Young People Articles
Published: Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Summer is just starting and soon-to-be sixth grader Kelley Wicks isn’t wasting any time on living it up. However, this summer will be much different than summers past. This year, she’ll kick off her break on the stage of the Black Hills Playhouse.
Wicks, daughter of Tim and Tammy Wicks of Custer, will play Scout in the opening performance of the Black Hills Playhouse’s 70th season, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” based on the great American novel by Harper Lee.
Published: Thursday, May 7th, 2015
Holly Lynn Smith, a 2006 graduate of Custer High School, has been selected to join 40 young orchestral musicians and 40 opera vocalists from around the world to participate in the Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival to be held in Prague, Czechoslovakia, from June 7 through July 6.
Neeta Helms, president of Classical Movements, the company responsible for running Prague Summer Nights, explained that the program gives students an incomparable experience in performing and producing a full-length opera in one of the world’s most historic venues. Participants will learn from world-famous performers, singers and conductors making this experience even more invaluable.
Published: Thursday, April 30th, 2015
The Custer School District, as well as other school districts across the nation, are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week May 4-8. In conjunction with the event, Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday, May 5.
“I am thankful we have such a great staff of teachers that really do care about our kids’ success,” said Mark Naugle, Custer superintendent. “Our teachers really make the difference in our kids’ lives.”
“Teacher appreciation is a simple idea. It means showing teachers you value their work,” said Heather Hiltunen, Custer Elementary School. “Our goal is to enhance the educational environment in our schools. We thank our teachers for all their support.”
Published: Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Custer Elementary students are once again working toward the goal to pack 10,000 meals to go to Nkungi village in Tanzania. Last year students packed 12,568 meals which were sent directly to Nkungi, which sits at the foothills of Mr. Kilimanjaro.
Their food was not only used at the local school but also sent home for food over the weekend. For many children in Nkungi, their noon meal at school is the only food they get that day. Each meal costs 25 cents and each meal bag contains six meals. The meal pack will be Monday, May 4, at Custer Elementary.
Published: Thursday, April 16th, 2015
Landon Woodward shrinks away from a hawk’s foot’s sharp talons, which the bird of pray uses to catch its food. John Halverson, right, from the Black Hills Raptor Center, explains how a hawk uses its talons by demonstrating on Woodward. The fourth grade classes at Custer Elementary School saw and learned about four types of birds of prey Thursday, April 9, including owls, a hawk and a falcon. [CCC Photo/CARRIEâï¿½ï¿½MOORE]
Published: Thursday, April 9th, 2015
For many years, it’s been a requirement for senior students to pick a project near and dear to their hearts and complete it for their Senior Project. However, more recently, that requirement has evolved from an educational requirement to a tradition and even something students look forward to, students such as Sydney Gramkow.
Gramkow hosted her senior project Wednesday, March 25, at the Custer Armory — Crisis Prevention Day.
Published: Thursday, March 26th, 2015
The Custer Youth and Alumni Foundation (CYAF) has announced its scholarship winners for 2015. CYAF, a local nonprofit organization, began in 1996 to provide financial resources to increase opportunities for Custer area youth. This year three Custer students were awarded scholarships.
Two seniors were awarded the Lynette Burke $250 Memorial Scholarships. Burke was a well-known Custer High School graduate who worked in the Custer School District and served on the CYAF board for many years. Her family established the scholarship in CYAF in her honor to be awarded on the basis of exemplary character, work ethic and personal qualities in their school, extracurricular, work and personal activities. The two seniors recognized this year are Billie Wicks and Allison Hass.
Published: Thursday, March 19th, 2015
A life in the military was a dream for Sam Mertz. Now, that dream is becoming a reality.
Last summer, Mertz was thinking about enlisting in the Navy and began looking into the ROTC program.
“I knew that I wanted a military career at the highest level, so I thought why not try for the Naval Academy,” he said.
Published: Thursday, February 19th, 2015
Logan Block of Boy Scout Troop 25 recently earned the Ad Altare Dei religious emblem from the Diocese of Rapid City. The award is the highest religious honor for Catholic Scouts. Working with local counselor Mary Eide, Block spent nearly two years working through an activity booklet and taking part in several meetings. On Scout Sunday, Feb. 8, he received the award in front of his congregation at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
Published: Wednesday, December 24th, 2014
It was a gym full of celebrations on Tuesday, Dec. 9, after the fifth and sixth grade classes — 104 kids in total — celebrated their graduation from D.A.R.E.
