Rotary Club honors Hal Smith
The audience stood on its feet for Hal Smith as he accepted the Rotary Club’s Linda Singer Professional Citizen of the Year Award on Thursday.
People who worked with the former Park City High School Principal were there to express their admiration of Smith’s accomplishments during his 30-year career with the Park City School District.
Retired Park City High School Principal Mike Andrews addressed the crowd first and called Smith one of the finest educators he has ever worked with.
"Most of us have enough trouble raising two or three teenagers," he said, noting Smith has helped bring up several thousand.
Andrews also observed that while Smith has been there as Park City High School has evolved from a small school to one that is nationally recognized, he has allowed his staff and others to be the face of that success.
Nancy DeFord, who helped hire Smith when she was superintendent, told the audience about a game she and Smith would play to see who could keep a memo going the longest. With the creation of e-mail DeFord said she thought she had the edge because of her late hours but found that the electronic messages she sent at 2 a.m. were answered just minutes after they were sent.
In addition to the endless hours he dedicated to the district, DeFord acknowledged the monetary donations Smith gave over the years along with his sense of humor.
"When things really got bad he would sort of chuckle to himself at some private joke," she said, adding it helped remind her to lighten up.
School board president Dave Chaplin worked with Smith as a teacher and spoke highly of him.
"It’s been a tremendous honor to know Hal Smith," he said, adding that Smith set a wonderful example of service.
This echoed the sentiment of former social studies teacher Paul Willard who said Smith exemplifies the high ethical standards of the Rotary Club.
Park City High School Principal Hilary Hays congratulated Smith adding that he led from his heart.
"I can’t think of anyone more deserving," she said.
As Smith accepted the award he expressed his gratitude.
"It’s a great honor to get this," he said and credited much of it to longevity after having worked with 10 superintendents and more than 50 board members.
He also extended warm wishes to Hays.
"When a problem or a challenge comes up we always say, ‘What a great opportunity,’" and he wished Hays luck with her new opportunity as principal.
Smith also acknowledged the support of those around him.
"My thanks to all of you. A school doesn’t become a great school without support from the community," he said.
The audience gave Smith a second standing ovation as he stepped down from the podium.
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The Park City Ice Arena is expected to temporarily close later in 2021 to allow crews to replace the ice surface and perform other maintenance work, one of a series of projects City Hall plans to outline at an upcoming open house. It will be an in-person event.