Schools notebook // Southwest students mourn Bucklin classmates

Southwest students mourn Bucklin classmates

News that a small plane carrying three Minneapolis Public Schools students and their father went missing Oct. 25 prompted an outpouring of support from Southwest-area families that continued when search crews in Wyoming located the crash site but found no survivors.

Wreckage of the single-engine aircraft piloted by Twin Cities businessman Luke Bucklin and carrying three of his sons, 14-year-old twins Nick and Nate and 12-year-old Noah, was found Nov. 1 at an elevation of about 11,100 feet in an area known as Indian Pass, the Freeman County (Wyo.) Sheriff’s Office reported Nov. 2. The four-seat Mooney 20J crashed shortly after the Bucklins began their flight back to Minnesota from Jackson Hole, Wyo., where they were vacationing.

Nick and Nate Bucklin were students at Southwest High School and Noah Bucklin attended Anthony Middle School.

Southwest High School Principal Bill Smith said while the loss of a student or classmate is always difficult, the week of uncertainty that followed the Bucklins’ disappearance left many feeling frustrated and “helpless.”

“The eventual outcome is tragic enough by itself, but there sure was seven days of grief,” Smith said.

Still, he was encouraged by the “sense of community (that) really came out this past week.”

“We had a lot of people helping other people,” he said. “We really did rally.”

Classmates and their families expressed their sympathy and support for the Bucklins in the comment section of the family’s website,, and also wore “Blue for the Bucklins” while the search was ongoing.

Ginger Bucklin posted this message on Nov. 2:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Luke, Nate, Nick and Noah,” she wrote. “We look to God as our refuge and strength and trust him to carry us through the painful days ahead.

“We send a heartfelt thank you to all the family members, friends, and others from the Twin Cities community and around the world, for their prayers and expressions of love and concern over the past week. These have been a major source of support for us during this difficult time.”


Southwest voters chose Mammen more, Smith Baker less

Voters in Southwest precincts supported three of the at-large candidates for School Board at slightly higher rates than the city overall — particularly Richard Mammen, the top vote-getter citywide — but were less likely to vote for Chanda Smith Baker.

If only Southwest voters’ ballots were counted, the results in the race for two open at-large School Board seats would have remained the same, with Mammen and Rebecca Gagnon, a Southwest resident, finishing on top. Both won a slightly higher percentage of votes cast in Southwest when compared to the citywide returns, according to a review of unofficial results from the Nov. 2 General Election.

Smith Baker, however, did slightly worse in Southwest than citywide. She trailed Gagnon by just 1,168 votes citywide, according to the unofficial tally, a margin small enough that Smith Baker said Nov. 3 she would consider requesting a recount.

Incumbent T. Williams finished in fourth place in Southwest, just as he did citywide, although by comparison he won a slightly higher percentage of votes cast in Southwest precincts.

Southwest residents cast 41,885 votes in the at-large School Board race, almost exactly one-third of the 126,834 total votes cast in the race citywide.


Area C Parent Advisory Council elections Nov. 18

Elections for three representatives to the District Parent Advisory Council will be held at the Nov. 18 Zone 3 Parent Advisory Council meeting, 6 p.m.–8:30 p.m. at Green Central Community School, 3416 4th Ave. S.

The District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) includes representatives from all three district transportation zones who meet regularly with the superintendent and other top administrators to discuss district issues. Each of three area parent advisory councils sends six representatives to the meetings, which are open to the public.

The Zone 3 Parent Advisory Council meets monthly and is open to all parents and guardians of students.