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Wednesday, 30 August 2017 14:17

Remembering Hillcrest Coach Cazzie Brown

College funds have been established benefitting children of the late Hillcrest High head football Coach Cazzie Brown.

Coach Brown passed away Sunday, Aug. 27 from complications of a viral infection. A mentor with a distinct gift for inspiring young people to achieve, whether in the classroom or the football field, “Caz” was a champion of higher education.

“We’ve had such an outpouring of support from schools and school districts throughout Utah. As students, colleagues and friends mourn, many have asked if there’s anything they can do to support his three children in their educational goals,” said Canyons District Foundation Director Laura Barlow. “So, we created Utah Educational Savings Plans in their names.”

The Foundation is accepting donations online. Checks also can be made out to the Canyons Education Foundation and earmarked for the Cazzie Brown college funds.

A native of Houston, Texas, and former football player for Idaho State University, Coach Brown came to Hillcrest in 2016 by way of Judge Memorial and Highland High where he served as defensive coordinator and defensive assistant, respectively. In a short amount of time, with his deep love for students and his motto ‘One Pack, One Goal,’ he brought new energy and positivity to Hillcrest and its football program.

Beloved by his students, he was a caring, passionate educator, a respected colleague and a dear friend. Caz will forever be remembered as the Coach who brought pride back to Husky Land, and he will be greatly missed.

On Tuesday, more than a thousand students and community members gathered on Hillcrest's football field to light lit candles at a vigil in Coach Brown's memory. This coming Friday, the Huskies go up against Highland Rams, Coach Brown’s former team. As a show of unity, the two teams plan to enter the field together, two-by-two and shoulder to shoulder. Fans are being asked to wear white. Brown’s family is holding a celebration of life on the field the following day, Saturday, Sept. 2 at 10 a.m.

Photos of the candlelight vigil are courtesy of Kristin Murphy from the Deseret News.

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  • Canyons District mourns the death of Cazzie Brown, the head football coach at Hillcrest High.  The school community and its supporters have been encouraged to wear green today in a show of solidary and support for Coach Brown’s loved ones. 

    The school issued the following message to parents and students early this morning: 

    The administration, faculty and staff of Hillcrest High want to express our appreciation for the support you have shown our school community and Coach Cazzie Brown who passed away late Sunday, Aug. 27 from complications of a viral infection. A native of Houston, Texas, and former football player for Idaho State University, Coach Brown came to Hillcrest in 2016 by way of Judge Memorial and Highland High where he served as defensive coordinator and defensive assistant, respectively. In a short amount of time, with his deep love for students and his motto ‘One Pack, One Goal,’ he brought new energy and positivity to Hillcrest and its football program. Beloved by his students, he was a caring, passionate educator, a respected colleague and a dear friend. Caz will forever be remembered as the Coach who brought pride back to Husky Land, and he will be greatly missed. Counselors will be on hand today and throughout the week to support anyone who is struggling to process difficult emotions.” 

    A candlelight vigil will be held on the football field at 9 p.m. tonight.
    Fifteen-year-old survives lung surgery to compete in national bowling championship 

    Emily Pelzer was just 7 years old when she first saw a school flier inviting kids to come bowling. It seemed like it could be fun, so she asked her mom if they could go.

    Eight years later, the soon-to-be sophomore at Hillcrest is still bowling — but the sport has become much more than a hobby. It’s a lifeline.

    It turns out Pelzer is a natural at the sport. One year after she showed up to the bowling alley for the first time, the 8-year-old won her first national title, representing Utah in the national competition. Now that she’s 15, Pelzer has earned seven national titles in all, and this weekend she is going for another.

    To face 4,500 competitors in the national bowling competition is a challenge of its own. But Pelzer has an ace up her sleeve. To her, bowling isn’t just a fun way to pass the time. It’s a metaphor for life. “You can learn a lot from it,” Pelzer says after finishing a long day working at Fat Cats bowling alley.

    The last time Pelzer took her title to the countrywide competition, she placed 21 out of 450 competitors — and unbeknownst to her, she was playing with a partially collapsed lung. Pelzer’s mother, Sheri Harding, found her daughter on the floor not long after that game, lethargic and blue from the lack of oxygen reaching her system.

