Joan Hahn


If you haven't met Joan Hahn, you need to.  She is known nationally and internationally.  She was born on May 9, 1933 in Kemmerer, Wyoming to Bernice Pringle and Roy Wainwright.  She has a younger brother, Arlyn,  She graduated from Kemmerer High School in 1951 and attended [Brigham Young University] BYU on an academic scholarship.  She graduated from BYU with a BS Degree in Speech and Drama and a minor in English in 1965.

She taught speech, drama and technical theatre at Payson High School for 6 1/2 years and then went to Cottonwood High School and taught there or 24 years.  The theatre at Cottonwood was named for her in 1996.  She holds the record for the most first place wins in Utah State Drama Meets with eight first place state titles and six second place.  She won regional every year that she taught at Cottonwood.

She speaks at gatherings and judges commercial as well as high school theatre both nationally and internationally.  She has been president of the International Thespian Society which is represented from all over the world.  She has directed 125 productions in her years of teaching.  Many of her students have started on Broadway and been nominated for a Tony Award.  With her drama program she has had many students in politics.  She says drama teaches you how to present yourself.  She was nominated by Rep. Frank Pignanelli, one of her studenets, and named Outstanding Educator by the Utah House of Representatives in 1995.

She was awarded Best Actress in the State of Wyoming her senior year.  She said she knew in high school that she wanted to go out in speech, drama and theatre.  She plays the flute and was in the Marching Band and Symphony Orchestra at BYU.

In her late teens and early twenties, she did professional ballroom dancing for eight years until she suffered a knee injury.  After surgery she continued to do choreography professionally and to teach ballroom dancing.

She married Milton A. Christensen, from Salem, on December 29, 1952.  They moved to Salem in 1956.  They were divorced after 19 years of marriage.  They had two children:  Randall M. Christensen and Carla J. Teasdale both living in Spanish Fork.  She has eight grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.  On November 15, 1972 she married Charles H. Hahn.  He passed away on October 15, 1988.

She started selling travel part-time in 1970 and ran nine consecutive summer performing tours in Europe taking 250 high school students each year.  They performed in five countries and were overseas for six weeks each year. In 1992 she opened her own travel agency, Travel Passport, which she continues to run today.  She has traveled to 97 countries and all 50 states.  She loves running tours and taking groups, individuals, family vacations, cruises, and employee vacations to new and exciting places.

She endowed a scholarhip in her name at Cottonwood H.S. after she retired.  She served as president of Elder Quest for 5 1/2 years and helped establish the Elder Quest Scholarship for non-traditional students at Utah Valley University in 2002.  She contributes to a "Presidents Scholarship" with the Educational Theatre Association.  She strongly believes that education is an ongoing process and belongs to organizations that encourage people to continue learning throughout their lives.

Some of Joan's other awards are: Speech Educator of the Year, 1990; Teacher of the Year, 1990; President of Educational Theatre Association 1982-84; Eight times named "Outstanding Director in Salt Lake City" ;President, Utah High School Speech Arts Association; Drama Representative, Utah High School Activities Association; President, Performing Arts Awards for Salt Lake City; President, American Association of University Women; BYU Emeriti Alumni Board, two 4-year terms.

She directed the Salem Days Pageant for 20 years.  She has traveled to many places including London, Russia, Vienna, and New York.  She said she loves what the cities have to offer, but when it's done it is renewing to come back to a calm place, Salem.

"It has been a 'fun life' but the best things you can have are a good family and friends.  It's people that enrich our lives."

Joan, thanks for all your contributons to education.


Senior Spotlight Salem City Newsletter February 2015, p 3

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