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Alumni Happenings - February 2006
Grand County High School

Jason Parriott, Class of ‘87,
cuts his own niche in hometown Moab

by Jeff Richards

Jason Parriot

Hairstylist Jason Parriott, 36, a 1987 graduate of Grand County High School, is proud of his Moab roots. The Parriott family’s local heritage goes back over a century. “My great-grandfather (Dale M. Parriott, 1885-1958) had the first stage company here in Moab, and also owned the first automobile in town,” explains Jason. “He also opened and ran Moab’s first garage.” Dale’s family originally came from Iowa, moving to Utah in 1890 and to the Moab area in 1904. When he was young, his family ran the ranch house that is now the Seventh Day Academy in Castle Valley, Jason notes, adding that Dale also climbed Parriott Mesa in his youth, thereby giving that place its name.

Great-grandpa Dale and his wife (the former Ruth Cartwright) once lived in the old Holyoak house that was later restored and now is home to the Youth Garden Project (the current Grand County High School building was built on part of the original homestead property). Ruth later owned and operated what later became known as the Grand Old Ranch House and is currently called Moab Springs Ranch. Jason’s grandfather, uncle and numerous other old-timers used to swim in the nearby pond (where the Butch Cassidy Waterpark is now located). Jason’s grandfather Loyd Parriott was also an alumnus of Grand County High, where he played in the marching band.

Jason’s great-grandmother Ruth was well-known for always keeping her door open to anyone who needed a hot meal or a place to stay (she had a couple of homes for rent next to what is now the Moab City offices). “She had the most spectacular yard in Moab for years,” Jason notes. “Things that wouldn’t normally grow in Moab would grow in her yard.”

Loyd later moved to southern California, where his kids were raised. Years later, Jason’s father, also named Dale, and his wife Glee decided to move back to Moab when Jason was in the 2nd grade. “He had had enough of the city life, so he moved us back to the country,” Jason notes. Dale and Glee still reside in Moab and are next-door neighbors to two of their three sons (Jason and Jeremy). Youngest brother Josh rents out his share of the family property and instead lives in Phoenix, Ariz., where he works as a pilot.

“My father ran a machine shop for many years, but has since shifted to doing what he loves most, Moab and motorcycles,” Jason notes.

Jason’s own work environment is considerably less noisy than a machine shop or a motorcycle track. He has worked as a hairstylist for 17 years, the last 14 in Moab. For the past 10 years, he has owned his own hair salon, Parriott’s, located at 41 East Center Street.

Following high school graduation, Jason attended cosmetology school in St. George, Utah. After getting his license, he worked for three years in the Salt Lake and Park City areas. One Easter, Jason came back to Moab for a visit and met his wife-to-be Melissa, a native of Grand Junction, Colo. Shortly after they were married, they lived in Bullfrog for awhile, then came back to Moab around 1991, where they started a family and began to raise their three children. They have a daughter, Mikayla, 14, and two sons, Bryson, 12, and Brenner, 8.

“The kids are the main reason we are here in Moab,” Jason notes. “Moab is the perfect place to raise children. We have freedom here that you can’t find in many places.” The Parriott family enjoys participating in various forms of outdoor recreation, including motorcycling, bicycling, camping, and boating at Lake Powell.

Comments Jason: “The Moab area offers all this, and my kids get a chance to play just about every sport they choose to, along with many other opportunities that small town values have to offer.”

Jason and Melissa have been involved with many Grand County school activities over the years. “I started by deejaying the dances and mixing music for the drill team and cheer squad,” Jason recalls. Melissa, for her part, has worked with dance teams for several years. She has 11 years of experience at the Stars Dance Studio in Moab, including the past six years as director.

“Just about the time I thought I might be done, our oldest child started high school this year,” says Jason, referring to Mikayla, a freshman and member of the GCHS drill, volleyball, and softball teams. “I’m glad I’m still in the middle of things,” he adds.

Jason says that back when he was in high school, there was a “spirit stick” that was passed around as a trophy of sorts, given to the class that demonstrated the most school spirit. “My class won the spirit stick our freshman year and we held it all the way through, until we were seniors,” he recalls. “The thing that stood out to me is that we had so much school spirit. It had no boundaries – we supported everything from football to drill to drama to debate,” he adds. “The kids in high school today may not have a spirit stick, but after this school year, they are definitely going to feel what school spirit is!” Jason says that there seems to be a greater swelling of “Red Devil Pride” this year, and not just because the football team took the state championship. “So many people in the community support the school,” he says, adding, “It’s nice to see people lend a hand to their high school and to the students in it, and keep the spirit flowing.”

Jason fondly remembers several of his high school teachers, and appreciates the positive influence they had on his life. “There are many teachers I still look up to to this day,” he says, naming several of them: Mr. Gene Leonard, Mr. Nissen, Mr. Tom Till, Coach Moore, Mr. Miller, and Mrs. Donna Brownell.

Brownell was particularly influential, Jason notes. “She taught me to be sure of everything I do, and to pour my heart into everything, and you will prosper in whatever you choose to do.”

Adds Jason: “She made sure we had the means and belief that we could change and do anything we wanted.”

As an example, Jason notes that shorts were not allowed to be worn at school until his graduating class came along. “When we left, there were a lot of changed rules, but more spirit at the school,” he says. “It was made possible by some great students and a lot of great teachers, but Mrs. Brownell is the one who stands out to me.”

Brownell retired last year, but Jason is quick to give props to her successor as well. Social studies teacher Janna Rogers (the featured GCHS alumnus in the October 2005 Moab Happenings) was Mikalya’s volleyball coach this fall, and Jason says he has been impressed with her dedication. “She has been giving my kids that same quality of teaching and support, with a mix of spirit that will carry on,” he says.

“Another thing I remember about high school was how simple life was,” reflects Jason. “But of course, you couldn’t tell us that then.”

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