From the first sunrise on the day Canyons District was born to now, CSD schools have welcomed 28,031 bright-faced kindergartners and proudly awarded 22,426 high school diplomas.

Canyons’ teachers have imparted 18.3 million hours of instruction, cafeterias have dished up 28 million nourishing lunches, and CSD bus drivers have logged 15.7 million miles transporting students to and from school. That’s the equivalent of 630 journeys around the Earth or 66 trips to the moon, and behind the wheel for each of those miles were drivers trained to shoulder the responsibility of safely transporting students to learning environments where they're encouraged to reach for the stars. 

Canyons, the first school district to be created in Utah in 100 years, is a community of many talents—and behind every student achievement and success story are parents, faculty, staff, and community partners selflessly sharing those talents to enrich the lives of children. July 1, 2019 marks a decade of distinction for the District, and the Canyons community is celebrating with free hot dogs and cake from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sandy Amphitheater splash park, 1245 E. 9400 South. This is a free public event for the whole family.

“This District simply wouldn’t exist without the community’s support,” says Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe. “This is but a small token of thanks for all the people who make Canyons such a wonderful place to live, learn and work.”

A decade may not seem long, considering some of the schools within Canyons’ boundaries have celebrated 50th and 60th anniversaries this year. But a lot can happen in 10 years.

Canyons came into being through a vote by residents in five Salt Lake County municipalities who sought a school a district that was responsive to the community, emphasized career-and college-readiness, embraced innovation, and prioritized customer service. The year the District opened, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the first African-American President. The country was just emerging from the Great Recession, and a technological transformation was afoot, driven largely by the Internet and other advances in communication technologies.

Since its first day of operations, Canyons’ employees and the Board of Education have kept the revolutionary vision of those voters at the heart of everything the District does. With a laser-like focus on helping each student become career-and college-ready, the District has been breaking barriers, raising the bar, and setting new standards for public education. It’s through the caliber of Canyons' teachers, the discipline of students and the uncommon levels of community support that Canyons schools enjoy that the entire community rises to new heights in education.

A Decade of Distinction • By the Numbers
  • Canyons’ five traditional high schools have staged more than 50 fall musicals, cheered 43 team state sports championships, and prepared graduates for roughly $300 million in college scholarship offers.
  • Seven new schools and special programs have come into being.
  • The Board of Education has approved some kind of employee compensation increase every year of the District’s existence, including a proposal this year to bring the starting teacher pay to $50,000.
  • The Canyons Education Foundation has fueled teachers’ ideas for improving instruction through the award of $708,000 in Innovation Grants.
  • Canyons' students have outpaced their peers on year-end tests, in some cases by as many as 13 percentage points.
  • Canyons’ graduation rate has reached an all-time high of 89 percent.
  • With two, tax-neutral voter-approved bonds, we have built, rebuilt or renovated 13 schools with plans for major upgrades to eight more—all while maintaining the Canyons’ AAA bond rating.
  • Canyons has welcomed the contributions of 126,000 volunteers in our classrooms.
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.

Budget Hearing

Following a budget hearing, the Board of Education unanimously voted to adopt a financial plan for Canyons District for 2019-2020. The $533 million budget reflects the amount to be collected in property taxes and state support via the $3,532-per-student Weighted Pupil Unit, the state’s education funding formula, which is a 4 percent increase over the previous year’s WPU allocation. Also included in this budget is the negotiated agreement with the Canyons Education Association, which provides a $7,665 salary increase per teacher and elevates a beginning teacher’s salary to $50,000 a year. Approximately $13.7 million of additional property tax revenues will be needed to fund this increase. This will require the District to exceed its certified tax rate for the first time since 2009. According to the budget, new tax revenues will go only toward the new teacher pay schedule, which will represent a double-digit percentage pay hike for CSD educators. A Truth-in-Taxation hearing for the proposed tax adjustment will be Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S. 300 East. If approved, the cost to patrons would be about $140 a year on an average-priced home in CSD boundaries. The budget also includes the expenditures to continue its ambitious school-improvement schedule. Rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools, a major renovation of Alta High, and a rebuild of Midvalley Elementary, as well as “daylighting” projects and Front Office renovations at various schools, are being paid for with funds from a the voter-approved $283 million bond. The budget also includes Alta High’s “Step2theU” early-college program, Hillcrest and Jordan summer academies for at-risk students, maintenance of the current class size, and a personnel “cushion” of 30 teachers to support middle school teaming, elementary split classes, and other academic and social-emotional learning initiatives.

