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They are careful not to contaminate evidence or miss a clue to solve a complicated, but in this case, fictional crime. We are talking about students in the Criminal Justice Program at JATC South in Riverton.

On this episode of the Supercast, hear from some Criminal Justice students who are excelling as crime scene investigators, using their forensics skills to compete at the national level and hopefully one day land a job in law enforcement.


Audio Transcription

[Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. They are careful not to contaminate evidence or miss a clue to solve a complicated, and in this case, fictional crime. We're talking about students in the Criminal Justice Program at JATC South in Riverton.

On this episode of the Supercast, hear from some criminal justice students who are excelling as crime scene investigators, using their forensic skills to compete at the national level and hopefully, one day land a job in law enforcement.

We're here at JATC South to learn more about the Criminal Justice Program, and we're talking with instructor Brandon Palmer. Brandon, tell us a little bit about this program and the competition we're here to learn more about.

Brandon Palmer:
Sure. The Criminal Justice Program here at the JATC is a concurrent enrollment program, which consists of four courses from the Salt Lake Community College. I combine these four courses so it seems like just one big program, but by the time they're done at the end of the year, they'll have 12 college credits along with their high school credit.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. That's a lot of credit.

Brandon Palmer:
It is. That's the huge benefit of this class. As we go through the class, I was in law enforcement for quite a while, and I kind of give them the truth about the careers that I was involved in throughout my career as a law enforcement officer. A lot of them come in thinking they want to be in law enforcement, forensics, or whatever. I direct them to get a good, educated idea of what their career is. I do have a lot at the end of the year telling me there's no way I'm going to do that. But I figure that's a win. That's a win.

Anthony Godfrey:
Those who've listened to the podcast before know that I've said it's as important to learn that this is not something you want to do as it is to find out that, hey, this is a career I'd like to pursue. Because this is a great time to explore that. You get some college credit in the process, and then you're not on a path that you find out most of the way through your degree that this might not be for me. But I'm sure you also find some students who really decide, hey, I love this even more than I thought I would. 

Brandon Palmer:
They then have a better-educated background to make that decision.

Anthony Godfrey:
Sure. They can kind of chart their path from here to get to their career goal. Tell me about the competition.

Brandon Palmer:
The competition is through SkillsUSA. It's a national CTSO. These ladies just did the state competition. The three here on this side did the Criminal Investigation competition, and they won gold. And then this one here did the Criminal Justice competition, and she also won gold.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. That's awesome.

Brandon Palmer:
It is. It's great. They worked hard, and then they showed up, and they did what they needed to do. And now they're on their way to Georgia.

Anthony Godfrey:
So tell me about the two competitions and what's involved.

Brandon Palmer:
Okay, so the criminal investigation competition, they'll be able to get into more detail than I will. But there's several phases. There is a crime scene where they have to walk in together as a team, work together as a team to get a good idea of kind of what happened. Not so much the focus of who done it, but what exactly happened. Is there a crime related? So they have to look at the evidence that's available there to determine that. And then they split them up, and they each do a certain specialty. So for example, blood spatter analysis, fingerprint analysis, and they'll be able to tell you a lot better than I would on the other side.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. And for the other competition?

Brandon Palmer:
The criminal justice competition, there is not a crime scene, but there is a scenario that they have to walk through from start to beginning, so like a domestic. So they walk into a domestic, may have to handle that domestic, determine if there's a crime, make an arrest, and any digging that they may have to do.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's serious stuff.

Brandon Palmer:
It is.

Anthony Godfrey:
So let's talk to the team a little bit. Introduce yourselves and tell me a little bit about what you enjoy from this class.

Quinnley Starr:
I'm Quinnley Starr, and I love the forensic side, but through this competition I've been able to learn. I think I'm not as interested as being hands on in the crime, so that's been very helpful. But I really enjoyed this competition because I was able to figure out exactly what I like about crime scenes, and we were able to all work together, and I learned the stress of a crime scene. Like, these CSI have so much stress on them because if they mess anything up it greatly impacts investigation, and so they have to do everything as perfect as they can.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you're all from Bingham, I understand.

Quinnley Starr:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. So you don't like the hands on as much, but what aspects of it do you enjoy?

