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The City Journals

Olympus class of ’79 invites influential teachers to their 40th high school reunion

Sep 05, 2019 12:34PM ● By Heather Lawrence

“Who brought the yearbooks?” Olympus friends from the class of ’79 reminisce at their 40-year high school reunion Aug. 10. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

The Olympus class of ’79 celebrated their 40-year high school reunion Aug. 9–10. They reminisced, remembered — and invited their teachers. 

“These three teachers were some of our favorites, and in addition to long careers at Olympus, they each made a great impact in our community,” said Tresann Egbert Lasko, head of the reunion committee. 

The three teachers called themselves “the lunch bunch” because they ate lunch together every day for years. The group included Marc Lyons, Rep. Carol Spackman Moss and Coach Bob Johnson. 

Lyons taught marketing and math at Olympus from 1972 to 2013. “I also coached several teams, and one year they decided I should be the cheerleader advisor. That was the worst year of my life — those girls did a number on me,” Lyons said.

His parents, who were both teachers, warned him not to go in to teaching. “But it was a great job and a good life. There were lots of rewards and challenges. And I’m honored and moved to be invited to this reunion as a teacher,” Lyons said. In addition to teaching, Lyons was a broadcaster for BYU football for 38 seasons. 

Moss taught English at Olympus from 1967 to 2001. She has served in the State Legislature since 2000. “When people ask what kind of preparation I had for politics, I always tell them that I spent 33 years in the classroom with teenagers. That’s the best preparation anyone could have,” Moss said. 

“I remember a lot of these people. I was thrilled to death when [Lasko] asked me to come to the reunion,” she said.

Johnson also started teaching at Olympus in 1967. “This was my first teaching job out of BYU, and I stayed here my entire career. Throughout the years other opportunities came, but I loved teaching math and coaching,” Johnson said.  

When Johnson retired after 41 years, he was quickly recruited back. “The principal came to me and said, ‘We need someone to teach honors math. Would you teach part time?’ So I came back and taught seven more years. I loved every minute of it,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said that he, Lyons, and retired history teacher Jim Felt (see Holladay City Journal September 2018) still get together a couple times a year to eat lunch. 

The Friday night session of the reunion was a sit-down dinner held in Emigration Canyon. Saturday night’s portion was held at Olympus, which has been demolished and rebuilt since the class of ’79 attended school. 

Lasko’s committee members Steve Knight, Jeff Hollingworth and Dan Murray emceed the event on Saturday night. In the commons area, amid green and silver balloons, they read off answers from questionnaires given to alumni about advice they’d give their 18-year-old selves. 

Murray was part of a class of ’79 power couple that’s made great contributions since high school. Lasko said that when Murray attended their 20-year reunion, “he reconnected with Marie Ueda. They ended up getting married.”

Dan and Marie’s lives were interrupted when she was diagnosed with cancer. Marie, a runner, turned the challenge into an opportunity to make a difference. 

“She ran charity races and raised tens of thousands of dollars for cancer research and for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She made a big difference and everyone loved her,” Lasko said. 

Marie passed away in January 2016. While in the hospital at Huntsman in her final days, her husband and friends, many from high school, organized a walk on one of Marie’s favorite trails. The trail was visible from her hospital room, and all her friends carried lights on the trail to show her how much they loved her. 

Karen Koning was a member of the class of ’79 and married Mark Manning, who also graduated from Olympus. Karen and Mark settled in the Holladay area and Mark was principal of Olympus for several years, including the years during the school’s reconstruction. 

Mark passed away in 2015. His funeral services were held at Olympus High, and the football field was named after him. 

Johnson said he liked to see the kids he taught all grown up. “The class of ’79 were great students. Like all teenagers they screwed around, and I didn’t know how they would turn out. But a great number of them became great contributors to society.” 

As the events wrapped up, Hollingworth said that from where he stands now in life, “three years is a really short time. But in those three years [of high school] I met a lot of great people and made lifelong friends.”