Midvale City Journal | January 2021

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January 2021 | Vol. 18 Iss. 01


HILLCREST DRILL DEVOTED TO CONTINUE ITS 58-YEAR LEGACY By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


or 58 years, a select group of girls at Hillcrest High each year bond into a sisterhood to provide school spirit at pep assemblies and at football and basketball games through precision performances. This year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe even because of it, the connection is great, said Hillcrest High head drill coach Chelsea Divine. “These 33 girls are incredible—their resiliency and ability to face this crazy year and still give it their all,” she said. “They are mentally tough. I could not have been more proud of them during the spring.” That’s because when it was time for tryouts, Hillcrest and other schools were on a soft closure following the health guidelines set by Gov. Gary Herbert. The girls learned routines on their own, were selected and trained together, yet apart, via Zoom for five weeks. During that time, dancers focused on basic skills, technique, military combinations and turns. They’d rehearse with one coach instructing and two others with two laptops watching girls perform. “We like to joke that we were the ‘Zoom champions.’ We were able to kind of manage it that way and still provide feedback to the girls,” Divine said, adding that when they were able to gather in the summer, every girl had learned the basics, so they were able to begin together with strong practices. “We have amazing captains and amazing seniors who literally would come up with a unity activity they would do over Zoom so all the girls would play, and it would keep them going.” In the fall, the team performed at football games. Only a

When Hillcrest drill isn’t performing this year, they wear masks, following the health guidelines set for COVID-19. (Chelsea Divine/Hillcrest High School)

few of the hundreds who typically watch Hillcrest drill were able to see them in person because of restricted seating, following health guidelines. Instead, fans watched the team via livestream. Even when Hillcrest was dismissed for two weeks this fall when positive case counts reached a 1% threshold, Divine said

they were able to do some strength training and conditioning as well as work on technique. With their first competitions set this winter, Divine knows they may perform at times with holes if girls are placed on quarantine. First up is the Juan Diego Catholic High Invitational, followed by Bountiful High Invitational and Rocky Mountain Continued page 14

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Rewarding students as simple as whipping out the cell phone By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


warding students for positive behavior has gone high tech. As more schools are focusing on teaching positive behavior, shifting the attention to those students instead of on the ones who act on poor choices, there has been an increased need for positive behavior intervention and support systems, including those that are online. This fall, East Midvale Elementary revamped its schoolwide expectations and hooked up to Class Dojo app. “We’re outlining what it should look like in a classroom and other areas of the school so students learn and understand the expectations,” Principal Matt Nelson said about his school where 320 students are in person, 140 are learning remotely and 12 different languages are spoken. “Kids come to school most days and make good decisions. We’re wanting to recognize that they’re doing good work and having good behaviors, so it becomes contagious. It builds community and we share in our accomplishments.” Playing off their mascot, Eddie the Eagle, students can now follow those expectations through “SOAR,” which stands for self-management, ownership, acceptance and resilient. “They self-manage and respond with their emotions appropriately; they’re honest and reflect on their behavior; they’re kind and inclusive; and they’re able to adapt to adversity,” he said. Then as a way of rewarding students, through the Class Dojo app, teachers can “whip out their phone, iPad or computer” to reward students with points, whether it’s an individual or class that is acting appropriately, Nelson said. The students don’t need to have a device although they can look up how many points they have earned for a chance to go to the school store to purchase items from mechanical pencils and slime to Lego sets and headphones


and have the mascot deliver the rewards. “This allows every kid to know the basic expectations and to receive points for positive behavior; it’s virtual currency, so this year especially (during the COVID-19 pandemic), it’s welcome,” Nelson said, adding that the faculty are enjoying its consistency so the focus then transitions to more learning. “The Dojo points are incentive for our behavioral goals, and we can add it up to class benchmarks so the whole class could earn something like a Popsicle party or hot chocolate or an extra recess.” He said the school committee choose the app since it’s free and user-friendly and has “all the functionality we wanted.” At Midvale Middle School, gone are the days of the paper Trojan Tickets given for positive behavior, as administrators also chose to go with an app this year. “We can still recognize the students, but in light of COVID, we’re not using paper,” Assistant Principal ConnieTrue Simons said. “We’re digital, using the PBIS Rewards app, and parents can see the points their children are earning for being caught doing something right as they are caring, safe and principled.” Points can be a reward for something as simple as saying, “good morning,” as Simons said she recently thanked polite students by taking out her phone’s scanner and added points to their school identification cards. They use the same system as the lunch lines so students aren’t all touching the same key pad to punch in their student ID numbers, she said. Students can check their points either on their own devices or on the school’s Chromebooks, which have been assigned to each student this school year. Like East Midvale, Midvale Middle teachers can reward one student or an entire classroom for their behavior and students

East Midvale Elementary Principal Matt Nelson and Eddie the Eagle are leading the SOAR campaign, outlining expectations and rewarding students for positive behavior. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

can save their points for the school store, purchasing items from snacks to water bottles and backpacks to ear buds. “We’re loving it,” Simons said. “In the past, the students would lose, steal or misplace their Trojan Tickets and that’s a nonis-




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sue this year. We’re also able to set goals and track the progress our students are making and when students didn’t turn in the Trojan Tickets, we weren’t able to do that. It’s really making a positive impact in our community.”l

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From Midvale to Mexico: former teacher writes the story of his family, starting from 1603 By Sarah Morton Taggart | s.taggart@mycityjournals.com


ix years ago, Manuel Romero was asked by a friend to write a 20-page account of their time as graduate students in Mexico City. The resulting essay was double that and eventually became an entire book. That book is called “Mi América: The Evolution of An American Family,” and it tells the story of Romero’s family, starting with an Aztec princess and ending with Romero himself, the first in his family to graduate from college. Romero was born in New Mexico, then moved with his family to live briefly in San Francisco, then West Jordan, Bingham Canyon, and finally settling in Midvale. Romero now lives in Sandy. “The more I wrote, the more I found out,” Romero said. “I started interviewing my family. It just blossomed into this book.” Romero drew on a wealth of resources, including interviews with friends, family, politicians and community activists. He went through his own journals and photos and poured through archives at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The resulting book tells a riveting slice of America’s history. The family’s story begins in 1603 when a conquistador and his wife moved north to help expand the Spanish empire. The story later details Romero’s great-great-great-grandmother, who was considered a Spanish citizen when she was born in 1799. When she was 22, Mexico won its independence from Spain and she became a citizen of Mexico. In 1848, the Mexican-American War ended and suddenly she was a citizen of the United States of America. But the backbone of the book is the story of Romero’s parents, Rodolfo Romero and Amelia Madrid, and their 13 children. For generations, the Romero and Madrid families thrived on the land, but through the years they were stripped of their agricultural rights. The family moved to Utah in search of employment when Romero, the youngest child, was in the first grade. “Our first home in West Jordan looked more like a run-down barn than a house,” wrote Romero in his book. “It was just off Redwood Road, across from the cemetery. To get to our house, you had to travel about a third of a mile on a dirt road that ran next to the canal. There was no indoor bathroom and only two bedrooms for the seven of us.” The family then moved to Bingham Canyon, where Romero’s older brothers had found employment in the mine. In 1963, Romero’s father bought a house on Main Street in Midvale that would serve as the family’s home base until his death at age 91. Romero worked at Berns Superfoods on Main Street, which he says hired local boys to keep them out of trouble. St. Therese of the Child Jesus Catholic Church on Allen Street


Manuel Romero wrote “Mi América: The Evolution of An American Family” to tell the story of his life and his family history dating back to the conquistadors. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)

was also a significant site for the family. Romero attended his first full traditional Nuevo Mexicano wedding, and the funeral masses for both of his parents took place there. In 2019, the family Christmas party filled the parish hall. “Midvale was divided by railroad tracks,” wrote Romero in his book. “We lived on the west side of the tracks, in what was referred to as the Mexican side of town, a dangerous place. While a significant number of Latinos did live on the west side, I think the difference was highly exaggerated…We were all working class with a huge dose of diversity.” Throughout the book Romero writes passionately about the outsized role of Latinos in the military, including the story of three family members and friends who were killed in Vietnam during a 16-day period. Once discharged from his own military service, Romero enrolled at the University of Utah under the GI Bill. “As I dove into the civil rights movement in college and began to take numerous Chicano Studies courses, it became evident that so much of our history has been hidden from us,” wrote Romero. “Not only do the spoils go to the victor, but they also get to write the stories, highlighting their adventures and courage and downplaying or dismissing the people they conquered.” He later received a scholarship to attend

graduate school in Mexico City, where he met his future wife and mother of his child. Romero completed his master’s degree at the University of New Mexico, beginning a long career of teaching, politics and community leadership. What pushed Romero to complete his book through years of writing and research? “A driving force was my nephews and nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces,” Romero said. “The more I wrote it made me think to make this bigger, more general than just about my family.” Romero asked Daniela Lopez, a family friend, to paint the cover image. Lopez grew up in Midvale and West Jordan and now is the regional painter for Louis Vuitton Las Vegas. She is known for her hyperrealistic portraits of professional basketball players. “The challenge for me was to try to bring life and color to a very old and pixelated black and white photo of the family house,” Lopez said. “We added elements here and there to tie into the book as well. It’s always an honor to create something special for a family, but to be trusted with the cover for a book—a lifetime’s body of work—is something I’ll always be touched by.” Romero finished all of the writing and editing in March, just as the pandemic hit Utah. While more people are stuck at home with time

to read, it’s been challenging for Romero to market his book. Most of his outreach has taken place via social media. “I obviously come from a large extended family,” Romero said. “People we haven’t met are reaching out from places like Virginia and Spain to communicate with me or one of my siblings.” Rose Pena of West Jordan read the book and reached Romero through Facebook. “We can relate to their struggles and also to their triumphs,” Pena wrote. “I enjoyed the historical, political, and educational references that serve as the background for your story…Our Hispanic culture is rich in its traditions and our love of family is who we are. Thank you for bringing it to life and sharing your family’s history with us.” More information and ways to purchase the book can be found at www.miamerica2020. com. Romero plans to be at Mestizo Coffee House at 631 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 19. Anyone can stop by to purchase a copy and have it signed by Romero. “It’s been an amazing journey,” Romero said. “I left here three times, and I keep coming back.” l

