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Red & Blue

Volume #46 Issue #5

March 2014


Santa Fe Trail High School

Carbondale, Kan.

Students and staff mourn loss of principal Principal David J. Swaim died Friday, March 7, 2014, at his home in south Topeka. He was 56. Swaim was born at Hiawatha, March 12, 1957, one of three children of William and Betty Farmer Swaim. He grew up at Hiawatha, attended schools here, graduating high school with the class of 1975. Swaim started his post secondary education at Highland Junior College and graduated with an associate’s degree in 1977, prior to graduating from Emporia State University with a bachelor’s degree in 1979. Swaim worked to receive his master’s degree from Washburn University at Topeka in 1992. He started his teaching career at Seneca at St. Peter and Paul Catholic School at their middle school, prior teaching in the high school at USD#475 Junction City from 1989 until 1992. He then served assistant principal at USD #364 Marysville from 1992 until 1996 at their high school. Swaim then started as associate principal at the high school at Santa Fe Trail. He currently was the principal there at the time of his death, to total 17 years of service. Swaim was a member of First Baptist Church of Hiawatha; and was a member of various professional organizations. Family was very important to Swaim all of his life as no matter where he taught, he came home each weekend to spend with his family. Survivors include his sister Carol (Mike) Williams of Hiawatha; a brother Ron Swaim, also of Hiawatha; nieces and nephews: Rachel (Matt) Bloom of Wetmore, John Williams of Hiawatha, Sarah (Johann) Murray and their daughter Jaina, of Tarkio, MO. Memorial contributions are suggested to the Brown County Chapter of the American Cancer Society which may be sent in care of the funeral home, 124 S. 7th St., 66434. Swaim speaking to the students on the first day of school.

There will be a memorial service for Swaim Thursday, March 13 at 7 p.m. in Overbrook at the Grace Community Church.

Page 2- Swaim Tribute Issue with memories, and immediately went to the last time we talked. It was not a goodbye, but we’ll see each other tomorrow. Maybe that is the best way. My mind also went to the time I had to tell Dave of a student making a large “inappropriate” symbol out of clay and posting it on Instagram. Yes, it was embarrassing and infuriating, but also quite humorous. -Doreen Seely-Francis, art

Mr. Swaim and I came to Santa Fe Trail the same year. Mr. Swaim was a great boss, and great person that always put the interest of students first. He will be missed, but not forgotten. -Regan Erickson, PE

Memories of

Mr. Swaim office between classes for something. Dave and Dr. Pegram were sitting there, just shooting the breeze. Dave said he was looking forward to observing me fourth hour the next day. Dr. Pegram joked that I may have to wake him up. We all laughed, not realizing it may actually be necessary. Between classes Thursday, I watched his door waiting for it to open. When he didn’t make it fourth hour, I knew he must not be feeling well and checked with Diana. When I found out Friday, my mind raced

Mr. Swaim was always kind and helpful. He was the “go to” guy when it came to getting our students connected with scholarships for Allen Co. classes or when making changes to their college class schedules. I always appreciated his assistance when my students needed help with these types of issues. -Tina McIver, gifted ed.

When I think of Mr. Swaim, I think about how much he loved this school and the students and staff. He was proud of all of us and our accomplishments. He always encouraged our students to try to achieve their goals and supported all successes: academic, athletic, performing arts, and practical arts. Even when he wasn’t feeling well, he was here as much as possiblesupporting and encouraging us. Mr. Swaim was our champion and he will be missed. -Debbie Musgrave, resource

Mr. Swaim was a man who was married to his career – educating and serving young people. He always took time to visit or eat lunch with students, regardless of whether they were valedictorian of the class, or the most challenging kid in the school. Mr. Swaim usually had some bit of advice to share during those conversations. That is the mark of a true educator – someone who will take the opportunity to teach any student who crosses your path. There must have been days when Mr. Swaim was not feeling very well, yet he came to school anyway because that was his job. He was a very private man, but he was proud of his family. He often spoke of his niece, Sarah, who earned a track scholarship to Peru State in Nebraska. Mr. Swaim would share with me her latest meet results and the fact she twice ran the Boston Marathon. He will be missed by our students and our staff. -Bob Hug, social studies

So many memories, my favorite was sitting in the gym with him watching whatever team was playing and just watching him interact with students. They are the reason he got up and came to work on days he didn’t feel very well. I admire that love for students and their wellbeing. -Shelly Robinson, science

It’s funny how when you think back to memories of someone, it’s just the ordinary everyday things that come flooding to mind. Part of it is because you never know when it will be your final hello or goodbye. The other reason is that it’s the everyday interactions that build your collective memory, impression, and relationship. The last time I talked to Dave, it was Wednesday. I was rushing into the

It’s about the kids. Mr. Swaim was all about what is good for the “kids”. He cared deeply for their successes in all areas. Along with the many varied chats that happen between administrators and staff, I also volunteered service with Mr. Swaim on the high school site council. His pride and concern for the students was extended to the entire community. I thanked him many times over the years for his part in supporting positive opportunities for SFT as a whole. We are family. -Mary Burgett, FACS

