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Jasper Butero Jr. is the superintendent of the Hoehne Public Schools. Relative to personality, he is also a reflection of the positive potential of organized athletic programs in the educational arena.


     Butero, at five foot and eleven inches in height, and weighing in at a sturdy two hundred thirty pounds as a young man, transferred to Trinidad High School in 1964 when the doors of Lincoln High School in Sopris were closed because of the pending construction of the Trinidad Dam.


     The move to Trinidad High School was timely and well suited to his talents. In football, he started as a defensive tackle in his sophomore, junior, and senior years, and was named to the second all-conference team his final year. He played center on the basketball team his sophomore year. Track was also on his athletic repertoire during his junior and senior years. In track he excelled at the discus and shot put.


     Following graduation in the fall of 1967, Butero moved on to Trinidad State Junior College where he again jelled at defensive tackle under the careful tutelage of college football's ultimate single wing genius, Coach Marvin Wetzel. From Trinidad State, he was recruited by Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado where he excelled at every position on the defensive line, as well as the outside linebacker position. During his senior year, his most memorable year in his college career, he was named to the NAlA All-District team and the All-Academic team.


     He even found time to dabble in golf. "Golf never made any economic sense to me, though," said Butero. "I couldn't understand why I had to pay green fees because I never played on the greens. They should have paid me for cutting that green stuff in the rough."

But for Jasper Jr., his most productive and profound learning years were experienced at Trinidad State. 

     "I played under the greatest teacher I ever had, in the classroom or on the
athletic field," reflected Butero. "Marvin Wetzel coached life right along with the
sport. His lessons on that field were lessons in life, how to deal with adversity and
challenge. Marv said football was like war. That is the ultimate challenge, the ability
to survive. He taught me how to deal with people. There is no way to measure the
amount of respect I have for that man."


     And for Butero, Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado was entirely another matter.


     "It (Ft. Lewis) was a different experience," said Butero. "It was the first time in my life I broke the ties of home. I experienced things for the first time by myself. I enjoyed it there too. I feel I got a good education there also. I met some people that were a good influence; coaches, teachers, fellow students, teammates. We all maintain contact. All of this is conducive to good motivation in life."


     Butero also reflected on the intrinsic value of athletics and its relationship to life.


     "The first thing athletics taught me was respect," said Butero, "Respect for myself. Without respect for myself, I can't have respect for others. You've got to have respect if you are going to relate to people, regardless if they are kindergartners or parents. You will never receive respect from people if you can't respect them.


     "The other important thing it taught me is the ability to communicate with people. Not to talk at people, but with people. All this is necessary for good teamwork. In athletics people taught me that if you did your best, you were a winner no matter what the scoreboard said. You take that lesson and apply it to education or anything you face. You apply it to the game of life. Yeah, if you can hold true to that lesson, you're ultimately the winner in the game of life."


     Because of the serious illness of Dr. Dennis Trump, the Superintendent of  Hoehne Schools at the time when Butero initiated his administrative career in education, he had to maintain the dual roles of superintendent and principal. Again, his athletic philosophy proved indispensable.


     "I've got some awful good teammates here (Hoehne)," mused Butero. "Particularly for the last two years. We have a tremendous board of education, a tremendous staff, terrific kids. What more rounded team could you ask for?


     "If one person thinks that the success of a team, or the success of a school system is attributed only to him, have to pity him because he's a fool. The only things that were done down here were accomplished only because of team work."


     Coach Marvin Wetzel became most pensive when asked to comment on his former star student and defensive tackle.


     "I don't know anyone I'd rather have my children with, whether it be sports or any other academic activity, than Jasper Butero," confirmed Wetzel. "He was an outstanding defensive football player, and just as outstanding as a person and  student.


     "He teaches those kids to show class, win or lose. There is a big difference
between having class and demonstrating it. He does it all."


     Athletics have played a key role in shaping the life of Jasper Butero Jr., and, over the years, he has continually demonstrated what life and work are all about. And he has done it all, with lot of class.

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