January 2021 | Page 5

Darlene Nethery (second from right) was adopted as a baby but reunited with her birth mother and extended family as an adult. (Photo courtesy Darlene Nethery)

Retired librarian helps people find missing family members By Sarah Morton Taggart | s.taggart@mycityjournals.com


aving a child can change a person’s life in unexpected ways. For Darlene Nethery, having a daughter made her want to find her own birth parents. “I was looking at her and thinking that I’m an only child,” Nethery said. “My husband at the time had one sister who was older. My daughter was going to grow up with no close relatives, was going to be alone when I pass.” Nethery always knew she was adopted. She loved her parents deeply, but felt a strong need to connect with her biological family. Nethery was a librarian and no stranger to research, so she dove into the project when her daughter was a toddler. Using information from the adoption records, Nethery learned the name of her birth mother, Julie Wooden-Lile, and that she lived in Oregon. After some creative digging, Nethery finally had a phone number. “She knew immediately when I said, ‘Does this birthday mean anything to you,’” Nethery said, smiling and tearing up while describing this moment that took place more than 30 years ago. Wooden-Lile called each of her four children to the phone to talk to the half-sister they never knew they had. “It was really welcoming,” Nethery said. “My one sister said, ‘I wish she had told us you were out there, I would have gone looking for you.’” Wooden-Lile made a trip to Utah and met her oldest daughter face to face a few years later. In the meantime, her sister Theresia Cressal lived in Utah and was the first of Nethery’s biological family members to meet her. They agreed to lunch at the Midvale Mining Cafe. “Her jaw dropped when she saw me,” Nethery said. “She told me I was the spitting image of Julie. In fact, when I met my mom she joked and said I only found her to see what I’ll look like when I’m 60.” Nethery’s father was more difficult to track down be-

Page 6 | January 2021

cause he had begun using a different name. A private investigator gave her access to databases and she finally found him in North Dakota. “My birth dad, his family was a little upset,” Nethery said. “He has a son that was also born the same year I was. He just goes, ‘oh, those were wild times.’” At his family’s request, a DNA test confirmed that Roger Larson was indeed her biological father. He later attended Nethery’s second wedding. Nethery has always loved horses and animals, an interest that her adopted family supported but didn’t relate to. It turned out that Wooden-Lile also loved animals. She raised horses and was an accomplished sled dog racer. “It fills in a piece of the puzzle,” Nethery said. “People with biological parents don’t know how it is. I told my parents I was searching and they said they were OK with it. But when I found my birth mom, my mom went to pieces. My dad was great. He met my birth mom. They sat across from each other and he thanked her. But when I found my birth dad I just didn’t tell them. I kind of had two separate lives.” Wooden-Lile died in 2006 from injuries sustained during a car accident and Larson passed away in November 2020. After finding her own birth parents in the early 1990s, Nethery began helping others find theirs. “Back then all you got at that time was non-identifying information from the adoption agency,” Nethery said. “One time I helped someone who’s birth mom (had been) in nursing school at the University of Utah. So I went and flipped through record books at the nursing school. Records were more open back then. Now they’re pretty much locked up.” Nethery, who lives in West Jordan, spent many years as manager of the West Jordan Library. “When you’re a librarian it’s fun just finding things,” Nethery said. “People would leave the library, and I would still be looking for the answer to their question. I was going to

find it whether they cared or not.” Nethery retired in May 2020 and has been able to devote more time to her hobby. “I knew I didn’t just want to lay around the house,” Nethery said. “I stumbled across Volunteer Search Angels and it sounded like what I wanted. They’re a not-for-profit, and it’s just a way to connect with people, which I like to do.” Volunteer Search Angels is a nonprofit organization based in Pennsylvania with hundreds of individuals working during their spare time to help others track down family members. Volunteer researchers come from a variety of professions, and many were adopted. They are not paid, but work at their own pace and decide which cases to work on. The organization is unusual in that it takes on cases for free, while private companies often charge a minimum of hundreds of dollars for a similar service. When Nethery first learned to track down biological parents, the best strategy was to focus on their identity. “Now you focus on the DNA of the family and circle in from the outside,” Nethery said. “You find the names of possible family members and figure out how they’re related based on age.” Before taking on cases, Nethery needed to learn more about DNA and how it can be used to determine relationships. “Gradually, I got to know the other angels, and one of them took me under their wing,” Nethery said. “I understood DNA, but not sure about the best way to go about it. They gave me hints and tricks.” Nethery has completed an average of one case per month, including one client in Midvale. Heather Lawrence knew that one of her grandmothers was adopted and wanted to learn more about that side of the family.

Midvale City Journal

“I did Heather’s tree, then flipped back to mine and noticed a common person four or five generations back,” Nethery said. “I called her up and said, ‘Hi, cousin.’” Nethery hopes to build a family tree for her adopted family as well, but hasn’t been able to get very far. Both her adopted parents have also passed away and she regrets not asking them more questions. Conversely, she’s been able to trace her husband’s ancestors back to Norse Vikings. For anyone hoping to complete their own family tree, Nethery recommends mapping their DNA first. Of the services available, she prefers ancestry.com because it makes it easier to find connections, but it helps to use more than one company. The next step is to sign up with Volunteer Search Angels. Nethery also recommends writing down any information you have about the missing family member, even tiny details or rumors. “It might be that little clue that gets us to the right answer,” Nethery said. When a person goes searching for missing family members, they never know what they’re going to find. One friend lived in Hawaii and had tracked her birth mother to Utah, so asked Nethery for help with finding her. The mother had mental health and substance abuse issues and was homeless. “That’s the hard part about finding,” Nethery said. “You don’t know who you’re finding and how you’re going to be received. I’ve come across situations where the birth

The COVID-19 Impacted Businesses Grant Program, known as Shop In Utah, is a grant program to help support businesses and provide discounts to consumers. Darlene Nethery (right) poses with her birth father, Roger Larson, on her wedding day. (Photo courtesy Darlene Nethery)

parents were OK with it but there are also ones who want nothing to do with it.” Nethery knows she’s at the lucky end of that spectrum. “I went from being an only child to having eight half brothers and sisters. You can’t have too many people to love you.” l

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January 2021 | Page 7

Midvale resident celebrates 90th birthday with ‘honk and wave’ By Sarah Morton Taggart | s.taggart@mycityjournals.com


t wasn’t the 90th birthday party they’d hoped for, but Jean Katis’ children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were still able to celebrate with her. On the afternoon of her birthday, more than 50 friends and family members drove by to honk and wave. Katis was born on Oct. 30, 1930 and has lived in Midvale for more than 70 years. She moved to Grant Street in 1964 and raised six children there with her husband, Gus Katis. Gus Katis had a long career at the Kennecott Copper Mine and served on the Midvale City Planning and Zoning Commission for many years. He passed away in 2015. Jean Katis was active in the PTA for nearly 30 years as each of her children attended Midvale Elementary, Midvale Junior High and Hillcrest High School. “Generations of Midvale kids always had a place at her dinner table or a sleeping bag on her floor,” said her youngest son, Chris Katis of Murray. “She’s as much Midvale as the town itself—resilient, strong and welcoming to all.” l

Left: Jean Katis celebrated her 90th birthday by waving from her front yard as more than 50 friends and family drove by to wish her well. Top Right: Family members drive by and display a sign to celebrate the 90th birthday of Jean Katis. Bottom Right: Jean Katis reacts as the first car with family members inside pulls up in front of her house. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)

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Water quality to COVID-19, Hillcrest environmental students learn concepts, apply understanding By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


n a Friday morning in October, Hillcrest High teacher Jake Flannigan decided to take advantage of both the good weather and the opportunity presented after Canyons Board of Education approved Fridays as “continued learning Fridays,” allowing for teacher collaboration and student independent study. With the nod from administration, he met nine advanced placement environmental studies students at Winchester Park along the Jordan River for a field study. “I wanted them to have some hands-on learning, to take the concepts they were learning and apply them locally,” he said. “It makes what they’re learning more meaningful.” Flannigan showed students the rock outcroppings, and how the water formed deep pools, allowing for more wildlife along the water, as well as better water quality. “This area is popular for fishing and birding; it’s one of the most diverse areas of the river here,” he said. But a few steps away, at the pond where ducks and geese skimmed along the surface and were nestled on the banks, was another story, he said. “It’s a great example of horrible eutrophication,” he said, saying that added nutrients created more microbes in the water, resulting in more algae bloom that was depleting oxygen levels. When that happens, rotting occurs creating a murky bottom to the pond.

