Young People Articles
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.
Published: Thursday, February 27th, 2014
With Mayor Gary Lipp’s signature, March has been proclaimed Youth Art Month (YAM) in Custer City.
March is Youth Art Month across the nation and the celebration in Custer promises a variety of events for the whole community to enjoy.
YAM is an annual observance to emphasize the value of art education for all youth and to encourage support for quality school art programs. YAM provides a forum for acknowledging skills fostered through experience in the visual arts that are not possible in other subjects offered in the curriculum.
Published: Thursday, January 9th, 2014
After some 20 years of baking cookies with her sixth graders, Kim Webster says she is still learning a thing or two herself. She admits she did think about not doing the “cookie project” this year, but her students were happy that she decided to continue with the project. She also admits getting joy out of seeing her students learn, create, collaborate and give back to their community.
The Custer School District’s lunch room providers, Lunchtime Solutions, opened up the kitchen and its large baking sheets for the program to utilize. Chief bakers, Dee Scragg and Beth Hollick, baked all the cookies as the sixth grade students rushed them down to the kitchen.
Published: Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Boy Scout Troop 25 members and their families recently gathered to celebrate the hard work and achievements of the troop. The semi-annual Court of Honor was held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church with awards chairperson Della Martinez as master of ceremonies.
The evening started with senior patrol leader Austin Rencountre leading a presentation of the colors. It proceeded with the acknowledgement of merit badges and rank advancements that were earned over the past six months. Awards included over 30 merit badges and five scouts advanced to a higher rank.
The Path to Eagle includes six ranks. Each rank requires scouts to learn more, do more and serve others more. By the time a scout reaches the Eagle rank, he is well-prepared for many life lessons.
Published: Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Last week Custer Elementary had its “Character Counts” week in conjunction with the ever popular Red Ribbon Week coordinated by elementary physical education teacher Joey Kortemeyer.
Students started every morning of school with a positive morning message and story about something inspiring. At the end of each story, elementary principal Heather Hiltunen encouraged all students to “Make it a good day or not. The decision is yours.” This week, guest readers from grades three through six read the stories and encourage everyone, as well as challenge all to make positive choices.
Published: Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Custer students will be busy with a celebration of character next week when “Character Counts,” a nationally recognized program, kicks off.
Bradley Keizer, SDSU 4-H and youth program advisor, has introduced the program to after school programs in Iowa, to the Boys & Girls Club in Hot Springs, YMCA Kidstop programs and through the Custer County 4-H group. The program is brought to Custer schools through the South Dakota State University Extension office.
“The impacts and benefits are endless with character education,” Keizer said. “This is truly one of my favorite programs to work with. I’m very pleased that the Custer Elementary School has taken such an interest.”
Published: Thursday, October 10th, 2013
It’s the beginning of another exciting, action-packed year of endless opportunities for our local youth! We’ve got so much in store for the upcoming “4-H Year” (Oct. 1-Sept. 30), introducing an even wider variety of projects, activities and events than ever before.
With an increased emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math, I have recently learned about geospatial technology, GIS, and GPS systems and how to relate these technologies to young people, including methods to incorporate service learning opportunities, giving back to our communities through service projects. This is simply one of many examples of the endless opportunities to look forward to through SDSU Extension and 4-H youth programming in 2014.
Published: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
The Custer YMCA Kidstop afterschool program will sponsor a “Lights On Afterschool” rally Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m. at the Custer Elementary School mezzanine. The rally will be one of more than 7,500 such events around the nation that day, the 14th annual Lights On Afterschool, organized by the Afterschool Alliance. Speakers across America will call for expanding afterschool opportunities so every child who needs a program has access to one and discuss the harm that results from budget cuts and freezes to these programs.
At the event, parents and supporters will sign a new petition that urges lawmakers not to deny or divert funding for afterschool programs.
Published: Thursday, September 12th, 2013
Victoria Bierwirth of Custer returned to the U.S July 17 after having spent a year in Germany as a participant of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX).
Bierwirth is affiliated with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where she studied geological engineering. She took part in the 29th year of the CBYX program, which has provided over 1,700 Americans with this opportunity to gain cultural, theoretical and practical work experience in Germany since 1984. Bierwirth was selected as one of 75 participants nationwide for this competitive government-sponsored fellowship for young professionals between the ages of 18 and 24.
Published: Thursday, September 5th, 2013
High school students from Denmark and Germany are receiving a warm welcome from Custer residents this school year. The students are studying and living in the United States through EF Foundation for Foreign Study. Living with a local host family and attending Custer High School, the students are here to not only learn about and participate in American life, but also to enrich the community by sharing their unique customs and culture with area residents.
Melissa Meusser from Laufach, Germany is very excited to be in the U.S. and is enjoying classes, being on the Custer High School soccer team and spending time with her host family.
Published: Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Over 20 members of the Custer community spent a week in Washington, D.C., where they worked to help the city, as well as the people living there.
The group from Custer Lutheran Fellowship Church chose Washington, D.C., because of its high number of homeless. The goal of the trip was to learn more about homelessness and provide service to the area.
Published: Thursday, August 8th, 2013
While Custer is no stranger to hosting exchange students for an entire school year, not many from Custer can say they lived and attended school in another country. Olivia Dahlstrom is one of those few.
Dahlstrom spent the last half of her sophomore year in South Rochedale in Queensland, Australia, located just half an hour outside Brisbane.
“I wanted to experience something outside of Custer before I left high school,” she said. “I’m not really a big fan of small towns, so I wanted to experience something else for six months.”
Published: Thursday, July 25th, 2013
The South Dakota Civil Air Patrol (CAP) braved rain showers and strong gusts of wind for its annual search and rescue exercise (SAREX) and encampment held at the Custer County airport.
Over 150 cadets from 12 to 21 years of age and senior members from South Dakota and North Dakota participated in the joint, large-scale mock rescue exercise. Cadets from Nebraska, Colorado and Texas also participated.
Published: Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Custer and Fall River County 4-H youth exhibited their horsemanship skills by participating in the County 4-H Horse Show on June 27 at the Custer County Fairgrounds arena in Hermosa. The judge for the day was Donna Schwartz.
The 4-Hers practice many hours, training their horses for the different events. This year’s event was host to 24 participants, with approximately 114 entries in 30 different classes. To qualify for entering in the show all participants must complete a horse safety and nutritional 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, July 11th, 2013
For the third consecutive year, Cub Scouts throughout the Black Hills are preparing to embark on a day-long adventure at Jewel Cave National Monument on Saturday, July 20. The Belt Loopalooza event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and consists of 10 different activity stations. Space is limited and reservations are required. Pack leaders and den leaders are encouraged to call and secure their space as soon as possible.
Participating Cub Scouts interact with resource professionals toward the completion of belt loop awards and related patches that complement the protection, preservation and conservation of public lands.
Published: Thursday, June 13th, 2013
When asked to spell the words “balalaika” or “Pembina,” many would grab a dictionary. Not Max Oesterling, who correctly spelled those exact words at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Oesterling, a home-schooled eighth grader from Custer, started entering spelling contests when he was living in Kentucky.
“My mom thought it would be good to do,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. From then I started doing more.”