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Noxon celebrates retiring principal with car show

 

Justin Harris

LEAVING HIS MARK – Retiring Noxon principal Rik Rewerts delights students as he burns out in front of the school. Rewerts created the annual car show at the school in 2014 and is looking to help it continue. More than 60 cars attended this year.

It was time to say goodbye and drive off into the sunset – again. Noxon principal Rik Rewerts organized and participated in the school's 5th Annual Car Show.

Although he didn't give himself any awards for his maroon '77 Chevelle SS that was previously owned by an NBA player, he was pleasantly surprised when Noxon educator Tracey Dean took the microphone to laud his service as an administrator and a friend to all at the school. Other staff also had kind words to say and he was presented with a plaque manufactured by the talented students in the shop class.

The celebration of Rewerts continued with gifts from staff and students, including a file folder filled with handmade cards from students wishing him well and an engraved beer mug, to which Rewerts held up the stein and yelled "It's for soda!" Two food carts were then wheeled out by kitchen staff filled with cupcakes for all in attendance and a special cake (those who know the personal touches that go into every meal from that cafeteria also know sweets prepared by those hands are something to jump up and down about).

"I'm just overwhelmed," laughed Rewerts at the surprise, his arms filled with going-away gifts, "you all are so great, and it has been a pleasure working with you."

This marks Rewerts' second departure from Noxon Schools, as he worked as P.E. teacher and basketball coach at the school from 1979-82. He worked at other schools in the region and moved into administration as vice principal in Libby before returning to Noxon in 2014 to fill the principal vacancy. Noxon resident, Alan Detwiller remembered Rewerts well from his time as a student in the eighties, "We were all a bit younger then, but he's the same good guy."

A weekday, daytime car show usually wouldn't be a draw, but it is likely Rewerts' reputation that enticed over 50 cars to enter the first annual show he put on in 2014. The show enjoyed fairly steady entry numbers in the following years.

The show featured rods and classics from days gone by, as well as some modern lookers. Some entries that stood out above the others was a small army of Ford Model T's that parked picturesquely beneath the school's giant read and black letters in front of the gym. Between the Eckleberry's and the Kelly's in Noxon, there are nearly a dozen of these relics of the past in pristine condition for their age.

Rewerts created the car show for the benefit of everyone – the entrants, the students, staff, and community. It was a public outreach effort to invite the public to the school, as well as having something special for students to look forward to. "Our students love to see these vehicles and talk to the owners," he said of students conversing at the show, learning the history of the cars (some have amazing stories of rescue and refurbishment) and the work that goes into a show-quality car (aside from sipping lemonade in a lawn chair next to said vehicle during shows like this).

Following the awards for entrants and accolades for Rewerts, a "burnout" was held on the roadway in front of the campus. "Please don't burnout in the school parking lot," laughed Rewerts. Students lined the chain link fence adjacent to the roadway, cheering on each vehicle as it approached and revved before spinning rubber on asphalt, creating clouds of friction-burned smoke.

For Rewerts (who took two burnout passes in his ride that was voted "Best Car for a Prom Date" in the show's first year), the principal would fittingly exit the school in a billowing cloud of smoke with clapping, delighted students screaming in approval.

 

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