“That can lead to a bad situation for wildlife and human health,” he said after students took measurements for dissolved oxygen, pH levels, total dissolved solids and temperature. Pond ecology is considered the interaction of the life in the pond with the environment that exists there, he said, adding that humans are adding to the unsteadiness by feeding breadcrumbs to the waterfowl. “We talked about having good balance and water flow and how to improve it,” he said about maintaining that ecological balance. He compared it to how both Wheeler Farm and Murray City Park added sandbars to their lake areas which “seemed to be the fix with a sandy bottom and get the nastiness out.” Then, Flannigan and the students took to their bikes, scooters and running shoes and headed south along the Jordan trail, going upriver to observe discharge water from West Jordan’s South Valley Water Reclamation Facility. In the past, students have toured the facility, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, that isn’t an option, so students tested water conditions at that point. “They learned the water quality was better than the river as any reclaimed water that is added back into the Jordan River has to be of improved levels,” he said. Junior Zoe Welch was one of the students at the Friday field study.

“It was great that we were able to apply what we’re learning to real life,” she said. “We learned the Jordan River is built in certain ways, so it helps keep it clean for the animals’ habitat and our water healthy and protects our environment.” Flannigan and colleague Hayden Bove also took their environmental sciences classes on walking field trips around the Hillcrest campus. Through the years, Flannigan’s students have compiled data from the local canal that has been used to irrigate the fields. This year, as water already was turned off, they walked to Little Cottonwood Creek to study and test the water. “This is allowing students to gather information, analyze and understand the world instead of just memorizing facts,” he said. Students also build aquariums from kits to understand the relationship between gravel, snails and algae, studying nitrate and oxygen levels and learning about carbon cycles. After watching it for three weeks, they make a change that could either improve or harm those levels and make conclusions based on their data. “They learn how nature works and the big impact of how humans can affect those systems,” he said. Throughout the years, his students have tested the soil quality around campus, the mud from the canal and for the past four years, the school garden. “We can amend the garden’s soil and track it to see what works,” he said, adding that Earth Club students found a new location for the school garden in the spring as the current garden in the courtyard of the 58-year-old building will be demolished as part of the school’s reconstruction. Three years ago, the environmental studies students looked at sustainable energy designs and created a plan for the new school building. “They looked at the sun angle to help heat up the floors of the building and what kinds of shades could apply to the building. They had sustainable features that could be built into the new design of the building and a group of them took the proposal to the architect and presented it,” he said. As a result, the new school building will have solar wiring available for hookup.

Hillcrest High School students, in October 2019, test the water in Little Cottonwood Creek as part of their “water quality walk.” (Jake Flannigan/Hillcrest High)

“I’m teaching concepts of the real world we live in and these students are gaining so much more from these experiences,” he said. To start the year, students had the opportunity to learn more about COVID-19 as socially distanced, they sang their ABCs over petri glasses wearing their masks correctly, wearing their mask on without covering their noses, and without a mask. Then, they traced the number of colonies of bacteria, with the masked test as the base. “There were three times more colonies in the no mask petri glasses and two times when they wore it with their nose out,” he said. “It captured the students’ attention because here was something that they’re living now, a public health concern. These are opportunities they’re learning about in the world they live in, after studying the concepts of the class and then, able to apply their knowledge.” l





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With governor’s mandate, Hillcrest wrestlers paused before hitting the mats By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


n what was to be the first day of practice, the Hillcrest High wrestling team was sidelined—along with every other high school sport that wasn’t in a championship run with Gov. Gary Herbert’s COVID-19 mandate of no extracurricular activities for two weeks, which was expected to end Nov. 23. Before the pandemic mandate, the wrestlers were following health protocols of taking temperatures, completing health symptom checks and wearing masks when they aren’t on the mats, even when they lift weights. The mats were sanitized before and after every practice and they had revised their tournaments from two days to just one day and restricted spectators, coach Nick Pappas said. “Tournaments are the biggest way for our athletes to get experience and they’re usually the schools’ fundraisers,” he said. “We had hoped to host a youth tournament, but without parents attending and helping, it was canceled. We need our youth team to help make our program grow so we can be competitive.” The team also sectioned off parts of the mats to reduce additional contact of athletes. It also allowed the team to practice by weight level, including the team’s girl wrestlers.

This is the first year girls wrestling has been sanctioned. In the past, the handful of females would wrestle against the boys, but this year, under the Utah High School Activities Association’s rules, girls will compete against girls. Pappas said that some schools will have complete teams, but he expects about the same number at Hillcrest, minus the two who graduated, and the team will be led by sophomore Briona Love. “Wrestling is wrestling, expect for where you grab; we make sure that is appropriate contact,” he said. On the boys’ side, eight wrestlers graduated, but last year’s core freshmen will help fill the holes. He said that seniors, who now have wrestled with him three seasons, will lead on the mats. That includes ranked Max Greenwood, Talon Yates and Tanner Wilde. Pappas, who has wrestled since elementary school, wrestled for Taylorsville High, graduating in 2011. He also was an all-around athlete playing football and club volleyball. “I learned about myself and contributed as a member of a team,” he said about wrestling. “I want to give back to the sport I love.” That includes trying to win back the “Battle of the Ax” against Brighton High on Jan. 28, 2021. “Last year, we lost a close one, with just

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nine points in the final match. It was a close one. We’ve only won it a couple of times. Hopefully we will get it. It’s an intense rivalry, and a fun one,” he said. Region is “pretty good competition,” with the rival Bengals winning it last year. He also sees Murray High, with its deep talent, as a team to beat. East High has state wrestlers returning, Olympus High is “traditionally good with a good feeder program into its high school” and Cottonwood may begin a new friendly rival as his brother, who is coaching the Colts, is building that program. “Last year, we were toward the bottom of region. We had close duals and won some and lost some, so region can be pretty much open; everyone has a shot,” Pappas said. As of press deadline, how and if the governor’s mandate will impact the season has yet to be determined. The UHSAA website states: “The UHSAA staff is working in conjunction with the UHSAA Board-of-Trustees and Executive Committee to determine how the winter sports season will proceed when practice and tryouts resume. More information will be made available at a later date.” “The region is mulling around the possibility of running tri-duals rather than regular dual meets, which doesn’t affect us too much, but our schedule will likely be vastly different,” Pappas said. “We’re not a program that is

going to hurt from not having the opportunity to win a state title, but I have a lot of young wrestlers whose development will greatly be affected if we miss out this season.” Competition was scheduled beginning with a meet against Olympus on Dec. 3, parents were allowed to attend with assigned seats for contact tracing purposes. There are contests every couple days running throughout the winter. In addition to the duals, six tournaments were scheduled. Divisionals were set for early February, with state slated on Feb. 17-18, 2021. “Divisionals has been great to create parity so we’re getting the best kids into state,” Pappas said. However, wrestling teaches student-athletes more than just to win, he added. “The kids learn what they can handle, it gives them a mentality. There’s a ton of wrestling so there’s a commitment they make from maintaining their weight to performing on their schoolwork,” he said. “It is just you and one other person on the mat and nobody else to blame. It comes down to how you prepare, what you eat, your accountability. It’s an organized fight, not a combat. It shows you what you’re made of. There’s no better high off of adrenaline that having your hand raised after you win and knowing your hard work paid off.” l


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By Mayor Robert Hale

ENDURANCE, ASPIRATIONS AND HOPE You and I are likely facing the most serious health crisis in our lifetime. We couldn’t imagine a year ago what we have since witnessed. We thought, for sure, that whatever the COVID-19 thing was, it would be here and gone within a season. We made plans to go traveling, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries in our favorite locations. We knew we could finish our preparations for a productive future with our own schooling, or that of our children, or grandchildren. Now in early 2021, we have gained a vaster appreciation for our miniature oppressor – an itty, bitty viral carnivore that has changed our lives, habits, travels, plans, and really, our futures. Yes, the vaccine army is being deployed in the hundreds of thousands, soon in the millions, to give each of us a strong deterrent and protection against the potential ravages that others have suffered through. My prayers are that each of you will take first opportunity to protect yourself from this pandemic virus. Because neighborhoods and local businesses develop many close-by contacts, it is paramount to the City of Midvale and all who live and work herein to reengage with those closest to us as soon as possible. School teachers and administrations have worked overtime to see that our children, whether homeschooled or taught in the classroom, advance in their character-building and intellectual learning. I know the chore of raising children has been a source of high magnitude stress to all parents. Grandparents of every stripe have looked from afar, or from the very center of the education process and prayed that their grandbabies were picking up the lessons in English and immersion languages, Physical Education, Music and the Arts, Mathematics and the Sciences.

Local businesses will develop again to meet their customer’s needs. Help them along, too, by spending your money in their establishments. That income recirculates seven times within the area! Probably one of the most important lessons that is learned by society is how to get along with others. Soon, as the weeks turn to months, the high frequencies of positive testing, hospitalizations and deaths will subside as the virus runs its course looking for ever more scarce vulnerable targets. We will begin reestablishing our own contacts within society again. I can hardly wait to begin to feel free enough to shake hands, hug and associate without extra protections, which are mandatory now and probably for months to come. This is where patience will be the primary inter-social skill. January is not a month to rest from our labors. No! There is much to do to assist the elderly, ailing, those who mourn, or who lack the tools and strength to clear snow from walkways, driveways, steps and vehicle windows. Let’s be neighborly and assist all – young and old – who can use our abilities. One more thing – You probably gave some assistance to the poor and homeless during the Holiday months of 2020. But the need to help did not go away with the passing of New Year’s Day. No. Please set up an assistance fund of your own to give to the care of the poor and hungry and homeless. Make your donation just large enough that it makes you wonder if you have given too much. Then you’ll know it was just right! And thanks! Thanks for looking out for those with less than you have. That makes for a stronger civic pride and binds us closer together as fellow-citizens. I wish a Prosperous and Happy New Year to you and to your family!

