Last April on my visit to my parents, my Dad talked to me about some help he needed on a project. He pulled out a 60-page, yellowed, type-written document from a file folder, titled, "My Days at Clearfield High.
As a newly-graduated high school senior, he sat down at his typewriter one day, feeling rather nostalgic, and he sat and typed his high school memories. I knew bits and pieces about his high school experience - mostly that he was Student Body President, but little else.
Dad expressed a desire to transcribe the typed text into a document and possibly add some relevant scanned photos of the topics he wrote about. I guess Mom had been trying to help, but their computer is riddled with viruses, and it wasn't saving properly, so the work was slow and confusing. He wanted to have it mostly for his children and grandchildren to read as part of his personal history, but he also had the idea to share the document with any interested classmates at the upcoming 50-year reunion in August! I quickly snatched the pile and spent the evenings of my trip scanning the photos he had marked and saving them onto a flashdrive. A project. Wonderful!
The transcribing work was slow. Fortunately Josh asked one day what I was doing and told me that we could scan the documents on our scanner as "text", and it would save me hours of work! I was so relieved! I scanned and cropped the photos, and then spent several weeks this summer adding in the photos, doing a bit of editing, and making a shareable document ready for the reunion!
As I became familiar with the stories Dad told about his High School experience, I was amazed at how similar it was to my and I think most people's experience in high school: A longing to be accepted, worried about doing well in classes and fitting in, figuring out where your strengths lie, etc. But it was also so DIFFERENT from my high school experience: proud traditions, a magical prom, life revolving around your school team, etc!
My Dad has always been a GOOD person - always making correct choices and being an example in everything he did. It was interesting to see that he had the same struggles with identity and self-esteem as we all did at that age. He excelled at academics and leadership, but he was not, nor ever really has been an athlete. About gym class he said, "It seemed as though gym class and Craig Hale just did not work out to spell SUCCESS. I could never do anything right, and gym stood for only one thing to me - blunder. As Coach Marcus Garrett started at me with disbelief, he probably knew for a fact that he had the typical 90-pound weakling case sitting before him."
It was wonderful to read these early experiences that built upon eachother to catapult him to where he journeyed in life: student council, class officer, Boys' State, a folk-singing group, U.S. Senate Youth Program, Narrating 'A Lincoln Portrait' with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, and Student Body President. One would think with all of these accolades that he would get a big head, and arrogantly flaunt his accomplishments. In regards to winning the all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC to represent the state of Utah as a youth senator he said, "This honor was only a reflection of the invaluable training in my home and at CHS. It seemed as though I were only an instrument to bring joy and satisfaction to my parents, my teachers, and my friends, and making others happy, made me all the happier."
In my opinion the most inspiring story was one he shares about his election for Student Body President. I NEVER heard this story before reading it! I was in complete shock. Apparently, a group of bullies didn't think he should win Student Body President because he wasn't athletic. They resorted to ripping down his campaign posters, taking campaign badges off of underclassmen who might vote for him, and worst of all, threatening kids that they would vote for the other guy, "or else". The last straw came when they bullied his younger sister, Janet; pulling her into a crowd and threatened her. She went home in tears.
With regards to his sister he said, "This was the last straw. I didn't want to represent a herd of sheep and bullies, a student body of conformists and pressurers. I was convinced that this was not an election that was at stake, but a principle; and if I lost the election but saved the principle, I would be content in losing." He gave his final speech to the entire student body, and instead of it being an oration of his qualifications, it was instead one defending his beliefs and cutting down his antagonists. The speech was met with thunderous applause from the auditorium, and he WON Student Body President!
I love what he said in regards to the win: "Almost miraculously, I had altered the course of an election that would have meant not only my overwhelming defeat, but the defeat of the principles of integrity and fairness. As I thought about it, I didn't do what I did by myself. I just didn't have that much inherent ability to control mass opinion as I had done that day. The hearts of the student body had been opened to me, and someone else had done it, not me. I almost felt as thought I were only a mouthpiece for a great lesson that was supposed to be put over. My prayers had been answered in the most generous way possible."
And that, my friends...is my Dad.