Panhandle High School Class of 1969-1970 foreign exchange student, Olav Karstad, returned to Panhandle for a visit with his Texas family, Frank and Bethel Robinson. The Robinsons and their sons, Doyle and Rudy hosted Olva’s American (and Texas) experience during the 1969-1970 school year at Panhandle High School.
Olav had the ultimate PHS experience from playing football on the “B” team, golfing, traveling as a “mascot” with the Pride of Panhandle Band to attending classes and graduating with the Class of 1970. The PHS Lair was dedicated to Olav that year with these words, “To one who has brightened our days in the halls of PHS this year; to one who greets everybody with a smile and warm ‘Hello’; one who has become a lasting friend and who will never be forgotten; to our Norwegian brother, we, the Lair staff of 1969-1970 proudly present this Lair to: Olav Karstad.
A native of Norway, Olav was accompanied by his new family, wife Anita and son, Ouzhan. Olav told the Herald staff that it was great to visit his Texas family again. He enjoyed being able to revive his 43 year old memories with his stay at Bethel and Frank’s home. Mrs. Robinson said, “Many remember Olav from his time here as a student and member of our family.”
Doyle and Brenda Robinson visited Norway two years ago, and they all had a great time together much like the Karstads’ visit here this July. The Karstads and Robinsons have been touring Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. “We have had many unforgettable experiences during our visit ― the play TEXAS in Palo Duro Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, The Alamo, Dallas Cowboys football stadium to hummingbirds, deer, elk and even bears on the porch in Red River, N.M. Doyle and Brenda have been wonderful hosts,” Olav said. “We also visited Mr. and Mrs. Lynn Hulsey during this time back in Panhandle. Mr. Hulsey was principal of PHS when I was a student there. It was really very nice to spend time reminiscing with him and his wife. I also got in a short visit with Mrs. Gerald Smith about the time spent traveling with the PHS band…I didn’t play an instrument, but the band director, Mr. Smith allowed me to go with the band on trips. I was sort of their mascot that year.”
Olav and his family, live in the northern part of Oslo, Norway. After returning to Norway in 1970, Olav attended the University of Oslo and is currently a medical doctor and family physician. He runs his own clinic in Oslo with 10 other doctors.
The Karstads have departed Texas on the last leg of their trip with a stopover in Orlando, Fla., where they plan to take in the sites including Disney World.
“I hope to come back and check in on Panhandle before long,” he said.