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Sandy Belkengren

Sandy Belkengren

Richfield School Board Member and Volunteer

Born: Minneapolis, MN, United States
Heritage: European American

Make sure you take advantage of the opportunities you are given. Pay attention in school. Once you have a good education, you can do anything in the world. Be respectful and generous. Pay it forward and pay it back.

Sandy Belkengren

Richfield School Board Member and Volunteer

My name is Sandy Belkengren. My students know me as Mrs. B. I was born at Swedish Hospital. I was 7 pounds and 24 inches long when I was born. My family lived in a fourplex by Elliot Park in downtown Minneapolis.

My dad was a policeman and owned three apartments. I didn’t dare do anything bad for fear of him finding out. At the time when women didn’t usually work, my mom worked a split shift. She worked at the phone company during the day and she volunteered as president of the PTA in the evening. My mom always stressed the importance of getting a good education.

I went to Washington Elementary School. The teacher who influenced me the most was Mr. Buchanan. I was supposed to go to Phillips for Junior High but my dad didn’t want me to go there. So, we moved to a house in south Minneapolis and I attended Roosevelt. During that time I was elected president of the Science Club, though my teacher had to double check the ballots in disbelief that a girl was elected

Back then girls had different rules than the boys. Girls were expected to take home economics and boys took shop. I wasn’t like the typical girl who played with dolls. I liked to play football with the boys and run and play in the dirt. I was a tomboy.

I went to college for science and math. Soon after, I received a call from the alumni office offering me a full scholarship if I went into physical education, so I changed my major. I figured I like being outside, so I thought it would be a good thing to teach Phy Ed. When you have a job you like, you never work a day – you only play. It’s important to do things you’re happy about.
While going to school I worked at the Red Owl making five dollars an hour. But, my first job was at the bakery in Southdale Mall making seventy-five cents an hour. During my summers I worked many other jobs as a Girl Scout counselor, a life guard and working for Richfield Parks and Recreation.

My first teaching job was at Roseville in St. Paul. A man offered me a job at Richfield when I was already contracted to teach at Roseville. I decided to take the job in Richfield and I taught physical education here for 35 years. At the time when I started, there were 1,600 students.

I love working with students. I still sub in Richfield and I also serve as a school board member. I serve as a liaison for the middle school and report the good things I see. I also love working with Golden Retrievers. I volunteer at Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota. I do home visits to check out the homes and families of foster families.


Anything In The Whole Wide World

Honoring Sandy Belkengren

Anything In The Whole Wide World

The world changes so quickly
Make sure you have opportunity
To go to school so you can do
Anything in the whole wide world

Most of you know me as Mrs. B
When I was your age I had to be
Always behaving
If not got caught
By mom on the PTA or my Dad the cop
We lived in a four-plex
By the Metrodome
My brother and I played school at home
I was the teacher
He did homework
I was a tomboy
I played in the dirt

When I was younger half court that’s all
In skirts and heels with a basketball
Thank God for changes through Title 9
Been playing full court since ‘75
When I was younger girls took home ec
Cooking and sewing
Oh what the heck
Loved math and science
I love phy ed
With a full scholarship I moved ahead

After graduation I taught in Roseville
Not long after taught in Richfield
Where the boys got new uniforms
That the girls and I had to fight for
I joined the school board and I thought
Don’t your daughters deserve what
Your sons have
Yes I guess
If you don’t speak up
You won’t get

I like to sub and volunteer
In the classroom year after year
I love to quilt
To deliver
A home for Golden Retrievers
Retrieve a golden
Is what that stands for
With little money
Offer your time
Forward and back
You will find

Words and music by LARRY LONG with Mary Gregor’s 6th grade class of Richfield Middle School
(Richfield, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2009 / BMI