Several patrons spoke during a public-comment period on the 2018-2019 budget.   
  • Patron Steve Van Maren commented on the proposed increase of the certified tax rate and asked about increases for student-support services.
  • Patron Anna McNamer expressed support for the Board’s consideration of a salary increase for teachers in Canyons District. 
  • Patron Bob Clark expressed concern about the Board “going to the well” to increase salaries instead of first cutting budgets. 
  • Midvale Elementary teacher Korin Hapairai thanked the Board for the District’s focus on social-emotional learning, including personnel who can work with students with behavioral issues.
  • Patron Veronica Reginato voiced support for the budget, particularly for student support services. 
The Board also adopted a revised budget for 2018-2019.

Administrative Appointments

The Board of Education approved the following administrative appointments for the 2019-2020 school year: 
  • Christie Webb, currently Principal at Copperview Elementary, will be the new Principal at Sandy Elementary. She will replace Cory Anderson, who recently had been transferred to Sandy from Bella Vista Elementary before resigning to pursue another professional opportunity.
  • Jeri Rigby, currently Assistant Principal at Midvale Elementary, will be Principal at Copperview Elementary.
  • Sara Caldwell, who had been assigned to be an Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle, will replace Rigby at Midvale Elementary.
  • Sierra Eastmont, currently a Title I specialist, will become an Intern Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle to replace Caldwell.
Consent Agenda

The Board of Education voted to approve the Consent Agenda, which includes the minutes from the May 21, 2019 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student-overnight travel requests; May financial reports; approval of 2019-2020 TSSA Success Plans and CSIP addendums; the acknowledgement of the receipt of the Root-Cause Analysis Report for Diamond Ridge High; and an interlocal agreement with South Valley Sewer for the new Draper Elementary parking lot.


The following students, faculty and staff were recognized for their achievements:
  • Brighton High student Redd Owen, 5A state champion, first-singles tennis
  • Brighton High students Justin Allen and Jacob Simmons, 5A state champions, second-doubles tennis
  • Corner Canyon High Boys Track and Field, 5A state champions
  • Corner Canyon High student Van Fillinger, 5A state shot put champion
  • Corner Canyon High students Aly Milford, Kayla Milford, Paje Rasmussen and Emma Bagley, 5A state champions, 4x100 relay,
  • Corner Canyon High student Emma Bagley, 5A state champion, 100 meter hurdles 
Evaluations for Superintendent, Business Administrator

Board President Nancy Tingey asked the Board to provide input for the evaluations for Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe and Business Administrator Leon Wilcox. 

Pledge of Allegiance, Inspirational Thought

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.   In the inspirational thought, Dr. Dowdle recalled a moment recently when he was confronted by a peer who remarked that “public education is broken.” He said he disagreed, noting the hard work of teachers, the dedication of students, and the commitment of volunteers and business partners. Dr. Dowdle says he sees rising graduation rates, increasing scholarship numbers, and the countless artistic and athletic achievements as proof that public education is not broken.

Patron Comment

Canyons Education Association President Erika Bradshaw addressed the Board about the proposed salary increase for Canyons teachers.

Midvale Middle teacher Madeline Chilcut thanked the Board for the proposed salary increase for teachers.

Patron Paul Brooks says he supports the proposed salary increases for teachers. Brooks, a parent of students involved in robotics, addressed policies that govern activity fees and overnight student travel. He urged the Board to take into consideration the effort that students put into their projects as they decide policies that could restrict participation in competitions.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Dr. Briscoe congratulated the graduates of Canyons high schools and remarked on the well-run commencement ceremonies.  He also remarked on the professional development provided to administrators on social-emotional learning and restorative practices.  He thanked Wilcox and his team for building the budget.

