Two Canyons District well-known and respected advocates for student athletes have received statewide honors for their notable careers.

Morgan Brown, athletic director for Alta High, and Natalie Meyer, who has been at the heart of Brighton High’s tennis dynasty, are two of the Utah High School Activities Association’s 17 Distinguished Awards recipients for 2018. 

Brown, who is in his 30th year at Alta High, was honored by the UHSAA as the Utah High School Athletic Director of the Year. Meyer, whose boys tennis team are the defending 5A state champs, was named by the UHSAA as the 5A Coach of the Year. 

For all of Alta’s students who love to play sports, Brown is an essential part of their experience, school officials say.  For nearly 20 years, Brown has coordinated transportation, overseen scheduling, and supported the Alta Hawks’ athletic endeavors. Brown started his career at Alta coaching football and track, having been a state champion himself in track in high school.

Meyer, a a long-time teacher and coach, is adept at helping her students accomplish hard things. She teaches them in math, and when they falter, she tutors them before and after school to make sure they succeed.

When it comes to sports, Natalie helps her teams develop the qualities that make them champions, both in their hearts and on the scoreboard. For Meyer, watching her players enjoy the sport and treat each other with respect is her greatest accomplishment, she says. That said, she is no stranger to winning, with nine state championships on her record.
Canyons District student-athletes are acing tests, quizzes and homework while also scoring big on the playing field.

In addition to the four state championship trophies won already this year in Utah High School Activities Association-sanctioned sports, 26 students from all five of Canyons District’s traditional, comprehensive high schools have earned Academic All-State Honors in fall sports. 

The UHSAA selects students on the basis of their athletic ability and academic proficiency.  

Boys Golf
  • Dylan Ricord — Alta High
Girls Tennis
  • Emilee Astle — Alta High
  • Elizabeth Simmons — Corner Canyon High 
  • Madison Lawlor —  Jordan
Girls Cross Country
  • Emily Liddiard — Hillcrest High
  • Ellie Anderson — Brighton High
  • Karlie Branch — Corner Canyon High
Volleyball
  • McKayla Kimball — Corner Canyon High
Girls Soccer
  • Megan Munger — Brighton High
  • Amelia Munson — Brighton High
  • Kaitlyn Conley — Brighton High
  • Megan Astle – Corner Canyon
  • Gwendelyn Christopherson — Jordan
  • Erika Oldham — Jordan
Boys Cross Country
  • Tavin Forsythe-Barker — Alta High
  • Declan Gleason — Brighton High
  • Joshua Johnson — Brighton High
  • Peter Oldham — Corner Canyon High
  • Michael McCarter — Corner Canyon High
  • Brandon Johnson — Corner Canyon
  • Jeddy Bennett — Jordan High
  • Samuel Bennett — Jordan High

Football
  • Baylor Jeppsen — Corner Canyon High  
  • Caden Johnson — Corner Canyon High
  • Austin Schaurgard — Jordan High
  • John Hillas — Brighton
Eighteen Canyons District students have advanced in a rigorous race to claim one of the country’s most prestigious scholarships for high school seniors. 

Students from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon and Hillcrest high schools today were announced as semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholar competition.  

The high-achieving CSD students join about 16,000 other top scholars who remain eligible to vie for 7,500 scholarships worth $31 million.

The roster of semifinalists was chosen from a field of 1.6 million students at more than 22,000 high schools. The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents fewer than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors. The number is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

Candidates for National Merit Scholar awards must write an essay and take a prequalifying test, as well as submit SAT scores. Also required is a detailed scholarship application in which the students must provide academic-record and community-involvement information. The students must note their leadership experiences, voluntarism, employment and any other honors received, too.

