The Utah State Office of Education and its board paid honor this week to "miracles in education" - people both in and out of the system who have contributed to the furtherance of education in Utah.
The "Evening of Recognition" in West High School's cafeteria Thursday was a first for the state office. It included presentation of six "Light of Learning Awards" to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Utah's educational effort.They included Jim Lemmon, director of the Washington County Education Foundation, who has raised more than $600,000 for education in his area; Oscar W. McConkie, State Board of Education chairman from 1983 to 1985; Bernarr S. Furse, longtime state office employee and former state superintendent; Sen. Haven J. Barlow, R-Davis, who in 36 years of legislative service has made education a priority; G. Donald Gale, KSL television editorial commentator, who has been a consistent critic and supporter of education; and Maurine C. Jensen, whose citizen contributions to education include her current service as Jordan District School Board president.
The state office also honored three outstanding educators - Larry Peterson, Weber District, Utah Teacher of the Year; Brent Milne, Alpine District, Utah Elementary Principal of the Year; and LaVar Sorensen, Salt Lake District, Utah Secondary Principal of the Year.
In accepting his award, Peterson, a math teacher at Bonneville High School, said he looks forward to each day as a teacher. "We have to love and respect our students enough to want the best for them. Each fall, I look forward to a new crop of friends." While some view Utah's large student population as a drain, he said, it is in fact "an investment in our future."
Milne joined Peterson in characterizing education as a team effort. "It takes all of us to do the job we need to do," he said. "With commitment, we can do anything. We must find new ways to do what we've been doing for years."
Sorensen, whose role as South High School principal will end this spring with the closing of the school, said the high point of his career was having South named one of the country's exemplary schools in 1983. "It has been a privilege to serve in an inner city school and help these students become productive citizens."
Also recognized for their efforts were several dozen individuals who were earlier selected by specialty organizations as representative of the best efforts being made in their areas. They included:
Music - Douglas Galley, Carol Nixon, Robert Frost, Patricia Nielsen, Douglas Wolf, Bernell Hales.
Social Studies - John Gadd, Ray Kartchner.
Science - Max Harward, Mary Kay Kirkland, Virginia Ord, Jerry Milne, J. Fae Jacobson. (Linda Jean Preston was noted for the National Science Teachers Award).
Gifted/Talented - Calvin Taylor, Jay Monson.
Art - Steve Egan.
Vocational Education - Neola Brown, Salt Lake Tribune, Jack C. Higbee, J. David Potter, Robert A. Nielson, Kathleen Richards, Rela Wardle, Grace Bramall, Arlou Vance, Fenton Billings, Kathy M. Walton, Reed H. Thatcher.
Mathematics - Robert Trutzel. (Steven Cottrell was Utah's teacher recognized by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics).
School employees - Robert Perez, LaRae Broadbent, Clair Corbridge, Richard Beckman, Shella Landry, Lajuana Watson.
School boards - Gene S. Jacobsen, T. Dale Ahlberg, Dwane T. Sweat, Kent McGregor, Peter Scarlet.
State PTA - Peter Scarlet, Clair Hollingsworth, Irene MacKay, John Gardner, Marilyn Oswald.
Utah Education Association - Charles Bennett, Mark Van Wagoner, Sen. Haven J. Barlow, Lenora Plothow, T.H. Bell, Ted Phillips, Corrine Hill.
American Federation of Teachers - Bob Lee, Jan Snyder.
Schools for the Deaf and Blind - Lorriane Quigley, Helen Post.
Drug-free schools - West High School, Northwest Intermediate.
Elementary schools - Bonneville, Rosecrest, J.A. Taylor.
Counselors/vocational guidance - Richard Harper.
Teacher educators - Varnell A. Bench.
Christa McAuliffe Award - Calverna Letts.
Rehabilitation - Shirley Snow, Sharon Lundell, Dr. Talmage W. Nielsen, Dr. C. Craig Nelson.