Wilcox thanked Accounting Director Gary Warwood for his work on the budget and expressed appreciation for the Board’s willingness to consider the items proposed in the budget. State approved Canyons’ TSSA program.

Board Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson reported on attending commencement exercises for Alta and Corner Canyon high schools. He said graduation day is a highlight of the year. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold attended Jordan High’s graduation rites and said she delighted in watching the excitement in the students’ eyes. She also discussed the District’s TSSA decision-making process. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley said the teacher-compensation package sends a message to teachers that they are valued by the Canyons Board of Education. He also reported on attending Diamond Ridge and South Park Academy graduation ceremonies. 

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending Hillcrest and Brighton graduation ceremonies and this week’s meeting of the Joint Legislative Committee.  She said she enjoyed reading the TSSA Success Plans and encouraged schools to be innovative with the funds.  She thanked the finance team for their work on the budget.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks reported on the graduation rites at South Park Academy and Alta and Corner Canyon high schools. She urged parents to become involved in increasing student achievement via the expenditure of TSSA funds.

Mr.  Mont Millerberg reported on attending Hillcrest and Diamond Ridge high school graduation ceremonies and the Family Literacy Center Night. He also attended the employee BBQ on Monday at the Transportation Department. He also thanked the Facilities Department for their work in minimizing the traffic impact to his neighborhood as construction crews worked on the sewer pipes at 7800 South as part of the new Midvalley Elementary project.

President Nancy Tingey reported on speaking at South Park Academy’s graduation rites.  She thanked the employees for continuing to work on challenging tasks during the school year so school can start seamlessly in the fall.  She thanked Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie and School Performance Director Joanne Ackerman, who are both retiring, for their service to the District.  She encouraged the community to attend the July 1 Birthday Party for Canyons District, and said the Board will be doing a service activity to help CSD’s HR Department.
The Board of Education on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 approved the following administrative appointments for the 2019-2020 school year: 
  • Christie Webb, currently Principal at Copperview Elementary, will be the new Principal at Sandy Elementary. She will replace Cory Anderson, who recently had been transferred to Sandy from Bella Vista Elementary before resigning to pursue another professional opportunity.
  • Jeri Rigby, currently Assistant Principal at Midvale Elementary, will be Principal at Copperview Elementary.
  • Sara Caldwell, who had been assigned to be an Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle, will replace Rigby at Midvale Elementary.
  • Sierra Eastmont, currently a Title I specialist, will become an Intern Assistant Principal at Mount Jordan Middle to replace Caldwell.
It’s been said that a journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step. This month, some 2,600 seniors of Canyons District high schools will end this part of their educational journey by confidently advancing across graduation stages and toward the direction of their dreams. 

Two of those students, Jordan High’s Tallyn Grossaint and Hillcrest High’s Abel Hagos took vastly different paths to arrive at Graduation Day. But their struggles, both physical and emotional, forged their steely determination to succeed against the odds.

While the teenage Tallyn was raising his little sister because turmoil in his family often left them fending for themselves, Abel was staking out his sleeping spot in a refugee camp in Ethopia, the country to which he fled from his poverty-stricken home country of Eritrea.

It’s been a few years since Tallyn bounced around houses and schools, and suffered the painful feelings that come from a topsy-turvy early life, but Tallyn and his younger sister now have safe place to call home. An aunt stepped in to provide security and stability — and within the Jordan High theater department he found the acceptance and support of a second family.

“Jordan High is my reason for living,” says Tallyn, who plans to study theater education at Weber State University in the fall with support from Pell Grants and the Alvin Malstrom Behind-the-Scenes Scholarship. “When I come here every day to the Jordan High theater program, I don’t feel alone. These are the brothers and sisters I have never had.” 