Virtual Senior Center offering classes It’s that time of year when we make New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common resolutions that Americans make is exercising more. If you are 60 plus and this is one of your 2021 goals, Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services Virtual Senior Center can help. The center offers a variety of free exercise classes that you can take within the safety of your own home. In January, we are offering two Arthritis Foundation Exercise Programs (AFEP). These programs promote physical activity as a strategy for managing arthritis symptoms and improving or maintaining mobility, strength, and physical functions. Those taking the class have experienced reduced pain and fatigue, less depression, and have been able to manage their arthritis and remain active. The AFEP class (standing and seated) will begin on January 19 at 10:00 AM on Tuesdays and Fridays. A Seated AFEP class will begin on January 25 at 10:15 AM on Mondays and Thursdays. Both

classes run for eight weeks. For more information and to register, call 385-468-3299. In February, we will be adding several exercise classes taught by University of Utah fitness exercise science students. These students are in their final year of studies. Classes that have been taught in the past are Balance Training for the Older Adults, Chair Stretch and Strengthen, Mobility and Flexibility, and Movement and Dance. Look for more information in our Virtual Senior Center Course Catalog at slco.org/aging-adult-services/ virtual-senior-center/. Ongoing Virtual Senior Center exercise classes include Tai Chi, Yoga, and Line Dancing. For more information and to register, call 385468-3329. We also offer videos that can be done anytime anywhere from our SLCO Aging & Adult Services YouTube channel. We look forward to helping you achieve your 2021 fitness goals.

In The Middle of Everything WINTER ON-STREET PARKING If there are cars parked on the streets, plows can’t fully clear the roads and run the risk of hitting parked vehicles. Residents are not permitted to park any vehicle on city streets where one inch of snow has accumulated. The parking prohibition shall remain in effect for 24 hours after snow has ceased to fall, or until such time as the snow has been removed from the street. (Midvale Municipal Code Section 10.16.120). Residents should be mindful of the weather and make arrangements to park off the streets when snow is forecasted.


Understanding Your Utility Bill Did you know your Midvale City utility bill is for more than just your water service? Here is a breakdown of the services included on your utility bill: WATER – Your water charge includes both a base charge and a usage charge. The base charge is charged regardless of usage and is used to maintain the City’s water infrastructure. The usage charge depends on how much water flows through your water meter and is billed in thousands of gallons. Your usage is calculated by taking the current meter read and subtracting last month’s meter read. From October through May (which is considered an offpeak time), the City charges a lower rate than the summer months. Usage charges are used to purchase water from Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District (JVWCD), and to produce water from the City’s wells.

Resolve to be More Prepared By Julie Harvey, Municipal Emergency Management Planner If we learned anything from 2020 it is that just when you think you’ve seen everything, something new comes along. With this lesson in mind, I urge you to resolve to increase your preparedness for disasters or emergencies in 2021. Each month I will be presenting information provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) www.fema.gov or www.ready.gov) or the Do 1 Thing website (https://do1thing.com/). I will be providing reminders to do simple things like check your stored water supply, check the batteries in your flashlights, or checking the phone numbers in your emergency contact list. If you complete the actions I recommend, you’ll be a little more prepared each month. The thing about preparedness is it never ends; batteries always go dead, stored food passes expiration dates, or addresses and phone numbers change. This year resolve to do something each month to be resilient if something unexpected happens. In January 2021 make a plan with your loved ones for what you need to do if you have to evacuate. (https://do1thing.com/ tasks/evacuate) Choose two places for your family to meet. One should be right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. The other should be outside of your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate. Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel, stay with friends or family in a safe location, or go to a shelter. Hold evacuation drills at home. Practice getting out of the house quickly and drive your planned evacuation route. The more you practice, the more confident you will be if you really have to evacuate. Plan ahead for your pets. Due to health concerns, pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters; however, there may be a pet shelter set up nearby during large evacuations. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation route in case a designated pet shelter is not available. Do 1 Thing. (n.d.). Make a Plan : Plan what to do if you have to evacuate. Retrieved December 15, 2020, from https://do1thing.com/tasks/evacuate

SEWER – Your sewer service is either handled by Midvale City, Midvalley Improvement District, Sandy Suburban Improvement District, or Cottonwood Improvement District (depending on where you live). If you live outside of Midvale City’s service area, you will receive a separate bill from that District. For Midvale City customers, the sewer service includes both a base charge and usage charge. The base charge is a flat amount charged regardless of usage. This amount funds ongoing maintenance and repair of the sewer system. In addition, your bill also includes a usage charge. This charge is based off your average winter water usage. The period used to calculate this usage is November through March, and your average will be adjusted on your bill each July. This usage charge is used to pay for sewage treatment costs. STORM DRAIN – You may ask, “why is a storm drain utility needed?” The City’s storm drain system is needed to safely and efficiently manage a property’s rainfall runoff into pipe systems, drainage channels, detention structures, streams, and water bodies. This system requires ongoing monitoring and maintenance to work effectively, and is required by the Utah Clean Water Act. Each residential customer is charged 1 ERU (Equivalent Residential Unit), while commercial customers are charged based off their property’s impervious (hard) surface area (such as parking lots, roofs, etc.). GARBAGE – This service covers your weekly garbage and recycling pickup, and also the City’s bi-annual curbside bulky waste program (occurring each April and October). Street Lighting – A flat fee is charged to each residential and commercial customer each month. This fee pays for maintenance, operating costs (such as electricity), and debt service on the City’s entire street lighting system. UTOPIA – We have a number of residents with UTOPIA service contracts that are billed through Midvale City. Please refer to your signed contract detailing the terms of your agreement. It is also important to note that your utility charges and fees DO NOT support general government expenses (such as public safety, streets, parks, etc.). All of the funds collected are used to support the maintenance, operations, and capital needs of the respective utility.


Thousands of Pets Helped in 2020

Salt Lake County Animal Services is the largest, lifesaving (no-kill) municipal shelter in Utah. In 2020, we helped over 11,500 animals. We cared for a variety of pets including: cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, chickens, goats, pigs, reptiles, birds & small mammals. Salt Lake County Animal Services in 2020: • 11,500 pets were cared for or received services from Animal Services. • 3,400 owned pets received food from the Pet Crew Pantry • 1,850 pets were returned to their owners • 2,600 pets were adopted or sent to a rescue • 2,500 pets were spayed/neutered by the on-site clinic • AND SO MUCH MORE! Whether you have a pet or may be looking for a new one, please check out our website for adoptable pets, or programs for you and your current pet to take advantage of. Animal Services has other lifesaving programming that may interest you: volunteering, fostering, free virtual workshops, humane education presentations, sponsorships, and more. Please consider donating to the spay/neuter or injured animal fund: bit.ly/donate2slcoas For more information visit AdoptUtahPets.org, check out our Facebook page, email animal@slco.org, or visit 511 W 3900 S in Salt Lake City. The shelter is open Monday – Saturday from 10 AM – 6 PM.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or formerly known as Food Stamps) SNAP provides food assistance to low-income individuals and households through an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card known as the Horizon Card. To apply for benefits, go to the Department of Workforce Services online at jobs.utah. gov/mycase. You may also apply at a Utah Department of Workforce Services Office or they can mail an application to you; however you may lose benefits due to mailing delays. • No documents are needed to file an application. • You may be eligible for expedited SNAP benefits receiving SNAP within seven calendar days. • Expedited SNAP benefits are a faster way to get your first month of SNAP benefits. You may be eligible for expedited SNAP if: • You have $150 or less in monthly gross income and $100 or less in liquid assets (cash and money in the bank), or • Your shelter costs are higher than your combined gross monthly income and cash and savings or • You are a migrant household with $100 or less in cash and savings. • Identity is the only verification you need if you are eligible for expedited SNAP. For more information, call 1-800-453-FOOD (2561) or visit UAH.org Use our calculator to see if you might be eligible, or visit: uah.org/get-help/calculator

Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) Moms, are you eligible for WIC? If you qualify for SNAP, you likely qualify for WIC. The Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) provides nutrition and breastfeeding services and supplemental foods to pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to their 5th birthday. Learn more at wic.utah.gov or call 1-877-942-5437.

