Who says you can’t go home

Steve Hamel

Savage Public School welcomed two alumnae back as teachers this fall.

Vicky Prevost, a Savage High School class of 1990 graduate, returned to her hometown to teach kindergarten after spending the last 12 years teaching in Bighorn, Wyo., Great Falls and Billings.

Jill Verhasselt, a class of 2002 graduate, is teaching second and third grade after spending the last nine years in Billings, where she went to school at Montana State University Billings.

Both teachers are happy to be back in Savage.

“(It’s been) pretty good,” Prevost said. “It’s kind of scary, just because it’s such a small town. Billings is so much bigger.”

“I was a little bit reluctant to leave all of the comforts,” Verhasselt added. “It’s just so much easier to be able to run to Walmart or whatever.”

Prevost said she never envisioned coming back to Savage when she left 21 years ago, but she returned because she thought it was a good place for her children to go to school. Her son, a freshman in high school, had been going to school in Savage, and Prevost wanted her daughter, a fourth grader, to have the same experience.

“My son brought me back,” she said. “He’s been going to school here. He’s been living with his aunt and uncle going to school, because Billings is just too big and he’s done so well. We wanted our daughter to experience a small school too. She’s in fourth grade and there’s four kids, and she’s used to having 30 in her class.”

Unlike Prevost, Verhasselt had always wanted to return to her hometown.

“I’ve wanted to come back pretty much since I left,” she said. “All of my family lives here pretty much, so I really wanted to come home and be around family. And we have two small kids now, so it’s good for them to be around family as well.”

Verhasselt got the opportunity to move back to Savage when her husband accepted a full-time job with the National Guard in Sidney. He had been working as an accountant in Billings.

Both women said they were fortunate to land jobs with Savage Public School right away.

“It just kind of fell into place,” Prevost said. “The stars aligned I think.”

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