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Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Anderson to vie for outstanding teen
Published: Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Lizzie Anderson, 16, of Custer, will compete  for the title of Miss South Dakota’s Outstanding Teen next June. The title holder will compete at nationals in Orlando, Fla., in July 2017.

Anderson won the local title of 2016 Miss Siouxland’s Outstanding Teen at the University of Sioux Falls in Miss Siouxland’s Scholarship Pageant last month. She received scholarship money for the title and her top talent award, for her musical theatre jazz dance, “Mein Herr.”

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Summer reading program concludes
Published: Thursday, August 11th, 2016

The Custer County Summer Reading Program concluded July 20 with a party at Custer Elementary School. Children who participated in the program were treated to a magic show by Reuben Fast Horse and face painting by Vivian Billy. Entertainment was provided through a grant from the Shopko Foundation. The party had 98 participants.

The Summer Reading Program, hosted by Custer County Library, encourages and rewards children for time spent in independent or partnered reading during the summer. Studies have shown that reading during the summer allows students to maintain and strengthen reading skills acquired during the school year and that reading to children from an early age allows them to improve their vocabulary and language skills, giving them a better chance to become good readers. 

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Youth in Action hits Custer
Published: Thursday, August 4th, 2016

The Custer County 4-H youth in action event was held on July 28 at Custer Lutheran Fellowship.  Youth in Action showcases member’s talents of public speaking, public demonstrations, illustrated talks, special foods and clothing review.

Public speaking, illustrated talks and demonstrations are intended to give youth a venue for presentations to groups of people in a public setting. They are judged on accuracy of the information presented, organization of the materials they are using and information they are relaying.  In addition, their body language and ability to interest/captivate the audience is considered.  

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

4-H participates in horse show
Published: Thursday, July 21st, 2016

The 2016 Custer/Fall River County Horse Show was held at the Circle T Arena in Hermosa June 23. The Custer and Fall River counties 4-H youth exhibited their horsemanship skills by participating in the County 4-H Horse Show. The judge was CeCe Steen of Interior.  

4-H members practice many hours, training their horses for the events. This year’s event hosted 23 participants, with approximately 117 entries in 30  classes. Prior to the event all participants are required to complete a horse safety training program to gain skills, knowledge and expertise regarding the importance of safety around horses and while riding horses. 

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Multi-age classrooms help student learning
Published: Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Teachers and administrators across the country are always looking for new ways to teach students. Custer Elementary School (CES) is no different.

This coming school year, multi-age classrooms will be utilized at the elementary school. A multi-age classroom is when a class has a combination of more than one grade.

“This is one way to keep class sizes small and support student learning, all while listening to what teachers need and doing what’s best for our students and staff,” said Heather Hiltunen, CES principal. “And we’re being creative in how we do that.”

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

CHS honored for global education excellence
Published: Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Custer High School received national recognition for excellence in global education from EF High School Exchange Year, the leader in high school exchange. 

The EF High School Exchange Year Global Education Excellence Award is presented annually to high schools that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to international understanding and global awareness. Custer High School was one of a select group of high schools recognized across the United States for the 2015-16 school year. 

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Hammer is Teacher of the Year
Published: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

When Karen Hammer heard her name called as this year’s “Teacher of the Year,” only one word could describe her feelings: shocked. 

“I was shocked, since I am surrounded by many others who are deserving of this award,” she said.

Hammer was named  Hermosa School’s teacher of the year in early April, receiving the Custer School District’s Teacher of the Year title on Thursday, April 28, at the district’s annual awards ceremony and teacher retirement dinner at Crazy Horse Memorial.

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Service night teaches valuable lessons
Published: Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Whether they were mixing up a batch of laundry soap, tying a blanket or packing a meal, students at the first Family Service Night held Thursday, May 5, were having fun. And learning the important message of helping others. 

“I love this whole event, because it gets kids thinking about others,” said Teresa Eyrich, who assisted the Custer Cub Scouts in making laundry soap.

The Family Service Night, held at Custer Elementary School, was open to families with children of all ages. With over 300 people in attendance, there were a variety of projects available for families to do together. 

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Smit in national SADD council
Published: Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Custer High School senior Nathanael Smit is about to have a busy summer, thanks to his new role with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

Smit was selected to be a part of the SADD National Student Leadership Council (SLC) and is the first person from South Dakota to do so. 

