Following the family career path

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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 4:27 pm

Growing up with a teacher in the house inspired Mary Hamstra to follow in her father’s footsteps. The sixth of eight children, Hamstra said she had a great role model growing up. Her father, Paul Gambaiana, was a high school science teacher and started the girls golf program at Hawarden High School.

“Especially coming from a large family, he had to work hard,” Hamstra said.

She began her chosen career path in the fall of 1980 after graduating from Morningside College – teaching second grade. Hamstra began her career in the Jefferson School District and continued with Dakota Valley. After 39 years of teaching, Hamstra is ready to retire.

“You know, even though I’ve been here 39 years, you change things up,” Hamstra said. “Education has changed over the years, so it’s not like, ‘Oh, she does the same thing year after year.’ I’m always busy trying new things.”

When asked why she didn’t wait one more year and hit 40 years of teaching, she laughed.

“I don’t know,” she said. “It was either this year or next year. And then I thought, well if I wait one more year then I know I’ll say ‘Okay either this year or next year.’ There is no real main reason why. I just thought I have a good group of kids this year.”

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.