Gary Turner Inducted to the Wasatch High School Hall of Fame
The Wasatch High School Alumni Association is excited to announce that Gary Turner has been inducted to the Wasatch High School Hall of Fame. Gary was honored at the Wasatch High School Football game on Friday, August 30.
Gary Turner began teaching at Wasatch High School in 1979 and completed his 40th and final year of teaching in June 2019. He graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and minors in Physics and French. The plan was for him to teach science and to fill the rest of his schedule with math classes.
Gary is always concerned about helping students stretch themselves and achieve more than just the minimum. He did this in numerous ways throughout his 40-year teaching career. Gary began offering advanced options his second year of teaching. He also added electronics to the courses he taught. Gary started the AP Calculus, AP Physics, and AP Chemistry classes at Wasatch High.
In 1999 Gary finished his master’s degree in math education. This allowed him to begin offering concurrent enrollment for his math classes. As the concurrent enrollment math classes grew, he had to turn over some of his other classes to other teachers, which was a hard thing to do. He became a full-time math teacher.
Being able to earn both high school and college credit was a new thing at the time and was a great benefit to many. When asked which he enjoys teaching more, math or science, he says “both.” “The best part is seeing the students grow in their understanding and to see them succeed; especially those for whom it doesn’t come easy,” said Turner.
Gary also enjoyed working with the Academic Decathlon students for about 20 years. “It’s fun both because of the students on the team and learning so many different topics to prepare for the competitions”, said Mr. Turner. The Academic Decathlon teams he coached placed in the top three at state nearly every year. He has also enjoyed being student council advisor and sterling scholar advisor, among other things. “It’s fun to see students succeed at something that challenges them,” he said.
Mr. Turner noted that “the other ‘best part’ of teaching is to hear someone calling ‘Mr. Turner!’ in unexpected locations. This has happened when traveling, including places all over the U.S. “It’s so fun to hear about how former students are succeeding and representing the Wasatch School District so well.” Turner continued.
Gary received numerous awards as a teacher, including the ACE award in 2003 and the Lifetime Achievement award from the Utah Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 2017. He also served as president of the Utah Science Teachers Association. “It’s been an honor to represent the high school and district in each of these are,” stated Mr. Turner.
Gary and his wife, Nadine, met at BYU while performing with the International Folk Dancers, and were married in 1978. Nadine has been a large part in Gary’s success. She always supported and encouraged him when things were discouraging. They have four daughters, who all graduated from Wasatch High. Each left Wasatch High School with an excellent background to be successful in their further endeavors.
Gary and Nadine have appreciated all the wonderful people they have come to know through the school and will miss them as they leave to serve as missionaries for the next two years for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the France, Paris mission. If you’re in France, look them up at the visitor’s center next to the temple.