Bingham High Pay Dirt Club
By Scott Crump
A miner in the early days of Bingham Canyon, who struck it rich was said to have struck pay dirt. Those miners would take a mule, shovel, pick and dynamite along with a drill bit and double jack and work hundreds of hours drilling, blasting and shoveling. With a combination of hard work and little bit of luck a miner might find a rich vein of gold, silver or copper ore. This was “dirt” that paid him money or pay dirt. Striking pay dirt symbolizes a successful miner. Because of this, Bingham High School’s Hall of Fame is called the Pay Dirt Club. Two successful Bingham Miners, Marilyn Richards (Class of 1968) and John Saltas (Class of 1972) were formally inducted into the Bingham High School Pay Dirt Club at the homecoming assembly on October 13, 2009.
Marilyn Richards was raised in West Jordan when all the towns west of the Jordan River went to Bingham High School. Her parents, Evan Clark and Jennie May Eckman Richards, owned a small dairy farm on Turpin’s Hill. This was where she gained her love of animals and learned the value of hard work.
She attended West Jordan Elementary, West Jordan Junior High and Bingham High School. During her high school years, she was active in student government, Future Teachers of America, the choir, orchestra and school musicals. In addition, she was the Art Sterling Scholar runner-up and a Minerette. She remembers marching in the old football stadium in Copperton where there was at times snow up to the Minerettes’ knees. In 1968 she graduated third in her class of 212.
After high school graduation, she attended Brigham Young University and graduated as the valedictorian of the College of Physical Education with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She was hired as a teacher in the Jordan School District and taught middle school and high school math and physical education for 17 years. She taught at West Jordan Junior High and Middle School, Brighton High and Bingham High School. She earned a Masters’ Degree in Education with a mathematics emphasis in 1982 and a Masters’ Degree in Administration in 1989. She then spent 17 years as an administrator working as an assistant principal at Mount Jordan and South Jordan Middle Schools and as the principal at South Jordan Middle School and Jordan High School. She finished her career working in the Jordan School District office as the director of Planning and Student Services. She is currently working in her semi-retirement as a consultant, substitute administrator and teacher evaluation monitor. She is also serving as the president of the Bingham High School alumni foundation, a position she has held for the last 15 years. As the foundation president she has rendered countless hours of service to Bingham High School, especially this last year on the Bingham Centennial Celebration. We thank her very much for her service to Bingham High School.
She has been recognized for many achievements over her educational career. Some of these have included:
1985—Teacher of the Year at West Jordan Middle School
1988—Selected as a participant in the Leader Preparation Program at BYU
Awarded a BYU public school partnership in affiliation with the John Goodlad Partnership Network and LEAD Grant—US Office of Education
1992—PTSA Outstanding Educator at South Jordan Middle School
Marilyn loves to travel read, work in her yard, sew, fish and more than anything, she loves to spend time at her Bear Lake cabin. She keeps busy spending time with family and friends doing genealogy, serving in church callings and making “To do” Lists. She has some long-term goals to write her life history, learning to paint and pan for gold and exploring new places. She has two miniature Schnauzer dogs named Mazee May and Tobee Jo. Her philosophy of life is to live a good, happy life always maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude; respect every living thing and always try to leave things better than you found them. Always have a strong desire to better yourself with education or positive life experiences and set goals to help you succeed.