The finalists and winners of 2019 scholarships will be announced in the spring

The students and their schools are: 

Alta High
  • Abigail Hardy 
  • Joshua Mickelson 
  • Joshua Pomeroy
Brighton High
  • Alex Fankhauser 
  • Sofia Maw 
  • Jenna Rupper
Corner Canyon
  • Sebastian Lee 
  • Peter Oldham
Hillcrest High
  • Alex Chang 
  • Anthony Grimshaw 
  • Bryan Guo 
  • Saey Kamtekar 
  • Emily Langie 
  • Hongying Liu 
  • Warren McCarthy 
  • Landon Nipko 
  • Eric Yu 
  • Alan Zhao
Alta High Principal Brian McGill on Saturday received an award for leading his school’s efforts to prevent suicides, reduce instances of bullying, and maintain a safe learning environment by carefully monitoring and following up on tips sent via the SafeUT mobile app.

McGill received the honor at the Utah Suicide Awareness Summit, held at Murray High School. The Champion of SafeUT Award, given by the Utah State Office of Education, was presented by Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, Utah Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley, and Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy. 

In accepting the award, McGill said that, as a principal, “there’s never a tougher week” than when a school community is mourning the suicide death of a student. He said the state-funded SafeUT mobile app, which gives students immediate, all-day-and-all-night access to school staff and counselors at the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, has proven effective in reaching struggling students and aiding worried parents.

“This has been a great utility for Alta High,” he said, adding that he personally spent time over Winter Recess assisting a student who used the app to ask for help getting through a bout of depression.“We have had tips come in all the time.”

McGill said Alta’s administrative and counseling teams take care to investigate all the tips sent through the app.

“As an institution of learning, there is no more important work than to help our kids meet the highest academic benchmarks. That said, the proper social emotional supports need to also be in place and working in collaboration with effective teaching in order for kids to self-actualize,” he said. “The mental health needs of our kids in school has never been more great, as outlined this morning at the summit. I will continue to keep that commitment as a high priority for our kids at Alta.”

Cox, who spoke to Saturday attendees of the summit, said “what you are doing today is a very big deal … we are here to save lives.”

The SafeUT mobile app can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.

Canyons was among the first districts in Utah to roll out access to SafeUT, which also provides an avenue for students to submit anonymous safety tips.
When recipients of Canyons District’s official holiday card open their envelopes this season, they might see a whimsical watercolor painting of two friendly snowmen. Or they might see a painting of twinkling lights. Or they might see a winter wonderland with horses pushing against a northern wind. 

All three of the works of art, done by Alta High students Georgia Ray, Lindsay Brown and Lydia Stueber, were selected as the card’s featured artwork because they capture the heart-warming essence of the season. They were chosen from a field of submissions by students in art classes taught by Katie Campbell. 

Initially, the District was going to select just one piece of artwork for the District’s official holiday card.  But the three selections forwarded by Campbell to the District Office for consideration were so good that all were chosen.  An equal number of cards for each selection was printed, signed and mailed right after Thanksgiving. This is the fifth year CSD has featured student artwork on the official holiday card.   

Artwork done by students at Jordan Valley, Corner Canyon, and Brighton High has previously graced the cover of the card.  This year, the Hawks were asked to lend their talents to CSD’s yuletide greetings. 

Stueber, 16, did her watercolor as part of an assignment for an Advanced Placement 2-D Design art class.  “I always love the look of holidays lights, and I just thought it would be interesting to use watercolor for the lights and get the different shadows and dimensions,” said Stueber, a junior, who also competes on the school swim team, serves as the Art Club Vice President, and plays the flute in Alta’s wind symphony. 

Ray, 16, the daughter of Steve and Jodi Ray, says she drew inspiration from her family’s steeds.  “I have grown up with horses my entire life,” says Ray, who competes as an equestrian hunter jumper. She also completed the acrylic painting as part of an art class at the school, where she’s also a member of the Drama Club.

Brown, 16, who is a member of the Drama Club and Concert Choir, said she “wanted to paint something that would make everyone think of the holiday season,” she says, “and building snowmen is a fun thing you do in the wintertime with your family and friends.”
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