Teresa Gartner, Southeast Nebraska Community Action Head Start Preschool teacher assistant at the Humboldt Table Rock Steinauer Public Schools in Humboldt, graduated with high distinction from Southeast Community College Sept. 23.

Gartner graduated with an Associates of Applied Science degree in early childhood education. The graduation ceremony took place at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

Out of a graduating class of 200, Gartner was one of two individuals that graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. She was inducted as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, which is the international honor society for two-year colleges. Members of the society are recognized for balancing school, work and family while earning an average 3.8 GPA or higher.

In 1996, Gartner began her career in early childhood education when she volunteered for the local SENCA Partnership Head Start Preschool. She was then hired by SENCA as a bus monitor the following year. Since then she has been the bus driver and teacher’s aide.

“Seeing children learn and accomplish their goals” is Gartner’s reason why she has dedicated her life to a career in early childhood education.

Gartner and her family live in Humboldt. She is a Humboldt High School alumna and is the daughter of Betty Blecha of rural Humboldt and the late Ernest Blecha.