Continued from front page Classic in January. The competitions will include traditional military and dance routines and also a new category—show—that this year will combine hip-hop, character and prop dances. “It’s an all-encompassing number and there’s a lot going on; it’s like a mind explosion. It’s given the girls something to look forward to and just have fun where they can dance and create something amazing,” said Divine, who brought in a Utah Jazz stunt team member to help work on skills. The season concludes with region on Jan. 23 and state in early February. Hillcrest has a legacy of performing well at region and state, having won more than 20 region titles and seven state titles from 1999 through 2016. “We have the legacy of Hillcrest drill that has always been strong. I’m so honored to be a part of this program because I’ve had incredible coaches come before me, who have set the standard and the tone, and I think, among us, we’ve been able to maintain that because we’ve learned from each other,” Divine said. Hillcrest drill was known as the Marchioness or “perfect marcher” when the school opened in 1962. The team of 50 girls, advised by Dorothy Schmidt, were considered a pep club that “not only promoted school spirit, but established enthusiasm, respect and admiration for our new school,” according to Hillcrest’s yearbook. The next year, the yearbook said, “By displaying unique marches during half time, executing tricky hand movements and cheering their hearts out at games, they have proven to be the backbone of our school spirit.” By the end of the 1960s, they wore “lively green dresses with bright Hs” and cheered “Green White Dynamite,” were known to decorate team lockers and hold annual teas with other school clubs, sing the school hymn after victories and hosted the Marchioness annual spring formal. In 1969, 62 girls also marched at a University of Utah football game. In the 1970s, they introduced new rituals, such as the traditional flashlight march, which had each girl hold two flashlights and at the end of the march, they formed an H, dropped their pom poms and performed a ripple hand movement with flashlights only. The Marchioness marched at halftime of a Utah Stars game in 1971 and combined with the pep band to march to “Our Boys are Fine” in 1972. In 1973, a scholarship tea was introduced, and the Marchioness had their own song. It was also in the mid-70s that they transitioned to more of a drill team. In 1978, they took first in the BYU homecoming parade— the first parade they ever entered. They also competed at state and nationals under new head coach Lausanne Jensen as Schmidt stepped down after 18 years. In 1979, Hillcrest’s drill team won its first national competition in California. They performed two routines in Santa Monica before waiting with 6,000 other girls at the L.A. Sports Arena for results.

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In the early 1980s, the Marchioness competed in several area parades, state and nationals. Jodi Maxfield was head coach. “When the position opened up, I jumped in and just loved it,” she said. “It was my passion; it’s artistic and disciplined.” In 1983, UHSAA sanctioned drill as a sport, in support of Title IX, which gives female athletes equal opportunity in sports at educational institutions that receive federal funds, UHSAA Assistant Director Jan Whittaker said. Novelty was a popular category, where drill teams would carry extravagant props to use in their choreographed performances. “They had thematic giant sets, which cost enormous amounts of money and it just got bigger and more elaborate in cost,” she said, adding that from those days of backdrops there have been changes including setting a limit of $600 per dancer per school. Maxfield said she recalled when they competed at nationals in California, they were allowed to carry gun powder, with special permission, on the plane for their cannon prop. Libby (Davidson) Williams, who marched from 1984-1987, remembers huge sets her three years—a teddy bear, a shipwreck and a vaccination syringe that took about 15 members to carry. “Everyone just loved those the most; they were crowd pleasers,” she said. Williams didn’t grow up dancing, but she worked hard to make the team and learned to do the splits—something she can still do today. Once she was on the team, she worked even harder. “It seemed liked hours we’d practice, especially our kick line, but I loved every single person on the team, and we did it for each other. Even now when we run into each other, we’re just so glad to see each other since we have a bond,” she said. Performances continued to be a part of Hillcrest Marchioness. Williams recalled performing for the Utah Jazz and in parades. In 1985, Maxfield took the team to perform at the U.S. Capitol and the July 4 Washington, D.C. parade, at the Statue of Liberty in New York City, and the Freedom Festival parade in Philadelphia. “We were invited to march in the parade; it was a big honor to be chosen to represent Utah,” she said. During that time, Hillcrest claimed several region wins and detail was given to every move, every prop and every costume. “I remember sewing a lot of costumes to try to stretch our budget,” she said, adding that often she’d add sequins and trim to basic outfits. It was the night before a competition when she was sewing until 3 a.m. to add trim to gauntlets—their formal gloves —only to have one member forget her pair, so as they were about to take the floor, every girl took off their gloves so they’d still match. “I can laugh about that now,” she said. “There definitely is a legacy at Hillcrest. There’s an atmosphere of drill when they’re

Hillcrest drill team performs in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York, as seen here, in 1985. (Photo courtesy of Jodi Maxfield)

pushed to be the best. The girls can practice hours every day, but yet they’re good friends and have a love for the team. They’re working hard for themselves and for the girl next to them.” UHSAA’s Whittaker was a coach at Bountiful High then, accumulating 18 state titles. “Hillcrest has a huge tradition of success, innovation and clean performances,” she said. “They excel in their technique. Hillcrest is always in the competition; they’ve had good coaching and their program draws talented students and dancers.” The Huskies won region in 1987 and were still known to practice hours each week, under new adviser Cathy Brimley. In the 1988 yearbook, Teressa Toombs is quoted, “We live, sleep, and breath drill team,” and teammate Doreen Leek added, “We come to school in the dark and leave school in the dark.” In 1990, with only six returning members, their legacy continued, both in terms of success and sisterhood. Drill president Kelly Anderson is quoted in the yearbook: “After a few years, the trophies we have won will be forgotten, but the friends we have made we will remember forever.” In 1992, under Brenda Schoenfeld (later Searle) and Mechele Bosco the team grabbed a second national title. By 1994, they had won region three years straight. More national titles came at the turn of the decade with a bike routine in the prop category that won every year. In 2001, senior Tiffany Sharp was quoted in the yearbook as saying, “My favorite routine was the bikes, because no one thought we could do it.” In 2003, Heidi Moss told the yearbook staff: “Bikes is my favorite routine because who else can spin their bike and jump over it?” The team continued to compete at national competitions in California, Florida, Texas and New York; marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City; danced at the introduction of the drivers at the Indy 500; and at several venues during the 2002 Winter

Hillcrest drill team wins the state title in 2008 under coaches Brenda Schoenfeld and Mechele Bosco. (Photo courtesy of Brenda Harper)

Olympics, which was when Searle was named Utah Dance/Drill Association 5A Coach of the Year. Six years later, she was named the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Section 7 Spirit Coach of the Year. During the Bosco-Searle era, the Marchioness name transitioned to HD for Hillcrest Drill. “It was clean and simple. Marchioness was never pronounced correctly, and we just wanted a statement name that was simple and clear,” said Searle, who now goes by Harper. She had competed under Maxfield when she was on the drill team. Bosco and Searle coached together for 22 years. “Mechele and I are very competitive people,” Harper said. “Mechele had won several gymnastics state titles before coming to drill. Dance was not her strong suit, but coaching

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was. So together with my dance and choreography background and her coaching experience, we made a great team. We lived HD, we talked nonstop about it, planned and prepared together and branded our team in a way that no other team did. We were not afraid to push boundaries, have high expectations, try new things. Everything we did, we did to impress, to make a statement.” In 2014, Bosco retired and the following year, Divine, who was a drill team captain at Hillcrest under the two coaches, joined the coaching staff. Two years later, Divine and Searle’s team won 4A region and state championships. They also lead the team to take first in three routines at Miss Drill Team USA international competition. In 2017, HD won the sportsmanship award at state, and traveled to New York City to take classes from the Rockettes in Broadway Dance Center. In 2018, Searle was named UHSAA 6A coach of the year after the team took region for the fourth year straight. A retirement show was held in her honor. “Dancers from all of my years coaching came to that show wearing their drill jackets and they did a special performance combining several of the most memorable routines over the 28 years,” she said. “Of course, I cried all the way through it.” Since then, Divine has led the team; her most challenging time was the following year when junior Olivia Rodgerson died from a car accident. The team dedicated its season to

their teammate. HD also performed in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and attended dance classes by Rockettes. “Olivia’s accident really affected me,” Divine said, saying yoga helped her recuperate. She has incorporated yoga into the team’s regiment as a time to give members a chance to focus. “Before the girls perform, we always take five deep breaths as a team and take that moment of silence to focus. I think with the pandemic and the stress and anxiety of it all, we need extra time to breathe and to be calm and focus on what matters most. I think sometimes in athletics, we can be so focused on the trophy, but sometimes, they need to be reminded that they’re awesome and they’re enough,” Divine said. Last year, before the pandemic hit, HD rallied to place in the top three finishes in military, hip hop and character at the national Contest of Champions in Florida. “This team is really strong, they really had to bond in a different way, and I think now that we are able to come together, they value it so much knowing we could lose this opportunity at any point if we get shut down. I feel it’s actually encouraged us to appreciate it even more, and appreciate each other even more, and not take it for granted,” Divine said. “Hillcrest drill is our family. It’s not just a thing we show up and do, it’s a huge part of who we are.” l

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Hillcrest football program approach, attitude points to future success By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


illcrest Football coach Brock Bryant knew his Huskies were considered underdogs in the season’s first game against Timpanogos High. “We came out to beat them,” he said. “It was the first drive of the season, with the ball on the 20, and we just drove the ball down the field and scored. It was a real eye-opener for the kids, who hadn’t seen that for a long

time.” The Huskies won that game 26-0 and a second game two weeks later to Judge Memorial, 13-0, Hillcrest finished 2-9, sixth in region and gives Bryant a record of four wins in his two years as coach. “The scoreboard may not show it, but we’re building the program. Every week, they come out with a winning attitude, they’re

keeping their grades up and they’re putting in energy in their practices and games—even while persevering through COVID-19 and its restrictions,” Bryant said. He also said while the team is missing the energy from its studentbody as fans are limited in response to the pandemic, the team is making connections with the community, from helping neighbors with yardwork to

supporting the Husky youth football players at their games. “It starts with making connections,” he said. “And those relationships with the youth program are resulting in ‘Coach, I want to play for the Huskies.’ And then, in three to five years, we’ll be seeing the results on the scoreboard.” l

The Huskies break through a Skyline Eagle tackle in their homecoming game. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

