"People are the most important, they benefit, they must have fun, and they must win". This is the belief that Jim and Mary Harris have in their teaching and leadership in the square and round dance activity.
Jim started square and round dancing as a teenager and saw calling as a challenge. He later attended Caller School, which started him on his more than 25 years as a Square Dance Caller. He especially enjoys guiding dancers through their first steps. Jim's comment "You get a sense of accomplishment when you see them able to do all the things you've taught them. You just take pride in it".
Jim presently teaches six square dance clubs, three senior citizens groups and each year calls a dance for the incoming freshmen at Connecticut College.
He is very active in Caller Associations in Connecticut, New England and on the National level. As a member of the Connecticut Callers Association he has served in many offices. As a delegate to NECCA he has served as secretary. A member of CALLERLAB since 1975 he has served on a number of committees. Jim and Mary are also members of ROUNDALAB and have served as Legacy Trustees.
Jim has been calling for many years at Festivals and Conventions including the Connecticut Festival, New England Square and Round Dance Convention, New York State Festival. Canadian Caller Festival and the National Square Dance Convention.
He is always willing to volunteer his time and talents to benefit others. He enjoys calling for demonstrations at convalescent and senior citizens homes. He has taught square dancing at the Mystic School for the Deaf and for the ARC Center for the Retarded.
In private life, Jim was an employee of the New England Telephone Company until his retirement after more than 37 years with them. He was active as a 4-H Leader, a Boy Scout Leader and is active in his church and is also a Town Constable.
Jim is supported by his wife Mary, a Square and Round Dance enthusiast. She is always at his side doing those things which any successful caller needs done. Mary and Jim are MOM and POP to several generations of dancers and to more than a few callers. They are living symbols of all that is good and fine in Square Dancing.
Jim and Mary well deserve the Yankee Clipper Award. This statement by one of his former students so aptly puts it, "As students we learned, as his dancers we win and as his friends we
April 28th, 1984