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2016 Ken Cox

2016 Candlelight Service Award

By Scott Crump

Ken Cox, a Bingham High School Counselor from 1969 to 2004, was awarded the 2016 Candlelight Service Award at the 80th annual presentation of the Candlelight Christmas program at Bingham High School on December 19, 2016.   Since 1937 students at Bingham have been participating in this annual Christmas festival of music and lights.  Since 1975 it has been a tradition to honor someone at this program who has contributed outstanding service to Bingham High.  This award is known as the Candlelight Service Award. 

Ken Cox was raised in Cedar City and graduated from Cedar City High School in 1961.  He attended the College of Southern Utah where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 1968.  While in college he became the originator and first president of the Sigma Gamma Chi religious fraternity.  He would interrupt his college studies to serve a mission for the LDS Church in the West Spanish American Mission from 1962-1965.  After graduating from CSU, he attended Brigham Young University where he completed his Masters’ of Education Degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1969.

It was at that time he learned of an opening for a counselor and English teacher at Bingham High School then located in Copperton—a place he had never been.   He recounted that it seemed like he drove forever before arriving in Copperton for his interview with Principal Richard Bateman.  He parked by the flag pole in front of the gymnasium and entered the building though the gymnasium doors just as the bell rang to change classes.  As he walked through the crowded halls to the principal’s office, he had a feeling that Bingham was the place he should be.  His interview went well and he was hired to teach English half of the day and to be a counselor the other half.  He would become a full-time counselor the next year and would spend 35 years at Bingham High before retiring in 2004.  During this time, he would serve as the counseling department chair for a number of years and would be named Utah Counselor of the Year in 2002.  He noted that the thing he liked best about being a counselor was making a difference in students’ lives. 

In addition to his counseling responsibilities, Mr. Cox was involved in extracurricular activities at Bingham.  Using his skills as a member of the BYU Ballroom Dance team, he started a dance class held in the morning before school.  He would instruct this class for 13 years teaching students the fundamentals of ballroom, folk and adagio dancing.   He recalled that he had many football players sign up for the class when they learned that adagio dancing helped develop their muscles.  When asked what he liked best about Bingham, Mr. Cox stated that it was the people at Bingham that made it such a special place.  Students, faculty and administrators all contributed to make the school a great place to belong and he was always happy that he became part of the Bingham family.  He was so impressed with the strong support that the whole community gave to school activities and the high level of school spirit and loyalty demonstrated by everyone involved with Bingham High. 

Outside of school Mr. Cox has been involved with a number of activities.  He was a member of the Utah Army National Guard for 29 years, rising to the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel.   He was a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and served as a chaplain during his military service.  He loves music and has been involved in church choirs since college.  He was a past president of the Sacra Dulce Chorus and has served as a LDS Ward Choir director.  He has also been involved in the Boy Scouts of America, having been a registered scouter for over 40 years.  He has served in numerous scouting positions including scoutmaster, a position he held for 11 years, and 11-year-old scout leader.  In addition, he has been active in many church callings and activities.  He has been involved in sports having participated in football, wrestling, track and baseball in high school and football in college.  He also enjoys water skiing, hunting, fishing, archery, dirt biking, ATV four wheeling, and golf.

He is married to Lindy Toronto and has five children: Eric, Cami, Chari, Koni, and Kristi—all of whom are Bingham graduates—and 21 grandchildren.   

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2016 Ken Cox