Upper Snake River Valley Chapter
On 23 July 2017 a 24th of July Fireside was held at 7 P.M. in the North Rexburg Stake Chapel
The Theme was “Our Pioneer and Pioneering Educators: Teachers Who Make a Difference,”
attended by 264 Chapter Members and Guests. Prior to the beginning of the program a series of numbered slides were shown of schools in the Upper Snake River Valley. A handout was given to each person to write down the name of the seventeen school buildings in the appropriately numbered space.
A welcome and Opening comments were given by
President F. Martell Grover.
Opening song: “Firm as the Mountains Around Us”
Pianist: Sylvia Walker
Conductor: Carol Ladle
Pledge of Allegiance led by Ken Hart, President Elect
Invocation: Jerry Glenn
Doug Ladle, Event Chairman, presented the Theme.
He reviewed the answers to the Preprogram Quiz
on Area School buildings. Then presented the “Preserving Our Educational Heritage” Award to four of the outstanding historians in the Southeast Idaho area. They were Louis Clements, Lowell and Mardi Parkinson, Harold Forbush and Robert Worrell. (Picture is available for Louis Clements only. Robert Worrell was unavailable, Lowell and Mardi were unable to attend and Harold Forbush is deceased but was represented by his son, Kirby Forbush.
He also showed everyone the new SUP Upper Snake River Valley web site which has information about the SUP and our Chapter, plus the list of those who had been nominated as “Teachers Who Make a Difference” in Madison Schools, Sugar Salem Schools, Ricks College/BYU Idaho, and other educators.
There are 370 of them. The results can be accessed at PioneersRexburg.org by clicking on
NEWS in the left hand column and then scrolling to the School results you want to see.
Following the above he introduced the speakers for the evening, they spoke as follows:
Jim Gee spoke on Teachers of the Sugar-Salem School District. He mentioned his parents, who taught for a number of years in the district, Glenn Dalling, who coached and taught in the Sugar-Salem school district, Eddy Eaten and
also Verla Lusk, who was his English Teacher. She was instrumental in helping him gain confidence in his ability to write and in his usage of the English language. He feels that the old adage really does apply today which says “It doesn’t matter how much you know until they see how much you care.” The teachers whom he knows were much more interested in the development of the student than in the amount of their salaries.
Lane Hemming spoke on Teachers of the Madison School District. He said that the teachers at Madison High School at every level from Elementary through High School were an unselfish group of people, who while their salaries were low, were more interested in the welfare of the students than the amount they were paid. He had an Uncle Tom Hemming, who played on the basketball team coached by Lowell Biddulph which went to the National High School boys basketball tournament in Chicago, Illinois in 1930. Funds were raised by the local community so they could go.
Others were Drew Cooper, who suffered exposure to mustard gas during WWI which maimed him for life, but who
dedicated his life to successfully teaching young people. An outstanding music program which was begun by Jay Slaughter and Hal Barton has become a tradition at Madison High School. Jay Slaughter came from the University of Utah with a high stepping very successful method for the marching band. David Hinck came twenty years ago and has had his music programs recognized statewide. Then there was Norman Holman and Val Dalling who had as great a positive effect on the student body of Madison High School as anyone he has known. Some of the less notable ones, but never the less effective with the students were custodians Freddie Reese at the high school and John Pearson at Adams Elementary school. John Pearson had been a very successful farmer at one time, but lost everything during the depression.
His final summary was that educators at Madison Schools, at every level, have always been dedicated and effective in influencing in a positive way the lives of the students.
Donna Jean Kinghorns spoke on Teachers of Ricks College and BYU Idaho. “As a child, growing up in the Rexburg area, I thought, from the way my parents and other family members talked about Ricks College that it must be an enchanted, wonderful place, because they spoke of their experiences there with such enthusiasm and fondness.”
The faculty at Ricks College were committed to their profession and were very unselfish with their time and talents. Nearly every professor not only carried a full teaching load, but advised and assisted in so many ways in at least one club or student activity also. They truly cared about their students. She mentioned Lowell and Ruth Biddulph, Helen Lamprech, Harold Nelsen, Norman Ricks and others.
President Henry B. Eyring, the first President Eyring, said this about the faculty of Ricks in an April 1975 Ensign interview: “We have some truly great scholars at Ricks College: faculty members who are publishing, not because that is the number one priority on our campus, but because they simply are continuing to advance and discover. I have taught at colleges where the driving force was survival. If you were not a creative publishing scholar, you could not stay at the college. We maintain the emphasis on the student. If a teacher is a nurturing teacher, as well as a scholar, he can be at Ricks College….this permits an extremely high quality of faculty-student relationships. For example, there is a Ricks professor who is leading his field in aspects of life science research; he is also tremendously involved in the lives of his students. Often, as I pass his office, there is a student from the rodeo team with him. That’s because he happens to like horses. And if a boy can’t get a special kind of help anywhere else, he gets it there.” Of course President Eyring was talking about Mel Griffith.
Ricks College professors touched and changed lives for the better. Even with the tremendous growth that BYU-I has experienced, the professors there continue this practice.
Brent Hill noted that the influence of a teacher extends far beyond the students he teaches. He told of Oliver Cowdery, who came from a New England family with strong traditions of patriotism, learning, and religion. It was while teaching at the village school in Manchester, NY, and living with the Smith family that Cowdery first heard about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
Today we are the beneficiaries of the early Saints who taught their children to read and write. Hundreds of hand-written journals provide us with the history of Mormonism and America. Without those who taught, there would be no record of our heritage.
Hill recounted the persecutions endured by early church members and the pleas to their government for redress. Petitions to the State of Missouri, to President Martin Van Buren, and even to Congress, were ignored or rebuked.
After the murder of their prophet by a mob, the surviving Saints were driven from their homes and led west on an exodus by Brigham Young.
As they were making their trek across Iowa, the U.S. Army asked for a contingent of men to serve in the Mexican War. The nation that had rejected them was now asking for fathers to abandon their fleeing families and risk their own lives defending America. The Mormon Pioneers answered the call with patriotic fervor and volunteers, known as the Mormon Battalion, marched over 2,000 miles by foot to serve their country.
The early Saints taught us the real values of this nation even when we are faced with difficult challenges. Through persecution and oppression, even when it appeared that their country had failed them, the Mormon Pioneers maintained their loyalty and patriotism for the United States of America.
Closing Song: “America the Beautiful”
Pianist: Sylvia Walker, Conductor: Carol Ladle
Closing Prayer: Alton Wilde, Former President of our SUP Chapter
Refreshments were served in the Cultural Hall