“You should be very proud of all you have done,” said Custer County Sheriff’s Office deputy Matt Haugen, one of the instructors of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program in Custer.
Haugen and U.S. Forest Service patrol captain Nancy Martinz led the students in the 10-week D.A.R.E. program, where they learned how to make the safest possible choices when it comes to drugs, alcohol and violence. D.A.R.E., which was developed in 1983 to prevent drug use in young adults, is active in all 50 states and 49 countries.
Published: Thursday, December 11th, 2014
December will be a busy month for Taren Jones. In addition to finishing her first semester at Custer High School, where she is a junior, and getting ready for the holidays, Jones will be packing for an exchange trip to New Zealand, where she will live for 10 months.
“I have always been interested in veterinary school and want to go to college in Colorado. This led to me talking with a friend of my mom’s who went to college in New Zealand,” Jones said. “When we talked, I got really interested about going to New Zealand, so I looked more into it.”
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
In the early morning hours, students and staff at Custer Jr./Sr. High School are still at home, preparing for the upcoming day. But for the select few who will represent Custer at the All-State competition, their day is just beginning.
Ten students have been rehearsing over the last few weeks — with practices beginning at 7 a.m. — in preparation of the All-State Chorus and Orchestra Grand Concert. The concert will be held Nov. 1 at the Sioux Falls Arena at 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time and will be broadcast on South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) as it happens.
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014
The Custer High School Drama Department is gearing up for its fall production, “The Beatles Slept Here,” which will run Friday, Nov. 7, and Saturday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. Admission for adults is $4, students $3 and seniors $2.
“The Beatles Slept Here,” written by Craig Sodaro, is packed with hysterical Beatles references and puns that will have the audience come together to recollect all the memorable tunes.
Published: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
While Custer High School senior Sidney Snyder’s senior project is a mandatory step toward her graduation in May, the assistance it will provide will stretch far beyond the hallways of Custer High School, the City of Custer and even the state of South Dakota.
That’s because Snyder has chosen to adopt a school in the poverty-ravaged country of Haiti and throughout this semester she will collect money and school supplies to assist children ages 4 to 14 in the school she adopted—Ecole nationale Republique des Etats-Unis. The school is a primary school with around 1,000 students.
Published: Thursday, September 4th, 2014
Fourteen new faces can be found across the Custer School District this school year. Five of the new teachers will be at Custer Jr./Sr. Highâ��School.
Originally from Howard, Orion Thompson received his undergraduate degree from the University of Sioux Falls. Before receiving his master’s from South Dakota State University, Thompson played basketball overseas. He also coached college basketball at SiTanka University in Huron, as well as at Dakota State University in Madison. Five years ago, Thompson and his family — wife of 16 years, Darla; and children, Ciara, 9; and Mya, 5 — moved to Sturgis where he taught and coached.
At Custer Jr./Sr. High School, Thompson will serve as a half-time secondary assistant principal, a position the school hasn’t had since 2012.
Published: Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Second in a three-part series
Fourteen new faces can be found across the Custer School District this school year. Five of the new teachers will be at Custer Elementary School.
Ryan Larsen, second grade teacher at Custer Elementary School, says his 6-year-old nephew and 4-year-old niece both played a big role in his career choice.
“I am very excited to have my own classroom and the chance to work with an amazing group of second graders,” he said. “I really enjoy working with younger students. Growing up, I had a couple teachers who played a huge role in my life and I would love for any of my students down the road to say that I helped make a difference in their life.”
Published: Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Fourteen new faces can be found across the Custer School District this school year. Four of the new teachers will be at Hermosa School.
Mattie Ingram will teach sixth through eighth grade English, as well as social science at Hermosa.
Tiffany Trotter will be the newest kindergarten teacher, but isn’t exactly new to Hermosa School. While Trotter was attending Black Hills State University for her teaching degree, she student-taught at Hermosa in Sandy Crown’s first grade class. After graduating in December 2013, Trotter knew she wanted to return to Hermosa.
