by Bill Boyle
We had many great choices when we began the process of writing a profile of Monticello High School alumni.
Members of the Class of 1973 were particularly interesting. Alumni of the class, near and far, have had intriguing lives and would make fascinating stories.
They include Kirk Bailey, who is in the process of developing a new type of energy-efficient shingle for homes.
Celia Rowley Baker has written for the Salt Lake Tribune and sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Jill Washburn Johnson has had a fascinating life raising nine children with her husband, Paul V. Johnson (Class of ’72). Paul Johnson is the Commissioner of Church Education for the LDS Church, with responsibility for hundreds of thousands of students from Provo to New Zealand and beyond.
However, despite these interesting stories, it became clear that the profile needed to be of someone much closer to home.
Judy Barton entered the schools in Monticello as a kindergartener in August, 1960. Every year for the next 52 years, Judy started the school year with eager anticipation, first as a student and then for 36 years as a teacher.
Judy interacted with literally thousands of students as a friend and mentor and tough teacher. She unexpectedly passed away on July 10, leaving a hole in the school and in the hearts of thousands of her students.
A Facebook page, entitled Ms. Judy Barton, is filled with dozens of testimonials from former and current students.
Several years ago, I ran into a woman who had moved from Monticello, in part to seek better educational opportunities for her children. She had moved to one of the top-rated schools on the Wasatch Front, where her son had completed his senior year.
She pulled me aside and said, “We had a good year, but I must admit that no one challenged my son in his senior year quite like Judy Barton challenged him in his junior year.”
Judy, and her no-nonsense approach to educational excellence, is a significant reason Monticello High School is consistently rated as one of the top schools in the state.
As a child, I heard stories about Miss Bradshaw, a teacher in the Monticello schools for several decades. Miss Bradshaw taught everyone how to read and was renowned for not accepting anything less than the best of her students.
In the past week, since the passing of Judy Barton on July 10, I realize that Judy is the Miss Bradshaw for the subsequent generations.
On July 11, when students met at the high school for a memorial service for Miss Barton, they mourned their loss. They may not have realized how much of a loss it was… not just for them, but for their parents and grandparents.
Judy had a positive impact on students throughout her 36-year career.
For example, I was recently looking through a scrapbook and was delighted to find all of my report cards from high school. Delighted, that is, until I looked at the grades. I realized that I wasn’t quite as brilliant of a student as I have told my children.
One thing that jumped out at me were the grades for my junior year. Each quarter of the year, the lowest grade on the card was in English. English was taught by a new teacher fresh out of college, Ms. Judy Barton.
I realized that I am part of a large group of students who can claim that it was Judy Barton who gave them the lowest grades of their schooling, and who encouraged them to do better.
The Boyle family has very personally benefitted from our association with Judy. In addition to being a teacher for me and my children, Judy was a beloved mentor as my wife Lynda became a history teacher at the school.
With the shock of Judy’s passing and the subsequent rush of her funeral on July 17, we were unable to complete the alumni profiles that we intended for this issue of the paper.
I hope that you accept this profile of one alumni who has had a positive impact on Monticello for decades, Ms Judy Barton.