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He was a professional musician who once toured with some big-name bands like Dixie Chicks, Survivor and Lynyrd Skynyrd. On this episode of the Supercast, we hear about one man’s path from the professional music stage to teaching in the classroom. Find out how Brian Anderson’s career in rock ‘n roll, led him to the classroom.


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It is designed to help keep students safe in and outside of school. On this episode of the Supercast, we talk about new technology called “Bark,” which helps to detect signs of things like cyberbullying, suicidal ideation and threats of school violence. Listen and find out how this new technology is already proving successful in saving lives in Jordan School District.

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You could say it is a rare gem at Herriman High School and it’s giving students a brand-new experience in education. On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside the first ever jewelry making class where creativity is coming alive with the creation of one-of-a-kind accessories.

Join us as we head into the classroom with teacher Sommer Baisch and her students.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. You could say it is a rare gem in Herriman High School, and it's giving students a brand new experience in education. On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside the first ever jewelry-making class at Herriman High, where creativity is coming alive with the creation of one of a kind accessories.

We're here with Sommer Baisch at Herriman High School. She teaches the jewelry making class, the only one in the District. And even as I was walking in, I talked with a couple of people who told me that kids from other schools wish they could take this class. Tell me about this class.

Sommer Baisch:
So it's a Jewelry I class, so it’s kind of an introduction into basic tools. The jeweler's saw, setting stones with cold connections, so without heat, kind of making all the basic wire components. Just an entry into more advanced techniques, which we go over in Jewelry Making II such as soldering, stone setting. So it's kind of just an introduction class.

Anthony Godfrey:
So a big part of the difference between one and two, whether it's hot or cold and the work that you’re doing?

Sommer Baisch:
Yeah. And also just like to have a smaller class size, in Jewelry II, to be able to manage more kids with fire.

Anthony Godfrey:
So if you introduce fire into the classroom, you definitely need smaller class numbers, for sure. So tell me how long have you been teaching this and what got you into jewelry making?

Sommer Baisch:
So I've been teaching it, this is my fourth year at Herriman. I actually applied at Herriman because there was a printmaking position but it came attached to jewelry making. To be honest, I did not know a ton about jewelry making other than like some intro stuff I went over in college. So it took a lot of like taking workshops, professional development to kind of prepare for teaching this class, but I actually love it. It's so different from any art class that most schools traditionally offer.

Anthony Godfrey:
What do you like in particular about teaching this jewelry making class?

Sommer Baisch:
I like that it attracts like the most diverse group of kids ever. Like a lot of kids take Drawing because they're into drawing and they have a style, a lot of kids take Print Making because they want to print on a shirt, but I feel like jewelry is more diverse. I have the football kids next to the kids that also love art. It's a huge range of students that maybe don't necessarily think they're good at art or good at drawing. They think drawing when they think art. Right? So jewelry gives them an opportunity to make something, and be proud of it that maybe they wouldn't feel the same confidence in the drawing or painting class.

Anthony Godfrey:
I find that very interesting because I'm always worried about students who may be interested in something, but are worried they're not good enough to take a class in it, when really the point is to learn how to do something that interests them. So you can come into a jewelry making class with no experience, no skills, and you're able to take them from zero to necklace and in just a few classes.

Sommer Baisch:
Yeah, and that is an interesting thing. We asked that when they start using the jewelry saw, how many of you have used a jewelry saw? No one. So it kind of levels the playing field and it kind of takes the pressure off of students to feel like they have to be like the best. I was in that drawing class where you're always looking over your shoulder, like, ‘oh man, that kid can draw.’ And there's not that vibe in this class. Everybody's willing to just try their best. They're also more willing to take risks because they've never done it before. So who knows if it's gonna work out or not? And I really like that.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what you've just described is the environment where the most genuine learning takes place.

Sommer Baisch:
For sure. It's total problem solving from start to finish, and hands-on, and it really just taps every area of the brain with learning a new skill, I think.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, absolutely. Tell me about some of the projects, both from this Jewelry Making class or Jewelry Making II, that students will be involved in.

Sommer Baisch:
So in Jewelry I, we start with some shrinky dink earrings. They make wire findings, like ear hooks, jump rings, so they learn really basic skills. They just did a project where they had to saw out around the design in a quarter and cut out some negative space. So they learn how to saw sheet metal. They just learned how to find a ring size, how to go from raw materials, such as copper, nickel, brass, and to make it into a specific design that they came up with. We're about to start enameling, which is melting glass on the surface of metal. That's the only thing that requires heat in Jewelry I.

Anthony Godfrey:
So there will be some enameling?

Sommer Baisch:
Yep, and then we finish with a stone set ring. They learn how to rivet, how to cut out tabs to hold a stone in place. In Jewelry II we do lots of stone settings. So soldering metal together to use a bezel setting for like a natural stone, a natural gemstone.

Anthony Godfrey:
And do you find that a number of students maybe try to make this a little bit more than a hobby, maybe go on Etsy, try to sell some things?

Sommer Baisch:
Yes. I've been told we have some Tik Tok spoon ring famous kids from Herriman that have made spoon rings and have thousands of followers on Tik Tok.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm not close with the spoon ring / Tik Tok community, but where those two worlds overlap, it's exciting that there are some Herriman students that are featured there. That's really cool. I noticed that you've made some terrifying skull earrings yourself.

Sommer Baisch:
Yep. So these are enamel earrings. This is their next project. I try to preview their projects with what I wear. I don’t know if they pick up on it.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's a good way to preview, is for them to maybe notice what you're wearing and say, well, guess what you're going to get to make that. Thank you very much for spending the time and for offering this unique opportunity for students. It's obvious that they're all super engaged and really excited about that project. So it's really fun to see. Yeah. Thanks for coming.

