South Summit teachers retire
Two teachers with a combined 60 years of teaching experience will retire this May from the South Summit District.
Both Sandra Hayes and Dave Aplanalp began their impressive tenures in South Summit School District in the late 1970s, but they came for very different reasons.
Hayes first moved to the area in 1977 with her husband and began to teach at Marsac Elementary in Park City. Most of Hayes’s childhood was spent in Broomfield, Colorado, now a suburb of Denver, and she graduated from Colorado University in Boulder before she moved to the Park City area. At first, she taught at Marsac as an aide for a few years and still found the time to pursue a degree in education from the University of Utah. Those years were particularly tough for Hayes because her husband suffered from Leukemia and she had to consistently drive him to the hospital in Salt Lake City. Further compounding her schedule, Hayes also had a daughter in school.
Degree in hand, Hayes moved from Marsac to South Summit Elementary School where she has taught ever since. Hayes taught second grade for 27 years at South Summit before recently transitioning to English as a School Language (ESL, often referred to as ELL) instruction. A life-long admiration for Spanish and fluency gained through school and life abroad aided Hayes when she went back to school to gain a certification in ESL 10 years ago. At that time, only a few teachers pursued the degree, but now, said Hayes, many more teachers are interested.
As Alternative Language Director for the South Summit School District, Hayes convinced the board of education that ESL students would benefit from a brief pull-out during the instructional day to work on their reading skills. The board consented and Hayes said that these students improved their test scores profoundly, not only because of additional instruction but also thanks to testing conditions designed to suit their needs. Hayes personally works with students every day of the week by assisting them with planned curriculum and simply concentrating on their reading. For this hard work and commitment, Hayes received the "Excellence in Teaching Award" sponsored by William and Pat Child and Utah Education Association last year.
After retiring, Hayes plans to catch up on her sleep during the summer, but next fall she will still continue to teach as a substitute and an after-school assistant. The biggest benefit for her after her many years, she said, is "watching children grow up and become useful members of society." As she continues to live in the area, Hayes looks forward to seeing more of her former students live productive lives around town.
Raised in Rangely, Colorado, Aplanalp found his career at South Summit High School while a student at Utah State University after several years of working around the country. The Superintendent of the South Summit School District at the time recruited him and Aplanalp’s degree in Agricultural Education became immediately useful.
Aplanalp began to teach agriculture and advise the Future Farmers of America in his first year, 1978. He has held that post ever since.
As much as Aplanalp came to enjoy both the work and the area, he said that it was difficult for him to make a living on a teacher’s salary. To supplement his income and pull together a living wage, Aplanalp worked as a ferrier and a dairy farmer. As his work at the school forced him to travel frequently he said that he regretted spending so much time away from his family.
One of the few teachers who worked a year-round schedule, Aplanalp added that he rarely had a chance to stop instructing as he supervised a summer working agricultural program.
Of course, the Kamas area has grown over the years, but Aplanalp has really felt the shift in population as an agricultural instructor. In the past his students came to him with a marked ability as farmers from years of practice, but now, he said, many of the students are from commuter families and don’t have the same set of skills. "Kamas has evolved from an agrarian community to a bedroom community," he said. Going into the future, Aplanalp sees this change in student populace as one of the biggest challenges to his successor.
Even considering this changing demographic, Aplanalp has influenced the lives of many students. Recently, a group of those students honored Aplanalp at an FFA chapter banquet that hosted around 30 of his former students. "(It was) really gratifying to think that maybe I made a difference in their lives," he said.
Although, Aplanalp hasn’t yet finalized his retirement plans, he looks forward to taking a summer off and riding his horse in the mountains, one of his chief pleasures in life.
Becca Gerber, a first-term member of the Park City Council who is seen as bringing a younger person’s perspective to the Marsac Building, will seek reelection this year.