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FARMER CITY — Shawna Kidd attended second grade at Schneider Elementary. Now, nearly 15 years and one degree later, she's teaching second grade at Schneider Elementary.

It's a pretty common phenomenon in the Blue Ridge School District. Kidd, 22, is one of several alumni who have returned to the district to teach.

Kidd is glad to be back in the district, although she was a bit apprehensive at first. After all, some of her former teachers are now her professional peers.

"It was exciting, but it kind of felt weird at first just because a lot of teachers are still here that were (here) when I was in school — and I was going to come back and teach with them," she said.

But Kidd admits the familiarity is kind of comforting, especially since all of the teachers have been so helpful during her first year at the front of the class.

Second-grade teacher Jill Freden was Kidd's third-grade teacher years ago. Now, Kidd goes to her for classroom and teaching advice.

Kidd says she was too young to remember much about third grade, but Freden recalls a young girl who was kind and caring.

"I always noticed that (Shawna) would help other students, that she was right there to lend a helping hand," Freden said.

Kidd wanted to teach for as long as she can remember, so after graduating in 2001, she started college at Parkland Community College and then transferred to Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. She received her bachelor's in elementary education last May.

After interviewing at other school districts in the area, Kidd heard about an opening at Schneider. Freden was on the interview committee that hired Kidd.

"When we talked with her, I thought she would be a perfect match. She just knows our community so well and I thought she would really blend in well with the staff that we have here and that's been very true," Freden said.

Kidd says her biggest challenge as a teacher is dealing with all of the little things that come up on a daily basis.

"No day is ever the same. Even if it looks like it might be the same on paper, something happens. Every day is full of surprises and exciting," she said.

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