“I’m very excited to be on (the council),” Smit said. “It’s exciting to have been selected. And to be the first one from South Dakota — that’s really cool.”

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Hiltunen named ‘Rookie of the Year’
Published: Thursday, April 28th, 2016

While she may not have a batting average or scored hundreds of free throws, Custer Elementary School Principal Heather Hiltunen is the newest Rookie of the Year. 

Hiltunen was named “Rookie of the Year” by the South Dakota Association of Elementary School Principals (SDAESP) during its state conference in Huron April 6-8. Hiltunen was nominated for the award by Custer School District superintendent Mark Naugle, who praised her for the programs and activities she implemented at the school.

“I was surprised and humbled to get the award,” Hiltunen said. “I go to the conferences and sit around people I idolize. I’m very honored.”

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Custer qualifies for national HOSA contest
Published: Thursday, April 21st, 2016

While many students are already dreaming of how they will spend their summer break, four Custer High School students will be studying in anticipation for the national Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) competition. 

HOSA — sometimes referred to as the FFA (Future Farmers of America) of the health field — is a high school program for students looking to go into a health profession. 

“HOSA is not supposed to make you like the health field, but it does for most,” said Ben Marchand, senior. “It’s supposed to make you realize if you are right for it.”

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Military graduates honored at CHS
Published: Thursday, April 14th, 2016

It’s hard to not find someone in the community who isn’t aware of Custer School District’s athletic achievements. However, the same may not be able to be said about its military history. But that’s about to change, thanks to a group of dedicated individuals. 

When Custer School District Board of Education member Alan Webster joined the board in 2012, he had a couple of projects he wanted to see through. One of those was a military academy hall of fame, featuring Custer High School (CHS) graduates who had gone on to various U.S. military academies. Earlier this month, that project was fulfilled. 

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Oesterling third at state spelling bee
Published: Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Sierra Oesterling of Custer finished in third place at the recent South Dakota Scripps Spelling Bee held at the University of South Dakota (USD). Oesterling is a home-schooled fifth grade student.

The event was won by Vermillion Middle School student Logan Gregg, an eighth-grader, who was the top oral speller among 14 competitors from around the state. He won by spelling “mechanistic.” He will represent the state at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. Ryan Presler, a fifth-grader from Brandon Valley Intermediate School, placed second.

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Girls travel to ‘Women in Science’
Published: Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Custer Elementary sixth grade girls attended the annual Women in Science Conference with their science teacher, Nate Frisch.  The local Zonta group once again supported this event and paid travel expenses for the girls to attend.  This collaboration has been happening for several years.

Women in Science is a free, one-day career learning workshop with 43 presenters in various careers in science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Students were able to learn hands-on, face-to-face with women in these career fields.

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Schmidt selected as USD scholar
Published: Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Emme Schmidt, a senior Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) student from Custer, has been selected as a Sanford School of Medicine Alumni Student Scholar, giving her a conditional pre-acceptance to the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota (USD) without having to take the MCAT.  The award includes a $1,000 stipend for the successful completion of a six-week summer clinical preceptorship, a $1,000 per-year scholarship upon attending the Sanford School of Medicine and eligibility for one $5,000 per year scholarship while in medical school.

Schmidt is free to major in whatever she chooses as long she completes the required courses for entrance into medical school. In order to maintain the Sanford School of Medicine Alumni Student Scholar status, Schmidt must graduate with an undergraduate GPA of 3.50 while having completed the USD Honors Program.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Custer to host DI�re...
Published: Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

The last time Custer hosted the South Dakota Destination Imagination Western Regional Tournament was in 1988 with Ruth Ziolkowski helping hand out awards and the Mountain Music Show providing entertainment. 

The event is returning to Custer this year on Saturday, March 12, at Custer High School and Custer Elementary School and will host 50 teams. Participants range from kindergartners to seniors and teams have two to seven members. 

Destination Imagination (DI) is a global, project-based learning afterschool program that teaches teamwork and innovation and helps give students a competitive advantage in the future workforce. On March 12 students will demonstrate their skills in developing innovative solutions to complicated challenges.

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Lo-Ru West hits the Yellow Brick Road
Published: Thursday, February 25th, 2016

For one night only, take a trip to Oz with the Lo-Ru West Dance Studio — no passport required! 