Abel’s family in Eritrea is never far from his thoughts. The Hillcrest senior sends $200 a month from his check as a shelf-stocker at Wal-Mart to his mother and sister, even though he has not seen them since he left his village at 12 to flee to Ethiopia. Abel says he swam through a crocodile-infested channel and walked for miles before he found the first of the refugee camps in which he lived. A little more than two years ago, a humanitarian group arranged for him to leave the camp and come to the United States, where he could work and pursue an education.

This spring’s rainfall is incredibly new to him, as was snow, which he’d never seen before arriving in Utah. He loves soccer, macaroni and cheese, Burger King and buffet restaurants. He’s learned English by attending school — but admits that he’s learned more by watching action movies and television shows such as “Ellen.”  While he misses his family, he wants to stay exactly where he is.  “I love the freedom,” he says.  “You can do and say whatever you want.  If you need anything, you can just ask.”

Regardless of how they arrived at this moment, the students who make up the Classes of 2019 at Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest, Jordan, Diamond Ridge high schools, and Entrada Adult High School and the South Park Academy at the Utah State Prison, can look back at their secondary-school paths with pride.

The list of accomplishments is lengthy. Among the students are seven students who earned perfect scores on the college-entrance exam, the overall winner of the Sterling Scholar competition, three $2,500 National Merit Scholar honorees and 18 finalists for the prestigious scholarship, Sweepstakes award winners at the Utah High School Shakespeare Competition, and 80 Academic All-State Recipients. CSD student-athletes this year also claimed 16 team and individual state championships in Utah High School Activities Association-sanctioned events. 

Of this year’s Canyons graduates, 1,640 earned one of Canyons’ differentiated diplomas. Canyons was the first district in Utah to provide these honors to students who went above and beyond the state graduation requirements. This year, 813 earned a CSD Advanced Diploma and 827 received the District’s Honors Diploma.

Alta High School
Conner Corina says the past four years at Alta High can best be described with the words of Dickens: It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. The spark and spirit of pep rallies and dances with friends were often AltaHighmugdampened by the stark realities of high school studies and school rules. Still, by experiencing disappointments and laughter together, the Class of 2019 learned what it really means to be a Hawk. The seniors who were celebrated during Alta’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday at the Utah Community Credit Union Center at Utah Valley University have packed a lot of life into the past 700 days, said senior Jessica Medina. While it may be bittersweet to realize that their time at the high school is over, she urged the graduates to “never forget the value of the moments” experienced at Alta. Alta’s Principal, Dr. Brian McGill, said the Class of 2019, which earned some $7 million in scholarship offers, is ready to fly high. Eighty-five percent of the graduating class has made plans to attend post-secondary education, including the 36 students who completed the “Step2theU” academic program, a unique-to-Alta partnership with the University of Utah. Those students saved $75,000 in tuition by finishing nearly two years of U. studies while still a student at Alta High. Dr. McGill also urged the students to favor personal, face-to-face connections over digital, distant relationships, and to never forget that compassion and humility are traits that will help them develop deep and lasting relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Canyons Board of Education member Amanda Oaks said this generation — commonly referred to as “iGen” — have never known life without smart phones, texting, live-streaming, and social media. Yes, technology makes our life easier in many ways, she said, but it’s also made us less connected. How many of us have felt left out after seeing Instagram posts of parties to which we weren’t invited? How many have hundreds of Facebook “Friends” but still feel lonely? And how many struggle to maintain a healthy self-image because of the constant stream of glamorous selfies? However, Alta’s Class of 2019, known for having built an inclusive and accepting school community, has what it takes to help build a more-connected, less-divisive society, she said. "I call on you, the Alta iGen-ers, for your help" in building a more united world, she said. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle also urged the students to embrace kindness as they make their way through life. It may not always be the easiest path to take, he said, but it will aid in professional and personal growth. “In how you treat your fellow man," he said, "I invite you to always choose civility.” A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons' Facebook page

