EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Robert Cox – South Davis Junior High School (Retired)

Dec 17, 2012, 4:08 PM | Updated: Aug 4, 2022, 12:00 pm

CORRECTION: The previous article stated that Austin was the author of this teacher nomination. Tom Tripp is the correct author for this letter. Apologies for the error. Thank you,

This tribute is long overdue. I’m 59 now, but in 1966 I was starting 8th grade at South Davis Jr. High. I was assigned to teacher, Robert D. Cox, for three consecutive periods (English, Literature and Geography) at South Davis Jr. High in the fall of 1966. As I looked around the room, I realized that I was surrounded by reputed “trouble makers” from my seventh grade class from the year before. With a little reflection I realized that I fit right in with this group of potential rogues. In 7th grade, I’d “visited” with the principal a couple of times for fighting. I was perhaps disruptive in some of my 7th grade classes. Mr. Cox was big, seemed stern and looked a lot like the marine sergeant he was during the Second World War. Mr. Cox knew how to take charge of a group of problem kids. He had a presence that caught (maybe demanded) our attention. Without being abusive, we learned early on that Mr. Cox had clear expectations for attention, behavior and performance. His teaching methods formed a template for learning many subjects and instilled disciplined thinking and created confidence for students that struggled with learning in general. I learned grammar and punctuation. [I still smile every time I properly punctuate a compound complex sentence and know that it came from Mr. Cox’s 8th grade.] Mr. Cox taught us about government and parliamentary procedures. He arranged a special field trip during school time to visit Utah’s Legislature while they were in session in February. Those in the class built vocabulary and to think creatively through weekly crossword puzzle exercises. He instilled a love of reading in reluctant students by explaining that “literature was really just good stories,” and he’d frequently read exciting stories to the class to prove his point. He’d use examples from history to illustrate life lessons. Mr. Cox would offer wisdom and realistic insights on how to plan your future. While Mr. Cox at times seemed tough at times but in the end, it was clear that he cared about his group of difficult and often challenging students. He provided a chance for students struggling in the system to get a new start. There were lots of kids with all kinds of problems. Not all of them were helped, but as I look back, Mr. Cox “saved” me and many others. It was a turning point in my life. I learned how to study and succeed at school. I learned to behave and have some social responsibility.

I went on to succeed in school with university degree in engineering. I have had a good life not in small part to Mr. Cox, a teacher who was willing to take on the troublemakers of the school and make a difference.

–Tom Tripp

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Education + Schools

SLCC to host Black History Month events....
Waverly Golden

Salt Lake Community College to host Black History Month events

The Salt Lake City Community College is hosting numerous events in recognition of Black History Month including a film viewing and panel.
1 day ago
One of the topics being discussed during the 2023 Utah Legislative Session is how to combat the tea...
Mark Jones

Bill would allow individuals to become teachers without a bachelor’s degree

A bill being discussed on in the legislative session would allow for individuals to become teachers without obtaining a bachelor's degree.
3 days ago
Computer systems in the Alpine School District are being investigated after the district's technolo...
Adam Small

Alpine schools investigating “suspicious” computer activity

The issue involves the Alpine district's computer software. On Tuesday, the district said they noticed suspicious activity.
3 days ago
snow shovel driveway dialysis...
Mark Jones

Cold weather causes late start for Logan City School District Wednesday

The Logan City School District and the Cache County School District will be on two-hour late starts on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
4 days ago
A bill working its way through the Utah Legislature could open the door for online, private, charte...
Adam Small

Non-public-school students could more easily play sports under a new bill

Bill sponsor, Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, said the bill would level the playing field for some students.
4 days ago
A group of students at the Jean Massieu School of the Deaf is making blankets for pet dogs and cats...
Allie Litzinger

Students making pet blankets to donate to the Humane Society of Utah

The Kindness Club at Jean Massieu School of the Deaf is making blankets for pet dogs and cats at the Humane Society of Utah.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Robert Cox – South Davis Junior High School (Retired)