Swaim Tribute Issue -Page 3

of Mr. Swaim “

Mr. Swaim played piano when he was a kid. Or so he said. I could never get him to play, but I liked to see him smile when I would ask if he would sit in with the choir. -Lari Jarrett, choir

I started working at SFT as a para educator at about the same time Mr. Swaim became assistant principal. He was always very supportive of me and encouraged me as I continued my education to become a teacher. Last year he was instrumental in helping acquire iPads to be used in my English classes. He was very interested to see what Mrs. McIver and I were doing with the iPads for the benefit of the students. -Karen Hoffsommer, English

was quick to interact with students and loved participating in classroom activities. Dave Swaim had a kind heart and his rapport with kids was always evident. He will be greatly missed by his SFT family. -Marci Alstatt, credit recovery

Mr. Swaim made students’ success his top priority. Education was a major component in his life and for that I am extremely grateful. -Emma Fernandez, Spanish

I will miss working with Mr. Swaim. He was fair, and always had students’ best interests in mind. You can’t ask for any better than that! -Donna Powers, social work


Mr. Swaim was a great mentor to me throughout the last nine years. He taught me many different aspects of the teaching profession that will never be forgotten!! -Keith Johnson, athletic director

Mr. Swaim was a very sincere and down to earth person. I will always remember him telling me- ‘Leave your problems at school, and go home and enjoy your family. That’s what I do. I leave my problems here, and go home and watch Duck Dynasty.’ -Kristy Dekat, journalism

I had the pleasure of sitting beside Mr. Swaim during Super Charged, where we shared some laughs during Trevor Rosine’s comedy version of ‘How to take a poo in the woods,’ then bellowing out lyrics to Sweet Caroline during the shows’ intermission. Sharing jabs of who had the better team, Kansas State Wildcats or his Kansas Jayhawks, but ultimately we jokingly always agreed to disagree. On occasion Mr. Swaim would meander down during my plan time, and we’d talk about anything and everything- his last Vegas trip, the story behind the lucky buckeye I have setting on my desk, his niece running a marathon, the upcoming KSU vs. KU contest, something crazy his pooches had recently done, or to laugh about the last texting prank he and Sam Ralston played on somebody in the building. Mr. Swaim and I had the same passion for animals, especially dogs. We shared numerous stories and pictures of his “two babies” and my pooch, Rozlin. Dave recognized the positive benefits of

having Rozlin be a part of school and loved sharing snacks and/or his lunch with her. This year, Mr. Swaim and Mr. Pegram adopted me to their home football game hamburger/ hotdog grilling crew. It was equivalent to grilling in your own backyard with never ending “worldly lessons”, humorous antics, and stories galore. Having Mr. Swaim in the classroom was always a positive experience. He

Not so much a memory than an everlasting picture. Mr. Swaim had that all-knowing devilish little smile And when he had that added twinkle in his eyes, you knew he really was up to something- or that he knew something you didn’t. -Greg Burgett, English

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He always seemed to be happy even through tough times. -Conner Fannin, 11 I really didn’t know him, but he made me laugh when he came to game design. -Joshua Elley, 9

He always asked how baseball was going and how I was doing in classes. He also helped me by answering questions about Highland Community College. -Aaron Ackerman, 12

Mr. Swaim talking to me about wrestling. -Christian Davis, 9

He was a good man. -Lori Ford, 9

You were the world’s nicest man- RIP Mr. Swaim. -Anna Capra, 11

I didn’t know him very well, but the one time I was called to his office I thought I was in trouble. But as I walked in I was greeted by his smile. He told me I had passed all subjects of the asset test and seemed genuinely happy for me. -Brooke Preston, 10

Always coming in to the foods class and trying our food. Being very active in our classes. -Devin Deshazer, 11

o Mr. S “

I used to grill burgers and hot dogs with him my freshman year before the home football games. -Austen Wolfe, 10


A good principal. -Spencer Lane, 9

I would go into his office every day during lunch and talk to him, just someone to talk to. -Austin McCune, 10

He was a nice man and a great principal. -Shelby Hastings, 11

He was an awesome guy. My favorite thing about Mr. Swaim was that he would always cheer you up, and he loved to talk to you about goose and duck hunting. -Kyle Garrison, 11

Him and I sat in his office for about an hour thinking about old times. Me being new to the school, he was there when Ihad nobody. He is a great person and a great listener, he was a friend. -Tyler Thompson, 11

He was my favorite principal. - Taylor Vandevord, 11

Always had something funny to say. -Takoda McClendon, 9

I remember his Jayhawk stocking cap that he would wear every hat day. -Dani Crook, 11

Mr. Swaim was awesome! You could just walk up to him and talk about anything and he would listen. He will be missed. -Dusty Ralston, 11

He was an amazing principal, he listened and connected with his students. -Kurstin Masters, 10

Mr. Swaim was always nice to me and would start conversations with anyone. He made people happy and I will miss him. -Peyton Newton, 9

