Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

When the person being honored has a flower on top of her head, it’s a green light for everyone to don goofy hats.

That was Nancy Hanson’s trademark. Every morning for the past 10 years, the director of Catholic Schools of Fairbanks would put on a different extravagant or outrageous hat and greet students coming into the schools. This led to wearing crazy attire, as well.

Some of those 50 or more hats went to students during a special retirement barbecue Friday. There were pumpkin hats, Santa hats, alligator hats, dangling strawberry hats, jester hats and just plain goofy hats. Maybe that’s why everyone had a smile on their face that sunny afternoon.

“I’ve used a lot of duct tape,” said Nancy Hanson. “I would change them up.”

That meant adding Beanie Babies and other surprising additions. One time she even wrapped herself in LED lights.

The students loved seeing the hat of the day every morning. It wasn’t long before parents were just as excited to catch a glimpse of Hanson as they dropped off their kids for the day.

At the farewell barbecue, one little girl ran up to Hanson wearing a tall bright green hat and proclaimed, “Now I have something to always remember you by.” She grabbed Hanson around the waist to deliver a fierce, loving hug.

Standing off to the side and watching all the festivities was George Sundborg, who hired Hanson way back in 1979.

“It was the best thing I ever did,” he said.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.