Barb Laumeyer is retiring after 22 years in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's preschool program.

Laumeyer began her career at SEAS in 1995 when she was hired as a teacher's aide. It was also the first year the preschool program began. From there, she worked her way up from being to assistant, to teacher and finally to her current position as preschool director.

Laumeyer said that she has loved working at SEAS and will miss it tremendously.

"It is bittersweet for me as I love the children, my position and all the staff here at SEAS," Laumeyer wrote in a letter to Tim Sullivan, principal at SEAS.

Sullivan said that throughout her career, Laumeyer has had a hand in educating nearly 1,000 students.

"She has a legacy at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish and the Hastings community that will last for generations," Sullivan said.

Sullivan has worked with Laumeyer since he became principal in 2014 and he said that he knows Laumeyer will miss the kids almost as much as they will miss her.

"Their stories and their looks and their giggles, all that, I'm going to miss that a lot," Laumeyer said.

Laumeyer said that the preschool at SEAS has been her baby and she wants to continue to see it grow. Her advice for the next preschool director is to always be positive and keep the lines of communication open.

One of the most rewarding things for Laumeyer has been being able to see the growth of students in small and large ways. On a small scale, it is fun to see how 3- and 4-year-olds change over the course of a year. Sometimes they don't want to attend school when the start class in the fall, but in the spring when it is time to leave she said that they don't want to go.

There is always something fun going on at the preschool, Laumeyer said. One fond memory that she has is when they incubate eggs in the classroom and the kids get to watch the ducklings hatch. The wonder that the children have in their eyes is fun to see, she said.

On a larger scale, Laumeyer has been able to watch the growth of her students from little preschoolers to seniors in high school when they graduate.

"What I have done throughout the years is when they graduate from high school, I send them a graduation card with their preschool picture on it," Laumeyer said.

She has sent the graduation gifts since she began at SEAS as a way to congratulate them, but also to give them a chance to look back and see a picture from when they began school.

Although Laumeyer is retiring, she said that she still plans to do lots of volunteering at SEAS. She has a few grandchildren who are attending the school and is looking forward to helping out in their classrooms wherever she is needed. In addition, she looks forward to being able to spend more time with family members in Arizona, California and Minnesota.

"I have lived and will continue to live the mission of SEAS school," Laumeyer said.

The SEAS mission is to make Jesus Christ known and loved through living our sacramental way of life in partnership with families and fostered in spirituality, excellence, academics and service.