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Four beloved school district employees retire

Article Date: 
31 May, 2013 (All day)

John Rock began teaching in 1980 when Ronald Reagan went into office and the moon dance was popular.  Over the next 33 years, taught at least one class to nearly every MHS graduate. 
Rock taught PE, health, English, math, building construction, sports medicine, emergency response, anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and drivers’ education.  His favorite subject to teach was health.  In addition, he influenced students outside of the classroom when coaching football and wrestling.
Rock graduated from Morgan High in 1970 and continued his education on a wrestling scholarship at Ricks College and continued at University of Utah where he received most of his education.  He ended up finishing his last few semesters at Weber State University, where he received his teaching certificate.  
“My wife has always been real supportive of me teaching and coaching,” Rock said of his wife, Susan.  With six children, the couple currently resides in Mountain Green, but they called Peterson home for 35 years.  Their youngest daughter, Mikkel, graduated from Morgan High this year. The family thought it was great that Dad and daughter could “graduate” together as John will finally leave high school after decades of class.  
Rock’s favorite part of his job was the kids. “I was in the kid business,” Rock declared. “I tried to help kids.”  He affectionately remembers many students who achieved more than they thought they could.  He couldn’t nail down a student or two, “there were a ton of them.”  He was happy to see students succeed and tried to encourage them.  
Rock also loved coaching.  He was able to participate in sports as a coach for 25 years and had many successful teams.  He fondly remembers coaching state championship teams and the athletes on those teams.  
He has two sons who are following in their dad’s athletic shoes.  KC is the head wrestling coach at Embry Riddle University in Prescott, Ariz.  Dustin is head wrestling coach at Clearfield High School, where he also teaches math and history.  
Rock leaves Morgan High after three decades of teaching with a positive attitude about his teaching experience. 
Rock will continue to drive with students after school in the drivers’ ed program.  He looks forward to being able to spend more time as a fly fishing guide, which he has done for the past eight years for Falcons Ledge.  Rock is sure he will stay busy and already has several projects planned.  He feels he will end up even busier than before.  
“I won’t know how I ever had time to teach,” Rock said. One of the major projects is a continued renovation of a house he and his wife moved into a year ago.  The couple has major plans that they believe will take at least two more years.  Rock also knows Susan will have a list ready for him to complete. 
Beyond the acknowledgement students would give him, Rock received recognition for his leadership and teaching abilities.  In 1992 Rock was named Wrestling Coach of the Year.  In 2005 he was inducted into the Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame.  In 2008 Rock was honored by being named Health Teacher of the Year for the state of Utah, an award nominated by the state office of education.  In 2011 he was named Falcons Ledge Fishing Guide of the Year.  
Good luck in your future plans, Coach Rock.  Thank you for teaching thousands of students across generations in our community.   
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Jackie Mecham began her search for local employment many years ago when her husband’s job was cut to three days a week. Mecham could never have anticipated the impact she would soon have on the students of Morgan. 
As Mecham retires, she does so with 34 years of service in the Morgan School District. Starting out in the kitchen as a part-time employee, she then transferred to work as an aide in the media center and eventually settled in as a secretary in the MMS offices. 
Middle school-age children experience many important transitions during this pivotal time in their lives. As such, Mecham always felt grateful when the students were comfortable going into the office. Middle school bridges the highly impressionable time between adulthood and childhood—making it all the more important to have caring people who are willing to watch out and go the extra mile. 
Mecham did just that and is so grateful for her time spent working with the children, teachers and staff at MMS. Mecham especially loved the many experiences she had while making friends with so many kids who have roamed the MMS halls throughout the years. Although she is excited for retirement and all of the opportunities it brings, she will greatly miss the wonderful students of Morgan Middle School. 
Mecham reminisces fondly on the memories she has forged along the way and now cherishes. One of these memorable moments includes moving into the new Morgan Middle School building. Another unforgettable time involved a band trip to Blackfoot, Idaho. While traveling the bus was involved in an accident, which sent several students to the hospital. Fortunately, all involved ended up being O.K. It is times like these when being surrounded by great people makes all the difference in the world.
