and Sister Mara Lester are our 2020 Legendary Women living vibrant lives of service with grace, compassion and leadership literally around the world.

These extraordinary women include a playwright/actress/musician, an international development business founder, a medical doctor specializing in infectious diseases, a Minnesota state archeologist, a policy influencer/advocate for the most needy and vulnerable, a dental specialist/volunteer/mountain climber, a world class sports photographer, a Sister of Mercy medical doctor, professor teaching improved communications, a World Food Program administrator and an expert in Native American education issues; all graduating from a diversity of backgrounds within BPS and from a variety of BPS eras.

Our remarkable BPS women started on their paths of excellence, leadership and service at Brainerd Public Schools. They carry with them their upbringing in the Brainerd lakes area, as well as the learning and experiences acquired within our schools. What makes them truly legendary is that they have shared their learning and experiences in places near and far, but they were tutored, modeled for, coached, directed and educated within the proud heritage and people of almost 150 years of Brainerd Public Schools and the greater Brainerd community.

Since 1987, March has been designated by Congress as National Women’s History Month. This is a national opportunity for us, here, to commemorate and to encourage the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history, and to acknowledge and honor women who are currently making a difference in our world, women who act as role models for our youth and aspire to be the difference in the worlds of future Legendary Women.


One mission of Brainerd Public Schools Archives is “to foster community and student interest in BPS students, graduates, teachers, staff and institutional history as a valuable, critical aspect of life.” The Brainerd lakes area has a unique opportunity to do so in Women’s History Month and through these 10 Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools, and through the 20 women of the Legendary Women Class of 2019.

The Organizing Committee of the Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools and Brainerd Public Schools Archives will conduct a 5:30 p.m. induction ceremony for the 2020 Legendary, and unveil an exhibit about each of them, on March 9, from 5-7 p.m. at the Media Center Atrium at Brainerd High School.

In lifting up Legendary Women graduates of Brainerd Public Schools, we demonstrate to our community and to students everywhere the power and influence of women in American society and what all men and women may aspire to and achieve. The 2020 Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools are, well, legendary!

Join us as we honor them, and women everywhere, on March 9.

Delahunt is a member of the Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools Organizing Committee
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