Quinnley Starr:
So I enjoy trying to figure out what happens. I don't want to spend all my day just packaging evidence, but I enjoy being like, okay, so we know all of this, so what happened? So I think it'd be more interesting to criminal profile who would be doing this. How did it happen?

Anthony Godfrey;
Great.

Alison Andereson:
I'm Alison Anderson, and I really love the hands-on experience that this class gives us. Every week we have a training day where we get to experience new jobs that we could go into and just how they would do it. So one time, every few weeks we do a self-defense class, and our teacher just teaches self-defense, and we get to go over all that. And it's just such a cool experience that we get to learn how everyone, different jobs, would go about doing their jobs. And it's just really cool to have our hands-on experience.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what did you enjoy about the competition?

Alison Anderson:
I love the hands-on experience because it's just so cool to be able to walk into a crime scene and have it be so live like. It's cool to see how it would actually be set up and be able to go through it and be like, this is how it would actually happen were I to become a CSI and see what I would actually have to do in a real-life situation.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you don't mind being boots on the ground, packaging things up, being the first to come in and tell the other police to step aside. You're here from CSI.

Alison Anderson:
Exactly.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, and tell me about your experience.

Lucy Herold:
My name is Lucy Herold, and I really enjoy just learning about what happened. I love doing puzzles and putting things together. Packaging evidence was really fun. Learning how to do that was a blast. This cause really helped us prepare for that, especially with our training days, because we learned a lot about every single part of criminal justice, not just CSI or criminal justice. We learned about law and stuff, which is really helpful. So we know if there was an actual crime committed and things like that. So it was just a blast in general for me.

Anthony Godfrey:
So do you sometimes, I guess I hadn't thought of this, but until you mentioned it, the first thing you're doing is walking in to determine whether it's a crime in the first place. Because if you jump to conclusions, then you can end up down the wrong path. Now all I know about gathering evidence comes from pop culture. So do you ever take a pen out of your pocket and pick up the evidence that way?

Lucy Herold:
No.

Anthony Godfrey:
No, you're all laughing. Okay. All right. Well, I guess "Law and Order" and all the movies I've watched have not prepared me to be successful in a SkillsUSA competition. Tell me, what was the competition like? Tell me some of what was involved in that and some of the things you had to do well in order to earn the gold medal and go on to nationals.

Quinnley Starr:
Okay. So first of all, the first thing we had to do was go through the crime scene. And so we each have a role to play. Like I measure and sketch the crime scene. She photographs it and Lucy looks for all the evidence and marks it. And so we all have our role. So we go through it and we just photograph it, sketch it, find all the evidence and just record everything. And then we have to write a report on it. And then we each have a skill demonstration we have to do. I did presumptive blood testing. So they gave me a tray with a red substance on it and I had to determine if it was blood or not.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Presumptive blood testing. That's a phrase I've never said before. What were some of your roles?

Alison Anderson:
So I photographed the scene. So I just made sure that I got and found every piece of evidence that there was so then we could make sure that we packaged everything and make sure that we didn't miss anything that could be vital to the investigation. It's a super important role because if we have to like recreate the crime scene, then we have to make sure that we have photographs of every single evidence. Then as we're looking at it again, we don't miss anything that could be vital. My individual skill was fingerprinting. So they gave me three mugs and I had to dust the mugs to find fingerprints. And this is also a super important skill because no one has the same fingerprint. So if you get a really good fingerprint from an object like my mug, then you could determine whose fingerprint that was and determine that they were there at the scene. And it's just super important to make sure that you get the right person. And so fingerprints, it's a really good way to find them.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you're preserving the scene through photographs.

Alison Anderson:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now tell me about your role.

Lucy Herold:
So I take notes and I help Allison and Quinnley either measure the crime scene or help her take pictures. And then I also help measure stuff too. And then my personal skill was trace evidence, which were you have to look at it like a piece of clothing item. And you have to see if there's any fibers, hair or any like things on it. Like there are certain lights you can use. You have to package the fibers or hairs and like a paper bindle and then label it correctly. You have to package the evidence correctly too.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you have to pull everything together so that you can then take the time to think it through and puzzle it out and try to get a profile and think it through. Now you were the solo gold medalist. Introduce yourself and tell me about your competition.

