Educators inducted into Hall of Fame

(05-14-2013)

group photo of hall of fame awardees

Educator's Hall of Fame Class of 2013 includes (left to right) back row: Kristin Myers (accepting for Florence Davison), Hobart Dixon, Connie Spencer, Gary Benson, James Beckley, Betty Stephens, Gary Stephens, Gerald Langston (accepting for Mary Agnes Langston), Edward Atencio, Betty Shawcroft; front row: Antonio Valdez, Hazel Petty, Margaret Polston, Bertha Trujillo (accepting for Dr. Luis Trujillo), Lucy Martinez, and Joan Clayton (accepting for Myron Clayton).

The Adams State University Second Annual Educator Hall of Fame Celebration hosted outstanding individuals whose chosen profession created opportunities for students to achieve academic and professional success.

The ceremony, held May 8 in the Student Union Building banquet rooms, recognized Mary Agnes Langston (posthumous), Lucy Martinez, Hazel Petty, Margaret Polston, Edward Atencio, Gary Benson, Florence Davison (posthumous), Antonio Valdez, James Beckley, Myron Clayton (posthumous), Betty Shawcroft, Betty Stephens, Hobart Dixon, Connie Spencer, Gary Stephens, and Dr. Luis Trujillo (posthumous).

The room was filled with family, friends, and former colleagues who supported and encouraged the educators along their path. Below are the summaries which only begin the scratch the surface of those who dedicated their professional lives to education.

Elementary Educators

Langston earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1958 from Adams State. In 1924, she obtained a Lifetime Teachers Certificate from Emporia State Teachers College. Langston received the Colorado State Department of Education Certificate of Appreciation Award in 1967. She was principal at East Alamosa for 23 years. Her son, Gerald Langston, accepted the award.

Martinez earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Adams State. She spent 25 years in education teaching Head Start, and first and second grade. She was a Master Teacher during her tenure in Romeo School. Martinez said 11 other members of her family graduated from college. She appreciates her first grade teacher who encouraged her to pursue her dreams.

After 26 years in education, Petty remains active in the community. She is an alumna of Adams State earning her bachelor's and master's degrees from the institution. In 1989, Petty was named "Citizen of the Year" by the Alamosa Chamber of Commerce. Her civic organizations include American Legion, United Methodist Women, P.E.O., San Luis Valley Historical Society, and other organizations.

Polston earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Adams State and taught in the Alamosa School District for 35 years. In 1981, the elementary school was named in her honor. Her civic organizations include Delta Kappa Gamma and P.E.O. She said she remembers every student she ever taught.

Secondary Educators

Another Adams State alumnus, Atencio earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the institution. During his 36 years in education, he taught, coached and was an athletic director. His achievements include Who's Who in American Teaching, Centennial Teacher of the Year, Scholastic Coach, and three rings from the Colorado Coaches Association and numerous awards from CHSAA.

Benson also earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Adams State and retired from the Centauri School District after 33 years. He sponsored Knowledge Bowl, Model UN, and Kiwanis Youth Organization; he was president of the local teachers organization, and a member of CEA, NEA, and Uniserv Council. He received the Special Outstanding Teacher Award, CSU Award, Outstanding ELK, and the Knowledge Bowl council Outstanding Achievement Award.

An adult learning center in India is named in Davison's honor. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Baker University and taught for 20 years. She was a member of the Phi Mu sorority, the United Methodist Church, Church Women United, Current Events Club and chapter HT P.E.O.

A resident of the Colorado State Veteran Home at Walsenburg, Colo., Valdez was not planning on attending the Educator's Hall of Fame. However, event coordinator Elaine Wenta, Adams State Teacher Education administrative assistant, called the center and the institution arranged a ride for Valdez. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Adams State and worked in the Centauri School District teaching, coaching, and as an assistant principal for 25 years.

Administrator

A teacher, coach, and principal, Beckley spent 30 years in education. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Adams State and is a Navy veteran. He was the last principal at La Jara High School and the first principal at Centauri High School. Beckley was involved in the ELK's, received the Marvin Lewis Award in Scouting, and was a member of CEA and NEA. He was president of ACEA, as well as being active in many other organizations.

Clayton worked for Adams State for 30 years and received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the institution. He also earned a certificate in College Business Management from Municipal University of Omaha. He was in the Air Force, a member of Masons and was an officer in the Future Business Leaders of America. He received awards as an Air Force officer, Future Leader of America and Who's Who Among Students.

The only female principal in Colorado (in secular public schools), Shawcroft said the education profession was a wonderful way to live her life. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado and her master's from Adams State. She was a teacher and principal in the North Conejos School District and in education for 26 years. She taught 4-H clubs and classes at the LDS church. She served on the Baord of Colorado Cattle Women and received the Outstanding Leader Award in 1999.

Betty Stephens earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at Adams State and was a school counselor for the Alamosa School District for 23 years. She received Counselor of the Year and Citizen of the Year and was a member of the Colorado School Counselors Association and Colorado Education Association. Betty serves on numerous boards of directors including San Luis Valley Mental Health Center and the Alamosa Schools Suicide Prevention Committee. She sponsored the Knowledge Bowl and assisted with Ortega Middle School Science Fair.

Post-Secondary Educator

Adams State Emeritus Professor of Biology Dixon retired after 25 years. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and has several books published that pertain to his research, cataloging and documenting of the San Luis Valley plant life. He taught in a way that made people comfortable and wanted to make sure his students walked out of his classrooms knowing something they could use and might make them successful in their endeavors.

Spencer received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Adams State and retired from the university after 30 years. She was an icon on campus, setting the stage for women leaders. While at Adams State she was the magistrate, dean of women, dean of Student Affairs, and a professor. She was involved in the American association of University Women, the Colorado-Wyoming and National Association of Women Deans and Counselors, and other associations.

Gary Stephens was a teacher, superintendent and principal in the San Luis Valley. He worked for the Adams State Department of Education and Psychology for 26 years. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Adams State. He was an adjunct professor at Southern Colorado State University and Metropolitan State College. He was named Alamosa Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 1999 and certification from the General Conference of United Methodist Church as lay minister for pastoral care in 2005.

After 28 years, Trujillo retired from the Foreign Language Department at Adams State. He was the chairman and professor in the department. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Adams State and his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. He was a member of Phi Sigma Iota the International Foreign Language Honor Society. Trujillo received the award posthumously. Trujillo is remembered as being a vibrant and enthusiastic classroom teacher. He published three books and many articles.

Understanding the need to recognize outstanding educators, Ted Morrison originated the idea for the Educator Hall of Fame. He and other committee members reviewed nominations for the award. Lori Laske, director of Adams State Alumni Relations, said she appreciated the hard-work by Wenta in making the event a success.