2009 Jim Bridge
One of the oldest traditions at Bingham High School is the annual Christmas program, known as Candlelight. Since 1937, when the program was started by Bingham music teacher Joel P. Jensen, students at our school have been participating in this annual Christmas festival of music and light. Since 1976 it has been a tradition to honor someone who has contributed outstanding service to Bingham High School. This award is known as the Candlelight Service Award and the past recipients are honored at the Candlelight program and their pictures are displayed in the main hallway. At this year’s 73rd annual Candlelight Service Jim Bridge, a former teacher at Bingham was honored for his outstanding service to our school.
Jim Bridge grew up in Holladay, Utah and attended Olympus High School where he graduated in 1959. He attended the University of Utah where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature and later his Masters of Education Degree. He married Carla Lewis in 1970 and that same year they moved to Anchorage, Alaska where he began his first teaching assignment teaching 7th Grade English. He would teach 7th grade for one year after which he moved up to the local high school where he taught for two years. Three years in Alaska were sufficient, after which his family moved back to Utah in 1973. Back in Utah he got a job teaching English at Bingham High School when our school was still located in Copperton. He would move with the school to South Jordan in 1975 and remain teaching here until his retirement in 2003. During his time here at Bingham he would teach over 6,000 students. He taught AP English for over 25 years and over 1,300 of his AP students would earn college credit. In addition he would serve as the English Department Chair from 1982 to 2003. He was also involved in athletics serving as the girls’ softball coach (1991-1992) and then the athletic department’s game photographer, filming over 800 football and basketball games from l982 to 2003.
Jim Bridge has been described by his colleagues as a person who was a great leader who had a sophisticated, sharp, and quick sense of humor. He was a great friend who cared greatly for others, was able to work well with a wide range of personalities and was able to stay calm under pressure. He was a teacher’s teacher who loved to laugh and could inspire students to accomplish more than they ever thought possible. He loved literature and expected his students to rise to the occasion. He was person with a quiet, unassuming demeanor, who was always prepared, and seemed to be on top of everything.
He would be chosen as the most inspirational teacher in 1992-1993 and in 2001-2002, and would receive the Jordan Education Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award in 1994. BYU awarded him its Most Inspirational Teacher Award and upon his retirement in 2003, he was awarded the Courageous Miner Award by the Bingham faculty.
Jim’s hobbies include hiking, reading and gardening. He is married to Carla Lewis and has three children. During his time at Bingham, he made many friends. These friends included not only his students, but teachers, administrators and many members of the Bingham High School community. Jim Bridge will always have a special place in the hearts of those who knew him at Bingham High.