Published: Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Custer Boy Scout Troop 25 skipped summer camp this year and opted to hike the Mickelson Trail to earn the coveted 50-Miler Award. Three scouts—Logan Block, Miguel Martinez and Hunter Rice, along with adult leaders Bradley Block and Della Martinez, started their trek near Pringle and hiked to the Rochford area, then headed back to Custer. Their hiking boots endured five days of 10-plus miles each day, with one day totaling about 20 miles. What started as a creative idea last year turned into a successful adventure in their own natural surroundings.
The 50-Miler award has been a part of the Boy Scouts of America for decades, yet very few scouts complete enough miles within the minimum five-day, consecutive time period. The 50 miles can be done by canoe, boat or hike, and a 10-hour service project completes the requirements. Troop 25 decided that rather than heading to a camp or traveling out of state, they should explore the beautiful Black Hills.
Published: Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Custer and Fall River County 4-H youth exhibited their horsemanship skills by participating in the County 4-H Horse Show on June 26 at the Custer County Fairgrounds Arena in Hermosa. The judge for the day was Kara Jo Webster.
The 4-Hers practice many hours, training their horses for the different events. This year’s event was host to 25 participants. All participants complete a Horse Safety Training Program that offers an opportunity to gain skills, knowledge and expertise regarding the importance of safety around horses and while riding horses.
Published: Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Students at Custer Elementary and Hermosa School will explore Africa in a big way the next two weeks—with the world’s largest map of the continent. The map, measuring 35 feet by 26 feet, is designed as a geo-game board to introduce students to the power of maps and the diverse geography of Africa. It will be at Custer Elementary School from May 12-15 and Hermosa School May 19-22 as part of National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program organized by National Geographic Live, the public programming division of the National Geographic Society. The map’s use in Custer County is subsidized through a grant from South Dakota Geographic Alliance.
Published: Thursday, April 17th, 2014
All three kindergarten classes at Custer Elementary met with “Captain Character,” Brad Keizer, 4-H liaison for the Character Counts Program and Custer Elementary, and Michelle Watland, Custer Elementary counselor mission commander for the “Mission Possible” program. The two have been working together to stress the importance of building strong character in students at Custer Elementary.
This month’s classroom counseling theme is “Mission Possible,” which has a spy theme. All students were inducted as special agents of the program and received “top secret” envelopes with their mission assignments. Their mission, if they chose to accept it, was to secretly serve others for the next seven days and the rest of their lives.
Published: Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Two local Custer High School students have been selected as 4-H Hometown Heroes of Character. Junior Billie Wicks, daughter of Tim and Tami Wicks of Custer, and senior Paul Climenti, son of Shirley and Ken Climenti of Hermosa, were chosen. They were nominated for this award by administrators, teachers and coaches.
Hometown Heroes celebrate “The Six Pillars of Character” from the Character Counts Program. Those traits are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Published: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Aleah Siders isn’t your normal teenager.
While some teenagers spend their free time at the mall with friends, that isn’t the case for Siders, 16, of Hill City, who has been heavily involved in archery since she was introduced to the sport at the age of 12 by her father, Dan.
Now she is consumed with the sport so much that she had the chance to head to Louisville, Ky., with four other youths from the Hill City and Custer archery teams to attend the National Field Archers Association (NFAA) Indoor National Shoot.
Published: Thursday, March 27th, 2014
Casey Trandem’s fourth grade class is a little blue. And it’s all due to the new lights in the room, rather than an emotion or feeling.
While he was working on his master’s degree, Trandem’s fellow students did research projects on classroom environment, with one of the major factors being fluorescent lighting.
“One of the things their research showed was that fluorescent lighting is very harsh and can cause headaches and decreased attention,” he said. “Their research also showed that filtered lighting, specifically blue, increased attention and reduced headaches.”
Published: Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Come Friday, the former Songbird building will be the place to be in Custer as Harbour, a four-member band from Custer, takes the stage for an evening of entertainment.
The band, made up of Haley Foster, drums, Gessie Heggen, guitar, Nate Riley, guitar and vocals, and Devon Wagner, bass and vocals, will perform in a dual benefit on Friday, March 7, beginning at 7 p.m. The $3 cover charge will go toward helping the band in future recording endeavors while concession sales will benefit the post-prom event in April.