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Honorary diploma awarded during graduation ceremony

Article Date: 
31 May, 2013 (All day)

The Morgan School Board recognized three distinguished residents during the annual Morgan High School graduation ceremonies held at the Dee Events Center on May 24.  
Lyman Verl Mecham was presented with an honorary diploma for his time spent protecting our country and serving his community. He was awarded his diploma by Superintendent Ken Adams.
Verl is the son of Leland and Reta Mecham.  He was raised on a farm and was taught the values of hard work.  Farming was the sole income that supported raising their large family.  During Mecham’s teenage years, many of his older siblings had either married or enlisted in the military, leaving his father with an overwhelming workload.  Mecham made the decision to leave high school early, putting his education on hold to help his father with the extra responsibilities on the farm.
Mecham served his country in the Armed Forces from 1955-1957 in Kitzengen, Germany, during the Hungarian Revolt.  He was a heavy equipment mechanic for a fleet of several different types of equipment and vehicles.
Just nine months before leaving for Germany, he married Deanna Waldron.  They have five daughters, four sons-in-law, 15 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.  When Mecham returned from his military assignment, he and his brother Geary established their own business called Mecham Brothers Construction.  The company grew to be very successful.  Mecham was the heavy equipment operator for Mecham Brothers for 42 years before “semi” retiring.    
Mecham has been very involved in the LDS church and has been very active in the community through several different civic responsibilities.  Because of Mecham’s knowledge and problem-solving abilities, community leaders often seek his advice regarding various public affairs.  
Mecham has also been a loyal Trojan fan and advocate for Morgan High School.  Over many years he has offered his support in numerous ways ranging from cheering the team on to providing financial assistance to students and various athletic and academic programs.  
We are very proud of Verl and the notable accomplishments he has achieved during his life and we know he will continue to fulfill many more.  His example of hard work and dedication continues to be an inspiration to his family and all those who associate with him. 
Two former teachers, Anna Porter and Ken Hunt, were honored for their years of service as outstanding educators with the Honoring Excellence Award. Porter was an elementary teacher for 25 years. Her award was presented by Pat Peterson.  Hunt taught high school English for 30 years and was presented his award posthumously by Linda Morrison.  
Porter always had a love for children and served as a friend and advocate for many through the years.  She fulfilled a dream to be a teacher later than most, but gave it her all for 27 years.  She began her teaching career in 1966. She taught second grade for three years before moving to sixth grade for the remainder of her career.  
Porter was on the committee that studied the idea of creating a middle school.  When the middle school was implemented, she continued teaching sixth grade and also taught seventh grade science and Utah history.  She especially loved bike trips to East Canyon and the ukulele bands.  
Porter retired from MMS in 1993.  When retired, she was referred to as “…a student’s kind of teacher” by Principal Matheson.  Board member Jerry Peterson commented that a child never went through her class that didn’t get the best shot to succeed.
In both community and church settings, Porter served as a leader, coach, teacher and mentor of youth.  She has always been eager to learn and continues to study and keep up with the changes around her.  She always encouraged her students to “never give up” and has represented that by her own example throughout her life.
How does a man, after reaching what many would consider a dream in the professional sports world, find personal fulfillment through teaching high school English?  Kenneth Raymond Hunt found true joy in teaching young minds within the areas of athletic competition and, by his own admission, more importantly within the walls of a classroom.
Hunt began his teaching career in 1973 at Morgan High School, where he was hired as a basketball coach and English teacher.  Although he was a successful basketball and baseball coach, his role as an English teacher was more important to him.  
His expectation for his students was that they always do their very best.  Because of his tutelage, the students were taught the basics upon which they would build throughout their high school experience.  
It is difficult to avoid the cliché “he loved teaching” when expressing how he felt when he would see the first sparks of enlightenment glow behind confused eyes.  Although he drew many parallels between the lessons taught by the sports world and those taught through traditional education, he eventually reached a point where teaching students, rather than athletes, became his real love.  
Homework was rarely assigned in his classes.  Most often, he would teach a concept, then try to reserve enough time for his students to work on assignments in the classroom where he could personally help them if they had questions.  He felt as though teaching was more than just providing information to pass a test.  To him, a true understanding of a concept was more important than a simple repeating of “a noun is a person, place or thing.”  Many times his teaching went beyond a standard curriculum, he taught many life lessons as well.
As a coach, he taught that the game always deserved a player’s maximum effort but when the contest was finished, officials, opposing coaches, opposing players, and fans were always to be treated with respect, even when the respect was not returned.  He always made sure everyone knew that no single person, including players, coaches, cheerleaders, or equipment managers, was greater than or beneath the concept of the team.
One of his favorite metaphors involved a story of a bucket full of captured ocean crabs.  The crabs, rather than trying to climb out, would tightly hold on to each other, pulling all of them back down into the bucket.  Even now, past students remember the echoes of a voice telling them to do their best. To climb out of the bucket and not let others in the world pull them down.
Hunt retired from teaching in 2003.  During his later years, he didn’t spend much time reminiscing about his achievements as an athlete or as a coach.  Deep expressions of satisfaction were always reserved for those times when an old student would cross paths with him on the street or give him a phone call and express their thanks for those things he taught them as a simple English teacher.