Labor of Love
The Last Frame of the Hansons' 35-Year Slideshow Tradition
As the graduation of this year’s class approaches, this will be the first year that the Hanson family has not presented to the students their gift of the senior slide show. 35 years ago, Mrs. Barb Heggen came to Mrs. Helen Hanson with an idea of a volunteer project that she thought Helen’s husband, Bob and she would be able to do. Mrs. Heggen attended a graduation where a slide show was presented, displaying the graduating seniors from their infancy to senior year in high school. After discussing the exciting new idea with her husband, Helen and Bob, alongside Mr. Ray Phillips, the music teacher, began the project. It was quite an undertaking to begin with. Helen collected the pictures, and Mr. Phillip and Bob captured the pictures of the photos on slide film. The Hansons then took the film to Helena for development and then returned two weeks later to acquire the finished slides. Mrs. Vickie Manger, the librarian, provided the equipment of carousel projectors, a machine that would fade one slide to another, and a tape player for the music. A special reverse screen had to be found and with the help of a friend, one was found in the nearby town of Bozeman. In an act of dedication, the Hansons made the drive to Bozeman to get the screen and then returned it the following Monday. For many years, Mrs. Hanson was on her own during graduation, as Mr. Hanson had meetings at the same time. As technology improved and the school purchased a screen, the tradition became much easier. Reminiscing about each student they had all taught, Helen fondly remembers watching elementary teachers looking at the slideshow photos. Watching the graduates and their families’ faces is another memory she cherishes. For instance, in the inaugural slideshow, Helen and Barb immediately recognized a freckle-faced, red-headed Johnston boy, who still lives in White Sulphur Springs today. Moreover, a class's choice of a beloved Garth Brooks song stands out as a memorable highlight of Helen's tenure overseeing the slideshow. With Mrs. Julie Hanson's arrival at the White Sulphur Springs School District, Bob and Helen handed over the reins. Julie has since been at the helm, using her tech savvy to significantly streamline the process. Her commitment shines through as she diligently works after hours to craft the program. As the Hansons conclude their chapter as the slideshow's custodians, they reflect on the cherished memories they've created through their volunteerism. This has been a labor of love and dedication by the Hanson family to the generations of students graduating from White Sulphur Springs High School.