Students of all ages gathered in a small wooded park in Stansbury Park on Monday to say farewell to a teacher who started them on their education pathway.
Karma Dale decided during this summer that she would retire after 13 years of teaching private pre-school in Grantsville, followed by 30 years of teaching kindergarten and first-grade for the Tooele County School District.
Woodland Park in Stansbury Park was decorated with balloons, a station with crayons and paper for former students to make a picture for Dale, memory quilts with pictures drawn by former students, class pictures from past years attached to a string strung between two trees, and a table with awards earned by Dale over her 43-year long career.
Students lined up in the park to give Dale one last hug.
“Miss Karma is really fun,” said Gabriela Bergantz, who was in Dale’s first-grade class at Rose Springs Elementary last year. “She tells lots of stories and tells us she loves us ‘to the moon and back.’”
Gabriela recalls Dale’s story about one Thanksgiving when she tripped and dropped the turkey and it slid under a car and got covered in oil. She cleaned it off and served it to her unsuspecting family.
Dale earned several recognitions during her long tenure as a teacher.
In 1989 she was the Tooele County Outstanding Primary Teacher of the Year. In 1999 Dale was named the Tooele County Teacher of the Year and in 2000 she received the Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education.
Dale grew up in Grantsville and completed an associate degree in early childhood education from Weber State University.
She returned to Grantsville with her degree and opened Karma’s Kiddie Korner, a private preschool.
After 13 years of pre-school, Dale started teaching kindergarten at East Elementary. She stayed at East Elementary, teaching kindergarten for 20 years.
She next moved to teaching first-grade at Northlake Elementary before moving to Rose Springs Elementary to teach first-grade when it opened in 2005.
“Miss Karma was always very happy and upbeat. She was never cross in any way,” said Makayla Witkowski, one of Dale’s former students and now a freshman at Stansbury High School. “She taught us the way to make friends and keep friends forever, is to be a friend to others.”