Brighton High School
Curiosity can get you into some trouble. “But in the grand scheme of things, curiosity is a virtue,” believes Brighton High Principal Tom Sherwood. It opens news doors, to paraphrase Walt Disney, propels us forward down new BrightonHighmugpaths and directs our gaze ahead. As teachers, administrators and family members gathered at the Maverik Center on June 5 to honor Brighton High’s 50th graduating class, Sherwood told the graduates that he couldn’t help but be “curious to know what great things you’ll accomplish, curious about how you’ll live your lives and curious what impact you‘ll leave.” A reverent silence fell over the auditorium as Sherwood named the first graduate, Ashtyn Poulsen who died this week of kidney complications as a result of seven years of cancer treatment. Several students spoke of other personal losses and trials faced, along with the resilience it takes to carry on. Audrey Allen, Senior Class President, suggested that the best way to honor the past is to make the most out of the future. “This is the most accomplished graduating class in Brighton’s history, if we choose to be,” she said. Canyons District Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie, and Canyons Board of Education President Nancy Tingey and Vice President Amber Shill attended the event along with Cottonwood Heights Mayor Mike Peterson. The Bengals’ class of 2019 leaves big shoes to fill. Seventy-percent of the school’s 450 graduates earned Honors or Advanced Diplomas and 28 attained perfect 4.0 grade point averages. Together, they earned $6.5 million in college scholarships, and with two team state championship wins this year in boys swimming and boys soccer, Brighton earned bragging rights as the first high school in Utah to claim 120 team titles. Now, as the students take one step closer to fulfilling their educational and career aspirations, Board Vice President Amber Shill offered this advice: “Follow your passion. If you can find something you enjoy doing, and find joy doing it, your life will be filled with purpose.” And wherever that takes you, never lose your sense of curiosity. A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons' Facebook page. 

Corner Canyon High School
Luke Warnock started his time at Corner Canyon High like most freshman boys — focused on friends, fun times, and being fashionable. Fast-forward to senior year, however, and he’s developed a new outlook on life. “ExperienceCornerCanyonmug has taught me that being kind is far more important than reputations,” he said during his address at the Chargers’ commencement exercises at the Utah Community Credit Union Center at Utah Valley University. “We can be the change” that is needed to address such social ills as depression and divisiveness, he said. “And that change can start today.” Corner Canyon High’s Class of 2019 is poised to make a tremendous impact in the world, if their achievements in high school are any indicator of future success. Throughout the year, said student Baylor Jeppson, the Chargers proved “they will not settle for average.” But Jeppson also reminded the students that the school’s greatest honors came as a result of working together. Principal Darrell Jensen called the outgoing seniors “the most decorated class in school history … You have set a legacy that will be tough to follow.” In addition to the five 5A team state championships — girls soccer, boys cross country, basketball, football and boys track and field — nine students earned individual state titles in Utah High School Activities Association-sanctioned sports. Nearly 60 percent of the graduating class earned at least one scholarship offer, and the total amount in scholarships earned by Charger reached $8.7 million as of graduation day, he said. Six students also earned associates degrees at the same time they graduated from high school, and four have enlisted to serve valiantly in the U.S. Armed Forces. In the performing arts, student musicians earned the highest scores possible at year-end competitions and all performances of the two major theater productions sold out every night. In addition, the students raised $80,000 for charity this year. Jensen said such a robust list of accomplishments led the U.S. News and World Report to declare CCHS as the second-best public high school in the state. Canyons Board of Education member Chad Iverson congratulated the students for their accomplishments while in pursuit of a high school diploma. In fact, he said, they’ve left “Rudy Gobert-sized shoes” for the Class of 2020 to fill. “No matter where life takes you next,” he said, “I ask you to be true to the spirit of Corner Canyon and, in the words of the school motto, always go higher.” A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons' Facebook page. 