Tell me your name and tell me about some of the projects that you've worked on in this class.

Student #1:
This is my ring. I tried to make it as close as I can to bamboo.

Anthony Godfrey:
This is made out of copper? And so did you lay it out and cut it and then shape it?

Student #1:
Yeah,I did. Yeah, I textured it first. I used a striper hammer.

Anthony Godfrey:
So the striper hammer has an edge with grooves in it on one side of the head and the other has kind of pins poking out of it. So why do you use this side of the hammer for that particular job?

Student #1:
I just thought it would look better with my ring because you know, it's bamboo.

Anthony Godfrey:
So does it give it some structure?

Student #1:
Yeah, it just feels better. It just looks better with it. Yeah. That was the first one I did. And then I also did patina, which is the black stuff in between.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. The patina kind of brings out the design of it. Where did you come up with the idea for the design?

Student #1:
The project she gave us was I think, like nature. It was about nature. So that was the first thing that came to mind for some reason. I don't know why, and I just went with it.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what are some of the other projects?

Student #1:
We did make ear wires, and then we made little shrinky dinks to go along with it. Mine are in the case outside. I made a Robin from, you know Teen Titans Go? Yeah. I made Robin from that and I maybe shrunk them down and then we connected them to the ear wire. So they look pretty cool.

Anthony Godfrey:
Let’s go out and take a look in the case right here.

So what would you say to people who were thinking about taking this class?

Student #1:
I enjoy it a lot. It's really fun. I was actually supposed to switch out of it, but I stayed for two weeks because I wanted to make sure. I wanted to search out because I need an art credit, but it was after the ear wires. I was like, yeah, I'm staying.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what is it that you like about the class?

Student #1:
It’s just, it's really fun to make things. She gives us a lot of freedom. These are a lot of them. Mine was, I believe it was, it was somewhere around here. I can’t remember. Oh yeah, it's right there. I wish I colored it in a little bit more though.

Anthony Godfrey:
It looks really good. It looks really good. So you shrink it down?

Student #1:
Yeah. They started off, like, they start off like three times that size. And then when you, when you warm them up in the oven, they shrink down to that size.

Anthony Godfrey:
And were you a bit surprised at what you were able to create?

Student #1:
I didn't think it would look like that. I thought it'd be a little more pale. I didn't color it in as much as I should have.

Anthony Godfrey:
But it turned out better than you thought.

Student #1:
Yeah. A lot better.

Anthony Godfrey:
Which kind of made you want to do more?

Student #1:
Yeah. I was planning on making another, but we, uh, we moved on to rings.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, you're lucky to be able to be in this class. I hear that there are kids from other schools trying to get in, that don't even go to Herriman. So, I think that's a great project and it sounds like you've got a lot of exciting things ahead in this class. Is there a satisfaction that comes from doing something physical and making something where you get to see the result?

Student #1:
Yeah.  I enjoy the end, you know, it's just that little satisfaction of something you created and like, you just feel proud of yourself.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, you should. It looks great. So what plans do you have for those earrings?

Student #1:
I really plan on keeping them since they're my very first project and, you know, I just, I really like them.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. I think it looks great. All right. Well, thanks for talking with us and enjoy the class.

Sommer Baisch:
So Shiloh wanted to make a spinner ring. It doesn't quite spin, we're still trying to work out the mechanics, but she actually layered metal, which wasn't a requirement. But it turned out really amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh wow. So is this nickel and copper? I'm cheating because other students told me what materials they were working with. So ultimately, what will this do? Describe that for me, ultimately, what will that do?

Student #2:
It was supposed to spin. This nickel part was supposed to spin around the copper, but it didn't fit quite right, and so it doesn't spin.

Anthony Godfrey:
Is the purpose for that, that you're able to kind of spin it while you're wearing it and kind of fiddle with it?

Student #2:
Yeah, like a fidget something.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think it's really cool. Tell me about the pattern. Is that just leaves?

Student #2:
So there's a leaf right here and then on the front, there's a tiger's head.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, wow. I didn't notice that. Yeah. Leave me alone. I'm a tiger. Well, it looks really good. Are you going to wear it?

Student #2:
I'm not quite sure what went wrong, but it doesn't fit any of my fingers. So I'm probably just going to give it to my mom.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. I'm sure she'll love it. Alright. Well, thanks for talking with me.

Stay with us. When we come back more from the Jewelry Making class at Herriman High School.

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Anthony Godfrey:
We're here in the Jewelry Making class at Herriman High School. Students, why don't you go ahead and introduce yourselves?

Student #3:
I'm Alison.

Student #4:
I'm Ricki.

Anthony Godfrey:
What made you want to sign up for this class Ricki?

Student #4:
I just love wearing jewelry, so I wanted to make some.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how about for you?

Student #3:
I needed another fine arts credit.

Anthony Godfrey:
And was it more than just a credit once you started in the class?

Student #3:
Definitely.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about that.

Student #3:
I don't know. I just kind of showed up and I was like, it's really sick, like making stuff.

Anthony Godfrey:
For listeners at home, sick is good. That's a positive thing. Totally rad in the 1900s would have been the equivalent. This is a sick class. Tell me what’s sick about it?

Student #3:
I have a really great group of friends. And like when you do stuff, that's fun with your friends, everything is fun.

Anthony Godfrey:
Speaking of friends, now that you're working on jewelry, do you have a friend in the diamond business?

Student #3:
Only at Shane Company.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Very good. Well done. So how did you make Harry Styles shrinky dink earrings?

