OMAHA — Having spent most of her 40-plus year teaching career at Holy Trinity Elementary School in Hartington, Nancy Hochstein took to the classroom thousands of times with a goal of simply educating the young.
She never expected to be rewarded for her efforts.
That changed Thursday when she was recognized as the Rural Catholic School Teacher of the Year at the 2019 Educator of the Year Awards for Service to Schools in the Archdiocese of Omaha.
“It was a very humbling and nice award and I was very appreciative,” Hochstein said. “Every teacher here could win the award. I’ve been here a long time, but there are a lot here that have been here a long time.
The banquet made for a great night, Hochstein said.
“Almost all the other teachers came and several others from Hartington came, my family was there. It was a very special night.”
This is Hochstein’s 41st year in education and her 38th at Holy Trinity, where she teaches fifth grade.
Considering that Jimmy Carter was President of the United States when Hochstein entered the profession, she has seen a lot of changes during her time.
“The kids are a lot more worldly and the computers changed a lot,” Hochstein said. “We had the old computers when I started and they have made things much easier today. We have so much at our fingerprints. If they ask us about something we can just look it up.
Principal Chris Utecht, in his second year in the position, has learned to appreciate what Hochstein brings to the table.
“She is one of our exemplary teachers that really sets a great model for our students and the rest of our staff,” Utecht said. “She is a product of Holy Trinity and Cedar Catholic High School and sets the standard of what we expect.”
The biggest point of challenge for Hochstein is to keep up with the consistent changes in technology and keeping the students engaged and interested.
“They are used to a lot of things happening,” she said. “There are a lot of distractions and a lot going on.”
Hochstein noted the supportive environment at Holy Trinity from the administration and fellow staff members which has aided her ability to stay up-to-date.
“We have a great support system,” she said. “And the parents are awesome. We have great families and they have made it easier.”
Hochstein isn’t sure how much longer she will teach before retiring to spend more time with her family and bask in the glow and memories of a profound teaching career.
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