New 'Spirit of Six' Memorial Unveiled At Rapid City Central

Last Updated by Nate Wek on

It’s been just over 50-years since the six cheerleaders from Rapid City High School tragically died in a plane crash as they were coming home from the boys state basketball tournament in the spring of 1968. On Sunday, a new memorial was unveiled at Rapid City Central high school to honor the lives lost five decades ago.

Sue Rivkin-Schick is a former classmate to some of the cheerleaders who lost their lives. She said when she remembers the six girls, she doesn’t think of them as cheerleaders.

They were more than that to us and they were a terrific bunch of girls,” explained Rivkin-Schick. “At least three of them I started in Kindergarten with them; Brownies, girl scouts, you know, all the way up. To lose them all at once, the way we did, it was devastating.”

Rapid City Cheerleaders.pngRapid City Journal

The six girls who were killed on St. Patrick’s Day of 1968 were Shirley Landstrom, Jan Glaze, Laurene McNutt, Diana McCluskey, Gail Flohr, and Terry Blanton. Also included on the list of those who died that day are cheer coach and teacher Dorothy Lloyd, Pilot Ivan Landstrom, and his wife Mary Landstrom.

Paul Jensen was also a classmate to some of the cheerleaders. As a Class of 1969 grad of Rapid City High School, it was his graduating class that recently decided to have a new memorial put together.

“We have an older [spirit of six] memorial in the corner of the school that nobody really sees anymore, so we decided to do this as a class,” said Jensen. “We were a close knit group back then, including the cheerleaders. It’s just fitting to finish out the last fifty years and leave this legacy.”

This spring, and for the 50th year in a row, the South Dakota Peace Officers Association will present the Spirit of Six award to a cheerleading squad represented at each boys and girls state basketball tournament.

The award is given to a cheer squad who best exemplifies decorum, appearance, and sportsmanship.

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