As her time in the school system comes to an end, she would like to urge all students young and old to “Get all the knowledge you can. It can never hurt you.  The more the better.” Having loved almost every minute of her job, she wishes she could stay here forever but she is very excited for the opportunities that lie ahead. Very few people go their entire career with so much joy and happiness regarding what they do. This is one of the things that sets her apart and made her so special in the role.
Mecham and her husband, Steve, have four children—Lisa, Amy, Katie, and John. The couple is looking forward to traveling so they can visit their children and seven grandchildren. They already have trips planned to Canada to visit their oldest daughter and thereafter to Phoenix. We wish her much happiness and continued joy as she settles into retirement.
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Ann Taggart has been teaching and inspiring kids for 34 years. After spending 16 years in the Weber School District, she transitioned to Morgan Middle School for nine years before spending the last nine years of her career at Morgan High School. 
Taggart’s passion for teaching began while studying at Utah State University. Her courses in English inspired her the most and gave her the most fulfillment. She decided then to turn English into her field of study and ultimately influence others the way she had been influenced. Her teaching philosophy focused on helping the students see what their abilities were and what they could achieve if they put their minds to it. 
Taggart approached teaching with high levels of energy. She is known for jumping right in and working with the kids, which is one of the things she will miss the most as she leaves the doors of Morgan High. 
She especially loved the action and enthusiasm of the students, noting that teenagers always know what is going on. Morgan High is an excellent place to get a good sense of community as students and groups come together and focus on achievement.  
Throughout the years she has had the privilege to be involved with different advisory groups. A favorite stems from her time at Morgan Middle School. There she was able to work with great colleagues such as Laraine Whitear, Germaine Myerchin, Nan Merrill and Mr. Anderson while involved in the creation of an interdisciplinary program. 
More recently, she has been an advisor for the Morgan High National Honor Society. As such, she has thoroughly enjoyed watching the kids learn leadership skills, helping them develop their character, and encouraging them to stretch their abilities.
Taggart is grateful to have worked with some wonderful, “committed” colleagues who have given their all to help the students progress and succeed. She is thankful for the administrators who have supported her and the other teachers throughout the years and counts this as a help to her success. 
To the students she leaves behind she wants to leave a word of advice, “You can be anything you want to be. Don’t set your goals too low. If you want something bad enough, you can achieve it.”
Taggart will always have a place in her heart for the students at Morgan High. Now she is excited to move on to this next phase of life which includes spending more time with her husband Rod and her six kids—Shannon, Sheree, Shaun, Amber, Logan and Tanner—as well as their five grandkids. 
Congratulations, Ann, on your retirement and thanks for all your contributions to the Morgan School District and students of this community.
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Mike Madeo has been in school for over a half century.  After graduating from Winslow High in Arizona, he attended Brigham Young University and received his bachelor’s degree.  He then continued his education and obtained his administrative certificate from Utah State University.  He earned a Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University.  For the next four decades he spent his time and talents instructing youth in Snow Flake, Ariz; Salt Lake School District; Box Elder School District; and Morgan School District.
He retired after 30 years in the Box Elder School District.  Instead of kicking back and relaxing, Madeo continued to dedicate himself to educating others.  A short time after retiring, Madeo came to Morgan School District as principal of Morgan Middle School.  “I was very fortunate to get it,” Madeo said of that event five years ago.
Madeo changed positions throughout his time both in our community as well as throughout his educating experience.  He worked as an English teacher for 14 years as well as coaching football, swimming and track.  The following 26 years Madeo led as an administrator including vice principal and principal.
Through all of these experiences he says his favorite part was working with people.  He loved working with parents, teachers, staff and especially the students. 
After his long history in education, Madeo has decided to move his teaching to another focus.  He and his wife, Nancy, plan to serve a mission. Just as his teaching career didn’t end after retiring the first time, the Madeos do not plan on stopping at a single mission, but plan on serving and teaching people for as long as possible by serving multiple missions.  The couple is also eager to spend time with their children and grandchildren.
We wish Mike Madeo and his family good luck in all of their future endeavors.  We are glad you came to our community and thank you for your service.