Hundreds braved the early evening heat Thursday to celebrate the beginning of construction on a complete rebuild of Brighton High School. Parents, alumni, members of the Cottonwood Heights City Council, Canyons District administrators, Brighton’s High’s principal, teachers and members of Canyons’ Board of Education came to celebrate this milestone for the Bengal community with a ceremonial turning of dirt. collagebhsgroundbreaking.jpg

But most of all, there were students. From the band and cheer squad who performed the school’s Fight Song to the football players who put away the chairs, Brighton’s students filled the air with cheers in eager anticipation for the remake of their campus. “Any decisions we have made about the design of this new school has been with the students in mind,” Brighton Principal Tom Sherwood said. “The physical, emotional and educational welfare of students will always be at the forefront of our decision making.” 

Brighton High is among three CSD high schools to be rebuilt or remodeled starting this summer with funds from a $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017. The bond will also be used to rebuild three other schools and build one new elementary school in west Draper, as well as school improvement projects. 

After opening its doors in 1969, Brighton is fast approaching its 50th birthday — but a lot has changed in 50 years. “When this school was built, the state-of-the-art technology was black and white TVs,” Sherwood said. MHTN Architects and builders from Hogan and Associates Construction will use modern techniques to build a new school that is equipped to educate students in a modern age. 

The new home of the Bengals will be built in phases over three years, starting with construction of a new auditorium, arts and CTE program spaces, where the existing school sits. Throughout the project, workers will be “building a new school on top of the old school, while still having school,” said Canyons Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.

Space is a premium on the campus, and there will be challenges during the build, most notably limited parking. But Wilcox said when the new school is completed, students and employees will have more parking space than they do now.

Other design features include a line of sight down the hallways for administrators and capabilities to lock down classrooms with the push of a button, in case of emergency. The school will have large windows and skylights to bring natural light into the commons area and classrooms, with an emphasis on small-group collaboration. Efforts to preserve elements of Brighton’s history are under way, including circular design elements that harken back to the school’s beloved circular halls.  

Individuals with ideas on the pieces of Brighton’s heritage they would like to save are invited to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their thoughts and contributions. So many people have fond memories of the school, said Canyons Board of Education 2nd Vice President Amber Shill. “My own family is very attached to this place. As the mother of four children who have graduated from here, or who will soon attend here, I feel privileged to take part in its future.”

Over the past half-century, alumni of Brighton have gone on to be accomplished scholars, athletes, government and industry leaders, artists and contributors to their communities. Canyons School District Vice President Nancy Tingey told the crowd she’s confident many more will join them over the coming years. “With the rebuild of the school, future generations of students will build memories here, too. … Whether your children are involved in sports, whether they have an affinity or math or passion for science, they will find in this school a welcoming place to thrive.”

Members of the community came to show support to the new school. Canyons Superintendent Dr. James Briscoe, Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor, as well as members Steve Wrigley, Clareen Arnold, Mont Millerberg, and Shill and Tingey, who represent the Brighton area and feeder schools, were there, as well as Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, Utah School Board member Katherine Riebe and members of the Canyons Education Foundation.

“None of this would be possible without your support,” Shill told the audience gathered at the school. “This is possible because of those who had the vision to create this school district and the voters who showed confidence and trust in the Board of Education. This trust is not taken lightly.”

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  • Twenty-six more Canyons District athletes have been presented Academic All-State Awards this year for excelling in sports and in the classroom.

    The awards are announced each sports season by the Utah High School Activities Association with this latest round going to students involved in track and field, boys soccer, baseball, softball, girls golf and boys tennis. This brings to 65 the total number of CSD honorees in 2017-2018. 

    Congratulations to these sporting scholars:

    5A Boys Soccer, Combined GPA, 3.999
    David Brog, Brighton 
    Thatcher Schwendiman, Brighton 
    Jace Vance, Brighton

    5A Baseball, Combined GPA 3.994
    Zachary Larson, Brighton
    Matthew Ebeling, Corner Canyon
    Dalton Hagen, Corner Canyon

    5A Softball, Combined GPA 3.991
    Maguire Wright, Alta 
    Erin Christensen, Brighton 

    6A Girls Track and Field, Combined GPA 4.0
    Madison Hooper, Hillcrest 
    Madeline Martin, Hillcrest 
    Jessica Ulrich, Hillcrest 

    5A Girls Track and Field, Combined GPA 4.0
    Claudia Caten, Brighton 
    Emily Johansen, Brighton 
    Olivia Liu, Brighton
    Nicole Critchfield, Corner Canyon 
    Makenzie Easton, Corner Canyon 
    Raili Jenkins, Corner Canyon 
    Hannah Sanderson, Corner Canyon 
    Madison Westerlind, Corner Canyon 

    5A Boys Track and Field, Combined GPA, 4.0
    Aaron Jackson, Corner Canyon 
    Trevor Lawson, Corner Canyon 
    Michael Petty, Corner Canyon 

    5A Boys Tennis, 3.997 GPA
    Trek Lewis, Corner Canyon

    6A Girls Golf, 3.986 Combined GPA
    Jessica Ulrich, Hillcrest 

    5A Girls Golf, Combined GPA 3.990
    Mia Montgomery, Brighton 
    Katherine Pearson, Brighton
    If rebuilding a high school is a major undertaking, try tackling three at once. This summer, construction crews will begin work on rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools along with a major renovation of Alta High.