Meridian Darger:
My name is Meridian Darger. I just turned 18 a few days ago. I've known that I wanted to go in criminal justice in some shape or form ever since I was really young. And then I found out about this program at my old high school. Well, I go to Riverton, but that's just my home school. All of my classes are through Kings Peak online high school. So I found out about it in my early like sophomore year of high school. I found out about this program and I knew I just needed to go into it because I already know like what my calling is, but I just needed to make sure I can handle it because it's stressful. And my ultimate goal is to become a homicide detective. But you have to become a police officer for so many years to do that. So I was just making sure that I can do that.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what do you think after taking the class and being in the competition?

Meridian Darger:
Yes, yes. I love it. It's just, I just know like that's my calling out there. And sometimes I think about like, oh maybe I should do something else. This is going to be stressful. But then I think like there's probably a victim or a victim family out there that's going to need my help to bring them closure. Just help people.

Anthony Godfrey:
I love that you have felt that before being in the class and that this has confirmed it.

Meridian Darger:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about the competition that you were involved in.

Meridian Darger:
So my competition, I had several scenarios that I was just working on on my own. So we would take turns because there was 12 other people competing. We would just take turns going into different rooms and we couldn't talk about it after. So I did like a witness interview report to an armed robbery. I did take fingerprints off a bottle as well. I did a domestic dispute call that I went and responded to and ended in an arrest. And then I also did a, it was a traffic stop, but it turned out to be that the person that was driving had a warrant out for their arrest. So I had to take care of that during the crime scene. So it was a bit higher stakes, but it was like really stressful for me, but it was really fun.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now, how do you prepare for the next level of competition? You've qualified for national competition. Tell me when that is and what you're doing to get ready for that.

Meridian Darger:
Okay. So I took first place in regionals and state. So I think both of them will be kind of similar to the nationals one. I'm just preparing with them. We're going to be working together like once a week leading up and it's going to be June 24th and it's going to be in Atlanta, Georgia. So we're traveling together because we are in school, but they're still going to be competing in their Crime Scene Investigation while I compete in my Criminal Justice Competition.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's really exciting. So you knew this is what you wanted to do. The class has confirmed it and your path is that you want to be a detective.

Meridian Darger:
Yeah, that's my ultimate goal, but I still want to experience like being a police officer, doing smaller state crimes, just trying out different things because I just love what this does for people, what this does for victims, what that does for families, how it protects people. So I just want to experience it for areas, but yeah, my ultimate goal is homicide detective.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back, we'll analyze a crime scene with the students of the criminal justice program at JATC South.

Break:
Does your student want to become a veterinarian, commercial pilot, programmer? Maybe they want to make a difference as a dental assistant. These are just some of the programs offered as part of Career and Technical Education, CTE in Jordan School District. CTE provides the technical skills needed to prepare students for future employment or a successful transition to post-secondary education. Career and Technical Education provides work-based learning opportunities. We partner with industry experts to offer apprenticeships and internships with students working in the real world at real jobs while going to school. The CTE experience starts in our elementary schools with the Kids' Marketplace and grows through middle and high school. To explore all CTE has to offer in Jordan School District visit cte.jordandistrict.org today and let's get your child started on the pathway to a profession.

Quinnley Starr:
With going to nationals, it's pretty expensive so we're trying to raise money for it so we have a GoFundMe. If anyone is willing to donate or can, it would help tremendously.

Alison Anderson:
On the GoFundMe, it's under Criminal Justice Nationals Competition. If you go to GoFundMe and you search that up and donate even like $5, it'll be so helpful.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now I understand that I said blood splatter and that is not the correct term. Tell me.

Quinnley Starr:
It's blood spatter.

Anthony Godfrey:
Spatter.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think it's because when I like to buy vinyl, it's a splatter pattern when it's like kind of the, okay nevermind. So paint splatters, blood spatters.

Quinnley Starr:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Alison Anderson:
Any CSI will correct you if you say splatter.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Lucy Herold:
When we were at state, we got shirts that said it's not splatter, it's splatter.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Alright.

Brandon Palmer:
Splatter is the sound the spatter makes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. So it's splattered and left a spatter. Alright. I've learned a lot today. Alright, Meridian, we're going to walk into this scene. You haven't seen it yet? 

