Schott Family Establishes Kulm Athlete Memorial
The boys’ basketball state championship of 1958 is the stuff of legends for Kulm Public School: a last second shot to win, and an achievement that has not since been repeated. Last August at the new school Welcome Ceremony, the Kulm Public School honored three members of that team: Tom Herman, Delano Herrmann, and Lew Hille. The three had worked ahead of the event to fundraise and commission a beautiful new trophy case, which celebrates the highest achievements in all areas of Kulm Public School.
One teammate could not be part of that project. Gilbert Schott was a starting player on the state championship team and a 1958 KHS graduate. He had a strong connection to Kulm. Even after moving to Crosby, ND and beginning his career as a science teacher, Gil still came home to Kulm every summer to help on the farm. After a short battle with cancer, Gil passed away in March of 2015. Following the funeral, his wife, Liane, entrusted the monetary gifts from friends and family to Gil’s brother, Kulm farmer and businessman, Bart Schott, asking that the money go towards something meaningful and local.
Bart was only eight years old when Kulm won the state championship, and he had a special opportunity to see the team close up. They would often come over after school or games to eat at the Schott home, and then play a friendly game using the basketball hoop in their alley. As a whole, Bart said, “They were a very unselfish team; it didn’t matter who scored the points.” He recalled a game in which starter Phillip Miller was scoring well. “They wanted him to have the single-game scoring record, so they just kept feeding him the ball,” said Bart. “They didn’t care if they won or lost, they just wanted to see him succeed.” But, he’s quick to point out, “they did still win.”
Bart wanted Gil’s remembrance to reflect that same sense of unselfishness and team spirit. After considering a few different ideas involving the new school, he and Foundation Director, Sarah Gackle, collaborated on a memorial scoreboard. It would be a project to remember Gil, but it would also be an opportunity to remember the many other Kulm athletes who gave our town something to stand up and cheer about.
Bart and Linsey Schott’s $5,000 gift from the friends and family of Gilbert Schott established the athlete memorial. Bart and Linsey were also able to find one of the only photos of the team with the trophy following the big win. They had it framed and it now sits in the trophy case with the state championship trophy.
If you would like to give towards a memorial for a Kulm athlete, your tax deductible donation can be sent to the North Dakota Community Foundation, which manages the Kulm School Foundation. Simply include a note detailing that the gift is for the Kulm School Non-endowment fund and who the memorial is for and from. A plaque listing these memorials will be hung in the new school commons area.
Checks can be sent to:
PO Box 387
Bismarck, ND 58502