Jim Summers is the 2020 Grand Marshall of That Famous Preston Night Rodeo. He’ll be honored during at the parade and rodeo July 31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 2.
“What an amazing honor to be recognized by the community,” said Summers. “Reflecting on those chosen in past years, it is a privilege to be listed with that great group of individuals.”
That Famous Preston Night Rodeo is an annual tradition for the Summers family and has been since he moved to town.
“I love the feel of a small rural community and the closeness that you feel by being a part of the activities that it offers,” he said.
Summers was raised on a dairy and row crop farm in Tremonton, Utah, and graduated from Bear River High School where he was active in the Future Farmers of America. After he fulfilled a mission for his church in French Polynesia (Tahiti), he attended Utah State University, graduating in 1974, with a bachelors degree in ag education and a masters degree in 1980.
A teaching position at West Side High School brought Summers to Preston where he has lived ever since. He taught agriculture and technology classes there and was the advisor for the West Side FFA Chapter for 41 years. He said he loves students and enjoyed his job and the interaction with the people of the community.
Summer’s favorite part of teaching was trying to instill a passion in his students for agriculture and the many opportunities it has for them if they are willing to put in the work. That love has resulted in him receiving many awards during his tenure as a teacher. They include Idaho Ag Teacher of the Year, Idaho Ag Program of the Year, Farm Bureau Teacher of the Year, National Ag Teacher Mentor as well as a National Ag Teacher Lifetime Achievement Award.
In March of this year, Summers was the first educator to be inducted into the Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame, recognizing his years of service and his impact on agriculture in the area.
During his 46 years residing in Franklin County, Summers has worked with the Franklin County Ambulance Association, the Franklin County Search & Rescue/Sheriff’s Patrol, the West Side Teacher’s Association and the Franklin County Market Animal Committee for the county fair. He has served in many church callings and other civic assignments as well.
Summers and his wife, Debbie, live on a small acreage in Preston where they raise and train registered quarter and appaloosa horses. Debbie taught in Preston’s elementary schools for 29 years. They are both enjoying retirement, now, especially spending time with their three married children and their spouses, 11 grandchildren and two dogs.
Two Preston girls found themselves amongst the rodeo royalty competition held last week.
Kacee Jensen, daughter of Dustin and Jessica Jensen is the senior second attendant. Moira Taber, daughter of Darren and Amie Taber of Shoshone, is the queen and Reagan Yamauchi, daughter of Ryan and Tonya Yamauchi of Soda Springs is the first attendant.
In the junior division, Ella Jepsen, daughter of Kerry and Melinda Jepson of Preston, is the queen. Brylee Jones, daughter of Luke and Brianna Jones of Portage, Utah, and Hadlee Christensen, daughter of Trevor and Brittnee Christensen of Plymouth, Utah, is the second attendant.
They will help open the annual celebration of That Famous Preston Night Rodeo on July 31-Aug.2 in Preston.
The June West Side school board meeting was a brief but weighty affair.
First came the news that the school district’s funding from the state has been cut 5% due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Of that amount, close to 3% is the money that would have gone towards salary raises for teachers.
With the global pandemic far from over the school district has been considering alternative schedules for students to limit the inevitable community spread of the virus, which is infection without travel or attending special events. These schedules factor into plans that would only be utilized if community spread becomes prominent in the area. It should be noted that the board’s thought process was centered on the health of the student as an individual but also the student as a vector for spreading the virus to more susceptible individuals such as parents and grandparents at home.
After much debate both at West Side and Preston School District two general options worked their way to the forefront: a half-day schedule or an on-and-off day schedule. Of the two the board is leaning towards the half-day schedule to help with the younger students. Having them present every day will allow much more content to be covered.
The current plan for the fall is to have students return to school as normal with some parameters in place to minimize the chance of spread. There is, however, a contingency plan, which is to have students social distance while at school which will result in only having half the students present at one time. If students were asked to come to school every day for half of the day, the busses would need to run in the middle of the day to pick up and drop off students.