How one time, when I came into the school in the morning, he held open the door for me. -Logan Lester, 11

I will miss him dearly. -Lexi Claycomb, 10

When I was in Drivers Ed I thought he was going to climb in the car, he was parked next to us. -Bailee Robertson, 10

He was always happy. -Colin Koger, 10

He’s in my prayers and will be missed. -Ashton Newman, 9

Will miss you dearly great principal! -Samantha Bradley, 11

He was a great guy and was one of my favorite principals. He will be dearly missed. - Danielle Kelley, 11

Every time he sat down for lunch, he talked to kids. Or he’d sit with kids who were by themselves. - Jess Abendroth, 12

How he always told me if I could further my education in any way to do so. - Tim McConnell, 11

Last I saw him he was working in his office, two days before he passed away... -Jennifer Hall, 12

I thought Swaim was a pretty awesome principal. -Shea Cremeen, 10

Swaim Tribute Issue -Page 5

Mr. Swaim was the nicest and best principal I had, because he told me many fun stories. -Nash Muckey, 9

I will remember his support of me during my breast cancer treatments. -Joy Schmidt, counsellor

Dave and I both go to Las Vegas once a year. Every year we compare our stories of how the other one did gambling. He always won, I always lost! I will be throwing a $10 bill in his favorite video poker game, in his honor when I go in a couple of weeks. -Jayson Duncan, PE

Mr. Swaim was always very kind to me. He never passed up an opportunity to give me praise and encouragement. He also made me feel that he valued my opinion, despite the fact that I was a newbie. -Angela Rhoades, English

Dave was a total professional and very supportive of his staff members. -Connie Lindell, business

He was a funny, sweet, caring guy with a great sense of humor. -Beatrice Peugh, 12

He talked to me in the hallways and his smiling face. -Camryn Stallbaumer, 12

Talking about football and eating lunch together. -Dustin Graham, 11

Many students do not know that Mr. Swaim was a HUGE fantasy football owner. He would take great pride in his team nicknamed “Toe Jam.” He would spend hours crafting his team, and scouring the waiver wire If he would beat your team, that is all he would talk about all week. -Eric Staab, social studies

He was always nice and would make jokes with me. -Baylie Maxwell, 10

Mr. Swaim helped me with my scholarships to Allen County. -Joe Penrod, 11

He always held open doors for us. -Taylin Berckefeldt, 9

I always enjoyed talking with Mr. Swaim about KU sports. -Eric Lynch, library

Greetings at the door every morning. -Dakota Boyd, 11

He was a great principal and a great guy. -Jake Hastings, 9

I rarely dealt with him, but when I did he was always an amazing guy. -Jeremy Mayfield, 9

I knew him just over six years, and I truly considered him my friend. -Brent Newton, 10

Meeting him for the first time freshman year, talking about his dad from the World War 2, and sitting by him everyday in the morning since my freshman year. -Austin A. Smith, 12

Mr. Swaim always took the time to listen to what I had to say. He’ll be missed. -Mrs. Mac

Him telling me to never stop trying to convince him to let us do Boolah- Boolah. -Elizabeth Hill, 11

It was fun just talking to him when I wasn’t in class. He was a funny, cool and fun guy. -Dawn Funk,12

He was one of the best guys I’ve ever met. -Leah Williams, 9

f Swaim

I got called into his office and he gave me a pinup girl for my collection. -Haley Ferris, 11

He was a good man. He kid’s around with me and I get back at him. I have not heard anything about his death until school was over. -Shelby Smith, 12


It was fun talking to him about KU. -Trent Moore, 9

He held the door for me so he was a good guy. -Grace Herren, 9

Great guy, very caring. R.I.P - -Justin Baker, 11

Sorry for your loss. -Cole Newman, 10

Mr. Swaim was a pretty cool person. If you needed to talk to him, he was listening. He was pretty funny. I will miss him because he was a great person to be around. -Dakota Thompson, 9

Never complained about being sick. -Carli Erickson, 11

Mr. Swaim was a great guy who always said good morning when you first walked though the doors. -Mandy Watson, 11

My favorite memory of Mr. Swaim was the way he greeted everyone in the morning with a welcoming smile. - Drae Massey, 12

He was always nice to me and would help me with anything I needed. -Ashtyn Mentzer, 12

-Jenny Granil, 11

Rest in peace.

“ “

Him giving everyone a friendly ‘good morning’ to the students that walk through the front door before classes start. -Chelsea Morris, 12

My memory of Mr. Swaim is how he was so understanding towards people and that made me happy. -Ryan Hess, 12

One year we had to go to a different school to try out their lunch program and he challenged us to an eating contest. -Johnnie Taylor, 12

He was a great person and always had lots of school spirit. -Savannah Hinck, 9

One time I ate lunch with him and he was cool and funny. -Seth Coltrane, 10

He always helped me with anything. -Wyatt Lyda, 10

Principal David Swaim (1957-2014)

17 years of service to Santa Fe Trail High School


Santa Fe Trail High School's Newspaper Red and Blue- Tribute to Principal David Swaim

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