Lifetime educator, administrator, superintendent looks back on years with Needles Unified School District
Note: When long-time Needles educator and administrator Charles D. (Dave) Renquest was honored by the Needles Unified School District the Desert Star asked him for biographical information. Edited a bit to roughly conform to standard newspaper stylings, that biography appears here in his own words. - ed.
Born Flag Day, June 14, 1942, I discovered along the way that Joe Namath was born (within a year) at the same place: Beaver Falls, Penn.
I grew up in a small town 40 miles from Pittsburgh. ‘Worthington’ was my schooling from first through 11th grades; there was no kindergarten then. There were 20 students in my 11th grade class: too small for football.
Our family moved to Parker, Ariz., for my senior year. I got to play football in 1959. We played here in Needles and lost 56 to 0. It was still fun!
Then off to college in Flagstaff for five years. I went in pre-med, then park service, then forestry and then in education while marrying my sweetheart, Peggy Jean Kessler. (The two celebrate 55 years of marriage this May).
I graduated from Arizona State College in 1965. My classmates voted for the name of either UNA or NAU in June of ’65. I voted for UNA so naturally NAU won and the school has thrived as Northern Arizona University.
Peggy and I moved to the Los Angeles area. I taught fifth grade at Norwalk - LA - Mirada for two years. I hated the city but put in two years there. To get out of LA I signed up to teach in Needles with a sixth grade class and John Hohstadt as my principal. He was a great principal.
So I taught sixth grade for three years, special education for five years and then got into administration. We raised our two boys, Andy and David, and I moved into administration. I worked in Vista Colorado Elementary School, Needles Middle School and Needles High School in administration.
Bill Darrow and I went into athletics at Needles High School. We were stuck to get games for our athletes so Darrow and I went to work on the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. Our football teams went all over southern California for games. Bill and I went to the NIAA and were successful. We took a week out of school and visited all of the Nevada schools our size. This worked wonderfully and continues today.
One of my favorites in middle school was in also being principal in Essex and Amboy. On Wednesdays I went to Essex and at lunch went to Amboy. The next week I’d go to Amboy first then Essex on the way home.
We discovered we needed an extra teacher at Amboy. One of the teachers went to high school as a student in Barstow. She had a classmate that became an astronaut: Charles Lacy Veach. Amboy had four students graduating that year. She talked Lacy into coming to Amboy’s graduation. He agreed and did a video for a crowd of nearly 300 people. It was terrific.
So what does an ‘old’ teacher do? He goes to be (district) superintendent for eight and a half years, then becomes a substitute. (Note: Renquest currently serves as one of Needles’ two trustees on the Palo Verde College Board. “I just can’t stay away from work,” he said with a chuckle. - ed.)
The people of Needles are the best. I wouldn’t live in another place unless it might be Flagstaff.