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Lakota, N.D., kindergarten teacher retiring after 42 years in same classroom

LAKOTA, N.D. -- After 42 years of teaching Deb Hoerth has seen a lot of change. But one thing that has never changed for Hoerth -- her old school way of changing lives for countless children. The kindergarten classroom has changed a lot in the pa...


LAKOTA, N.D.  -- After 42 years of teaching Deb Hoerth has seen a lot of change. 

But one thing that has never changed for Hoerth -- her old school way of changing lives for countless children. 

The kindergarten classroom has changed a lot in the past four decades.

"Maybe we read a few words by the end of the school year, but now they're reading books. Math used to be learning the numbers, now its adding and subtracting."

"There are computers in here, there used to be more alpahbet, 1,2,3's and colors and now its upgraded to smart boards, there's no chalkboards, lots of computers," says Kaitlin Joramo, had Mrs. Hoerth in 1991.


And in this small town, Kaitlin Joramo is proud to share her kindergarten teacher, now, with her daughter, Taylor.

"It's kind of cool," says Taylor Joramo, 2nd Grader. 

"My first experience of that, that someone I had as a student and then all of a sudden I had their child, was like holy cow, I've been here a long time," says Deb Hoerth, retiring after 42 years. 

Mrs. Hoerth has been changing lives as a Kindergarten teacher for 42 years.

"This was my first job and it's been my only job," says Hoerth. 

In the same classroom where it all started.

My desk has been here from the very beginning.

The Jamestown native landed at Lakota Elementary back in 1976 -- right after graduating from UND.


"The blocks have been here since I've started. The kids still build with them,  they are still in great shape, except for a little bit of fade," says Hoerth. 

She immediately fell in love with the job and kids.

"I've had some opportunities to switch to other grades over the years and have always said no, I just love the five and six year olds," says Hoerth. 

She also fell in love with someone else. 
Her husband Ken started the same year as she did as the music teacher.

"We got to know each other and after two years we decided yup this is it we're gonna get married," says Hoerth. 

The couple had 3 kids, and now --

"I have two grandbabies that I really want to spend a lot of time with it," says Hoerth. 

So the final bell is about to ring on Mrs. Hoerth's teaching career.


"I've been thinking about it for a couple of years but couldn't pull the plug, this last year just kind of decided well I'm going to do it this year," says Hoerth. 

"We are truley going to miss her, that kind, caring, compassionate," says Joramo.

"I want her to still stay," says Lexie Sundeen. 

Mrs. Hoerth says May 24th will be one of the hardest days of her life -- as she says goodbye to the classroom she has called home for the past four decades.

"If I could teach fifty more years I would do the same thing, stay with this age group, I love how they come in, they are so eager to learn, you can do nothing wrong when you are a kidnergarten teacher, because everything you do they love, some other kids as they get older might go 'ehhh', but not kindergartern kids, they love everything."

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