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Page 16 | January 2021

Midvale City Journal

Girls play with heart—for in tennis, it’s all about the love By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


illcrest High head tennis coach Robert James knows his student-athletes may have disadvantages competing with some of the state’s top teams in the region, but he also expects his team to work hard when they step on the court. “I’m proud of those who came to practice, learned a lot and applied what they learned to their game,” he said. “We want them to create the action, not wait for it to come to you. They tried hard, had fun and improved a lot.” While they struggled on the scoreboard—with their only team win over Murray—they showed grace at the Sept. 23-24 region meet held at Brighton High, placing seventh. They also showed resiliency during the uncertainty of practicing and competing during the COVID-19 pandemic from having daily health checks to having a few players be quarantined during regionals as they were in direct contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. And the team is looking forward to next fall. “The UHSAA plans to realign the region,” James said, adding that it might be early spring when they will learn if they still will have stiff competition with Skyline, Hillcrest High junior Shay Minoughan serves during the region match, held at Brighton High. (Julie Slama/City Journals) Olympus and other teams next season. l


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January 2021 | Page 17

Schools flip-flop learning methods to keep providing instruction to students By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com

I didn’t know what to expect,” recalled a Canyons School District parent after his first child’s school changed to virtual learning after positive COVID-19 cases reached a 1% limit for the school. “But it hasn’t been too bad,” continued Marc Hone, even as his three oldest children who attend three different schools all were learning online in late November, following health guidelines to temporarily close their schools. “We rely on Canvas (online learning platform), teacher emails and frequently look at the schools’ websites to ensure they’re getting their assignments done.” This has been a different experience from last spring when all schools were suddenly put on soft closure for the rest of the school year following Gov. Gary Herbert’s mandate in response to the pandemic. With four of his five kids then in school, it was a scramble to meet with teachers who held Zoom meetings at the same time and having limited devices, he said. “It was a disaster last March, just terrible. We were strapped to devices and it was too much screen time. Some classes, it was hard to get on the livestream,” he said. “Now teachers are better prepared, each student is given a Chromebook from school and we’re OK as long as the internet holds up.” A Granite School District parent, who only agreed to speak anonymously, said when her two high school students at the same school have flipped to virtual learning,

Board of Education set a 1% positive case three times. “While we are becoming more efficient threshold to trigger a closure. Many students and family fear the dis- in our use of technology in attempting to enruptions in education with inconsistent gage students, it is still difficult,” Principal learning when students or teachers are David Dunn said. “Establishing a set schedin quarantine or isolation or when en- ule for teaching and having students log on tire schools flip-flop. has been much more effective in getting stuAlta High senior Coleman Hone, who dents to engage. We set deadlines, but we is also taking classes at Canyons Technical work with students individually according Education Center, said the uncertainty of his to their needs.” schedule has been hard. However, he added, “First term, we “I come home from my morning at did see an increase in students getting ‘F’ CTEC to learn that Alta is online,” he said. grades. A support system has been put into “This isn’t what I’ve grown up with all my place to try and help those students get life. It’s just inconsistent learning and it caught up.” throws me off.” Cottonwood High flip-flopped twice, His principal, Brian McGill, said it’s sent teams to students’ homes to support stubeen challenging for his school community. dents, and has seen improvement in student “It’s really, really difficult on teachers learning—after implementing ideas from and our kids,” he said. “Students need sta- other schools, including a set schedule. bility. Some kids quarantined one, two and “We found that with our students, and it three times in six weeks just by sitting next was toward the end of the first quarter, our to kids who tested positive. It’s hard on kids participation was terrible,” Principal Terri to stay up on studies and hard on our teach- Roylance said. “Kids just did not follow up ers preparing for all eight classes online.” at home. I ended up mailing all first quarter In the 12 weeks since school opened, report cards home to the families with on the Alta has flipped to virtual learning three back side a little infographic and letter from times. me saying why did we fail so many kids and “School became unmanageable with it’s because kids did not engage whatsoever. so many teachers and staff out. It became a Not all, but many.” challenge to find substitutes and run school,” Brighton, like many schools when they McGill said, adding 80% of administrators’ flip, learned online teaching is more effectime was contact tracing. tive with a schedule. Granger High also has flip-flopped “The first time, we didn’t require synchronous learning, but instead, let student set their own pace,” Principal Tom Sherwood said. “We learned that they’d procrastinate through the roof, had other concerns at home which made it hard to focus, had troubles with bandwidth, and other issues. It sounded great, but it didn’t work out that way.” At Murray High, Principal Scott Wihongi said that transition to online learning needs to find a balance. “Teachers continue to explore how much is too much when it comes to fully online learning,” he said, adding that the school flipped to virtual twice before December. “They are finding that they have to scale back work a little more since it takes students longer to do it in the home setting.” Hillcrest High School math teacher Matt Snyder said that when his school flipped around Thanksgiving, they had a schedule for a sense of accountability. “Students need a structure to be successful; it improves productivity,” he said, adding that the last Wednesday online, only two of his 95 students during the day were absent—about the same as a winter day in a non-COVID-19 year. “Students learn better with interaction. I usually greet students when they come into my classroom, Middle school student Jack Whitaker gets on Zoom to follow along with his Indian Hills teacher in what seemed to him as “non-stop Zoom meetings” during his online so I make sure I do that when I see them log school day. (Photo courtesy of Karla-Ann Whitaker) on. It adds some personality and helps them

Page 18 | January 2021

each child has had different experiences. For her freshman, there has been tears and stress keeping up with a 4.0 grade-point average, but her child has been able to do it. “She’ll work in front of the computer for six hours, take a break and then, do some more. I asked, ‘Aren’t you done?’ And she said, ‘Well, that was my schoolwork and now, I’m doing my homework.’ And she’ll be there for more hours. This is too much. I think that the quantity needs to be lessened, but the quality needs to remain,” she said. Her other high schooler, a 4.0 GPA junior, has seen a total disruption in academics, his mother said. “There’s been a lack of consistency with live instruction and support from some teachers,” she said. “He’s kind of crushed academically because of the stress and everything that goes with it. He’s not sure now that he wants to go to college; kids are starting to lose sight and lose hope. It’s proving to be really, really difficult.” Throughout Canyons, Granite, Jordan and Murray school districts, several schools, most commonly secondary schools, had transitioned to remote learning up to three times since school opened in August. Each time, in-person teachers flip-flopped their teaching platforms to online. Most districts are following Salt Lake County’s health guideline of closing schools for two weeks following an outbreak of 15 positive cases at the schools. Canyons

Midvale City Journal

Bingham High’s foyer was empty in mid-November as students were dismissed in an effort to reduce transmission of COVID-19. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

from feeling so isolated, but if someone were to come by my classroom and see me just talking without anyone here, they’d think I was crazy. It’s strange to be here all alone teaching.” The transition to virtual learning was not what Hillcrest sophomore Campbell Hone expected. “I thought I could sleep in, but there’s a schedule and a procedure to take attendance; I can’t wear PJs and we have to have our (Chromebook) camera on,” he said. “Even so, I don’t feel as connected to other students and my teachers; the class discussions online don’t give off the same intense learning vibe. I don’t want to miss out on my education, but it’s hard to sit in front of a screen.” While some students are self-motivated and disciplined to learn online, Murray’s Wihongi points out: “In-person learning is much preferable in many areas because of that direct support, connection and structure.

Some students are clearly struggling without Indian Hills seventh-grader Addison that.” Hone agrees: “I can’t stop by after school to Administrators and parents say stu- ask a question to a teacher. I have to email dents are missing education in a social or ask in a Zoom call and hope there’s not environment. a glitch.” “Students want to learn in school, have While she appreciates the efforts her access to teachers and discussions face-to- teachers have made, Addison said, “It’s a face with their classmates. Learning alone is lot harder to be interactive. They can’t see not the same,” Brighton Principal Sherwood if your hand is up. It seems like there’s a lot said. more work with less instruction.” That’s what parent Karla-Ann Whitaker Engagement and a sense of belonging said about her son, Jack, who was learning is what is missing this year, administraonline while Indian Hills Middle flipped in tors said. “It’s hard when we’re not in-person to late November. “He misses his friends, flirting with engage,” Mountain Creek Middle School girls and seeing his teachers,” she said. “It’s Assistant Principal Tim Brooks said. “We been a pain in the butt. We’ve had tech is- are not sure where students are, what they’re sues and called the school, we’ve needed doing, what’s going on, and we can’t see different links to have him connect with his their expressions as teachers walk the aisles. classes, his grades have declined. He needs We try to overcome that with having camerto be self-motivated and stay off his phone, as on, but it’s still hard. We don’t have the but it’s hard. I know teachers are trying and same assemblies and talent shows; teachers we need to do what is safe, but it’s a tough can’t give them high-fives. It’s like giving kids a Snickers and saying eat it, but you adjustment.” She said that as a single mother who is can’t take off the wrapper. We’ve all been working and going to school full-time her- learning to be more appreciative, become self, she relies on him to watch his younger more patient, get creative and have humor siblings, and that isn’t always taken into ac- during this time.” Brighton’s Sherwood agrees: “What’s count with how much longer it takes to do missing is all that makes high school fun homework online. Jack supports his mother’s assessment. and draws kids in—after-school socials “It’s terrible; it’s non-stop Zoom meet- and clubs, wearing school colors to football ings and teachers can only help so much games, belonging to a school community when they’re there and I’m at home on my and buying in to that culture.” At Alta, McGill said keeping students own,” he said, adding that he has asked for Indian Hills Middle School hallways were empty as more explanation with math in an email or and staff motivated has been challenging. students were learning online during its dismissal as the next Zoom call, but then he’s also wait“The magic and beauty of what a comCOVID-19 cases reached 1% at the school. (Julie ing for those to happen. “It’s definitely slow- prehensive high school can bring is taking a Slama/City Journals) hit,” he said. “It is also heartbreaking when ing down the progression of learning.”


students practice and rehearse for upcoming performances, only to find out that they are postponed or canceled.” Murray’s Wihongi agrees the school year looks different. “Missing this year is the overall energy and spirit normally associated with our high schools. Our classrooms and hallways are less busy; our activities and assemblies can’t move forward as normal, so it definitely takes the wind out of the sails, so to speak,” he said.

