Fritz Nierste started teaching at Bremen High School in 1951 at just 24 years old. A World War 2 vet who had presumably given the enemy many very, very difficult tests, he had come from Wesphalia, Indiana, and took over some social studies duties from Robert Thornberry as the school grew and also coached freshman basketball. He made an immediate impression on the seniors, who willed him all the parties in his classes. In 1953, the seniors willed him the best of luck in his new venture, a reference to his marriage to Carolyn Haenes. But it was in 1956 that the seniors willed him the easiest test he’d ever given, and the rest is history.

Fritz graduated from Indiana State, which is a fair sight better than Charles McNew, the English and history teach who graduated from (according to the 1956 yearbook) Transylvania University.

Fritz didn’t change much over the years, although the 1957-59 model years had tail fins and extra chrome. 1962 saw the move to the new high school building so the little ones could have the old school to themselves. There were no faculty portraits in 1966 and 1967, which is too bad, because that was his Beatle period (or so I’ve heard).

In 1969, Fritz was replaced by someone named “Frederick Nierste”, who sported a patented comb-forward, and the man’s forehead was never seen again. 1971 ushered in the era of sideburns so sharp you could cut a steak with them—an era that lasted a distressingly long time. The 1972 yearbook is unavailable, which is too bad, because that’s the year he grew the ponytail (or so I’ve heard).

Frank DeSantis grew a mustache. Lois Goodall joined the faculty. Randy Shriver gained a little weight (you’d hardly notice, really). Principals came and went. The Nierste whitlock arrived abruptly in 1980, and from then on, he never changed. Not a bit.

From the fall of 1951 to the summer of 1993: 9000 years 42 years a servant of knowledge and athletic excellence. Frederick “Fritz” Nierste passed away in 2002 at the age of 75.

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