The final decision for student’s schedules should be finalized in the July board meeting. The Idaho Board of Education and the Governor’s Office will also be releasing guidelines for school districts related to opening schools this fall, which may change any plans the board is making now.
In some good news, the fall sports season is expected to happen as usual. The Idaho High School Activities Association has formed separate committees for all fall sports to help determine strategies that would help the fall sports season stay as normal as possible. At this point, no guidelines or back up plans have been released.
The next issue was the attendance policy. With the district shifting from a five-day week to a four-day week, the excused absences are also being reduced from eight to six per semester.
In other good news, the middle school expansion is set to be completed next month which will be helpful in light of social distancing enforcements. With each student needing to stay six feet away from each other until either the vaccine is ready or herd immunity is declared, more classrooms will be needed for the students to remain safe. The board did wish to stress that these measures will limit exposure but not eliminate it. The bus ride mid-day will have students from both groups together but still allow for social distancing. The lunchroom is a different story. For starters students lining up to get their food and the garbage can and tray drop off are in one spot, increasing chances of exposure. Guidelines for students would be in place to minimize the chance of social distancing parameters being compromised. The district is considering options but as with life there is risk.
It is time for another Distinguished Young Woman to pass her crown to the next representative of Franklin County. Despite the many setbacks due to COVID-19 the Distinguished Young Woman program is set for June 27 at the Dahle Fine Arts Center in Dayton open only to the contestants and their families. There Katelyn Oliverson will say her last goodbye and welcome the new queen and her court.
Oliverson has loved every minute of her time as Franklin County’s DYW representative. “Being able to represent Franklin County as the Distinguished Young Woman has literally been a dream come true, “she said. “The service that I got to perform and the people that I have helped, have genuinely benefitted from the time that I have spent, and that has been very personally rewarding.”
Like most of the DYW over the years, the state competition in the fall was a highlight of her time spent representing Franklin County. “My favorite experience as DYW was the week that I spent at state and the stage experience with my self-expression dress and performing my talent.”
In addition to find finding time in already busy schedules, COVID-19 added a whole new set of challenges to Oliverson’s final months as DYW. She and her court had to find creative ways to work around restrictions and deal with the uncertainty of whether there would even be a program this year.
“The hardest thing about our year was coordinating our service projects at times that six busy seniors could all be there every month,” Oliverson said. “I loved getting to know the girls in my court better. They were all so supportive in everything we did. COVID was a roadblock to many service projects, but we were able to work around it and achieve our goal of one service project a month.”
Her platform of “Be Your Best Self” was summarized in the following points”
· Be Healthy- Teaching youth about exercise and eating right
· Be Involved- Service to the community with projects every month
· Be Studious- Focus on academics and learning all that I can
· Be Ambitious- Setting and achieving big goals
· Be Responsible- Demonstrate high moral and ethical principles at all times, but especially as I represented Franklin County
After looking back over her year, Oliverson had some advice for the next DYW. “Workout every day to be ready for fitness and enjoy every moment of the year,” she said. “Serve and have fun every chance you get.” Oliverson was not speaking only of the competition or representing Frankin County but of life as a whole far beyond the short year allotted to her as DWY.
Branching out and trying new things has always been part of the DYW experience: new friends, new ideas, new skills and a new appreciation for so many people behind the scenes who work so hard to the whole thing possible.
“DYW enriched my life with a whole new set of lifelong friends from all over the state!” said Oliverson. “I also gained another whole new set of parents as I fell in love with my host family. I was shocked at how many different types of girls, with such varied backgrounds, could come together and enjoy participating in the same program with the same purpose.”
As Oliverson contemplates the bittersweet moment when she will pass her crown to the new DYW, she looks forward to all the things life has in store for her. “I am excited to move on to the next chapter of my life as a Huntsman Scholar at Utah State University where I plan to study International Business,” she said. “After having roommates at State, I am even more excited to live in the dorms and gain new friends from all around the world.”