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Diane Carter has come full circle

Diane Carter is saying good-bye to sentence diagrams and verb conjugations at Hudson Middle School to retire this year.

The veteran seventh-grade English teacher has come pretty much full circle in her 21 years as a full-time instructor in the Hudson School District, not to mention four years at Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and a few years of home-bound tutoring while she raised two children and earned a master's degree.

She started out as a seventh-grade English teacher and is finishing up in a similar position, but technology has changed the overall scene.

"Technology has been terrific for the English teacher," she said during a recent conversation in her classroom. "Seventh-graders can type and finish a paper, do research and edit on the computer."

Carter, 61, said, "It's so nice to read a legible paper," compared with the early years of ciphering through pages of hand-written work. "I don't know if my eyes could take it now," she said.

Even though technology has changed the face of education, the students remain the same. "The kids haven't changed. The kids are still the same," Carter said.

That is what she will miss most about retiring. "Middle school kids are funny and refreshing," she said, adding that she has always most enjoyed teaching students in that age group.

"I'll miss the kids and my friends at school the most," she said. "What I won't miss is the alarm clock and correcting mounds of paper."

Carter said she really enjoys the house concept that was instituted in Hudson, adding that it's a helpful environment for middle school students.

Carter teaches in Avalon House, the only seventh-grade house on the second floor of the middle school. Another aspect of the house concept is the daily planning session when the teachers of Avalon meet to discuss issues and ideas.

"We put on a 15-minute carnival," Carter said, explaining the results of the most recent planning session. Each teacher ran a different attraction as a fund raiser for a charity during the carnival. "We raised about $50 in 15 minutes," she said.

Carter graduated from Menomonie High School in 1965, then attended Augsburg College in Minneapolis, where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1969. From 1969 to 1973 she taught seventh-grade English in Inver Grove Heights.

For the next 10 years she stayed home to raise two children while tutoring, working on her master's and putting in time as a ski instructor at the old Birch Park in the town of St. Joseph.

Carter earned a master's degree from UW-River Falls in 1984. She was K-12 qualified as a reading specialist with a learning disabled certificate.

She married Jim Carter of Wausau in 1970. The couple has lived in North Hudson for 34 years where they raised two children -- daughter Kirsten and son Matthew.

Kirsten, a 1991 Hudson High School grad, lives in Huston and teaches in the Stillwater School District. Matt, a 1993 HHS graduate, apparently got the ski bug when his mom was instructing the sport.

A western ski trip the family took apparently impressed him. "He moved to Salt Lake City and hasn't come back," she said.

As far as her plans for retirement are concerned, Carter has nothing chiseled in stone at this point. "My husband isn't retired so I suppose I'll be doing projects at home, gardening and traveling," she said.