Teachers and administrators are finding positive outcomes to the changes of education this year.

In the classroom, Hillcrest’s Snyder said students are communicating better. “There’s been phenomenal eye contact with me as masks are forcing eye contact— and better communication. They say what they need to say. Students following the health guidelines and mask mandates has exceeded my expectations. They’re treating me and others around them who may be terrified to be here with care and respect,” he said. Murray High’s Wihongi looks to the future of education. “Our method of curriculum delivery and access will be a huge silver lining to this. We’ll have more options for students to access their education and all of our teachers will be able to blend online and in-person instruction much more proficiently,” he said, adding that, “Snow days will become online learning days. But what remains clear, though, is that in-person learning is the most effective method of learning, hands down.” l

January 2021 | Page 19

Hillcrest’s Davies considered school’s best runner since 1970s By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com

It was definitely a defining moment.” In mid-February, Hillcrest High cross country and track distance runner Anthony Davies broke the stretched finish-line tape at the Simplot Games, which is considered to be North America’s premier indoor high school track meet. He ran a 9:24.4 on the Idaho 200-meter track. In fact, he didn’t lose a 2-mile race last winter. “That was the first big race I’ve won,” Davies said. “It felt really good. I mostly liked just breaking the tape. I knew I had a shot at it. By the end of the race, I felt really good on the last lap and was like ‘hey, I can win.’ That was when I started being actually fast, I guess. I had run some good times, but that was the first time I had beaten some really fast guys.” “He’s getting better; he had a huge jump during winter (2019-20) indoor track,” said his cross country and track coach Scott Stucki, who said Davies is the best distance runner he’s coached in his 13 years with the Huskies. “He’s considered one of the top in the state and the best runner Hillcrest has had since the 1970s. But it comes down to the environment and the pressure he puts on himself.” Davies said he tries not to stress as he goes through his race preparations from eating pasta the night before to listening to music and doing the same warm-up and stretching routine before the race. He favors the slow start of a race as he said he feels better at the end of the race versus a fast start where he “feels like crap by the time I get to the last mile.” With spectators not allowed to attend this season in response to COVID-19, Davies said it was “definitely weird” not having his parents or a crowd cheering. He, and several other members of the team, self-quarantined as a precaution in late September when a member of the girls’ cross country team tested positive for COVID-19. Davies ran the Sept. 26 Digger Invitational 5,000 meters—and won that meet by a sizeable margin—and remained quarantined, returning to the Midvale school campus only for training. His workouts are usually the same as his teammates although Stucki may adjust them so Davies runs more mileage or has faster splits during speed workouts. “I have realized running with a teammate is a lot easier. I have done that on a few of our workouts where I’ve slowed down and run with Charles (Hooper, who ran second this season for the Huskies) a little bit. That is definitely easier, but this sport isn’t about being easy,” he said, adding that he likes speed workouts best. “Going fast feels nice.” Davies also spends his time outside of

Page 20 | January 2021

class with his team. “I really like the cross country and track team. We’re all pretty good friends,” he said. “That’s pretty much where all my friends are from.” Stucki knows that peer recruiting works best. His former top runner Zac Hastings, class of 2019, approached Davies to run for the Huskies after Davies finished second in Canyons School District’s intramural cross country race as an eighth-grader. The two runners’ families knew each other from church. That bonding and mentoring—and catching a ride with Hastings for early summer morning practices—helped develop Davies into the school’s top runner. Davies always has been an all-around athlete. He has run, swam competitively, played football on Midvalley Elementary’s playground and shot hoops with his friends there. He even competed in Sandy’s “I Can Tri” triathlon as a kid, finishing behind his sister, Katelyn, who was a stand-out athlete in swimming and tennis for the Huskies and now is swimming at Utah State University. As a freshman, Davies played basketball for the Huskies in the off-season before he gave it up the next year to run indoor track. “I like basketball; it was fun,” he said, adding that he will still play a pick-up game with his running teammates or challenge them in ultimate Frisbee. “A lot of people were telling me that I had a chance to be really good at running, and so to be better, I did indoor track instead of basketball.” His sophomore track season, in addition to distance, he ran 300 hurdles to train for the steeplechase, an event he tried and liked. After one race, he qualified for the Great Southwest Classic Track Meet in New Mexico, where he medaled, and missed the school record by two-tenths of a second. Since then, Davies has focused on distance running. He even gave up playing with Hillcrest’s top chamber orchestra last year to train. “He’s a great kid and well-liked,” orchestra teacher RaNae Dalgleish said. “He was a hard-worker and talented cello player, but he decided to dedicate his time to running.” Davies’ commitment to running is self-motivated; he wants to become faster, Stucki said. “I wanted to focus on this one thing that I can be good at, so pretty much I just do running now,” Davies said. “If there’s something that I enjoy and I want to get better at it, I’ll work on it and I’ll keep working on it until I get to where I want to be.” Davies said that he is able to prepare himself mentally, which “definitely helps me run faster,” but also listens to his teammates.

Hillcrest High senior Anthony Davies is all smiles after he won the 5A Region 6 cross country championships on Oct. 1 by about 9 seconds over his closest competitor. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

He said last winter, he joked around with his teammate and girlfriend, Paris Snow, and it has turned into encouragement to run faster. “We had a joke going for a while to make sure each other was staying confident. It started out as a joke, and then it became ‘hey, being confident actually helps’ and that became a serious thing. I kind of just noticed I became more and more confident and my times got better,” Davies said. Regardless of not having a track season six months ago because of the Utah High School Activities Association canceling spring sports in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stucki said Davies still has been getting interest from teams as far away as

South Carolina and North Carolina State, but also from the Air Force, Navy, Brigham Young University, Weber State University, Idaho State University and Utah State University. Davies is undecided which Division 1 school he wants to attend. The 4.0-GPA senior, who, with an ACT college entrance exam score of 33, was recently named a National Merit semifinalist. He also is undecided what he will study at college. However, Davies’ Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics teacher knows he will be successful. “He is a driven young man in the classroom, just like he is on the cross country

Midvale City Journal

course,” teacher Sam Richins said. “Anthony expected to achieve high marks and took the steps required to make sure that happened. He is a respectful, kind, goal-oriented student.” Davies, who was named Academic AllState team, said he has been able to put what he’s learned in some classes, such as psychology and sports medicine, into his training. However, he added that between early morning practices and homework, he should have learned time management, which he admits, “I’m still not great at.” Davies is a natural leader, Hillcrest assistant cross coach Shannon Hurst said. “Anthony is a good example to his teammates with his work ethic,” she said. “He has a quiet, silent leadership style. He’s awesome for the team. As a talented athlete, he’s good with younger runners and makes sure to include them and have them know what they’re supposed to be doing.” Stucki agrees: “He’s the leader of the group. Kids look up to Anthony.” And they follow his COVID-19 wavy hair that he likes because “it makes for better pictures in races.” He races in a unique pair of shoes—having traded one of his Nikes with teammate Derek Croft—and loves to wear shorts with cookie prints. “I ran wearing the cookie shorts for a bunch of the indoor races. I guess when the Weber State coach saw me at the Weber State meet wearing those cookie shorts, was like,

‘who is the goofball in cookie shorts and why is he in front?’ Then, I won the race and that’s how I got his attention,” Davies said. Teammate Hooper said Davies is his best friend. “He and a few others keep me motivated,” Hooper said, mentioning how Davies sacrificed running his fastest to help pace him during a meet at Murray Park. “He talks to everyone and is friends with everyone. He’s kind of goofy, making jokes. Today, on the run, he grabbed a handful of berries (growing on the side of the road) and threw them at us.” Hooper pointed out Davies knew his teammates couldn’t chase him down to throw them back—although they do try to even the score a little by teasing the four-year varsity runner calling him, “JV Davies.” “Actually, he is a little unfair. He’s super smart. Last year, we had an AP class together and I’d watch four hours of lessons and he’d study 30 minutes since he’s pretty smart. But, he’s humble, not the bragging type even though he has the right to brag academically or with running,” Hooper said. With COVID-19 eliminating the chance to compete at Footlocker West Regional Championships in California this December, which typically is known as one of the top races in the country, Stucki hopes Davies will be able to run both indoor and outdoor track seasons without any interruption from the pandemic.

