It is tough to pass through the Dixon Auditorium Lobby without noticing the large elk head mounted on the west-facing wall. Dan Hall, a graduate of Elkin High School, donated the elk specimen in 2006 after killing the animal in the high country of northern Colorado.
Hall hoped the mounted trophy would serve as an example of the majesty and greatness found in the elk, Elkin City Schools’ mascot.
Hall, an avid outdoorsman, applied and waited five years to get a ticket to hunt elk in Colorado. When he was finally approved to hunt, he promised his friend, former Elkin High School football coach Richard Grissom, he would only shoot a “trophy elk” and would donate it to their former high school.
Shooting the elk was a thrill for Hall, even though he was an accomplished hunter by then. Hall started hunting squirrels and rabbits when he was about 11 years old with boyhood friends in Elkin.
Since those early days in Elkin, he has hunted quail and dove in south Georgia and Mexico, pheasant in Nebraska, wild boar in Florida swamps, grizzly and brown bear in Alaska, and deer all across the United States.
Although Hall has traveled widely and hunted often, he still has fond memories of his Elkin High School days, especially his time spent playing football. His philosophy of life stems from those early experiences.
As Hall explained, “On the day you are born, the world and all its doors are open to you and those doors… can only be closed by you. When you start to perform at less than 100 percent of your full potential whether it is in academics, sports, or whatever endeavor you choose, those doors of opportunity start to close. Make bad personal choices in life and some doors slam shut forever. Your background and circumstances may have influenced who you are, but you and you alone are responsible for who you will become.”
Katie Beard is a member of the Elkin High School Journalism Club.