By Alan Sorensen
Havre natives and recent college graduates Dustan Toth and Dustin Kraske say they are happy as can be to be back in Havre Public Schools classrooms.
Toth, a Lincoln-McKinley Elementary School alumnus, is back in his old school, but this time hes at the head of the class and has dominion over the chalk and chalkboard. Its not quite a Welcome Back, Kotter situation.
It went pretty well, I think, Toth said at the end of his first day of classes Thursday. I felt like I was talking all day, and I guess I was because I was giving them all the rules and guidelines.
Toth saw his students onto their buses and returned to his room to talk about his lifelong dream of being a teacher.
The kids were ready to go home at the end of the day, he said. I see things I would have done differently, but all in all it was fun.
The highlight of his day may have been his recess duty, Toth said.
I had a bunch of students come up and talk to me which I thought was great.
Toth, a 1995 Havre High graduate and 1999 Rocky Mountain College graduate, has enjoyed working with students his entire life. He is a long-time camp staffer at the Montana Teen Institute at Camp on the Boulder and has spent the last three summers tutoring special education students.
Among his other duties with the district, Toth is advisor to the Havre High School HELPers.
Toth did his student teaching at Rimrock School in Billings and found no unexpected surprises on his first day at the head of his own class. It was what I expected.
Kraskes story is slightly different from Toths. Kraske, who went all the way through elementary and junior high at St. Jude, never had any of his Havre Middle School faculty peers for teachers.
I went to St. Jude/Havre Central, which gives me a unique opportunity to teach in a school I was never a student at, Kraske said. The teachers have been incredible. Inside and outside the department, they say theyll get you anything you want or need.
But Kraske, who did his student teaching under Sharon Shepherd at Highland park School and graduated from MSU-Northern last spring, is quick to admit that he is not a total stranger at HMS. Hes coached seventh-grade basketball at the school for the past two years. Right out of high school, he coached junior high basketball at Havre Central for three years.
Kraske teaches eighth-grade English and science and will also handled seventh-grade and sixth-grade boys and girls basketball coaching duties.
His first day was all he expected, Kraske said.
It went great. This is, in my opinion, an excellent district and Im glad to be working up here. This is a great school. The kids are excellent.
Kraske, a 1994 HHS graduate, said his first day was anything but tiring.
(The students) have a lot of energy and that gives me energy, he said.
Toth is the son of Ray and Mardele Toth. Kraske is the son of Deitra and the late Don Kraske.