Each year during Hazen’s Homecoming Week, the school inducts former alumni/faculty into the Hazen Hall of Fame. When the time came to pick those inductees, there was only one who clearly stood out: Joe Dahl, the school's custodian, who passed away in June.
During the induction ceremony held last Monday, history teacher and boys' basketball coach Gary Schaplow shared his thoughts on Dahl:
It is my honor and privilege today to speak to you about Joe Dahl as we induct him into the Hazen High School Hall of Fame. Joe was a custodian here for 16 years, but he was so much more. He was Hazen’s ambassador of good will and its greatest promoter. He was the custodian of all things Hazen, especially the students and the staff. When you became a member of the Hazen community you became a member of Joe’s extended family. He took care of you while you weren’t even aware of it. His attendance at events, notes and words of encouragement, extra time and effort all to make sure things were just the right for all us.
When I first met Joe 11 years ago it was immediately obvious how proud he was of Hazen and its students. I know everyone who met Joe heard from him about what a great school Hazen was and how special the students were. To put it simply Joe Dahl was a great guy. In all the time I knew him I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. He had a big heart and he shared it with everyone.
Joe Dahl was the ultimate team player. He constantly went out of his way to help others. Last basketball season we were preparing to travel to Tacoma for a playoff game. When I got here at 4:30 Joe informed me there had been a wreck on the free north of Tacoma and there were expecting snow. He was looking out for us, the way he looked out for all of you. Oh, and by the way, despite the weather and the traffic that night, Joe was at the game. He supported all of our teams and student/athletes and developed a special relationship with the cheer squad and drill and pom team and out world class stacking team. If one takes the time to look around the school Joe’s impact is everywhere. He took great pride in honoring Hazen’s competitors with special trophy cases that he built himself on his own time. One of the first trophy cases he built was for the boys’ soccer team when they won the state championship in 2007. I can still remember Joe jumping up and down like a little kid when that team beat Camas in the championship game. The electronic reader board in the lobby of the gym was Joe’s baby. He was like a proud parent the first time he showed it to me. He was always looking for a way to make Hazen a better place for all of us.
At Hazen we hold Pride, Unity and Achievement as our ideals. Joe Dahl exhibited all of these qualities in so many ways that it is only fitting that we honor him today as a man who truly lived the Spirit of the Highlander.
Now here is our challenge. There is a way that each member of the Hazen family can continue to honor Joe after today, especially the students. When you speak to others about Hazen speak with the pride that Joe did. When you see someone who needs a hand, give it to them the way Joe did. And when you or we achieve something special share the joy of the moment with others. And last, take pride in this school. I believe that to truly honor Joe Dahl we all should take care of this school. Pick up after yourselves. Keep the hallways, lunch room, commons, court yards and classrooms clean. With the help of all the students and staff we can make Hazen shine in academics, extra-curricular activities and literally. That would honor Joe forever.
For me the true test of whether we achieve that is to imagine Joe walking into the building and getting that big smile on his face when he saw how great everything looked. Let’s all honor his memory by taking as much pride in Hazen as he did.
Dahl’s daughters were grand marshals of the school's .