Don Prouty Memorial Scholarship
Amount Awarded Annually: $1250
- BPS Graduating Seniors who plans to continue their post-secondary education in the field of education
- Preference given to: students who were involved in athletics and/or peer-to-peer groups
The Don Prouty Memorial Scholarship was created in 2022 for a longtime Bismarck Public Schools principal and entrepreneur, Don Prouty. It was established by Pamela Carlen Ihmels, a retired Bismarck Public Schools teacher and coach who seeks to continue his legacy in the field of education by awarding a $1250 scholarship to an outstanding BPS graduating senior with an intended major in education. Ihmels knew Prouty as an educator and a respected man in all parts of his life. He was the principal when some of her children attended Solheim Elementary School. Prouty hired Ihmels in 1994 as a driver’s education instructor for the business he and his wife Bernie started in 1970, Don’s Driving School. Ihmels and Prouty worked together there for twenty five years.
Prouty was born and raised in Washburn, ND and graduated from Washburn Public Schools in 1956. Throughout high school he was a gifted athlete who lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track. His athletic accomplishments frequented the sports pages where it was common to see his career highlights that years later had yet to be broken.
He continued his academic education and athletic career at Bismarck Junior College from 1956 to 1958 and at Dickinson State College from 1958 to 1960. Prouty married Bernie Frohlich in 1958. He studied at NDSU and UND for graduate work and summer school while being a father to three young girls; Danell, Susan and Lynn. Prouty received his master’s degree from NDSU in 1967.
His first teaching assignment was in Dunseith, ND where he taught English and Geography from 1960 to 1962. It was then that Prouty’s passion for athletics was evident as he enthusiastically coached football, basketball, baseball and track in Dunseith. His commitment to athletics extended into his players. Until the time of his death in 2019, Prouty kept in touch with a former Dunseith student athlete that turned into a lifelong friend. Athletics had played such an important role in forming Prouty’s character, he would always use it as his foundation in whatever situation he found himself in.
In 1962 he moved his young family to Bismarck, ND and began teaching and coaching at Hughes Junior High School for the next six years. He became principal of Grimsrud Elementary in 1968. Prouty would spend the next twenty four years in Bismarck Public Schools Administration. He was the principal at Wachter, Saxvik, Rita Murphy, Dorothy Moses and Lincoln Elementary schools before he was honored to become principal of Solheim Elementary, a brand new school named after his mentor Vic Solheim. Solheim hired Prouty for his first position in Bismarck, ND at Hughes Junior High School twenty five years earlier.
Prouty thrived as he led the most talented and creative teachers and was known to students and teachers alike as Mr. Prouty. Always professional, he could communicate with children at whatever level. He called students to his office on their birthdays and to their surprise and amazement proceeded to make a balloon animal and gave them a pencil engraved with “Happy Birthday.” He told them getting called to the principal’s office could be a positive experience. Prouty had a big place in his heart for special education students and was a tireless advocate for their right to be educated and have a place in the school system.
On June 5th 1992 Prouty retired from education. After retiring from the Bismarck Public Schools system, Prouty continued to educate and connect with young people through teaching driver’s education until he turned eighty. Our hope is that Don Prouty’s guiding principles will be carried on into future generations of educators with the help of this scholarship. Mr. Prouty always signed off the public address system with “Have a super academic day!”
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