Platte Canyon High School science teacher Steve Hanford has lived a life few other people have the opportunity to experience on his way to Bailey and the Platte Canyon School District.
Hanford grew up in Fort Collins helping his mom in her first and second grade classrooms. He also helped teach summer school for severe needs students. In college and after, Hanford worked as a raft, backpacking and rock climbing guide for families as well as middle school and high school groups.
After marrying Melody, an opportunity for both of them to work in Antarctica came their way.
“My mom’s friend’s daughter was working in Antarctica for a company hired to do polar support,” explained Hanford. “This company had a job fair in Denver.” The Hanfords attended the job fair and were soon off to Antarctica.
The Hanfords worked in Antarctica for two years. To get to their new jobs, they first had to fly to the Antarctica Center in Christ Church, New Zealand. In Christ Church, the Hanfords boarded a military cargo plane for the six hour flight to Antarctica.
Hanford worked as a construction worker the first year in Antarctica while Melody worked as a dishwasher.
Hanford worked as a painter during the summer of their second outing to Antarctica. Melody became the manager of dishwashers. During their second trip to Antarctica, the Hanfords stayed for the entire year. Hanford helped transport people to different buildings during the winter. Both Hanfords were on search and rescue teams.
Living conditions in Antarctica consisted of dorm style rooms. Couples were assigned one small room with separate girl’s and boy’s bathrooms. In the winter, with only 250 people on the station, the rooms were nicer and had their own bathroom.
“The best part of working in Antarctica in the winters was seeing the auroras,” stated Hanford. “We made decent money, had no bills and were able to save money to buy our house when we returned to Colorado.”
Hanford added that the hardest part of living in Ant-
arctica was that “No one can leave and you can’t go outside by yourself.” While Hanford would go back, Melody would not. Hanford explains that this difference of opinion is due to their different jobs in Antarctica.
Hanford’s experiences lead him to teaching science. He went back to school and got his master’s degree in education that allowed him to teach. Hanford began his career in Bailey teaching eighth grade science for six years. Melody taught middle school art prior to having their two daughters; Edyth is now six and Whitney is four.
“I ended up teaching in Bailey because my wife and I wanted to be in the mountains. I only looked for openings in mountain communities.” Hanford explained. The Hanfords ultimately chose Bailey because it was closer to their families and they could afford to buy a house in Bailey.
Seven years ago, Hanford moved to a science position at Platte Canyon High School. “Being a part of the successes the students have, and having them achieve something is so rewarding,” Hanford stated.
Hanford has gone above and beyond the requirements of his job to help his students succeed by being one of the masterminds of the Platte Canyon Yacht Club. “I am so happy to be working at Platte Canyon especially now during these crazy COVID times,” added Hanford. “It is really a great place to be a teacher and a student.”
In his spare time, Hanford enjoys being outside. His favorite activities are camping, hiking, mountain biking, rafting and disc golf. “I enjoy the mountains and the great hiking in the area, that’s what brought me here,” explained Hanford. “Currently what I enjoy the most is my church community and the world class disc golf course in Bailey.”
Steve Hanford brings unique life experiences gained across continents to his role as a science teacher at Platte Canyon High School. The Platte Canyon School District is fortunate to have such a dedicated, knowledgeable teacher.