    Architectural firms, with input from students, parents, employees and community leaders, have been hard at work shaping plans for the improvement projects — the largest and most complicated of many more to be financed by the $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017. At Open Houses in the coming weeks, community members will have a chance to preview the still-developing plans (see the schedule of events below).

    “This is such an exciting time for the District,” says Canyons District Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor. “We’re not just building schools, we’re building communities. With the completion of these projects, all of our high schools will be brought up to a high quality facilities standard. The safety and technological upgrades will improve the learning environments for generations of students, including the children of those now enrolled. It’s a momentous undertaking, and one that wouldn’t be possible without our patrons.”

    The high schools will be built in phases over 2-3 years so as to allow them to remain in operation during the construction. Tackling all three at once is ambitious, but in order to keep costs contained, it was imperative to get to work as quickly as possible, says CSD’s Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.

    Construction costs have soared, and are expected to continue to rise in the near future, Wilcox says. “We want to lock-in costs now on the largest and most complicated bond projects.”

    Each project varies according to the priorities established by the school communities. But among common focuses are school safety, sustainability, and futuristic thinking. Wilcox says, “We’re building these schools to last and to accommodate the rapidly changing technological demands and instructional practices of modern classrooms.”

    Careful attention is also being paid to preserve recent investments, such as the schools’ new football stadiums. Taking cues from research on the health and learning benefits of natural light, large windows and skylights are planned for commons areas and classrooms.

    Since Canyons’ inception, the District has worked to address the safety and technological deficiencies of the aging buildings it received from a previous school district while also planning for growth. The 13th and final project financed with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in 2010 — the renovation of Indian Hills Middle — will be completed in time for start of the 2018-2019 school year.

    Everyone is invited to attend the community Open Houses to showcase plans for the high schools. There will be presentations by architects, and an opportunity to submit questions and comments. The dates, times and locations are as follows:

    Brighton High School
    Tuesday, April 17 at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium
    Featuring MHTN Architects

    Hillcrest High School 
    Wednesday, April 18 starting at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium
    Featuring FFKR Architects

    Alta High School
    Wednesday, April 25, 7-9 p.m. in the Auditorium
    VCBO Architecture
    High school graduation is a rite of passage, a time for celebrating academic achievement, and an opportunity to spotlight our exceptional students and faculty. It’s one of those can’t-miss events, so mark your calendars now!

    The District’s five traditional high schools will all perform commencement rites on Tuesday, June 5.

    Ceremonies for special programs and schools are held on separate dates in May and June. Following are the dates, locations and times:

    • Alta High School — June 5, 10 a.m., Huntsman Center at University of Utah
    • Brighton High School — June 5, 2 p.m., Maverik Center
    • Corner Canyon High — June 5, 2 p.m., Huntsman Center at University of Utah
    • Hillcrest High School — June 5, 10 a.m., Maverik Center
    • Jordan High School — June 5, 6 p.m., Maverik Center
    • Diamond Ridge — June 6, 7 p.m., Mt. Jordan Middle
    • South Park School — May 31, 8 a.m. at Utah State Prison 
    • Entrada — June 26, 7 p.m., Jordan High School
    • Jordan Valley School — June 1, 11 a.m., Jordan Valley School
    • Canyons Transitions Academy — June 6, noon, Professional Development Center in CSD’s East Administration Building
    It was a big night for arts education. Three talented Canyons District artists walked away winners from the 2018 Sterling Scholar Awards, an academic excellence contest sponsored by the Deseret News and KSL Broadcast Group.

    Brighton High’s Sofia Rahaniotis was named Utah’s Sterling Scholar in the Speech, Theatre and Arts category, Alta High’s Addie Wray won the Vocal Performance category, and Hillcrest High’s Kara Komarnitsky won in Dance. They were joined on the podium by two Hillcrest Huskies who were named runners-up in the academic-excellence program: Sterling Larson in the World Languages category and Alex Sun in Science.

    Rahaniotis, Ray and Komarnitsky were among 11 CSD students to be named finalists in Utah's Sterling Scholar competition, which honors students “for the pursuit of excellence in scholarship, leadership and citizenship.”  They each received $2,500 scholarships, and runners-up received $1,000 scholarships.

    A member of the Brighton’s nationally-recognized Model United Nations team, Rahaniotis was previously awarded Brigham Young University’s Model United Nations Distinguished Delegation Award and Peer Award. She has a 4.0 grade point average, ranks first in her class, and is senior class President. She has volunteered for the Road Home homeless shelter, the American Red Cross, the Tyler Robinson Foundation, and many other charities. “To learn from, teach and inspire through art for which I feel such indescribable passion is to me the pinnacle of happiness,” she says. “I’m among those who are fortunate enough to experience such unmatched artistic joy and for this, I am truly thankful.”

    Komarnitsky has performed for Salt Lake’s Repertory Dance Theatre and has been the President of Hillcrest’s dance company for three years. She spent more than 50 hours with the Washington State Trails Association rebuilding a handicap access trail, she tutors students in biology and French and holds a black belt in taekwondo. “Challenge is the method to reach future growth,” she says, “and dance challenges me to grow in different ways every day.”

    Alta’s Addie Wray has played the leading role in three musicals. By age 11, she had performed in two professional shows. She has donated her time to support programs for people with special needs and says, “Vocal performing is something I was born to do, that I live, love and breathe eternally.”
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