Student #3:
You take a picture and you draw it on a piece of paper and then you take a piece of rice paper, put it over the picture, and then you get a piece of the shrink dink film and then you trace it again and then you scratch it up and color it and put it in a toaster oven. And you're done.

Anthony Godfrey:
So after that process then do you wear these earrings?

Student #3:
Not today, but they're in my room right now.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Very nice. What are some of the things that you've made?

Student #4:
We just finished making rings.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about this ring.

Student #4:
It’s made of nickel and we saw it in the shape we wanted, then we filed it and then bent it.

Anthony Godfrey:
What shape did you put it in here?

Student #4
I did a mountain.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh yeah. I do see that. Okay. Try it on. Let's see how it looks. It looks great. So that's a forefinger ring. Very good. So tell me about the process for shaping it that way.

Student #4:
You just had to draw on a paper what shape you wanted, then you put it on the nickel and use a saw to cut it out.

Anthony Godfrey:
Did you make earrings as well? And what earrings did you make?

Student #4:
Hannah Montana.

Anthony Godfrey:
Hannah Montana. You know, you could trade and you could each be wearing one Harry Styles and one of Hannah Montana, that would be iconic. Once you made these things, did you feel like maybe, this sounds like an Etsy project, like something you could sell online? Have you thought about making something to sell?

Student #3:
She does.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, she does.

Student #3:
Ricki has an online boutique on Etsy.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, tell me about your boutique?

Student #4:
I just do like earrings and spoon rings

Anthony Godfrey:
Earrings and spoon rings, okay. So where do you get the spoons? I'm going to pull it up right now, by the way, let's take a look.

Student #4
Anywhere, like little vintage shops.

Anthony Godfrey:
Is it a particular kind of spoon that you look for?

Student #4
No, any pretty ones.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what's the name of your store? Oh, there it is. Okay. All right. May I? Let’s take a look? Oh, very nice. So did you have this before you were in this class?

Student #4:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you had an interest in making jewelry before you took this class. And how has this class helped with your jewelry making?

Student #4:
Now I know more techniques on how to do different things.

Anthony Godfrey:
Has your range of product offerings increased since being in this class? I like the flower earrings right there with the different colors. All right. Thank you guys.

Thanks for joining us on another episode of the Supercast. Remember education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see you out there.

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It was a hands-on educational experience that brought aspects of agriculture and having fun on the farm to students in the city.

On this episode of the Supercast, we take you to the annual 7th Grade Agriculture Day at JATC South where members of FFA helped teach middle school students about different professions in the ag industry as well as how food makes its way from farms to the dinner table. Two award winning goats also joined the ag day action, making a special guest appearance on the Supercast.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. It was a hands-on educational experience that brought aspects of agriculture and having fun on the farm to students in the city. On this episode of the Supercast, we take you to the Annual 7th Grade Agriculture Day at JATC South, where members of FFA helped teach middle school students about different professions in the agriculture industry, as well as how food makes its way from farms to the dinner table. Two award-winning goats also joined the ag day action, making a special guest appearance on the Supercast. Miranda from Riverton High School introduces us to Leonard and Penny.

Miranda:
My name is Miranda, and these are my goats. This one's name is Leonard, and then that's Penny and they're boer goats and they're also show goats. So I use them in like 4H and FFA competitions in livestock shows. I actually just showed a goat like this, his name was Sheldon, at the State Fair this past weekend. Something about these guys is that to use them in the show industry, you have to train them. So I use this rope halter to teach them how to walk, like you walk your dogs, I walk my goats. Then I also have a show halter that's a little fancier than this one, to use in the show ring with them. You also train them to set up or square up, which is where you put all four of their legs just directly underneath them. It just helps them to look their best. Then you do something called bracing, which helps them to flex their muscles because it is a market show. So you're looking for the best animal there or the best meat animal there.

Anthony Godfrey:
Which goat is the greatest of all time?

Miranda:
Probably this one right here.

Anthony Godfrey:
That goat is the goat.

Miranda:
Yes, she is the goat.

Anthony Godfrey:
I see that the tail is shaved and cut in a particular way. Is that part of the grooming for competition? 

Miranda:
Yes it is, and also their legs. We trim it just like at their hawk so then it's level to the ground. That's like the trend in the stock show industry. Then we actually fluff up their legs. We use a little blow dryer, like how we blow dry our hair, we blow their hair and we make it puffy and build it up. 

Anthony Godfrey:
Do any of you have goats at home? You have a golden retriever, but not a goat. Okay. They'd probably get along though. Did they eat crazy stuff like you think they would?

Miranda:
Maybe. These ones are on a special diet.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh they're on a special diet, a special goat diet. Is it an oat goat diet or what do they eat?

Miranda:
It's called Show Rite. It's a little gray pellet that you feed them. You can just get it from IFA.

Anthony Godfrey:
It’s good for the coat. What is your biggest goat award?

Miranda:
Probably this belt buckle I have on right now. Her sister actually won it for me.

Anthony Godfrey:
Grand Champion Goat. Is that from 2021? 

Miranda:
Yes, it is.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well done. So you are the champion, my friend. Do they know their names?

Miranda:
They might not. Sometimes when you call to them they'll respond, but not really.

Anthony Godfrey:
Are they evil or do they just look that way?

Miranda:
No, they're actually really nice. I like goats more than sheep. Goats are much nicer.

Anthony Godfrey:
So sheep are more on the evil end.

Miranda:
Yes. Do you guys know what goats are used for and why we breed them?

Students answering:
Goat milk.
They cook them.
Whoa.
Aren’t goats a delicacy?
Have you had goat meat? It's pretty good. 

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here with Sonja Burton, the principal of the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers South campus. Thank you for joining us. 