Hillcrest High School
Because there’s no shortage of adults with words of advice for the Class of 2019, Principal Greg Leavitt chose to deliver his in song. “Good morning, Baltimore. Every day’s like an open door. Every night is a fantasy. Every sound’sHillcrestHigh like a symphony,” he crooned to the thousands of parents, teachers and administrators assembled for Hillcrest High’s June 5 graduation ceremony. Amplified by the musical talents of one of Hillcrest’s vocalists, Leavitt’s performance, and the message behind it, met with cheers and applause. Be like the protagonist in “Hairspray,” and whatever your dreams or aspirations may be, pursue them unapologetically and with strength of purpose and heart, he said. “Tracy Turnblad didn’t let bigotry, meanness or tough circumstances stand in the way of her dreams. She overcame them with a dynamic attitude, and in the process helped to transform her world.” By all evidence, Hillcrest’s 450 graduates, 309 of whom earned Advanced and Honors Diplomas, are poised to do the same. Among their ranks are eight Utah Scholars, 65 Regents’ Scholarship recipients, 11 Sterling Scholar finalists, 10 National Merit Scholar Finalists, and a student who was named Utah’s overall Sterling Scholar as well as a Presidential Scholar. Three graduating Huskies received a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college-entrance exam, 12 achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average, and 43 earned Seals of Biliteracy on their transcripts. Combined, the students have earned $6 million in college scholarships. They’ve excelled in the arts, music, theatre, dance and in sports, and together, have contributed tens-of-thousands of hours of service to their communities. “Even though we’re just setting out into the world, we’re already changing it by finding and pursuing our passions,” said Student Body President Landon Kent Nipko. Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe encouraged students to continue doing just that. Looking back on their lives, what most adults regret most is not becoming the person they wanted to be, he said. “It’s not enough to encourage people to do the right thing. We need to encourage people to pursue their hopes and dreams. Go learn that language you always wanted to study, travel to far-away places, walk on remote beaches, find a way to serve, meet new people, write a book, live your life’s dreams—and don’t leave it for tomorrow. There’s only one today.” A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons' Facebook page

Jordan High School
Excitement was in the air as Jordan's Beetdiggers gathered at the Maverik Center on Wednesday, June 5, for a graduation ceremony that celebrated a host of their school's accomplishments — and some key losses. Jordan Jordanmug copyHigh administrators and members of The Canyons Board of Education reflected on the ups and downs of the past four years at the commencement ceremony, which was attended by Canyons' Board of Education President Nancy Tingey, Vice President Steve Wrigley and Canyons' Board of Education member Clareen Arnold, as well as Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie. Of the achievements garnered by Jordan this year, Principal Wendy Dau highlighted the fact that the student body earned a combined $3.5 million in scholarship offerings, with 13 seniors earning a 4.0 GPA and 60 students earning an advanced diploma. Jordan's boys basketball team did not win the state championship, but they came close. “We lost the state championship basketball game,” Dau said. “But it’s been a long time since Jordan has made it to the playoffs.” Jordan’s girls basketball team also made it to the state tournament for the first time in 13 years. Dau honored the school’s three Sterling Scholars, 173 students who earned a 3.5 GPA or above, and 14 students who earned a seal of biliteracy on their diploma by speaking, writing and reading two languages. Of the 463 graduates, 85 percent plan to attend college, and 86 of those students will be the first in their family to take that step. A whopping 77 percent of the student body has already earned college credit that, added up, amounts to a savings of $1 million in college tuition, and together, the school raised more than $15,000 to help refugees in the community. “We’ve seen the world around us, and we know we can be heard,” said Jordan valedictorian Jeddy Bennett. “Go be loud, make your Beetdiggers proud.” More information and a photo album from the event can be found on Canyons’ Facebook page.

