August Top Notch Teacher: Rhonda Wemette

With almost three decades of teaching under her belt, one Westby teacher still finds joy in teaching young, eager minds.

“There is something magical about first grade,” said Rhonda Wemette, a first grade teacher at Westby Elementary.

Wemette has been starting her day with hugs from her students for the past 28 years.

“I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when they learn something for the first time or learn something new,” said Wemette.

Wemette admits some things have changed when it comes to teaching, like education in general. However, she said one thing has remained consistent, the children.

“When you have been doing this as long as I have, you see things come full circle. They may have a new name or a fancy name to claim we haven’t seen before, but in reality there is only one way to teach kids how to read,” said Wemette.

Wemette said it takes patience, heart, motivation and love.

“I have 20 children and you have to try to meet all the kids needs as best you can and take each of them where they are and get them where they need to be,” said Wemette.

It’s something she has been doing for years and it even rubbed off of one of her co-workers, who used to be her helper.

“At about 18 years old, I stepped into her room and realized this lady is having a great time doing what she did, so Rhonda will tell you that she helped steer me in the career that I am in,” said Bruce Peterson, the principal of Westby Elementary.

Wemette said teaching is not always easy.

“A teacher really needs to be a magician; you always have to have a bag of tricks,” said Wemette.

“The best part was the bathtub. The famous bathtub that we got to read my books in,” said Katie Justin, a junior at Westby High School.

Wemette said getting creative for the students is all worth it in the end.

“It has been really great and she teaches me a lot of stuff,” said Evalyn Monroe, Wemette’s student.

She likes it especially when she gets that hug at the end of the day.

“(I like) Mrs. Wemette’s good hugs,” said Martie Bergdahl, Wemette’s student.

“They are always there for the hugs. That’s really what keeps me going,” said Wemette.

Wemette started her teaching career at Westby when she was 22 years old and has been there ever since.

She is originally from Westby, and said it will always hold a special place in her heart, just like all of her students.

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