Photo by Brett Nachtigall/Fall River County Herald-Star
Class of 1958 Hot Springs High School alumnus John Lufkin stands in front of the high school he graduated from 63 years ago. Lufkin is currently working on a book that compiles autobiographies of fellow HSHS alumni, and is in need of more submissions.
By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – Some of John Lufkin’s fondest memories of growing up in Hot Springs during the 1950s was playing sports and being a part of the athletic program at Hot Springs High School and competing against the nearby towns of Provo, Custer and Edgemont.
Lufkin, whose father Dexter Lufkin was the Chief of Staff at the Hot Springs VA for 10 years, went on to graduate a Hot Springs Bison in 1958 with such local classmates as Dave Batchelor, Roger Spitzer and Barb (Perreault) Bogner. He then attended Carleton College in Minnesota and went on to earn a Masters of Science at Bringham Young University and a Ph.D. in Geology from Stanford University.
After a 45-year career in academia, industry and consulting, Lufkin, now an author and book publisher, is wanting to compile a book of fellow HSHS alumni memories with the goal of creating a scholarship to help future alumni follow their dreams.
Lufkin, who now lives in Golden, Colo., and has self-published six books to date, was in Hot Springs last week recruiting autobiographical contributors for what will be his seventh book entitled “Hot Springs, SD High School Alumni Autobiographies.” Another book he is working on currently is entitled “Black Hills, SD: Geology, History, and Other Attractions.” Other books he has previously published in the “Guidebook: Geology of the Black Hills, SD” and “Tales of the Wyoming Open,” which he wrote following the death of his mother Betty and her love of golf.
So far, the autobiographical submissions he has received from fellow HSHS alumni have been mainly from the graduating classes in the 1950s and early 1960s, but his hope is to have from across the entire history of the school, including the recently graduated Class of 2021. This, he said, would provide a unique and interesting insight into how HSHS alumni perspectives and memories have evolved over the years – highlighting both differences and commonalities.
To reach current students, Lufkin said he was allowed into Hot Springs High School last year to visit with a couple of classes, and was again allowed to visit with a couple classes last week. With the available of social media and other forms of digital expression, Lufkin said it was difficult to gauge the interest of the current generation of Hot Springs Bison in his book. He’s unsure how much input they will be willing to provide, but he still holds out hope that some will want to offer their perspectives.
With at least 70 percent of the profits of the sale of the Alumni book going towards a HSHS scholarship, Lufkin is urging anyone who graduated from Hot Springs to reach out to him and submit their memories – through autobiographies, newspaper clippings, past and present photographs.
“Format for your report should include: A Word doc, Arial font 11, single-spaced, with paragraphs indented 5 spaces,” Lufkin said in a recent emailed request to alumni. “It will be limited to 4 pages, plus 1 page for 6 photos, which I will insert, plus another fairly recent photo of yourself for the first page, which I will place below your photo taken from my CD of Bison annuals.”
The deadline he has set for submissions is Aug. 30, 2021, which will allow him to get copies printed by September and hopefully be available for purchase during Homecoming Weekend, Sept. 24-26, 2021. That weekend will also be when the Hot Springs Bison Athletics Hall of Fame will be hosting their Induction Banquet.