    Pelzer, they later discovered, had three dime-sized holes in her right lung, caused by a chain of events that occurred when she had an allergic reaction to something she ate in the sixth grade, which caused her to go into anaphylactic shock. To stop the shock, paramedics gave her a different medicine, which triggered a second allergic reaction. Pelzer aspirated the medicine, which burned her lungs as soon as the medicine made contact. Harding didn’t know her daughter’s lungs were damaged, but at the time, she was just focused on helping Pelzer survive.

    “They didn’t really give her much hope to actually live after she had that (first anaphylactic shock),” Harding says. “She was pretty much gone, and they brought her back, and it was really scary.”

    Since then, Pelzer has had extreme allergic reactions to other common ingredients, but she was unaware of the extent to which her lung had been damaged four years ago. In the last year, the teenager had reconstructive lung surgery to correct the problem. The recovery process nearly took over her life, but there was one thing that kept Pelzer going: bowling. 

    “I said, ‘All right, I’m not going to give up just because my lungs are giving up on me,’” Pelzer said. “I’m not going to let that happen because I know my body is more comfortable doing this sport than any other sport.”

    So, Pelzer resumed her training, working on her spares and strikes nearly every day, preparing for the national championships that take place this weekend in Ohio. Pelzer already has a full-ride scholarship to Texas A&M because of her bowling skills, but she has her eye on the top prize: a $300,000 scholarship and registration on Team USA for the next summer Olympics.

    Canyons District will be cheering this Husky on, but no matter what, she is already a hero to us.

    Five of CSD’s talented high school instrumentalists have been selected to perform with the Utah Symphony at an All-Star Evening Concert on Tuesday, May 23.

    The rare honor is granted to 57 students statewide. At the 7 p.m. event at Abravanel Hall, students will perform Dvorak’s Violin Concerto side-by-side with their professional counterparts. The performance will last two hours and admission starts at $12.

    The following students were chosen based on their performance at the Utah Symphony Youth Orchestra Festival on March 13, 2017:

    Sean Dulger, Horn, Corner Canyon
    Laura Lee, Violin, Corner Canyon
    Micah Clawson, Violin, Hillcrest
    Dallin Davis, Cello, Hillcrest
    Parker Kreiger, Clarinet, Hillcrest

    Do the winter blues have you down? Would you rather disappear into Victorian England, consider the value of individuality, laugh about society’s pitfalls, pretend you are at the Globe Theatre or spy on the Salem witch trials from the comfort of a high school auditorium? Never fear, Canyons’ students are hard at work on this year’s lineup of Winter-Spring plays — and they’re ready to transport you to your destination of choice.

    From “Hamlet” to “Urinetown,” each of Canyons’ high schools — and several middle schools — will be presenting a variety of musicals and plays beginning later this month.

    “Our goal is to create a unique version of the world’s most famous play that will cause audiences to realize they can understand Shakespeare,” says the award-winning Hillcrest d16425746_3878946570826_6174560334808074503_n.jpgrama teacher Josh Long. Hillcrest’s production will feature three different versions of Shakespeare’s original script for a streamlined performance, transported into a modern setting, with digital screens surrounding the audience.

    Long chose to present “Hamlet” as an additional challenge to his students, who are already four-time Shakespeare Competition champions and four-time State Champions.

    Here is a rundown of CSD's theatrical productions:
    • Alta: The Crucible, 7 p.m. Feb. 22-25 @ Alta auditorium
    • Jordan High: Jane Austen’s “Emma,” 7 p.m. March 2-4, 6 @ Jordan auditorium
    • Hillcrest: Hamlet, 7 p.m., March 17-18, 20 @ Hillcrest auditorium
    • Corner Canyon: Urinetown, 7 p.m. May 17-20 @ Corner Canyon auditorium
    Middle school performances: 
    • Draper Park Middle: The Lion King Jr. 7:30 p.m. March 7-11
    • Mt. Jordan Middle: Fame! Jr. 7 p.m. May 12, 16-18
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