Meridian Darger:
No.

Anthony Godfrey:
Talk me through your thought process and what you see and how you determine whether CSI needs to come in.

Meridian Darger:
Okay. Yeah. Before entering like any building, if I was just getting called here, dispatched here, I would get information from dispatch about the type of scenario that's happening. So if it's something that's more high stakes like a domestic call or violent or potential with a weapon, I would immediately call for a backup before I even entered the facility.

Anthony Godfrey:
Can I be your backup?

Meridian Darger:
Yes, you can be my backup.

Anthony Godfrey:
Can I point around the room and then yell clear?

Meridian Darger:
That's only in your show. It's your pop culture.

Anthony Godfrey:
I still want to do it.

Meridian Darger:
Okay. If you're clearing a building and there's a person with a gun, you'll look around. We've done that in the past before.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. I'll just be your backup. Here we go. Open the door. Let's see what we've got.

Meridian Darger:
So I would enter the building if they like let me in. So immediately there is a, immediately there is a body. But if I'm coming into a scenario, the first thing I do is to secure it because I know there's someone there. They could be bleeding out. They could be hurt. But I'm no good to them, if somebody shoots me from behind the bush or something like that. So I have to go through and I immediately clear the scene before. And then I would, I would probably also call for medical to come while I'm searching and then let them know that they can't enter until I let them know it's clear. So medical would come, they would, and I could also clear him to see if he is deceased and let's say he is deceased.

Anthony Godfrey:
And describe what you see here. He looks pretty deceased.

Meridian Darger:
So in the middle of the floor, he's laying down with his knees kind of buckled up. He's got immediate blood stain, a little blood pool by his head. There's a pot that has been knocked over and he is wearing gloves, like basic gardening stuff and there's also dirt near his face. So that's what I see.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what do we do next?

Meridian Darger:
So after that, I would just, if there's nobody here, I would just, I would be calling for–

Anthony Godfrey:
Clear, clear. There's nobody here.

Meridian Darger:
It's been clear. I would be calling for the CSI to come and then I would also have kept in mind a path I would have taken through this whole entire building and let them know how they're supposed to walk in. Like stay against back walls, stay against corners so you don't step on any evidence.

Anthony Godfrey:
And now CSI is on the scene.

Meridian Darger:
And now CSI, come on.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay CSI, you're here. Tell us about what you do from the start of this crime scene.

Quinnley Starr:
Okay, so the first thing we do is put on personal protective equipment. So we got shoe covers, gloves, goggles, face masks and masks. And then we each get our individual equipment out. For example, I get out my sketching equipment.

Alison Anderson:
I get out the camera so I can take photos of everything.

Lucy Herold:
And then I get out evidence markers and a notepad.

Anthony Godfrey:
Come around, take a look and tell me what you think happened.

Lucy Herold:
So we did find some red substance on the bottom of his shoe. We know that whoever's red substance that is was walking away.

Alison Anderson:
We can determine that by looking at the tails. So it goes because the tails are facing away from the body, we can determine that whoever or like wherever the blood was coming from, they were walking away from the body.

Lucy Herold:
Because the tails were pointing the direction they were leaving to.

Anthony Godfrey:
I did not notice the tails until you pointed them out. All right.

Alison Anderson:
We also noticed that on this corner, there is a red substance and it’s dripping down it.

Anthony Godfrey:
So that's the corner of a cart.

Alison Anderson:
So it looks like the head could have hit it.

Anthony Godfrey:
He bled out. That's the term, right? Bled out?

Brandon Palmer:
Possibly. There'd have to be a lot more blood than that, obviously.

Anthony Godfrey:
I just wanted to say the phrase bled out. You know? I just wanted to say that.

Brandon Palmer:
Also, it could have been a broken neck. So we determined that this may be connected to this, right? And then how did it get caused? But then you also see some more blood and that tells you what?

Alison Anderson:
That someone was walking away from the body.

Brandon Palmer:
You would obviously test the blood, but by looking at it, it would be hard for him to make that blood trail, right? So where did this blood come from?

Lucy Herold:
Possibly from someone else who might have been at the scene.

