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A couple of teachers many years ago made a tremendous difference in the life of a young Utahn.

Friday, she repaid their time and effort as she accepted Utah's Teacher of the Year award."As I worked with those teachers, I shared their warmth and love," said Marilyn M. Grondel, a sixth-grade teacher in Farr West Elementary School, Weber County. "I try to see that my students feel the same way."

As she accepted a $500 check from Key Bank officer John Howard, she commented, "My, that would buy a lot of books!" It was a commentary on teacher conditions in Utah today.

"We've learned it's OK to use the `M' word - money, that is," she said. "We're at a critical crossroads in Utah. Now is the time for everyone to catch the vision."

Teachers must become a part of the decisionmaking process as education begins to solve the problems of the future, she said.

Gov. W. Val Oveson told the Teacher of the Year nominees that they share something with politicians. There is a public schizophrenia about them, he said. "We get lots of criticism, but when it comes right down to it, they're darned proud of us."

Those teachers honored Friday represent thousands who are doing a good job, Oveson said. "Your challenges are numerous and many. The governor and I appreciate the work of teachers and value education."

Grondel will be Utah's representative in the national competition sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

She became a teacher as a widow with four children to rear, working nights at a bank to support her college education.

A former Weber District superintendent, Jay Taggart, described her as a "down-to-earth, feeling teacher who maintains correct balance in her role as an advocate of the teachers association and as a master teacher in the classroom." She has turned down opportunities for administrative positions to remain in the classroom, he said.

Runners-up are Barry Lynne Bishop, San Rafael Junior High School, Ferron, and Gerlinde H. Braunberger, Sunset Elementary School, St. George.

Grondel received her degree in elementary education in 1974 and a master's degree in 1983. She has continued graduate work since.

Key Bank contributed $1,000 to the teacher recognition program. Grondel received $500 and the runners-up $250 each.

Other Utah teachers nominated for the honor were William K. Rogerson, Bonneville Elementary; Kathryn A. Taylor, Tooele Junior High School; Connie Jacobson, Tooele West Elementary School; Jean Culbertson, South Cache Middle School; Maurine Jensen Luck, Neola Elementary; Georgia L. Block, Oakwood Elementary; W. Blaine Peterson, Mount Jordan Middle School; Herond R. Joyt, Logan High School; Kerry K. Watson, Millard High School; Sherry S. Heaps, Payson High School; Patsy Carrigan Richins, North Summit Elementary; Phyllis J. Savage, Dee Elementary; Clark R. Baron, Provo High School; Anne Applegate, East High School; John L. Thornton, San Juan High School; Lyle Parrish, West Junior High School; and Marilyn Zabriskie Nielson, Wasatch Middle School.