Sonja Burton:
Thank you. 

Anthony Godfrey:
We want to talk about 7th Grade Agriculture Days. Tell me a little bit about that.

Sonja Burton:
Well, it came about by CTE. Current Technical Education has advisory boards and we were gathered in an advisory board meeting. The industry professionals at the time, in that meeting, asked us what we needed and they wanted to tie some sort of event to a curriculum. So the perfect class was College and Career Awareness or CCA that our 7th graders take where they learn about different careers in all of our CTE areas. This one happens to be agriculture. This one's a little bit more difficult to get work based, learning experiences or speakers to come in. So we're bringing the students to the industry professionals. 

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some of the other areas you cover in that class?

Sonja Burton:
Family and Consumer Science, Business and Marketing, Information Technology, Health Sciences, Skilled and Technical Sciences, and Tech and Engineering. 

Anthony Godfrey:
So 7th grade really is the perfect time to do that because they have so many class choices ahead of them in middle school and in high school and a lot of opportunities. Many students aren't aware of the broad range of options that are available to them. Agriculture days in particular is focused on an area that many kids don't have a lot of experience with,

Sonja Burton:
Right. And that's why we wanted to bring it to them because mostly students would think, ‘oh, agriculture is just farming’ and agriculture isn't just farming. It encompasses natural resources, food and farming, with food and fiber, fiber in particular, but also mining, landscape and horticulture, veterinary science, floriculture, so when you send flowers to someone. All of that is encompassed in agriculture.

Anthony Godfrey:
Many students don't understand where their food or clothing comes from. And agriculture days seems to be a great way to raise awareness, not just of careers, but really how the world works and how their needs are met.

Sonja Burton:
Yes, a lot of students, when you ask them, they say that their food, milk for example, comes from the store. They don't actually know. There was a dairy farmer outside speaking to them about all of their high tech machinery that they use to milk those cows. And they're milking them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even on Christmas.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yes. The cows don't take a break. So really it connects students to the broader world around them. Even if they don't go into agriculture as a career, a better understanding of that is very valuable because just the way that we live and the way we rely on agriculture every day,

Sonja Burton:
It creates an awareness of your everyday life, which is exactly what CTE in all of our program areas do. It is real life experiences that you can use with your family and your friends, not just in school or in a career.

Anthony Godfrey:
There are even jobs within Jordan District that would be considered agriculture jobs.

Sonja Burton:
Of course! You have agricultural educators, who are also FFA advisers, but as you walk into a school, it's not only our teachers, but it is everything that takes place at each of our schools, especially our grounds and maintenance crews. They have to have a knowledge of landscape and horticulture in order to be able to do their jobs. We have the pleasure of having our Jordan District facilities and our grounds crews here to present to our 7th grade students.

Anthony Godfrey:
We can always use more help. That's great to be recruiting in 7th grade. What are some of the programs available in Jordan School District for a student who is interested in agriculture?

Sonja Burton:
At our comprehensive high schools, there are programs such as Animal Science. So we have the Animal Science pathway. We have Horticulture or the Plant Sciences pathway. Then as you move to the tech center, we have Veterinary Science at JATC North, and Landscape and Horticulture at JATC South.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's exciting that we have such a wide range of options available for students. If a parent wanted to find out more about what's available, how would they do that?

Sonja Burton:
They are welcome to contact their CTE coordinator at each of the comprehensive high schools, or they're welcome to contact JATC North and South.

Anthony Godfrey:
We had the chance to interview your daughter and her goats. Well, we interviewed the goats. They didn't really respond very well, but they were attentive. Tell me about what that's like as a family. You've done this for a long time.

Sonja Burton:
We have. My parents actually decided that was a good way to learn responsibility at a young age. So my dad did help us get into raising market lambs and goats. We still do it now. They raised market lambs and goats in Juab county and my children and my nieces participated in that family event.

Anthony Godfrey:
So market lambs and goats, as opposed to black market lambs and goats?

Sonja Burton:
These animals are show animals. So they will go to your livestock shows and fairs or exhibits around the state and around the country.

Anthony Godfrey:
Is it hard to say goodbye to those goats when it's time to send them to market?

Sonja Burton:
There have been many tears shed. Many, ‘Ok, just one more minute’ at the pen before we have to leave. Because not only do you name them, each of these animals have such a personality and you've spent hours with them, training them, so they are perfect when they get into that show ring. 

Anthony Godfrey:
When it is time for them to go, is it harder to say goodbye to some than to others?

Sonja Burton:
It is. Some you just wave and say, ‘see you later’, and others there are tears shed. 

Anthony Godfrey:
Sonya, do all goats go to heaven?

Sonja Burton:
No, I don't think so.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, fair enough. You've heard it here folks, all goats do not go to heaven. So be a good goat out there. All right. Well, thank you very much for everything you're doing to improve students' awareness of the careers in agriculture, and also just how the world works around them.

Sonja Burton:
Thank you so much.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. More fun on the farm and Ag Day when we come back.

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Anthony Godfrey:
Now let's listen in as Jordan School District maintenance employees talk about some of the equipment they use.

Maintenance worker #1:
Anybody have any ideas, what that is? How many of your parents fertilize the grass at your house with a little spreader thing? This is the same thing, but on steroids right here. With this we can haul about 8,000 pounds of fertilizer. What does fertilizer do for us? 

Student #1:
It kills the weeds in the grass.

Maintenance worker #1:
It can, it can, if it has that component with it. 

Student #2:
It grows the grass, it fertilizes the grass.

Maintenance worker #1:
Yes, Exactly. Can fertilizer be used on anything other than just grass? Yes. What? 

Students:
Flower beds.