Brandon Palmer:
Then how was it caused?

Alison Anderson:
It was dripping from something and then the movement shows like walking.

Brandon Palmer:
Okay. That's great. So now you know it's walking out, right? But where did the blood come from? And this is where it takes discipline. So you're focused in this little area and then you branch out a little bit. Is there anything more? Right? So where is the first drop of blood possibly?

Lucy Herold:
The first drop of blood is right next to the pot.

Brandon Palmer:
Okay. So is there anything in the vicinity that could have caused it?

Lucy Herold:
Maybe if they picked up the pot and they cut themselves from it, it's a possibility.

Quinnley Starr:
Oh yeah. We can see a red substance is dripping down the bottom of the plastic pot.

Lucy Herold:
Yeah. So someone must have cut themselves on it. It's kind of hard for the deceased to make that blood trail walking away from it. So there is indication that there was a second person at the crime scene when this individual could have passed.

Brandon Palmer:
So we're going to try to find this person.

Anthony Godfrey:
You know what? We're going to leave the crime as a cliffhanger for those listening. But it is interesting how many assumptions I made and how many drops of blood I stepped in before I really started to pay attention to what could have happened and the evidence around. So bravo. Congratulations on the keyed skills you've developed in analyzing a potential crime scene. This is awesome.

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.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

She is an impressive young student scientist who has discovered an unlikely and very unusual source of electricity, using mud to power her iPhone and more.

On this episode of the Supercast, meet Herriman High School’s Fianna Smith whose discovery earned her a ticket to compete in a very prestigious and tough International STEM Fair. Fianna will pitch her science project to judges, going up against students from all over the world.


Audio Transcription [Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. She is an impressive young student scientist who has discovered an unlikely and very unusual source of electricity using mud to power her iPhone and more.

On this episode of the Supercast, meet Herriman High School's Fianna Smith, whose discovery earned her a ticket to compete in a very prestigious and tough International STEM fair. Fianna will pitch her science project to judges, going up against students from all over the world.

[Music]

We're talking with Fianna Smith at Herriman High School this morning about her science fair project. Thanks very much for taking the time to talk with me.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah, of course.

Anthony Godfrey:
You have competed at various levels and are now headed to the International Science and Engineering Fair. Is that correct?

Fianna Smith:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about the competition this year to this point.

Fianna Smith:
I have competed in– so there's two levels that I have to go through before I get to the International Science and Engineering Fair. And so that's Regionals and CUSF. CUSF is the Central Utah STEM Fair.

Anthony Godfrey;
And BYU is a sponsor of this and is connected to this, is that right?

Fianna Smith:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, so tell me about the competition there. What were your awards there? I know that there were multiple.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah. I got like six special awards. One of them was the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, Regional Water Prize Award. And that is an entry, like that allows me to enter another competition that could potentially end up giving me a free trip to the Stockholm Water Plant in Sweden, along with a cash prize.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's fantastic. What were some of the other prizes that you won as well?

Fianna Smith:
I also got first place.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Fianna Smith:
And Grand Champion. Grand Champion is the award that allows me to go to ISEF. It's my ticket.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's your ticket to the International Fair. Now Grand Champion is a pretty big title for a teenager. I've never been a Grand Champion. I don't expect to be. But first place Grand Champion and the Water Prize and several others. How does that feel?

Fianna Smith:
It feels great. I feel very proud of myself for putting in all this work to get here.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you've been working on this for a long time. Tell me how long you've been working on this project. From the very start, from the very inception.

Fianna Smith:
I am a junior now and I have been working on this project since seventh grade.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow.

Fianna Smith:
And I've won Grand Champion with this project every year. Except for as soon as I started ninth grade, that Grand Champion award was able to take me to the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Anthony Godfrey:
So not only are you a Grand Champion, you're just a Grand Champion on an annual basis basically at this point.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's fantastic. I know it takes a lot of work to get there. Now you're going to the International Science and Engineering Fair. You've been there before.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah, I have.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about that experience in the past.

