Hamstra has DeSutter in the classroom again this year, but this time as a cadet teacher.
“She is such a good person that the fact that she feels like I’ve influenced her is amazing,” Hamstra said. “I can’t say enough good things about her. I can’t.”
While some high school seniors catch severe cases of senioritis and just coast and relax, DeSutter is the opposite. She spends three days a week, free time that she could have, working with Hamstra’s fifth-graders. The students seem to adore the teacher they call “Miss D.”
“They do respond to her,” Hamstra said. “They do treat her like a teacher and they want her. When she’s not here, they’ll ask, ‘Is Miss D. here?’ They miss her when she’s not here.”
Hamstra said she remembers what DeSutter was like as a fifth-grader.
“She was one of those kids that no matter what group or clique or whatever, everybody liked her,” Hamstra said. “She was friends with everybody, even if they weren’t ‘cool.’ She would be a friend, she would partner up with them, or she would help ... She was just so kind and gentle to everybody.”
At the end of February, DeSutter was one of 19 selected from across the state for the 54th annual Distinguished Young Women of Indiana competition.
Not traditionally the pageant-type, one of her friends convinced her to compete in the local competition where she won and advanced to the week-long competition in Kokomo.
“It’s not really my thing, even though it’s not called a pageant, it’s kind of like a pageant,” DeSutter said. “But I wanted to see if I could do it and I’m glad that I did because I gained confidence in myself that I can accomplish whatever I want to.”