Debbie Bassett has fond memories of 40 years in School District One

Debbie Bassett is a native of Lovell. The daughter of Keith and Karma Allred, she was raised with five brothers just west of town and is a 1975 graduate of Lovell High School.

Although she started out with another idea, Bassett loved all the classes LHS home economics teacher JoAnn Hobson taught. Because of Hobson’s inspiration, Bassett decided she wanted to teach what she enjoyed doing. She began working toward her degree at Ricks College (BYU-I). She graduated with an associate degree in 1977. 

Taking a break from education, she came home and worked as a paraeducator at Lovell Elementary and at the Scoop Drive-in until 9 every evening.

Eventually she continued her studies at BYU-Provo. The large city was somewhat overwhelming, but she soon adjusted and enjoyed the rest of her schooling. When she did her student teaching at Weber High School in Ogden, there were 30 students in each class. Growing up in a small town in a small school environment, she knew that was the atmosphere she wanted to teach in and be able to interact with her students on a more personal level.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in 1980 she was offered a teaching position in the home economics department at Byron, where she taught at both the junior high and high school. 

In 1982 Bassett married her husband, Steve. They have four children.

In 1983 School District One consolidated and Byron, Cowleyand Deaver-Frannie high schools became Rocky Mountain High School in Byron. From that point Bassett taught exclusively high school classes. The responsibilities there included the whole range of family consumer science classes, including child development, foods and nutrition, interior design, clothing and independent living/life skills. During this time she received her middle school endorsement.

“I have taught in the same district all 40 years. I’ve had great principals to work for. I’ve had no desire to leave, having the support of such dedicated administration. The faculty and staff is such a great team. I’m grateful to be associated with great leaders. It’s really pretty amazing. The support I’ve had has been unparalleled. At the beginning of the year staff meeting I looked around the room and noticed seven former students that are now on the faculty. I think that says a lot for this school,” she said.

In 2010 Rocky Mountain High School moved to Cowley as Rocky Mountain Middle/High School. Bassett continued teaching at the high school level and added sixth grade to her schedule for a couple years before Carole McMillin retired, which then added the entire middle school.  

Bassett said she’s had so many wonderful students and so many great memories that it is hard to pinpoint a most enjoyable moment. 

“The highlight has been being able to watch students succeed and become productive and have confidence in their abilities,” she said. “They have a lot to offer. I’ve also had the opportunity to teach all four of my own children and many nieces and nephews. That was especially fun.

“I have taught so many second generation students and one third generation. Continuing friendships with former students who are now in the role of parent has been rewarding. I hoped to make a difference in my students’ lives, but they really made a difference in mine.

“Working with fellow teacher and best friend Pat Davis as National Honor Society sponsors and junior class sponsors holds fond memories – all the beautiful proms, fundraisers, concessions and activities. Those activities entailed a lot of work, but were also a lot of fun.”

Bassett went to be with her daughter and new grandchild in February. When she returned the schools were already closed from the coronavirus.

“This is really bitter-sweet. I wasn’t able to be with my students since February. When I got back I had to jump in quickly to make the appropriate teaching changes. It’s not how I would have liked my last days of teaching to be, but I’ve received many kind words of appreciation from my principal, Tim Winland, the faculty and staff. They’ve been so good to me,” she said.

Bassett plans to spend lots of time with family. She has four grandchildren that live in the area. They have a total of 16 grandkids so she’ll be doing a bit more traveling to see them. She also looks forward to some sewing and other projects around the house.

“I know I’ll stay busy,” she concluded. 

BY TERESSA ENNIS