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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.”

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Students get sticky for a cause
Published: Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Giving back can be filled with hard work and sometimes you even have to get a bit messy — something second graders at Hermosa School know all too well. 

Becky Lowe’s second grade class spent the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 18, making popcorn balls to raise money for the Children’s Home in Rapid City. With the profits, students purchase pajamas and other necessities for the children at the home. 

Students formed an assembly line to make the popcorn balls, with a group dipping their hands into the sticky mess of popcorn and marshmallow before handing them off to their classmates to bag.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Lizzie Anderson named Outstanding Teen
Published: Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Lizzie Anderson of Custer, 15, was crowned Miss Wheel Jam’s Outstanding Teen at the Miss South Dakota State Fair’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Huron Sept. 5.  

The Wheel Jam, as represented by Anderson’s title, is an annual truck show held in Huron. Anderson received scholarships for the title as well as for winning both the talent and the fitness/active wear categories. Anderson was judged most talented with her musical theatre jazz dance routine, which was worth 35 percent of her total score.  The competition also included a private interview with a  panel of judges and an on-stage question which the contestant answers in front of the audience while wearing an evening gown. 

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

CHS students have swinging good time
Published: Thursday, November 19th, 2015

It may be 2015, but four Custer High School students took a step back into time Wednesday, Nov. 11, when they demonstrated swing dancing during the Veterans Day program at the Custer Armory. 

The two couples hit the floor for a swinging good time during the high school’s ladies choir rendition of “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” made famous by the Andrew Sisters. The performance came to life during a regular day at choir practice.

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Shirt sale to benefit ‘Annie’ production
Published: Thursday, November 12th, 2015

With the Custer High School fall play just around the corner, drama students are putting the final touches on a number of things: set design, costumes and the script. Funding the production should also be added to the list.

According to Susan Bowen, drama advisor, several musicals were looked at for the fall production, however “Annie” soon became a cast favorite.

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Impact Aid is a school lifesaver
Published: Thursday, November 5th, 2015

With budget cuts becoming a common problem for many school districts across the country, sources of revenue are very sacred for many schools, including Custer. One of those very important sources is Impact Aid. 

Impact Aid is a federal program designed to help school districts with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Impact Aid is different from other funds, such as special education and title programs, since it comes directly from the U.S. DOE. The program was started in 1950 under the Eisenhower administration. 

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Cadets take orientation flights
Published: Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Four cadets from Crazy Horse Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol recently took part in powered orientation flights at the Custer County Airport. Participating were Cadets C/SMSgt Thomas Dillon, C/A1C Hunter Rice, C/SrA Anthony Dillon and Cadet Ethan Updike. The event was supervised by Capt. Victoria Bierwirth. Lt. Col Myra Christensen and Capt. Matthew Meert of the Pierre and Sioux Falls CAP squadrons were the pilots.

The cadet orientation flight program shares the thrill of flying with cadets. Every cadet under the age of 18 is eligible for five flights in a powered aircraft and five flights in a glider. Each flight has a syllabus that cadets follow to learn more about aviation and piloting skills. While the orientation flights do not count toward a pilot’s license, cadets may compete for flight training scholarships that lead to private pilot licenses.

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