“He may very well be able to break school records that Blaine Anderson set with a 1:52 in the 800 meter, and the mile at 4:13 from 1976. It may have even happened last spring,” Stucki said. He also could beat the 3200-yard record of 9:27.37 set in 1991. Davies wants to run a 9-minute 3200 this year and under 4:10 in the 1600. In cross country, Davies’ fastest 3-mile came at the Timpanogos Invitational this year and his fastest 5K was a 15:49, which he ran at Footlocker last year. This season, he has gathered four first-place finishes, including the 5A Region 6 championship; two second places, a third and a fourth. In track, his best run was the 3200 at the indoor Simplot Games; his 1600 meter 4:19.7 at the indoor Utah Distance Challenge in February; steeplechase was 6:28.4 at the Great Southwest Classic in 2019; and 800 meter – “ahh…a 2 flat. That one is annoying” at UHSTCA indoor championships. His first track meet in his life was his freshman year. He ran a 4:50 that season in the 1600 and a 10:34.3 in the 3200 at state in 2018. His sophomore year 1600 meter time was 4:26.8 and his 3200 state time was 9:57.6, which Davies said it was “20 seconds off my PR (personal record).” Stucki said Davies also is a favorite in the spring to win the 1600 and 3200 at state, with the 1600 being Davies’ favorite. “The 3200 gets kind of repetitive, eight

laps, and the 800 is too fast. The 1600 is a nice sprint in the middle,” Davies said. Stucki also said Davies not only has the potential to race in college, but possibly compete in the Olympic Trials. “I can see it. He’d be the second one from Hillcrest running in the Olympic Trials,” he said, noting that Jason Lynch, HHS’09, qualified for the trials in the marathon last year. Davies said it’s his competitiveness that drives him. “I have a few races that when I run well, I feel good. In the past, there have been a few races I should have won, and I had a good chance to win, and I didn’t. That feeling after, where I know I had a bad race, is a sucky feeling. So, I don’t want to have that. I train like I can to avoid having a bad race,” he said. That includes 6 a.m. practices. “I want to get better. I sacrifice not sleeping in. I just love seeing the improvement from race to race. So, I trained harder so I could improve more,” Davies said. “I definitely put pressure on myself, but I try not to put too much on because if you put too much pressure on yourself, you don’t get there. It’s not fun. So, I put pressure on myself to get better, but I don’t try to overwork myself. I still got to remember, I am in high school and I need to have fun. That’s what I like—I like to have fun with everything. I’ll be serious for the race, but after, have fun with it.” l

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January 2021 | Page 21

Salt Lake County concludes budget process with no tax increase

Aimee Winder Newton Salt Lake County Council | District 3

With the final approval of the 2021 Salt Lake County budget drawing near, I wanted to share some of the proactive steps we have taken as your County Council to tighten up spending. In June, because of concerns surrounding revenue impacts from COVID-19, we scoured our budget to find as many cuts as possible – leading to a massive $77 million budget reduction. Because of all the cuts we made in June, and because sales tax revenue did not fall as much as we anticipated, we ultimately had a fairly uneventful budget season. As we strive to be as fiscally prudent as possible, one of our top priorities is maintaining our AAA bond rating. We are one of only 27 counties in the entire nation with this highest-achievable bond rating. Keeping this bond rating results in much lower interest rates on bonds and loans. Here are some key principles I have always prioritized during the budget process, this year included. First and foremost, tax dollars don’t “belong” to the county. The funds are yours. Taxpayers entrust the county, or any government for that matter, with a portion of their hard-earned money because they expect that entity to pro-

vide essential services for society to function. There is no amount of tax dollars that is too small to be scrutinized. That is why I push back aggressively anytime I hear someone flippantly say, “It’s only x dollars… so we shouldn’t worry about it.” Any expenditure, whether it is $10 or $10 million, should be reviewed, and if it can’t be fully justified to the taxpayers, it should be cut. Second, I believe that all government functions should be viewed in two different categories: “need to have” and “nice to have.” The “need to have” list obviously includes things that are statutorily required of the county to perform, think constitutionally mandated services such as criminal justice and election administration. I also consider public safety to be in the “need to have” category, since keeping our residents safe is a core function of government. However, just because they are essential does not mean they are above scrutiny, because efficiencies can still be found. The “nice to have” list includes quality of life services the county provides, as well as any other program or initiative that can easily be described as a benefit to county residents, but

not necessarily considered essential. Libraries and open space some of the things in this category. The separation of these two categories demonstrates the same principle that every family in our county goes through in their annual budgets. They strive to live within their means and focus on essential family expenditures sometimes at the expense of luxuries. Lastly, I review each aspect of our budget and ask, “Is this the proper role of county government?” I’ve said many times that government can’t and shouldn’t be all things to all people. There are many programs or services that are better suited to other government entities, nonprofits, or the private sector. Particularly in a tight budget year, it’s important to review each program, service, or expenditure and ask that question again and again. I’m confident that these principles are the essence of good budgeting and fiscal discipline, and I will always advocate for this approach any time government is entrusted with taxpayer dollars. You can rest assured that for 2021, Salt Lake County has a balanced budget with no tax increase.

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Midvale City Journal

Making the grade


Laughter AND



When my kids were little, I did a bit of substitute teaching. After I accidentally threw an encyclopedia and flipped a desk over, I realized teaching elementary school probably wasn’t for me. Teachers are comprised of strong stuff. The molten lava that flows through their veins gives them courage and an unbreakable gaze. A skeleton made of graphene (200 times stronger than steel) keeps them steady and protects their hearts. And those hearts beat a consistent tempo that opens doors to new worlds and encourages students to find their own rhythm. But teachers are exhausted. I attended Viewmont Elementary during the 1900s, where teachers were the top of the food chain. I worshiped the good ones, feared the difficult ones, and loathed the mean ones. I remember the “trip” our kindergarten class took to Hawaii where we ate coconut and learned the hula. And the teacher who caught us eating snowballs, so she melted snow to show us the dirt and grime. (I haven’t eaten a snowball in more than 45 years.) Or the teacher who shamed me for not knowing the word “chandelier.” School was where I learned


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social skills. Okay, I learned them poorly, but I did learn some. I interacted with people my age where we talked about our favorite TV shows, what we had for dinner and whether my crush winked at me or had a tic. Today, students feel lost. My 8-year-old grandson started the school year online, changed to in-person learning, then went back online. He might enjoy hanging out with his mom, grandma, and little demon of a sister, but he misses his friends. Imagine trying to learn long division on a Zoom call. I couldn’t even learn it in person. Or imagine


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hosting a virtual call for a class of first graders who have the attention span of a meatball. My mom thought education was vital, but if she had to supervise online learning for me and my four siblings, she would have sold us to the circus. Teachers are struggling. Kids are struggling. Parents are struggling. If we’ve learned one thing this crappy year, it’s that superheroes walk among us. Healthcare workers and winemakers are tied for the top spot on my list, with teachers, students, and parents finishing a close second by demon-



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strating unprecedented resilience. Many kids are failing this year, but are they really? Can you fail when a global pandemic changes the rules? When teachers adapt daily to shifting conditions? Can you fail when parents work full-time jobs at home while staying on top of online assignments and hybrid schedules? Teachers are a mighty mix of educator/guidance counselor/ cheerleader/cruise director, and this year their creativity and patience has been tested. It brings to mind my husband’s favorite quote, “Looks like I picked the wrong [year] to stop sniffing glue.” This is a thank you to the teachers who work with my grandchildren. The teachers who are innovative and kind. The teachers who show up like a boss and get to work. This is also a thank you to the students who have proven to be flexible and strong. They’re all doing the best they can as they watch adults try to figure everything out. Maybe we write this school year off; maybe it’s not the year to learn geometry or teach Latin. Perhaps it’s the year we value kindness, connection, and self-care for everyone involved. I promise, there’ll be much less encyclopedia throwing and desk flipping.


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January 2021 | Page 23

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January 2021 | Vol. 18 Iss. 01


HILLCREST DRILL DEVOTED TO CONTINUE ITS 58-YEAR LEGACY By Julie Slama | j.slama@mycityjournals.com


or 58 years, a select group of girls at Hillcrest High each year bond into a sisterhood to provide school spirit at pep assemblies and at football and basketball games through precision performances. This year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe even because of it, the connection is great, said Hillcrest High head drill coach Chelsea Divine. “These 33 girls are incredible—their resiliency and ability to face this crazy year and still give it their all,” she said. “They are mentally tough. I could not have been more proud of them during the spring.” That’s because when it was time for tryouts, Hillcrest and other schools were on a soft closure following the health guidelines set by Gov. Gary Herbert. The girls learned routines on their own, were selected and trained together, yet apart, via Zoom for five weeks. During that time, dancers focused on basic skills, technique, military combinations and turns. They’d rehearse with one coach instructing and two others with two laptops watching girls perform. “We like to joke that we were the ‘Zoom champions.’ We were able to kind of manage it that way and still provide feedback to the girls,” Divine said, adding that when they were able to gather in the summer, every girl had learned the basics, so they were able to begin together with strong practices. “We have amazing captains and amazing seniors who literally would come up with a unity activity they would do over Zoom so all the girls would play, and it would keep them going.” In the fall, the team performed at football games. Only a

When Hillcrest drill isn’t performing this year, they wear masks, following the health guidelines set for COVID-19. (Chelsea Divine/Hillcrest High School)

few of the hundreds who typically watch Hillcrest drill were able to see them in person because of restricted seating, following health guidelines. Instead, fans watched the team via livestream. Even when Hillcrest was dismissed for two weeks this fall when positive case counts reached a 1% threshold, Divine said

they were able to do some strength training and conditioning as well as work on technique. With their first competitions set this winter, Divine knows they may perform at times with holes if girls are placed on quarantine. First up is the Juan Diego Catholic High Invitational, followed by Bountiful High Invitational and Rocky Mountain Continued page 14

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