Fianna Smith:
It is honestly what I look forward to every year. It's just a week where I get to have fun with people that I don't know. So I get to make a lot of new friends and I get to present my project to people who haven't heard about it yet.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's great. Tell me, because you've been there before now, you have a little bit of a home-court advantage you're going to LA, I understand. Next week.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
And tell me what that week looks like. Because I understand that it's a whole week of activities that you have planned.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah. So everything is pretty much planned out for me beforehand, except for we get a couple hours of our own time every day to just do whatever we want to.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you can go to Disneyland, ride one ride, and then come back.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah, pretty much.

Anthony Godfrey:
Plenty of time.

Fianna Smith:
I think we get one free day. They're renting out Disneyland for the evening on that night.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, that's wonderful.

Fianna Smith:
So we all get to go there and there's no one else, so the rides will be super short and it'll be awesome.

Anthony Godfrey:
That sounds fantastic. Do you expect to see some people that you've met before? Are there other repeat grand champions?

Fianna Smith:
Yeah, I actually have a friend that I still keep in contact with. He's from Pennsylvania and I'm really excited because I know he's going again this year, so I will be able to see him.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's awesome. Sounds great. It's going to be a wonderful time and I'm really excited to hear how things go for you. Now, there's a ton of prep and there's a ton of information for us to talk about, but before we get into the project itself, you have two displays here and I understand that creating the display and transporting the display is a really big part of being successful.

Fianna Smith:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about the process that you went through because I understand that at different levels, different types of information are required because the judges maybe understand the science better at a higher level once you've advanced in the competition.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah, definitely. So, how it usually goes is I'll create a board that has a lot more words than what I would take to the International Science and Engineering Fair, so it's a lot bigger and a lot wordier. So if somebody were just to walk up every day, it would make sense to them even if they had no information on the topic beforehand.

Anthony Godfrey:
So that's the one for me?

Fianna Smith:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's the one at my level, okay? And then the next one, tell me about the next one.

Fianna Smith:
So when I go to ISEF, there are very strict requirements for my board and what has to be on it and what can't be on it. For example, my abstract, I can take that, typically they want that on the board for the state level, but once I get to ISEF, they actually make a special banner that pins on to my personal table that I have for my project board that has my abstract on it and a little like special metal seal too.

Anthony Godfrey:
At the competition itself, are you there with the project as we would picture on any other science fair and you're explaining it to the judges or are you even there, are they just walking by and looking at it?

Fianna Smith:
Typically we'll be there all day. We'll be sitting at our project board all day just waiting for a judge to come by. Typically we have scheduled times for specific judges, so like the regulated judges, and then there will be special award judges that will just come randomly.

Anthony Godfrey:
I see. So there are all kinds of different awards you could win once again.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah, and sometimes they talk to me, sometimes they don't talk to me, sometimes they just
look at my board.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you have a separate room just for the awards? Just so that when you get home, they're not all over the place in the way so that you can just visit the award room or are they just spread throughout the house?

Fianna Smith:
They're pretty much spread throughout the house.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, all right. Yeah, they probably couldn't fit in one room anyway.

Fianna Smith:
When I go to ISEF, I get a special bag that says ISEF on it.

Anthony Godfrey:
To keep the awards?

Fianna Smith:
Yeah, it's a really nice bag too. So I just keep all of my stuff in there. I'll keep my journal from that year in there along with little souvenirs that I collected at ISEF from going to all the places. Like my pins, I'll put them in there until I hang them up. I have a pinboard that has all my different years on it.

Anthony Godfrey:
That sounds awesome.

Anthony Godfrey:
When I go to a conference, I get a tote bag and I put squeeze balls that I got from vendors. So kind of the same experience.
Stay with us when we come back. Fianna explains how she powers her iPhone making electricity out of power.

Break:
Are you looking for a job right now? Looking to work in a fun and supportive environment with great pay and a rewarding career? Jordan School District is hiring. We're currently filling full and part-time positions. You can work and make a difference in young lives and education as a classroom assistant or a substitute teacher. Apply to work in one of our school cafeterias where our lunch staff serves up big smiles with great food every day. We're also looking to hire custodians and bus drivers. In Jordan School District we like to say people come for the job and enjoy the adventure. Apply today at employment.jordandistrict.org

Anthony Godfrey:
Let's talk about the project itself and talk me through the science behind it. You have a little box of dirt here with a lid and a light and some wire sticking out of it. Explain to me what's going on here.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah, so the box is actually filled with mud.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh yes, when I lift it, it has a mud weight, not a dirt weight. So tell me about what this is.