Maintenance worker #1:
Yeah, flower beds, trees. Just about anything that comes up out of the ground, fertilizer will help it.

Maintenance worker #2:
So this is the aerator, and what it does is it digs up these little holes that you see in the grass, you know, every so often. It digs those holes, puts them in the ground, and it allows the grass and the soil to breathe kind of. And then it works hand in hand with the fertilizer, because when you do this, it allows the fertilizer to kind of get a little deeper in the soil and bring a little more nutrients to the grass and that makes it a little healthier.

Anthony Godfrey:
Introduce yourself to everyone.

Alisha Neil:
My name is Alisha Neil, and I'm the agriculture teacher at Mountain Ridge High School.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what does being the agriculture teacher at Mountain Ridge High School entail?

Alisha Neil:
So I am both the FFA advisor and then I teach the agriculture classes. So for me, that's Animal Science, Floriculture, Biology, Agriculture, and Equine Science.

Anthony Godfrey:
Floriculture. 

Alisha Neil:
Yes. 

Anthony Godfrey:
And do students learn how to raise and arrange flowers?

Alisha Neil:
So the floriculture is different than the floriculture in greenhouse class, which I've taught before. In floriculture we're focusing mostly on floral design, so we've done a couple of weddings in my class so far this year, and we have a couple more to do. So we get a lot of the hands-on experience in designing and arranging flowers.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's awesome. What are some of the other classes?

Alisha Neil:
Animal Science is all about animals and animal science. We focus mostly on livestock animals in Animal Science 1 and then we get into small and companion animals in Animal Science 2. We cover anatomy and physiology, as well as what it takes to raise those animals, and what it would take for example, to get beef from the farm to the plate. So we follow those animals all the way through.

Anthony Godfrey:
Lots of kids and lots of people generally,  have lost an understanding of how that happens and what all is involved. What value do you see in bringing students along and helping them understand that process?

Alisha Neil:
So I tell my kid this. We do a consumer products unit, and being a good consumer of animal products in general, and having a better understanding of what it takes to get those products to you, is really important for kids as they make informed decisions as voters. As they go out and learn to be consumers of their own products and make those choices, every time a kid or a person buys a product from the grocery store, they're essentially voting for how they want that product raised and handled with their dollar. And so that's an important thing for our students to understand and to be able to apply. So whether they grow up to be in the agriculture profession or not, understanding how to be a good consumer is important.

Anthony Godfrey:
Anybody who eats can be more intentional and informed about the choices they make.

Alisha Neil:
A hundred percent. Yeah, that's exactly it. Like I said, understanding labels, understanding the different ways our products are raised is really important. Even though we're in a suburban to urban setting, like you said, every person that eats can make better informed choices, if they understand the background of where those products come from.

Anthony Godfrey:
You mentioned, companion animals, would I normally call that a pet?

Alisha Neil:
Yes, that would be a pet.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about companion animal versus pet.

Alisha Neil:
So a companion animal as registered is what we would consider a pet. In the animal industry, we call them companion animals, but that could be everything now from a Chinchilla to a dog or cat, even horses. I have kids that have many horses that go do therapy with them. So there's a broad spectrum of what we consider companion animals now. But we also talk about exotics and zoology stuff in there as well.

Anthony Godfrey:
So Ag courses can help students go into agriculture and be prepared for that, but also just better understand animals in their lives. 

Alisha Neil:
Correct. So agriculture really affects all of us. Every time you put on a piece of clothing that has cotton in it, to wearing leather shoes, to eating three times a day, all of that is influenced by agriculture. I do have a lot of kids that are in the vet science line of things, but I also have kids that are just there because they're interested in animals and want to learn a little bit more. And it really does, it affects all of us. There's things that you don't think about. Everything from your hair gel and mascara down to the air filters in our car have animal products in them. So things we need to learn about.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about FFA.

Alisha Neil:
So FFA is a passion of mine and always has been. I had a really excellent ag teacher who's now the principal here at JATC South. FFA is really a life changing student leadership organization. We have a fairly decent chapter at Mountain Ridge and we're growing. Last year with the pandemic things kind of got a little off track, but we're back on now. We have competitions for students to be in, but really first and foremost, it's a student leadership organization where kids learn hands-on leadership skills. My student officers make all the decisions for our chapter, our school. So they decide what socials we have, what competitions we're in, what things run that way. They run the whole program, and my job is just to be there for the advisor role.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me the thinking behind having students teaching students at this event.

Alisha Neil:
One of my favorite things about this particular 7th Grade Ag Day, we've been doing it for quite a number of years, but it gives my kids the first hand opportunity to expand their knowledge. Kids always learn better when they're teaching. The person doing the talking is usually the one doing the most learning. So they get that added benefit of being able to tell what they know. They also kind of experience what it's like to be a teacher, and they're usually nicer to me after this day. They're a little bit grateful. They're like, ‘this is exhausting. How do you do this all the time?’ By teaching, they kind of round out their knowledge and they can see where they have gaps. It's also really valuable to my students because as they apply for FFA awards, my kids have to have a hundred service hours, and so this goes to count towards those service hours and can help them. The degree application they have to do is approved by the state of Utah and they they really like this on their applications. This shows up really nice for them.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you don't have to be a future farmer of America to be in FFA?

Alisha Neil:
No. So Future Farmers of America, the name actually changed in 1988 and they dropped the future farmers part of it, but kept FFA because of all the tradition and history we have associated with it. But future farmer really should be future biologist, future engineer, future wildlife biologist, future soil tech.

Anthony Godfrey:
Future informed consumer. 

