Becky Barker has been chosen for Citizen of the Season for Spring, 2013. Chief Kurt Wright nominated her, saying “Becky’s long-term dedication to the youth of Zion has been fantastic.” For 30 years, she has directed and choreographed ‘Zion Canyon Kids’, a children’s choir. (Kids of the original Kids are singing with her now.) The ‘Kids’ perform regularly at the 4th of July celebration and other civic events as well as many special events like the ribbon-cutting ceremonies for Town Hall and the new Zion Visitor Center as well as the Town’s 50th Birthday Party. “The 4th of July program last year was remarkable,” said Chief Wright.
Since 1995, Becky has written, choreographed and produced Springdale Elementary School’s Christmas programs and end of school programs. “Sometimes I write music for them, too.” As if that was no big deal. Since she was 15 years old she has taught piano lessons, guitar lessons, vocal lessons, English, algebra. Then, of course, there are kindergarten/1st Grade and music classes at the Springdale elementary school.
Becky’s first call to be an educator came early. Just a teenager, she was an aide at the School for the Handicapped in American Fork. In Springdale, she was hired in 1984 at the elementary school as ‘kindergarten aide’, which turned out to mean ‘kindergarten teacher.’ She had complete responsibility for the classroom. She soon realized how vital it was to complete her education. She went back to college in 1991 and had a Masters of Education five years later.
“It’s fun to see how the people I tutor realize how education will make a difference in their lives. It doesn’t matter what age or nationality. I have realized this is what I’m here for – to teach. When you have that thing in you – teaching – you can’t do anything else.
I like working with young students because I have the ability and patience to teach ‘foundations’; those elements of education that make it possible to learn everything else’. She also loves teaching music, which accesses both sides of the brain. “I’m teaching people to be whole-brained,” she says. In 1998, she was awarded ‘ARTS Music Teacher of the Year’, not just for Washington County, but for the entire State of Utah.
As if her life wasn’t busy enough, she has been driving the shuttle for the past ten years. She loves going into Zion Canyon every day. “I go to the Temple of Sinawava, look up at the mountains and feel absolutely blessed.”
Becky was married to George Barker, who died in 2003. She still misses him: “He made my life possible – he supported me in everything. My sons have taken over that support system, bless them. I really learned, after George died, how important and strong our community family is here. Everyone supports you in a crisis.”