A Family Tradition: Mother/Daughter both Bennington Graduates & Teachers
By Alyssa Dahlgren, Public Relations & Fundraising Coordinator
Sherri and Hannah Sowers are back in their classrooms for another school year. Identical classrooms, that is, as Hannah’s new 2nd grade room at Anchor Pointe Elementary models the same layout as Sherri’s 3rd grade room at Pine Creek Elementary.
Both passionate about teaching, the mother-daughter duo are also both Bennington High School graduates – Sherri in 1985 and Hannah in 2013.
“I love teaching at Bennington because of the sense of community that has remained with the amazing growth of our schools,” Sherri said. “We’ve continued carrying on the tradition of the small town feeling at each building and also staying on the cutting edge in education.”
When Pine Creek opened in 2009, Sherri made the move after years of making special memories at Bennington Elementary, a place where her career in education came full circle just shortly after it began. Coincidentally, Sherri taught Kindergarten in the very same classroom she attended it as a student! She also taught both of her sons (Ben ’09 and Jake ’11) in the building, and her mother, Carol Loptin (’60), a long-time paraprofessional in the district, was even assigned to her class one year.
Hannah never had Sherri as a teacher, but her friends and family always saw her natural knack for teaching and had a feeling she’d follow in her mother’s footsteps. After taking a class in her senior year of high school which allowed students to assist in elementary classrooms, she knew education would be a great fit for her.
“There was nothing else I wanted to do other than teach,” she said.
She earned her degree in education from UNL and enrolled in UNO’s CADRE Program shortly after. The one-year accelerated program allows teachers to earn their master’s degree during their first year of teaching. During her first year, Hannah taught second grade at Bennington Elementary and was supported by her CADRE associate mentor, Kendal Runde.
“I enjoyed the CADRE program because you have someone in your classroom about four hours per week to help you. They can teach and you can observe, you can co-teach, they give you advice – it’s a great program,” Hannah said.
Moving to teach 2nd grade at Anchor Pointe this fall, Hannah will also help coach volleyball and basketball this year.
“I’m excited to coach students in two sports I loved so much as a player,” she said. “It’s crazy because some of the students I helped teach when I was a senior as second graders will be freshmen this year!”
When asked about her favorite memory as a student, Hannah notes the time she got to spend with her grandmother, Carol (mentioned above), during 5th grade when she was her class’s para.
Besides Carol, Sherri, Hannah, Ben and Jake, they have many close family members who are also Bennington alumni including:
Terry Loptin ’60
Rob Loptin ’81 (works in maintenance at Bennington Middle School)
Di Loptin ’83
Jordan (Loptin) Ramirez ’05
Cori Loptin ’08
Brynlee Loptin ’16