LTE: Disappointed by A-P graduation program omission

In June 2019, I moved back to my hometown of Aplington. I wanted to look after my parents, teach in a smaller district, and return to small-town living. Small-town living can have advantages and disadvantages. In the last three years, I have experienced what it is like to be judged by a small community. A minister of a rural Aplington church denied my membership due to the conditions of my divorce, even though he and the congregation welcomed me for a year prior to asking for membership. I do own my house in Aplington and pay taxes. I have been a teacher for 20 years. I graduated from Aplington in 1992. 

My son, Blake William Romberg, has been a student at Aplington-Parkersburg since 2019. During that time he has worked 2-3 jobs. Blake did not participate in sports or other school activities. 

On April 7th, I received an email from Blake’s English teacher stating he was in danger of not passing. I responded to this email that same day and addressed the concerns. I admit that Blake has not been the best at completing his work and turning it in on time. On April 15th, I asked the teacher for an updated grade and the teacher emailed that he was passing. 

Blake participated in the graduation practice ceremony on May 18 and was told he was graduating. He turned in all his required work the night before. Yes, he waited until the last minute. There had been no emails from his English teacher or other teachers, a guidance counselor, or high school principal since April 15. 

May 22nd was the Aplington-Parkersburg high school graduation. My parents and I were there early. As we were sitting there, my father noticed that Blake’s name was not on the graduation program. I immediately went to the superintendent with my concern. He did not know what to do. I went to the principal with my concern and asked to see the paper of names that the principal would read. My son’s name was on that paper but not on the program. The principal did apologize and said it was not his fault. He told me he would print me some extra corrected ones. I returned to my seat. A little later, the principal came to me and brought me three new programs. I asked if he was going to give everyone in attendance a new program. He stated he could not do that. My son’s name was the only name left off the program. 

I thought maybe I would receive an email from the principal the next week apologizing. There were no emails from anyone. I wonder if the A-P staff just assumed Blake would drop out because his brother dropped out. Did anyone talk to him at school and ask if he needed any help. I wonder since my son was not the “popular” kid, did people just overlook him. 

Blake has decided to move around Des Moines in a month. He is choosing to work instead of attending a college or trade school. As a parent, I hoped he would stay around here, but at this point, I don’t blame him. If I had any more school-aged children, I would open enroll them in a neighboring district. I thought living in a smaller district my kids would have a village to look out for them. 

In case you were one who looked at the graduation program, I want you to know Blake William Romberg did graduate from Aplington Parkersburg High School on May 22nd. 


Marci Klahsen



Parkersburg Eclipse News-Review

503 Coates St.
Parkersburg, IA 50665
Phone:  319-346-1461

Mid-America Publishing

This newspaper is part of the Mid-America Publishing Family. Please visit for more information.