By Tom Gerhardt, NDU Communications
Deb Bertsch grew up in Warwick, North Dakota, graduated from high school there and eventually landed a job as an education support professional.
This year she’s celebrating a milestone.
Let’s just say when she started as an ESP gas was around forty cents a gallon and the average cost of a new home was just over $25,000.
Down this gravel road, to the left, and through these doors, you’ll find an educator whose helped pave the way for thousands of students.
Deb Bertsch has spent her entire career at Warwick School as an education support professional.
“I find it hard to believe it’s been fifty years because my heart and my mind tell me I’m young and of course it’s the body in the mirror that will tell you different,” longtime North Dakota United and Warwick Education Association member Deb Bertsch said.
You heard Deb right. Fifty years.
Former student Eric Rogness graduated thirty years ago.
“I got thinking about that. She was here twenty some years before I started seventh grade. I was thinking that’s pretty amazing,” Rogness said.
Today the two are walking the halls reminiscing.
There’s Deb’s photo—class of ’69.
“We keep in close contact—class of ’69. We do a lot of things are our friendship is just a treasure,” Bertsch said.
In the hall they find Eric’s mom’s class photo from ’71.
And his senior class—he points out his mullet is making a comeback.
They walk back to Deb’s desk is in the library.
In it you’ll find drawers full of candy and snacks. And history. Diaries from each of her fifty years.
She’s even kept her first pay stubs.
And photos–here’s the old Warwick school.
Lots of memories. Many still to be made.
“But you know what it all boils down to is the students. And the coworkers. Anything you do—you do for the students,”Bertsch said.
As for the question on everyone’s mind? Deb doesn’t have an exact answer
“As long as I still enjoy it and I still feel like I’m making a difference, that I’m doing my job and I’m not burnt out I’m going to continue,” Bertsch said.
“All I can say is congratulations to Mrs Bertsh and thank you for being at it and being an educator these past five decades. Thank you. That’s something that should be treasured,” Rogness said.
Fifty years and counting. All as an ESP. All at Warwick School. Once a Warrior, always a Warrior. Orange and Black forever.
In Warwick for North Dakota United Communications, I’m Tom Gerhardt.
Bertsch says she has worked with thirteen superintendents during her fifty years.
She even helped teach her grandson—who graduated from Warwick in 2018.
By the way, Eric Rogness is also an educator. He teaches Social Sciences at Cankdeska Cikana Community College at Fort Totten, North Dakota.