South Park Academy 
For proof of the value that South Park Academy students place on the opportunity to earn a diploma while at the Utah State Prison, look no further than the Class of 2019. Instead of accepting early parole, two of this year’s graduates asked to stay a few days longer so they wouldn’t miss out on their June 6 commencement ceremony. Among them: Angela Mulder who explained, education is freedom, the freedom to become the person you always wanted to be. “I hope I can be an example to my son that even if you fall short at times and make mistakes, it’s never too late to pick up the pieces and better ourselves,” SouthParkmugshe said, thanking school staff and faculty for “never giving up” on her. More than 100 men and women received high school and GED diplomas this year from South Park, an educational institution overseen by Canyons School District and located at the prison in Draper. The school, which caters to students of all ages and in all stages of their education, held its commencement exercises in the presence of friends and family members in a recreational building at the correctional facility. Four students received special recognition as “Students of the Year,” and a fifth was awarded a college scholarship. “You are no longer a non-graduate. You are a high school graduate,” Juvenile and Adult Corrections Education Administrator Todd Bird told the students. “This is a significant change, one that will have lasting impact on you and those around you.” An education opens doors, both personal and professional. But in achieving their diploma, South Park’s graduates have also proven something to themselves. “In the future, you may face challenges that may seem too big or too difficult. It is in those moments that you can look back on today, at this time, and remember that you can do hard things,” said Canyons Board of Education President Nancy Tingey. Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe offered some practical advice, encouraging the students to continue setting goals post-graduation while also keeping them manageable. Graduating from college is an admirable ambition, he said, “But start by saying, ‘I’m going to begin by taking three classes, because I know life’s going to be rough for me right now.’ You set those smaller goals, and after three years go by, lo and behold, you are graduating.” CSD Board of Education Vice President Steve Wrigley, Board member Amber Oaks, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Katherine McCarrie, and Student Advocacy and Access Director Karen Sterling also participated in South Park's commencement ceremony. A photo album of the event can be found on the District's Facebook page. 

Diamond Ridge High School
Our dreams give us focus, hope, and a sense of purpose, but it’s education that fuels their realization. “Education is power. It gives you the control to make of your own life what you will,” said Canyons District Student DiamondRidgemugAdvocacy and Support Director Karen Sterling while addressing the graduates of Diamond Ridge High at the school’s 2019 commencement ceremony. “What you have earned, you’ve gotten for yourself, and no one can ever take it away from you.” Diamond Ridge, a smaller, closer-knit alternative to Canyons’ conventional high schools, awarded diplomas to 50 students this year—each with a story to tell about what it takes to triumph over adversity. “To all the people who thought we couldn’t make it, here we are. We made it!” said Rebecca Nevarez who says her experience at Diamond Ridge taught her that “nothing is impossible if you show up and do the work.” Canyons Board of Education Vice President Steve Wrigley commended graduates for their passion and grit and encouraged them keep aiming high, dreaming big and learning. “Take courage and aim high in life. Though you may not always achieve your dreams, don’t stop dreaming,” he said. “Become the person you always knew you could be. The only person stopping you from becoming that person is you.” Joining Wrigley in presenting diplomas to the Class of 2019 were Board of Education member Mont Millberg, Canyons Assistant Superintendent Kathryn McCarrie, Responsive Services Director BJ Weller, and Diamond Ridge Principal Amy Boettger who was greeted with hugs and tearful words of thanks as graduate after graduate crossed the stage. “Whatever personal setbacks we’ve faced to get here,” said graduate Carson Ekins, “our hearts beat as one as we take our first step into reality.” A photo album of the event can be found on Canyons’ Facebook page.

Canyons Transitions Academy
The eleven students who received Monday certificates of completion for the Canyons Transition Academy were told to keep reaching for their dreams by always learning something new. At the beginning of the year, said Special CTAmugEducation Programs Administrator TIfny Iacona, it seemed too big a task for the students to confidently use the public-transit system for their transportation. But day after day, little by little, lesson by lesson, the students learned how to broaden the horizons of their lives by riding the bus and the train, she said. "It's amazing what the students are able to do," Iacona said at a ceremony at Mount Jordan Middle School. The auditorium was filled with family, friends and faculty who cheered for each of the graduates of the program, which was created with the aim of helping adult special-education students earn skills to live happy, healthy independent lives. Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe told the students he was "so proud of the fact that you are graduating today." He urged the students to b e happy, love the people who support them, and be as healthy as possible. "You can go to McDonalds -- but only every once in awhile and if your parents say it's part of your diet," he said. "When you leave here you are going to do great things." Dr. Briscoe also thanked parents for supporting their children and the faculty for their hard work and commitment to the success of CTA students. The certificates were handed out by Iacona, Dr. Briscoe, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie and Special Education Director Misty Suarez. A photo album of the event can be found on the District's Facebook page.

