Moab Happenings Archive
Return to home
Alumni Happenings - July 2005
Grand County High School

Jimmy Hawks and Wynette Secrest Hawks,
GCHS Alumni

by Jeff Richards

Although James (Jimmy) Hawks, 39, and his eventual wife Wynette Secrest Hawks, 34, both grew up in Moab, they didn’t meet each other until they were both attending Utah State University in Logan.

When Jimmy was a senior at Grand County High School in 1983-84, Wynette was still in 8th grade. “I had played basketball with her older brother Buddy Secrest, who was a freshman when I was a senior,” recalls Jimmy. “I remember one time I saw her at Taco Bender and thought she was dang cute, but that was about the extent of it. We really didn’t know each other until we got to college.” While at USU, they were matched up by Jimmy’s friend Dirk Shumway and Wynette’s friend Tammy Tranter (now Snow), both being mutual acquaintances from Moab. Jimmy and Wynette were married in 1990 in Manti.

Jimmy, who had earlier attended Dixie College in St. George and Utah Valley State College in Orem, completed his bachelors degree in parks and recreation from USU, after which he and Wynette moved back to their home town of Moab to start a family. They now have six children: Athena, 14; Derek, 12; Tierra, 8; Aaron, 6; Jameson, 3; and Arthur, 1. Jimmy started work for Moab Salt (now known as Intrepid Potash Moab LLC) in 1995, where he is their lab technician. He also coaches soccer and other sports and works occasionally as a waiter at the Sunset Grill restaurant. Wynette is a full-time mom who (along with Jimmy) home schools their four oldest children.

The Hawkses’ home on Plateau Road is next door to the house where Jimmy lived in for the first few years of his life. When he was young, his family moved to Missouri for a few years, then to Louisiana before returning to Moab when Jimmy was 12 and starting the 7th grade. Wynette, meanwhile, has lived in Moab all her life except for when she was in college and when she worked in California for six months. She ultimately earned a certificate in secretarial business from Stevens-Henegar Business College in Orem.

Both Jimmy and Wynette belong to families that have been in Moab for generations. “I think I’ve got like five generations buried in the cemetery here,” Jimmy notes, adding that his grandfather Cecil Thomson was a well-known cattle rancher who donated the land for Allen Memorial Hospital. Jimmy’s parents Ralph and Marylin Hawks are both GCHS graduates (Class of ’53), as are Wynette’s parents, Art and Wanda Secrest (Class of ’46 and ’54, respectively). Both sets of parents still reside in Moab.

Jimmy and Wynette both have fond memories of GCHS, where they were actively involved in sports and other activities. Wynette (Class of ’88), who played softball and volleyball cited Mrs. Richeson, Coach Tomsic, and Ms. Lin Kolb as being some of her most memorable teachers. Jimmy also fondly remembers Ms. Kolb, whose Spanish lessons later came in handy when he served a two-year LDS mission to Argentina in 1985-87. He also remembers Mr. Gene Leonard, who had also taught both of Jimmy’s parents in school.

Jimmy also cited history teacher Don Hillman and English/speech teacher Val Maughan as being memorable. “Both of them were really good teachers who tried to make you think outside the box,” Jimmy recalls. “They really seemed to have a genuine interest in the kids.”

Jimmy’s class of 1984 was among the smallest graduating classes in recent memory, with just 86 or so students. Despite their small size, however, Jimmy says class won the “spirit stick” competition during Homecoming Week all four years of high school. “Last year, we had our 20-year reunion, and about half of the classmates attended,” Jimmy says. “We really had a good time.”

This fall, Jimmy and Wynette’s oldest daughter Athena will be a freshman. Although she will still receive home schooling, she plans to take a few classes at GCHS and participate in soccer and in drama.

Jimmy and Wynette have home schooled their children for the past four years and plan to continue doing so. They say they prefer a less rigid learning environment for their children. “They have more freedom to choose topics they’re interested in learning about,” says Jimmy, adding that Athena has taken a particularly avid interest in falconry and birds of prey, a subject unlikely to be learned in public school. “The idea is just to get them to like learning, and to learn for themselves,” Jimmy adds, noting that the children get plenty of social interaction through their participation in 4H clubs, sports teams, Scouting, and church activities. The Hawks family is one of about 10 local home schooling families who get together regularly to share activities and ideas, Wynette says.

Jimmy, who played football, basketball, and golf for GCHS, can still frequently be found on or near the Red Devil playing fields. He has helped coach basketball and is currently an assistant soccer coach for GCHS. He has done some radio announcing of high school games. He and his brother-in-law Mike Holyoak usually work the yardage chains at the sidelines of the Red Devils’ home football games. He and Wynette also like attending drama and musical performances at the high school.

“We love it here in Moab, and have a lot of fun memories,” adds Jimmy, noting that he and Wynette especially like living close to their parents, siblings, extended family members, and so many of their childhood friends.

Return to Archive Index
return to home
Return to home