Fianna Smith:
It's called a microbial fuel cell and what's basically going on within this little clear container is I have two metal wool pads sitting in the mud at a certain distance apart, which I've tested before to see which is best.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, so they're at optimal distance from one another.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah, yeah. How this works is the bacteria in the mud, when it consumes nutrients, it releases electrons and the graphite wool, which is the metal wool, picks up the electrodes and carries them into a capacitor. When that capacitor fills, it releases into the light bulb, making it flash and this is how I measure how much power is being produced.
I have a, I convert the flash rate into the amount of bacteria helping to produce this and the amount of power in microwatts. I can also use the control board that is also hooked up to the fuel cell to measure the power and the voltage, which I can use to math into the current.

Anthony Godfrey:
How did you discover that the bacteria in mud can produce electricity by consuming the nutrients and letting off the electrons?

Fianna Smith:
I was actually scrolling on Science Buddies just looking for a project to do in seventh grade.

Anthony Godfrey:
What is Science Buddies?

Fianna Smith:
Science Buddies is the most basic website you can go to to get science fair project ideas.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, all right. And so as you're scrolling through there.

Fianna Smith:
As I was scrolling through there, I saw like a kit for microbial fuel cells in it. The title was basically like produce electricity from mud. And that's my whole selling point now because of that.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, and this was like a third of your life ago. So tell me about your journey with the mud. So how has the project evolved over the last few years?

Fianna Smith:
My first project was very simple. I was just testing which Utah lake mud would be the best for the fuel cells, which would produce the most.

Anthony Godfrey:
So it's lake mud that has the bacteria in particular that can produce the electricity.

Fianna Smith:
It depends. All mud has the bacteria. There's just two different kinds. Geobacter is the kind that exists or lives close to water sources while Shewanella lives anywhere.

Anthony Godfrey:
Shewanella does not produce electricity as efficiently as the bacteria in lake mud.

Fianna Smith:
I have not tested that.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Still frontiers to be explored.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah. Personally, I favor Geobacter because it's what I've been using.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. So have you found a difference among lake muds that some are more effective at producing electricity?

Fianna Smith:
Yes, actually. So the Great Salt Lake is the location where I collect my mud. I tested like five different lakes, but the other most significant one was the Utah Lake. The fuel cells are run based off bacteria. I for sure thought it was going to be the Utah Lake that would produce the most because it has a lot of bacteria. But it actually ended up being the Great Salt Lake.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. The Great Salt Lake has produced more electricity than Utah Lake.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how long has this LED been flashing with this? I mean, this is a several inch cube. It's not very large. It's like an oversized Rubik's Cube. How long has the LED been lighting?

Fianna Smith:
Almost two years. I think we're over a year and a half.

Anthony Godfrey:
Just with this batch of mud.

Fianna Smith:
Yep.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. That’s incredible.

Fianna Smith:
I haven't done anything to it. I actually just left it there.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what are some of the uses? I see that on the display board you have a picture of, what is it, 12 or 15 of these boxes in various sizes. What uses do you see for electrifying mud?

Fianna Smith:
For example, one that I've already tested this year, it was part of my project for this year, is I tied 15 of my microbial fuel cells into series and parallel to get 5 volts at 1 amp. And I used that to charge my cell phone.

Anthony Godfrey:
You've charged your cell phone with mud.

Fianna Smith:
Yep.

Anthony Godfrey:
That would have come in handy for me a few times. That's fantastic. So you set up, tell me exactly what that looked like. Did you set up a number of these boxes together? What did that ultimately look like? I'm not sure that there's an adapter that just dips right into the mud. So how did that work?

Fianna Smith:
I had to individually measure each microbial fuel cell with a voltmeter to get the amount of power and the current that was in each fuel cell. So after I did that, I was able to figure out which ones I needed to put in series and which ones I needed to put in parallel. Then I had three rows of five, ultimately added up to 5 volts and averaged to 0.3 amps. And then I had two other rows of five that would bring the power to 5 volts and 1 amp.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you had to make sure that you had enough power?