Lo-Ru West Dance Studio will perform “The Yellow Brick Road and Beyond” Saturday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at Custer Jr./Sr. High School’s theatre. The story revolves around how the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the North meet at camp, become friends and head their separate ways in the land of Oz.

As the audience travels through Oz, they learn more about the land: how it’s all about the shoes, according to the Wicked Witch of the West, and the characters that call Oz home.

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Custer girl wins regional spelling bee
Published: Thursday, February 18th, 2016

After taking top honors at the regional spelling bee, 11-year-old Sierra Oesterling of Custer is finding out firsthand that success is definitely S-W-E-E-T.

Oesterling took first place at a regional competition of the Scripps Spelling Bee, propelling her to the state competition to be held next month in Vermillion.

“I was really excited,” she said of her win. “I was really nervous, because I’ve never been on a stage before. It was different.”

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Technology encourages community involvement
Published: Thursday, February 11th, 2016

When it comes to video production, the possibilities are endless with the ever-growing technological options. And in this day and age, it’s rare to not find a school district utilizing them somehow. Custer School Different is no different. However, Chuck Arseneault, computer teacher at Custer Jr./Sr. High School, is taking it one step further.

Sports games, concerts, graduation and other events have been broadcast live over the local school television channel since 2005-06, according to Arseneault. However, streaming on the Internet is relatively new for the Custer School District. And with the number of widely available companies to host videos and content, streaming is easier than ever.

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Cub Scouts bring the fun and games
Published: Thursday, February 4th, 2016

The carnival came to town Friday, thanks to three hard working Cub Scouts. 

Isaiah Savery, Lliam Dillon and Enoch Eyrich, all of Custer’s Cub Scout Pack 25, designed and ran a four-station carnival held Jan. 29 at the Custer YMCA Developmental Center in Custer. The carnival was a requirement for the three to earn their Bear Badge.

The boys thought up each of their games, discussed and planned the carnival over the course of a few weeks, meeting once a week. They also built each of their items and set them up the day of the carnival.

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Eighth grade poetry winners named
Published: Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Seven eighth graders from Custer Junior High School received awards for a poetry contest held by junior high English teacher Mick Patzlaff. The winning poems are listed below.

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Seventh grade poetry winners named
Published: Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Seven seventh graders from Custer Junior High School received awards in a poetry contest held by junior high English teacher Mick Patzlaff. The winning poems are listed below.


The Dead Sea

by Sage Fridell, first place


I went walking in the frozen over desert. 

There used to be a sea before what I see. 

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

ESAA passing aims to help students achieve
Published: Thursday, January 7th, 2016

The saying goes “good things come to those who wait.” And with the passing of the Every Student Achieves Act (ESAA), the saying rings true, even if it’s nearly 10 years late.

In early July, the U.S. Senate approved the ESAA, officially shutting the door on the former education act, No Child Left Behind. ESAA, also sometimes referred to as Every Child Succeeds Act, gets rid of the “test, blame and punish” method and addresses issues such as accountability and testing requirements, distribution and requirements for grants, fiscal accountability requirements, and the evaluation of teachers.

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Cookies for a cause
Published: Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Hallie Mattson and Nathan Frisch’s sixth grade classes have done it again, and were busy rolling out 1,200 cookies for the Custer Community Christmas food baskets Dec. 15.

Kim Webster, retired sixth grade teacher, wanted to continue the tradition of baking cookies for this community project. She offered to spearhead the program again this year.  She enlisted the help of fellow retired teachers, Teresa Fiala (co-sixth grade teacher with Webster), Dee Scragg and speech therapist, Pat Davenport to help assist students with the cookies.

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Custer students go above and beyond
Published: Thursday, December 17th, 2015

It should be no surprise that the Custer community is filled with people willing to give back. It’s also no surprise that many of those people are the youth of Custer. What may be surprising, however, is just how much students in the Custer School District give back.

“I hope we can help students build a sense of volunteerism or community service that will continue throughout their life,” said Mark Naugle, superintendent. “Today we see more folks not doing anything while a small group does everything. We can all name the 50 people we know who are in every group and do everything. Hopefully we can encourage these kids to make that a part of what they do.”

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