Alisha Neil:
Exactly, exactly. Everyone is affected by agriculture, whether directly or indirectly and agriculture is still our nation's largest employer. So whether it's in the field, which there's not a ton of actual farmers anymore as we've condensed, but agriculture still employs more people than any other industry.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you very much. It's great talking with you and thank you for all the efforts that you put into making an event like this possible. I'm sure it's the type of exposure that many students haven't experienced. 

Alisha Neil:
It's really fun. And the best part is the kids that do it here in 7th grade, a lot of the times, by the time they get to high school, they remember it and they come and seek our programs out. So it works really well all the way around.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's great. Thanks again. 

Thank you for joining us for another episode of the Supercast. Remember education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see out there.

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Rhyan White is a Herriman native who is now among the best of the best in competitive swimming in the United States. That’s because Rhyan won a silver medal in the women’s 4x100-meter medley relay at the recent 2020 Summer Olympics. She also placed fourth in both the 100-meter backstroke and the 200-meter backstroke.

On this episode of the Supercast, Rhyan White takes time out of her busy schedule at the University of Alabama to talk about what it takes to become an Olympic athlete. Rhyan shares her experience at the summer games in Tokyo and talks about coming home to a hero’s welcome in Herriman.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Today we talk with Rhyan White. She's a Herriman native who is now among the best of the best in competitive swimming in the United States. That's because Rhyan won a silver medal in the women's 4x100-meter medley relay at the recent 2020 Summer Olympics. She also placed fourth in both the 100-meter backstroke and the 200-meter backstroke. On this episode of the Supercast, Rhyan takes time out of her busy schedule at the University of Alabama to talk about what it takes to become an Olympic athlete. She shares her experience at the recent summer games in Tokyo and talks about coming home to a hero's welcome in Herriman. 

All right. We are here with Rhyan White, silver medalist from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and we're really excited to have her on the Supercast. Rhyan, I know you're busy with school. Thank you very much for joining us.

Rhyan White:
Yeah, of course. I'm super happy to talk to you guys and just let you know my story and I really appreciate you guys reaching out to me.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now you swam for Herriman High School for a year, is that right?

Rhyan White:
Yup. That's right.

Anthony Godfrey:
And now you are an Olympic medalist. How does that feel?

Rhyan White:
It's pretty crazy. Some days I wake up and I can definitely feel the excitement and some days I just remember I’m another swimmer. It's definitely exciting and I'm super grateful.

Anthony Godfrey:
As I was Googling your various accomplishments, you have a lot of medals in your life. You've held up medals of various colors over the years. Tell me a little bit about some of your other accomplishments.

Rhyan White:
I've been an SEC champ, I think it’s been two years in a row for backstroke. In high school I was swimmer of the year a couple of times. I've just grown up swimming and I really love it.

Anthony Godfrey:
What drew you to swimming initially?

Rhyan White:
My older brothers. I have three older brothers and an older sister and my parents kind of just had us all doing some summer league. Me and my sister kind of fell in love with it together, and so we continued on to do more competitive swimming. I just kind of stuck with it.

Anthony Godfrey:
At what point did you realize, ‘Hey, I might be better than some of the people around me.’

Rhyan White:
I think I first kind of talked about maybe being an Olympian, and that my goals were to do that and my dreams were, I think I was maybe 11 or 12. I had like a state record or something in the 50 fly. Then I think it really hit me that I could maybe even swim in college and really do this thing probably when I was 12 or 13. I swam at some meet in Salt Lake City, I swam a 100 back and my underwater had just developed so much that year and my coaches were super excited. I think I was always in love with the sport, but I think at that time I realized that I could really go somewhere with it.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you're 21 now. 

Rhyan White:
Yep

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about your training schedule. How many hours at the peak, how much time have you been training a day?

Rhyan White:
The NCAA rules are that we can’t be required more than 20, I'm pretty sure. Like we have voluntary practices that ended up going over that and they're kind of voluntary, but I mean, they expect us to be there. If you want to get better, you show up. So let's see we practice, I do doubles Monday, Wednesday, Friday for swimming.

Anthony Godfrey:
I do doubles, but they're double cheeseburgers. It's a different thing. It's not a regimen at all. Tell me again, start that sentence over.

Rhyan White:
So we do doubles Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Our swim practices are typically two hours long and then Tuesday and Thursday, Saturday, those are like the single days. Then I lift three times a week and I usually do dry land twice a week. Dry land is just more like cardio. We do a lot of stuff on the assault bike. We have a Versaclimber here and rowing machines, things like that. 

Anthony Godfrey:
The assault bike. Sounds like a high level of energy expended on the assault bike.

Rhyan White:
I mean, that's what we call it. It's just a stationary bike. That's actually one of my favorite things that we do at dry land. 

Anthony Godfrey:
The dry land workout, so weights, the assault bike. What else is included in the dry land workout?

Rhyan White:
We have a rowing machine, like an Arc, I think that's what it's called. A Versaclimber, which is like, it's kind of like a tall pole and there's some things sticking out the side of it. You just move your arms up and down and your legs up and down. It's like climbing a wall kind of, I guess.

Anthony Godfrey:
No, I know the equipment, I've never used it, but I am familiar with it. With all of that, that is just a ton of time spent. Is your favorite being in the water?

Rhyan White:
I actually really love lifting, it's kind of fun. We get to lift in the same weight room as the football players and some of the other sports teams. So it's really cool to see other players and our coaches, like one of the football coaches. My little brother plays football and my dad was his football coach, so I think that aspect of it kind of reminds me of home a little bit. So I like lifting, I would say I probably like swimming more, but I'm really fond of the weight room.

Anthony Godfrey:
Are you mostly focused on backstroke?

