Laurie Custer has connections to Hamilton. While she didn't graduate from HHS, her roots run deep.

"I followed my family here in a way," Custer smiled, "My father-in-law was one of the first five teachers ever hired at Hamilton High School in 1960. My mother-in-law was a secretary for two of our superintendents here in Hamilton, she worked here for 12 years. My husband Ted played in the 1984 state championship basketball team here."

Since looking for a job as a student at Hope College, Custer knew she wanted to end up in Hamilton. In 1989, she accepted an offer to work at Bentheim Elementary, where she worked for four years.

After that, she worked four more years at Hamilton Elementary before making the jump to Sandyview Elementary in 1997, where she taught until 2013. Custer then taught four years at Hamilton Middle School before returning to Sandyview in 2019, where she is finishing her career.

"I've been blessed to go to weddings and graduations for my students," she added, "I've been to Christmas programs, sporting events, pinewood derby contests and now, I have students of my former students."

As for what's next in retirement, Custer is ready to continue to work with children, mainly in her own family.

"I still enjoy my job so much but I also have the benefit of becoming a grandma next month and get to do some daycare next year," she smiled. "We are looking forward to being grandparents and hopefully moving to Florida in the future as well."

Congratulations, Laurie! Thank you for all of your work over the years!