Entrada High School
There were plenty of cheers and shouts of joy during Entrada High School’s graduation at Corner Canyon high on Wednesday night, June 26, but the greatest applause came when Ed Almstedt crossed the stage. When the 85-year-old took his diploma in one hand and DiamondRidgewaved to the crowd with the other, his yellow tassel dangling from his mortarboard, the crowd jumped to its feet in a standing ovation. Members of Entrada’s class of 2019 chose the theme, “We’re not looking back because that’s not the direction we’re going,” in homage to their accomplishment in receiving a diploma from Canyons’ adult high school. Many of Entrada’s graduates worked full-time jobs while going to school, some are parents, others are refugees, grandparents, and in Almstedt’s case, great-grandparents. Each of the 191 graduates overcame challenges to complete their high school education, and the mood among the students and their families in the packed audience was jubilant. Canyons Board of Education Vice President Steve Wrigley, board member Clareen Arnold, Entrada Principal Amy Boettger, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie and Canyons Director of Responsive Services BJ Weller attended the ceremony that celebrated and highlighted the uniqueness and tenacity of Entrada’s cohort. Of the diverse students, three were selected to speak during the graduation proceedings. Arminda Shepherd told the story of moving from her home country of Guinea-Bissau to Portugal at the age of 13 and seeing a television for the first time. She was amazed that she no longer had to walk seven miles to fetch water, but it came from a tap when you turned a knob. After moving to the United States in 2008, Shepherd completed her high school degree at age 47, and she plans to attend Salt Lake Community College. Another student speaker, 22-year-old Katelyn Boender, told the story about how she made her way back to high school after dropping out when she became pregnant with her first child. As a single mother now with two children, Boender described sometimes taking her children to class while she took tests or attended class. Jawdat Meraai described the journey he took to Entrada after moving with his family as refugees to America from Syria. Meraai simultaneously learned English as he attended his high school classes. He plans to open a business now that he has received his diploma. A photo album of the event can be found on the District's Facebook page.
The announcers at graduation ceremonies of Alta and Brighton High schools will have several opportunities to get the last names of three families correct. It might not be so difficult to correctly pronounce the last names of “Davis” or “Cooper” — but they’ll have three chances to get “Folau” just right.

A trio of triplets are set to graduate June 5, 2019 from Canyons District schools. Three sets of triplets — one at Brighton and two at Alta — are among the estimated 2,600 students who have earned enough credits to be awarded a high school diploma as part of the Class of 2019.

Conner, Tyler and Braidon Cooper are preparing to walk across the stage with their fellow Bengals, and Bennett, Carter and Keenan Davis and Brandon, Eric and Erin Folau will march with the Hawks.  Brighton's rites will be at 2 p.m. at the Maverik Center.  The Hawks will hold the school's 10 a.m. graduation ceremony at the Utah Community Credit Union Center at Utah Valley University. 

Can you imagine the level of activity every morning before school? Three times the amount of cereal bowls, misplaced backpacks, homework in folders, and missing shoes. Three times the time spent at school activities — and three times the expense. But, of course, the families of the Canyons triplets get three times the enjoyment of Wednesday’s graduation ceremonies.

For their part, and like most high school seniors anxious to begin their next adventure, Conner, Tyler and Braidon are excited to walk in a fast, straight line away from the circular halls of Brighton High. They are ready to make their own, individual marks in the world — and to not have the notoriety as class triplets. And no more doubling (or tripling) up in classrooms. “We have been there for each other through the good and bad,” said Conner. “We were there for each other until the end.”

This is not the first time three sets of triplets have graduated in the same year from 34,000-student Canyons District. In 2016, six sets of triplets graduated from CSD schools. In 2017 and 2018, three sets graduated. While there have been multiple years of multiples in recent Canyons graduating classes, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate a triplet or higher-order birth rate is rare. It occurs 101.6 per 100,000 live births.
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