Rhyan White:
Yeah, I mean, I swim the 100 fly at SECs and NCAAs also, but my training is a little bit more diverse. I'm actually in an IM group, so we do a little bit of every stroke. I would say racing wise it’s mostly backstroke.

Anthony Godfrey:
On the backstroke you're underwater for more than you are on other strokes. Is that right?

Rhyan White:
Yeah. I mean, every race you can go to the 15-meter mark, just a lot of backstrokers tend to stay there, because you can breathe the whole time. But yeah, I would say my specialty is trying to get to that 15-meter mark in each of my races. 

Anthony Godfrey:
The 15-meter mark is the farthest that you can go underwater. Do you have to surface by that point?

Rhyan White:
Yeah. Yeah. You get disqualified if you don't.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us for more from Olympic silver medalist, Rhyan White.

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Anthony Godfrey:
Tell us about your Olympic experience from the moment you knew I'm going to the Olympics.

Rhyan White:
So going to trials, it was super crazy to be back because I did go in 2016. It was a much different feeling, I would say, like walking around on deck and just seeing the people that I was seeing. I think I had a little bit better of an understanding of how I was thinking I could perform. Just looking up and seeing that I'd made the team, that I was 2nd in the 100 back and 1st in the 200 back, it was just super overwhelming. So many good emotions. I got to get out and give my coaches a hug and my teammates. I was really lucky that my family was able to be there. They were sitting right on the front row and that was just such a cool thing to just sit there.

I looked up at the scoreboard and I see my face on the big jumbo-tron and I can see my family there. So that was just super exciting. Then I went home and packed for a couple of days. I went to the training camp, which was in Hawaii. It was just super cool to be there with all of these swimmers that, I mean, everyone knows the big names. I'm not a super huge swim fan. I don't usually keep up with a lot of meets that are going on. Some of my friends do and they'll say, ‘did you hear this person with this time?’ And I'm usually just in my own space, in my own bubble, just trying to focus on myself. So actually being there with the people that are kind of too famous to ignore I guess, it was just really cool.

I got to know a lot of them super well, and it's just crazy to think that they're this big, famous person almost. You just go and everyone gets tired, everyone's eating the same thing. I mean, I get to go and practice with them, which is just so cool. And with the best coaches in the nation, so that was really cool. Then just going into Tokyo. The first few days we were there, maybe like a week I think, we were training at their high-performance center, which is basically like the Olympic training center in Colorado. It was so cool. And the whole team USA had kind of, I think they like rented it out or something. There were team USA signs everywhere and that was really, really cool to see how they train their national team and stuff like that.

Then just getting into the village was crazy. I mean, the process of getting in was very tedious, I would say. They had a lot of check marks and things like that, that we had to cross off just to keep us all safe with COVID and everything. It was so crazy. I mean, you're surrounded by all these people from around the world that are at the very highest level of their sport. We had our own building, but we all ate in the same dining hall. Two of my best friends from Bama were there and I have another really good friend. They were swimming for other countries, but it was so cool because my small friend group, I mean, there were three of us, we were friends with everyone on our team, but we're definitely a little bit closer knit. I got to go across the world to see them and compete where they're competing and watch them race again. It was really cool. I'm really happy that they were able to be there. I think they gave me a sense of comfort and just like familiarity being there. I guess the scariest part was definitely racing.

Anthony Godfrey:
What was Japan like?

Rhyan White:
It was really cool. I kinda got to see it from the bus window, so not a lot of exploring, but it was cool. I would love to go back and see the city. There's just, the city goes so far. Like I looked out my window in the hotel we were staying at and they're just buildings everywhere. I mean, it's bigger than any city I've ever been in. 

Anthony Godfrey:
What a great experience and then an odd year to be doing it I know. You said the scary part was the racing. So tell me about the actual competition part of it.

Rhyan White:
So I've only been to one other meet internationally. I went to the youth Olympics in 2018 and it was kind of weird meet for me. It was my first international experience and I think I was a little more naive to being nervous and I didn't really realize those people were like the highest, I guess, 18 and unders that there were at the time. Just seeing the best competition in the world. We're swimming in the same race and seeing them in the ready room and in warm up, it was definitely intimidating. I hope that I could have intimidated them as well.

Anthony Godfrey:
I have no doubt that you did, I have no doubt that you did. What is the ready room exactly?

Rhyan White:
I think it's 20, or maybe 25 minutes before the actual race goes off, you go with your heat of eight girls into this room and they have a bunch of chairs, and each heat kind of sits in a row. It's just so that they know everyone's there. So if they don't show up, it doesn't cause delays. I think that's why they do it. You see the video of us marching out from like this area behind a wall. That's basically the ready room. We're all standing there and they announce our name and the person cues us to walk. You just go back to the ready room with the people in your heat, which in prelims, it's not so bad. As you progress on and on to finals, it's a little bit more nerve wracking I would say. I mean, it gets a little more intense each time.

Anthony Godfrey:
I can imagine I would be a wreck sitting in the ready room for 25 minutes in a chair, lined up, waiting to walk out from behind the wall. It's gotta be quite an experience.

Rhyan White:
Yeah. It is really incredible. It's really nice that the US brings two people from each race. I got to be in there with Regan Smith and Phoebe Bacon and they definitely made it a little easier to sit in that room for so long. 

Anthony Godfrey:
What's your self-talk before you race?

Rhyan White:
I like to listen to music. 

Anthony Godfrey:
I was going to ask you that. I'm a huge music fan. So what do you listen to, what’s your walk up music?

Rhyan White:
I just listen to pop music. I love to just drive around in my car and sing with my friends. I mean, we're not good at singing, but it's super fun. So that's something that comforts me. 

