An Unexpected Journey: Scott Wihongi’s Path to MHS Principal

Caleb Black, Staff Writer

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If you feel like Principal Wihongi is checking out your teeth you may be right. In a different world he would be looking at your teeth in a different way, perhaps as your dentist! We are glad he is our principal, a role that he loves to do. Teaching is his trade, administering is a joy, and he draws on a large bank of experience to do that job.

Principal Wihongi comes from a family rich in educational knowledge. His dad worked as a principal in his homeland of New Zealand, his mom a part-time elementary school teacher. Education surrounded him, imbedding deep within him the love of teaching.

Unfortunately, disaster struck. When he was eight, his father died and his mom took up teaching full time. Eventually she decided to move her family to Utah, where she had met her husband so many years ago.

In the present, Principal Wihongi finds himself in the same position as his dad was, administering school success and planning for our benefit. But it wasn’t always this way.

Originally he intended to follow a different calling, dentistry.  After graduating college he started into the dentistry program. He liked science and found that being a dentist relied on lots of science and paid well.  However, in his junior year of the program he had second thoughts. He felt like his calling really wasn’t meant to be a dentist, but to follow his dad and mom into education.

So Wihongi switched majors, eventually ending up here in Murray district, teaching 8-9th grade science at Hillcrest Junior High.

It was there that he met his future wife, Ms. Blanchard who taught 8th grade English. This meant they taught many of the same students, so when the relationship began it was kept “under wraps as much as possible” Wihongi recalls.

Their first date was not traditional in any normal sense. They went to a Murray High basketball game to see students they had both taught play in a game. Those students were, according to Principal Wihongi, the two’s “longest thread” connecting each other.

After a while, the threads did strengthen and more dates happened. Luckily enough for them, secrecy was made easier by where they lived. Murray was “the middle ground” between Sandy, where he lived, and downtown Salt Lake City, where she was.

Eventually the relationship progressed to marriage and their students were ecstatic. They “thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread,” Principal Wihongi remarks with a smile.  Many students came up and claimed that they knew all along.

After several years in the classroom, Principal Wihongi found his way into administration and has never regretted it. By going into education he feels satisfied and enjoys the blessings it has given him.

“I’m not going to get wealthy by it, but (I am) going to enjoy life!”


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