MT. PLEASANT—Three distinguished alumni will be the first inductees into a new North Sanpete High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame on Wednesday Sept. 10.
Being honored are Roy Ellefsen, a teacher at the high school for 29 years; Spencer Cox, currently serving his first term as Utah governor; and George Lee, an untiring supporter of community and high school sports in the North Sanpete area.
The inductions will occur at a dinner Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at the high school. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased five days prior to the banquet (by Monday, Sept. 5), either through Venmo at NSSD Foundation or PayPal.
The idea for an alumni association hall of fame came from a desire to unite communities in the North Sanpete School District area, according to Abby Ivory, treasurer of the North Sanpete School District Foundation, the 501c3 organization that serves as a fundraising arm for the school district. Proceeds from the banquet will go to the foundation.
Ivory says as plans for a Hall of Fame evolved, the selection criteria were expanded from alumni only to anyone who has contributed to the success of the high school or the community.
Following are brief sketches of the inductees:
Ellefsen taught at North Sanpete High School for 29 years. During that time, he taught English, French and humanities.
He earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music theory from Brigham Young University. He strengthened his education by earning a Ph.D. in humanities at Florida State University. After earning his doctorate, he accepted a teaching position at Erskine College in South Carolina.
Ultimately, he returned home to Utah and accepted a teaching position at North Sanpete High School with the intention of only staying one year. However, he discovered he enjoyed teaching high school kids. Later, he also became a part of the concurrent enrollment staff at Snow College.
“Roy Ellefsen was one of the greatest teachers in the history of North Sanpete High School,” said Ben Cox, North Sanpete High School counselor. “He taught college French, humanities, and English, and he led the choir to the highest marks at state for many years. He was an institution here, and his legacy continues as many teach- ers currently at North Sanpete learned from him.
“Roy inspired us with his wit, his humor and his brilliance. He loved his subjects almost as much as he loved his students, which is why we loved him in return. He is the reason I and many others became teachers.”
Cox was born and raised in Fairview. He served an LDS mission to Mexico, and after returning, married a local girl, Abby Palmer. Cox and his wife are the parents of four children.
He graduated from Snow College and Utah State University, and earned a law degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
He clerked for U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart and was employed at a Salt Lake City law firm. But after several years, he and Abby decided to return to Fairview.
Cox served as a city councilman, mayor, county commissioner and state representative before being appointed lieutenant governor in 2013.
In 2020, he survived a tough primary to win the Republican nomination, and was elected governor in the November gen- eral election. During his time in office, Cox has secured funds for affordable housing, promoted suicide prevention and mental health resources, and imple- mented water conservation and infrastructure planning.
“Spencer is deserving because of the strides he has made in leadership and government,” Ivory said. “He is a leader who isn’t afraid to stand up for his beliefs and the public good. Plus, he is going to be president one day.”
Originally born in Vernal and a graduate from Utah State University, Lee and his family made their way to Sanpete County in 1981.
Having played football at Utah State, Lee was instrumental in the forming the Sanpete County Little League Football Association in 1985. He was involved in the program for 39 years.
He was an assistant coach for the football and wrestling teams at North Sanpete, and served as an assistant high basketball coach for three years.
“Sometimes it seemed there was no point in going home because the family attended 11 to 12 games per week,” a news release about Lee stated.
Lee and his wife, Zola Elaine Robinson, are the parents of eight children.
Lee provided for his family by working in the cable television industry, including 17 years at CentraCom Interactive in Fairview.
“George believes that if one life has been changed for the better because of his effort, the effort was worth it,” the news release stated. “Sports isn’t for every young person, but something is. Everyone needs to find their thing that pushes them to be part of something more.”
“George was nominated for the time, commitment and dedication that he gave to little league sports in our community,” said North Sanpete High School football coach Rhett Bird. “Over nearly 30 years, he started and ran our little league football program.
“Because of the commitment he put into it, hundreds of kids have had the opportunity to excel and take their talents to colleges and even to the National Football League. Our school has benefited from those players moving on and giving back in ways such as a new weight room and sports training room so that hundreds more can continue to excel in sports here at North Sanpete High School.”