Don DuBois '82
Don DuBois was in the Upper School the day of the explosion, as he is the Upper School Campus Maintenance and Building Supervisor. His class had a reunion the fall after the explosion, and there were a lot of people he had not seen in years. Everyone expressed so much caring and sadness over what had happened. But as he reflects, “The buildings were nice, and it’s sad that the buildings are gone--there is nothing left from when we were students there. But it is not the building that makes MA. We still have those memories, and we still have the relationships.”
A Neighborhood Kid
Don attended Minnehaha Academy from 7th-12th grade. He knew about the school because he grew up a block away. His cousin transferred to Minnehaha for his sophomore year and enjoyed it, and told Don all about it. Don also knew Guido Kauls, a longtime teacher from the neighborhood; they lived on the same block and he “ran around” with Guido’s kids.
Don first came back to Minnehaha as a coach. He helped coach soccer after graduating, and also was the wrestling coach for three years both during and after college. His wife Laura started working in food service at the Upper School in ‘07, and his kids were all students at MA. Because Don was ‘around’ athletic events, concerts, and all kinds of MA-related activities, he heard about a job opening, and started working at the school in 2012 as a maintenance engineer. His responsibilities continued to increase throughout the years. He likes the variety best about his job--he gets to do something different every day. If the fire alarm or the security alarm goes off, he is the first one to be called. He lives a few miles away from campus, and his parents still own the same house he grew up in, right next to the Upper School. I asked him if he’d like to buy his parent’s house someday and his response was, ‘I’m not sure I’d like to be that available! I’m on campus all the time now!” All Don and Laura’s kids graduated from MA: his son Tyler (’10), his daughter Grace (’13), his daughter Victoria (’15), and his daughter Olivia (’17).
Role in the Rebuild
Up to the point of the explosion, his job was “routine.” Since the explosion, he’s been the man who is constantly physically “moving stuff.” Don has helped move teachers, files, and classroom furniture to the Mendota campus. He helped move all of the administrative staff into the POD--a transitional structure set up outside of the Lower/Middle School after the explosion. At the 3100 Campus (the campus being rebuilt), he tries to “stay ahead of Mortenson construction in their work areas” including emptying rooms, cleaning up rooms and getting them ready for events, and setting up areas. He goes between the three different campuses--making sure the buildings are maintained and everything is ready to go. He will be very involved in the move back to 3100 from Mendota this summer. He was excited to help organize where some of the mechanicals will be placed in the new building and give input on where it would be best to make his job easier. Don says, “A new building will be a life-changer for my job. With the previous building, it was 100 years old, and there were some quirky things, like some electrical circuits on first floor were controlled by a fuse on 3rd floor. A new building will change my work drastically.”
What would Don want to say to other alumni? “When you visit campus, and I hope you come back--don’t expect to see anything that was around when we were here. It’s not going to be the same. What we still have are the memories from when we were all here together.”