Teachers welcome back students in Dell Rapids

Teachers welcome back students in Dell Rapids
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 5:36 PM CDT
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DELL RAPIDS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Tuesday marked the first day of a new school year in Dell Rapids, and students aren’t the only ones with a lot on their minds.

For kindergarten teacher, Jody Stone, it’s about making the right first impression.

“It’s getting the room all ready and set up with different areas and centers for them and making it feel like a place that they belong — getting their names on desks and cubbies and labels so that they know that this is their place to be getting them ready to learn with our curriculum. It can be a scary thing. It’s a whole new thing,” said Stone.

For other teachers, like Dell Rapids High School social studies teacher Jason Fersdahl, it’s the first page of a final chapter.

“It’s kind of a special part of being in Dell Rapids. We are a relatively small school where kids get to know each other pretty well, and staff gets to know each other pretty well,” said Fersdahl.

During his 26 years in teaching, Fersdahl has learned a thing or two himself, like the importance of building relationships.

“That’s what I enjoy the most. I just really like getting to know students, not just within the school, but what they do for their past times and hobbies, where they work, what activities they’re in, and it’s just really special getting to know students and helping develop those relationships,” said Fersdahl.

Even for administrators, taking stock of the moment can bring about reflections, something that students may not realize about where their journey has taken them.

“You get the excitement, but what I say to them directly is, ‘How does it feel that this is the last assembly you get with me? On day one, you’re going to be the ones I’m addressing. As the seniors, this is it. You don’t have to hear this again. You don’t have to be here again,’ and they’re like, ‘That’s kind of scary,’” said Dell Rapids High School Principal Drew Bunkers.

It’s a fear fostered by love and support for the road ahead.