After 34 years of teaching, Carol Tornquist is retiring from Wadena-Deer Creek Schools. She's taught in many areas from early childhood to kindergarten and second grade to most recently, Title I.

WDC retired teacher Linda Macklanburg described her friend and colleague as professional, dedicated, caring and who treated every student with kindness.

As an Early Childhood Family Education teacher, Tornquist started in Wadena and Henning before being hired as a kindergarten teacher at Deer Creek and then combining with Wadena. She remembers the welcoming staff.

“I also remember (second-grade teacher) Mary Seipkes stopping by my room and inviting me to eat in the lounge with the other faculty members in order to get to know more people. That was good advice I would pass on to any of our other new staff. Great way to get to know the others in our WDC family," Tornquist said.

With her mom, who was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, and her fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Franson as her influences to become a teacher, Tornquist came to love each of her classes.

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"I loved each class of students that I had and the most memorable event was when I would accidentally get called “Mom” by a student. I knew then that I had 'arrived,'” Tornquist said. “They were comfortable and felt secure in my room. It happened every year!"

She also said her highlights include:

  • Being a part of the Reading First Initiative and going to New Orleans with Chris Lane and Deb Andrews for the Reading First Conference.

  • Going on field trips with her second-grade students to the Fergus Falls Historical Museum, Wahpeton Zoo and Sunnybrook Park.

  • Receiving the Teacher of Excellence Award last year from Sourcewell, which was very fulfilling.

  • Taking her students to Fair Oaks Lodge during the Christmas season and singing for the residents with her guitar.

After all these years, she’ll miss the funny and unique things kids say as well as the daily interactions with friends and colleagues.

Tornquist plans to keep learning through her retirement by taking classes and doing activities that interest her like dressage, horse trail riding in Custer State Park, photography, gardening, quilting by machine, singing in the Chamber Choral in Fergus Falls and sailing with family.