Name: Dr. Nik E. Sather, D.D.S.
Graduation Year: 1992
Education after High School: Nebraska Wesleyan University – Graduated in 1997 with B.S. in Biopsychology; University of Nebraska Medical Center-College of Dentistry – graduated in 2002 with D.D.S. degree
What do you do now? What led you to that career path? What do you enjoy about your work?
I started my own dental practice in 2010, in the small town of Chetek, WI. I enjoy the relationships that I have developed with my patients. Being a general dentist, I enjoy the variety in my day. I work with 2 year olds to 90 year olds and do all sorts of different procedures in a day or a week. I like the precision of the work and the satisfaction of helping my patients.
I always enjoyed science and math growing up and wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. I went to college thinking I was going to be a Physical Therapist. After a football injury in college, I had to do a ton of rehab for my knee with a Physical Therapist. This changed my career path, as I began to despise my therapist. I started shadowing other health care providers and decided on dentistry.
Favorite Memory during your time at Bennington Public Schools?
I have a lot of great memories from my time at Bennington Public Schools. We had a very small class of 30, that graduated in 1992. There were quite a few of us that were together at Bennington for our entire K-12 years. Just being with those few classmates, for all of those years is a great memory.
Many of my other great memories have to do with athletics. I was a member of the State Championship teams in 1989/1990 for Football and Wrestling, and although I was only a Sophomore and not a big contributor on either of the teams, the feeling of winning a state title on the football field where I had watched so many games growing up was an amazing feeling.
After we won state wrestling, the fire department met us on top of the hill to the South of town on 156th street and escorted us into town and we paraded around with sirens blaring. If anyone in town didn’t know that we had won state, they knew it after that. Coach Tickle gave a speech in front of Sportsman’s Bar and a lot of people showed up to listen. That sense of community pride and accomplishment is something that I will always remember.
Did you have a favorite teacher(s)? Why were they your favorite?
I had a lot of great teachers and coaches at Bennington Public Schools and I couldn’t pick out just one to praise. I really enjoyed the fact that our teachers were our coaches and see that this is something that is not quite as common as it once was. I feel like Rod Tickle, Steve Harshman, Larry Klaus, and my father, were the teachers and coaches that probably influenced my life the most. I am very thankful that I grew up in the Bennington School District and had the upbringing and the guidance that I did.
Other Bennington connections/alumni you are related to? What was it like having your father, Gary Sather, as a teacher?
My wife Christie Kay (1992), my 2 brothers Erik and Joe Sather, and my 2 sisters Kirsten Marsh and Meghan Lange all graduated from BHS. Both of my wife’s sisters and their husbands graduated from Bennington High School: Melissa (Kay) and Heath Johnson and April (Kay) and Matt Turner. My in-laws also graduated from Bennington High School, Merlin and Annette (Almquist) Kay. Annette still works in the Bennington school district. There are also a lot of my wife’s Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins that are Bennington Alumni, but the list would get too long.
I enjoyed having my dad as a teacher and a coach. The thing that I liked the most about it was the connections I had with all of the older kids that he taught and coached while I was growing up. I was able to tag along to practices, games, and school activities and the upperclassmen and women treated me like they would a little brother. I really looked up to a lot of them and wanted to be like them when I was in high school. When we ate dinner together as a family the heroes that we talked about were not professional athletes. We talked about names like: Ferdig, Christiansen, Empkey, Bohn, Schmidt, Palmer, Dethlefs, Frye, Moreland, Laaker, etc. I knew these people very well. They were close to my father because he was their teacher and coach, and this gave my siblings and I role models to look up to that we had access to. Paul Barnes, a State Champion High Jumper and the tallest guy we knew, was even the motivation to get my brother to eat his green beans.
Activities you were involved in during school? How did participating in those activities impact your life in the future?
I played football, wrestled, competed in track, and played baseball. I was President of the Student Council, and a member of FBLA. I sang in the choir, did a few plays/musicals, and was probably a member of about every other club there was.
I would say that all of these activities helped impact my life in some way. From athletics, I learned the importance of hard work, setting goals, working to achieve my goals and then setting new goals, how to work well with others, how to be coachable, how to deal with failure/losing, how to be a leader, and many other valuable life lessons. The plays, choir, and musicals were way out of my comfort zone, but because of the limited number of people that were in the school they needed help to get a full cast. I learned that pushing myself out of your comfort zone takes some guts, but it is an OK thing to do.
What advice would you give to current Bennington High School students?
Put down your cell phones and make “real” connections with “real” people. Get active in your community and use your time and talents to help others. You would be amazed at the little things that you can do to make someone’s day.
Any awards/accomplishments after high school you want to note?
Lions Club-Melvin Jones Fellow
Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association Service Award
Both were awards given to recognize volunteering in my community.
My wife Christie and I have 3 kids. Alexis (19) is in her second year of college at the University of Minnesota. Emma (16) is a Junior in high school and my son Thor is an 8th grader.