Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
As far back as she can remember, Caye Aho wanted to be a teacher. "When I was young and played school with other kids, I was always the teacher," she says.
When she turns out the lights in her classroom for the last time on May 29, she'll have completed 37 years in the profession she chose in her youth. Since Caye's father was a minister, her family lived all over Minnesota. By the time she was ready to graduate from high school, they lived in Coleraine. She stayed in Coleraine to attend Itasca Junior College, then she headed to Bemidji to complete her college education. She took post-graduate studies before heading to St. Cloud and her first teaching assignment. Before she came to Kimball Elementary School, Caye taught for several years in Grand Rapids, Keewatin and Meadow Lands. She taught half-time in Kimball at first, then she went full-time for seven or eight years. Most of that time, she taught kindergarten, but for three years, she had a combination room of fifth and sixth graders. She also taught Title I classes for five years. Just about everything has been a high point in her career. "I can't think of anything that stands out," she says. "I enjoyed being around children and their parents." As for those low points we all seem to have at times, Caye turned them inside out and into positives. "I might have thought they were low points at times, but the way things turned out, everything worked out for the best." The last few years have been interesting ones, she notes. She's had kids whose parents she had taught. "It's nice to see them and reminisce," she says. "It's been very enjoyable." She adds, "I feel like I still have something to share with the kids." Caye has high praise for her students this past year, as well as those in the last years. "They've been a great bunch of kids," she says. "Teaching in a small school is helpful," she adds. "You don't run into kids with problems. Parents get to know you and trust you with their children." Caye doesn't plan to substitute teach. She does plan, for the immediate future, to take a little time to just relax, and soon, plant a flower garden at her Dassel home, an activity she waits to do until the school year lets out. Her husband still works for the U.S. Postal Service, and her son, Jeremy Yost lives in Little Falls, so Caye will have a little more time to spend with friends and other relatives. She works part-time at Cash-Wise in Hutchinson, and expects to work a few more hours there now that she's retired. In the past, Caye has done a fair amount of crocheting. "It's a little easier than knitting," she says. "I used to make toys for my nieces and nephews." She's also enjoyed the challenges of working crossword puzzles. Taking a train trip through the mountains is something high on Caye's wish list. She'd also like to revisit Washington, D.C., and spend time in their many museums, as well as enjoy cherry blossom time. In the past, she's traveled to both the East and West Coasts. Other activities Caye will have time to pursue include volunteering near Dassel and Hutchinson. Because some family members are afflicted with Alzheimer's, Caye would like to volunteer at a nearby Alzheimer nursing home. She also has someone she cares a great deal about who is in the throes of the disease, but she's unable to be with her. Because the high cost of gas is making changes in all of our lives, it'll affect Caye's ability to make too many trips to Kimball, although she does plan to attend the children's programs. She's enjoyed the school years she's spent teaching in Kimball, and knowing the people here. "I'm glad I ended up here," she says. "It's difficult," Caye says, "because I don't want to say I don't want to teach any more. My life has revolved around teaching, even in summer when I took classes to improve my skills."