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Alumni Happenings - March 2007
Grand County High School


Deb Hren, GCHS Class of 1987,
a Multi-Tasking Mother of Five

by Jeff Richards

Deb Hren
Deb Hren 2007

Debra Taylor Hren, 37, a member of the Grand County High Class of 1987, has long been involved in a wide variety of different activities.

“She’s the most multi-tasking person I’ve ever met,” says her husband Steve, a science teacher at GCHS. “And she’s good at everything she does.”

As a student at GCHS, Deb was involved in various sports and activities. Nicknamed “Too Tall” Taylor, the 6-foot athlete starred for the Lady Devils’ volleyball and basketball teams, and was named to the Academic All-State team in both sports. Although the Lady Devils made strong showings in the volleyball playoffs during her playing years, they didn’t take their first-ever state title until the fall of 1987, a few months after Deb graduated.

While in high school, the ever-busy Deb also participated in band, Honor Society, yearbook, Girls State, and various other activities.

After graduation, Deb played volleyball and softball for Utah Valley State College in Orem, where she earned her associates degree. She then attended college at the University of Mississippi, where she played volleyball and ran track. Shortly after graduating from Ole Miss with a bachelors degree in education, Deb moved back to her hometown of Moab and landed a teaching job with Grand County School District.

Although she was originally hired to teach at Helen M. Knight Intermediate School, Deb ended up at Grand County High for the 1992-93 school year, her first year of teaching. She taught PE and health at GCHS and was the assistant volleyball coach. Incidentally, Deb is related to the late Helen M. Knight herself (a noted Grand County schools superintendent) through the Taylor and Knight sides of her family.

It was just before the start of that 1992-93 school year that she met her future husband Steve, a Colorado native who has been teaching science and biology at GCHS since 1989. Deb and Steve were married in July of 1993, and Deb taught school for one more year, this time at HMK (5th grade), after which she quit teaching to begin raising a family.

Deb and Steve are the proud parents of five children. Oldest daughter Taylor, 12, is a 7th grader at Grand County Middle School. Son CJ, 9, attends HMK, and son Chris, 7, attends Red Rock Elementary. Rounding out the family are the twin 1-year-old babies, Rhiannon and Nicholas.

Some of Deb’s most memorable school teachers include business teacher Pat Richeson, volleyball coach Kendra Tomsic, Spanish teacher Lin Kolb, and social studies teachers Mr. Hillman and Donna Brownell. She also enjoyed Tom Till’s AP English class as well as photography and yearbook. She says she also liked diagramming sentences in Mr. Val Maughan’s English class. “Math was actually my favorite subject, though,” she adds, mentioning the influence of geometry teacher Mr. Lewis and trigonometry teacher Gene Leonard. Finally, junior high band teacher Mr. Negley and high school marching band teacher Mr. Jim Nissen were also positive influences. “I really liked going with the band and sports teams on those long bus trips,” Deb adds.

Deb Taylor
Deb Hren 1987

Deb is well-known for her tireless volunteer efforts on behalf of various civic groups and organizations, including Girl Scouts and 4-H. She has been a Girl Scout troop leader for more than a decade. This year, local Girl Scout Troop 427 had no other volunteers for the daunting role of “cookie mom,” so Deb quietly added that to her already-full to-do list. Daughter Taylor has been the troop’s top cookie seller for the past several years. “When we go to Monticello to play volleyball in a couple weeks, we’re going to take down all the cookies Taylor sold to people down there so that she can deliver them,” Deb said.

Deb’s mother Peggy was recently elected to her second term as Grand County Treasurer, before which she worked in the county clerk’s office for some 20 years. Deb’s father Burke Taylor grew up in Moab and graduated from GCHS in 1957. Deb has two siblings: a brother. Norman, who graduated from GCHS in 1984 and now lives in California, and a sister, Sue Nielsen, GCHS Class of 1994, who lives in Heber City, Utah.

In the fall of 2004, Deb won election to the five-member Grand County Board of Education “The election was coming up, and someone just suggested that I run for it,” recalls Deb, who had never run for public office before. “I thought it would be a way that I could still be involved in the education process, without having to be away from home full-time, like a teacher.”

In January, she reached the halfway point in her four-year term on the school board, a position that Deb says she enjoys. In her spare time, Deb also operates a wholesale bulk food business from her home. In past years, she has worked at a local convenience store, as a substitute school teacher, and even sold marble gravestones for awhile. She has operated her own preschool called “Rock Tots” since 1999. She and Steve have also served as foster parents on numerous occasions over the years.

Deb’s hobbies include sewing, crocheting, baking, and spending time with her family. She has also coached volleyball, basketball, track, and softball, and has run the community’s youth volleyball program since 1995.

Always a Red Devil at heart, Deb and her family continue to support GCHS sports and activities. “We go to the games whenever we can, and wear red on Fridays,” she says, adding that she still enjoys singing “Red and White, Old Grand High” school song with the crowd at the games. “I still know every word!” she notes.
“It’s such a beautiful place to be,” says Deb of her hometown. “From skiing in the mountains to hiking and biking on the red rocks, there’s so many possibilities in such a small area.”
“Plus, I feel like we know everyone here, like one big family,” Deb adds.

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