Anthony Godfrey:
You can sing the whole song without taking a breath because you've got swimmer’s lungs. What are some of the specific songs and artists that you like to listen to?

Rhyan White:
I really like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber of course, Dua Lipa. Those are probably my top three artists that I like.

Anthony Godfrey:
You can wear headphones going in there, right? As you're kind of swinging your arms back and forth, getting loosened up, music's flowing. You're getting ready to go.

Rhyan White:
Yeah. You can bring a phone or headphones or your coat, whatever you want.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, great. And then tell us, so after the race is over, do you look up at the board or do you just know because you have a sense of where everybody is placed.

Rhyan White:
Sometimes you have a sense, but typically it's kind of a close race, especially at that meet. The backstroke is just stacked. There's so many fast backstrokers in the world. So I would say, yeah, I definitely looked up at the board after I raced. 

Anthony Godfrey:
What is it that sets you apart from other swimmers? I know that your, is it your underwater kick in particular? That's really good.

Rhyan White:
Yeah, I would say my underwaters. I like the 200 back a little bit more. I think I can hold on a little bit, like maybe better than some other swimmers, just like with finishing the race. I think in saying that it actually helps my 100 back too, because I have a little bit more endurance. I would say maybe like endurance and my underwaters, I have pretty strong legs.

Anthony Godfrey:
And your endurance. Tell me, what do people misunderstand about the Olympic experience or what might surprise them?

Rhyan White:
Oh, that's a good question. I think, I mean, to be honest, there's a lot more pressure I think that goes into it that a lot of people don't realize. I think especially without having spectators there, I wasn't receiving any sort of like, I guess, hateful comments or anything like that, but I know that I had friends that were struggling with that a lot. It's so easy to press send, especially when you're saying something that you wouldn't say in person. So I think that pressure and like pressure of, I mean, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, but I think a lot of people don't realize how much pressure we get from outside too. So I would definitely say that.

Anthony Godfrey:
So it's the pressure from social media and that sort of thing?

Rhyan White:
Yeah. I typically delete my Instagram during meets and stuff. Just because I don't even like, I mean, on Instagram, you end up like looking at some random person and maybe comparing or wishing you were doing what they were doing, that kind of thing. So that's just, I don't think that's the best mindset, especially during a big competition. So I'm usually deleting my Instagram and sometimes like Snapchat or Twitter or anything like that.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well the social emotional wellness of athletes has been a big topic lately with a few top athletes choosing not to compete in the Olympics and in other high level sports. So that's part of what you do to stay healthy is to separate yourself from those accounts. 

Rhyan White:
Yeah. I love getting the support, but I had to wait until after the Olympics to read about articles that I was talking to people, like KSL and Deseret News, those types of things. I love them and actually they bring me to tears when I read them now, but I had to wait to read them. 

Anthony Godfrey:
Smart. What was it like competing in an empty venue? Do you normally draw energy from the crowd? Did you have to put yourself in a different frame of mind? How did that work?

Rhyan White:
I think it definitely was different. I wish people could have been there to see all of us race and just make noise. We were lucky that we got to have some spectators at trials. This past season with college swimming has been very similar to the Olympics so we didn't have crowds, but we still had like our whole team there cheering and everybody else has a whole team there where at the Olympics, some countries have two people from their country swimming. So you can't really bank on everyone having this big group of people to cheer for you. We were trying our best to make noise. I'm sure you guys could hear it. I've heard so many people asking me what the horn is and they're saying, ‘when did they blow this horn?’ I was so confused until I realized that it was the other swimmers watching, blowing a horn, trying to make noise.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's great. It's great that they tried to fill the arena for you. Must've been very hard for your parents not to be there.

Rhyan White:
Yeah. I think it was really hard. They had a couple of watch parties each time that I swam. I really just wished they could have been there. I wish everyone's parents could have been there. That would have been so cool.

Anthony Godfrey:
They did a great job of making sure you felt welcomed and celebrated when you came back. Tell me about that.

Rhyan White:
I was so surprised by the welcome home. I was sitting in the backseat of the truck, just talking to my little brother and sister. My parents were asking me what gas station I wanted to stop by, and I was just thinking, ‘let's just go home. Why do we need to stop at the gas station?’ They pulled over and there's this huge truck. They just told me I was going to parade home and I was so excited. I did not know what to do with myself. It was so cool to see all these people coming out of their houses, waving to me and welcoming me home. It was really cool.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, that's well-deserved. A lot of people got a big boost out of watching you compete and cheering you on, and I was one of those. So that's exciting.

Rhyan White:
Yeah. It was definitely something I'll never forget.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now there's a lot of great experiences around this. Do you feel like you're a better swimmer having been in the Olympics?

Rhyan White:
I think I definitely learned a lot about myself and I think I can grow as a swimmer from the experience. So yeah, I think I will get better from this.

Anthony Godfrey:
And are you planning on Paris in 2024?

Rhyan White:
I’m not exactly one to plan, but it's definitely my next goal.

Anthony Godfrey:
I guess, hoping for and setting a goal for Paris in 2024 is a better way to put it. What would you say to girls who are swimmers and who are inspired by seeing you compete and are thinking that they might want to do that for themselves?

Rhyan White:
I would just say to definitely follow your dreams and believe in yourself because you don't need anybody else to believe in you. It all comes from within. 

Anthony Godfrey:
Great advice. Rhyan, thank you so much for taking the time. Good luck with your ongoing swimming career and with school. Thanks a ton for taking the time. It's been a real pleasure to get to talk with you.

Rhyan White:
Thank you. I agree. It was so much fun getting to know you and I really appreciate you guys reaching out.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks for joining us on another episode of the Supercast. Remember education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see out there.

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