Fianna Smith:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey;
And then how did you harness all that power and get it to the cell phone?

Fianna Smith:
I cut a charger so that I could directly wire it to the wires that were coming off of the fuel cell.

Anthony Godfrey:
I see.

Fianna Smith:
And then so I just– instead of having the part that plugs directly into the wall, I cut that off and wired it into the fuel cell.

Anthony Godfrey:
Talk me through the international board, just each of the categories and a little bit about each one.

Fianna Smith:
Okay. First off, on all of my project boards, no matter which stage, I always have my purpose or my objectives of the project. Basically my goals. This year my goals were to put my microbial fuel cells to work, like to actually charge something like my cell phone, which is why I did so much work in doing that. That was one-half of my project.
The other part of my project was testing if scaling the fuel cells both by width and by height would affect the amount of power being produced and how it would affect that power if it was linear or not linear.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's your objective.

Fianna Smith:
On every board, I have my hypothesis right after my objectives too. That does not change. My hypothesis was that if the mud is measured daily, then the microbiome fuel cells will show a correlation with the increasing delta between the anode and cathode and the increasing overall size. So I thought that it would scale linearly depending on– So the size and the power would scale linearly together.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. So summarize the conclusion for me. Here's the conclusion section.

Fianna Smith:
Yeah. My conclusion was that for the first half of my project charging a cell phone I was able to do that and the 15 microbial fuel cells was perfect for that. All I needed was 15 of the sizes that I had. And then my other part was that I learned a lot more about the growth of the bacteria in the fuel cells and where it grows specifically and why I'm only getting certain amounts of power, because my fuel cells did not scale linearly with power and size. They did kind of a logarithmic pattern.

Anthony Godfrey:
You've charged your cell phone. You've learned a lot through this process. What do you think are some potential practical uses for this knowledge?

Fianna Smith:
So charging a cell phone first off.

Anthony Godfrey:
Right.

Fianna Smith:
I've definitely already done it. So I feel like it could definitely be improved and made easier. One of the professors that I've worked with, she's up at the U. Her name's Dr. Shelley Minteer. She is working with fuel cells to produce gas, like burnable gas. And that was where I was going to take my project next year. That was my plan to go into that.

Anthony Godfrey:
So all kinds of fuel and energy can be produced through mud. So next week is the first focus, but after next week, what happens next? Are you going to continue to pursue this for your senior year?

Fianna Smith:
Yeah. I have one more year of competing in science fair, so I want to take my biggest idea that I've had and just put it all out there. I'm going to, as soon as I get back from ISEF, I'm going to restart the process and I'm going to start researching more about the ideas that I want to do for next year. I want to pursue gas production with this because another byproduct of a microbial fuel cell is burnable gas, like methane. I want to research that and see how I could test different things involving that and get as much gas out of a fuel cell that I can.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now your dad's here with you as well. Let's talk with your dad, Jason, for a moment. I understand that you have a younger daughter who's also interested in science.

Jason Smith:
Yeah, that is correct. Fianna's younger sister, Davonna, has been competing as well. This year she actually won grand champion in the junior level. She's in eighth grade. And her project had what was called a novel discovery in reducing the amount of power it takes to produce hydrogen in an electrolysis process. This is a big deal because a lot of cars are, like Honda, is researching hydrogen fuel cell cars, but one of the big roadblocks is producing the hydrogen in itself. So it's a big deal.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's fantastic. And how does it feel to see your daughter succeed like this in the area of science?

Jason Smith:
Super proud of her. Super proud of both of them. It's pretty neat. They're both quite a bit of talk as most of the, I'll say my friends at work, they always are excited. They want to hear what the results were because they always know when the days are coming because I get really busy helping them get prepared. And trying to get two of them prepared is a lot of work.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, congratulations on the Grand Champions in your home and the great connect you've been able to make through these science fairs.

Jason Smith:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
On the cusp of international competition once again, how does it feel as you look forward to the competition next week and look back on your accomplishments so far?

Fianna Smith:
I am so excited for next week. I have been looking forward to this for a couple months at least since I've known for sure that I'm going. And obviously before that I was hoping that I would make it. I feel really happy that I did so well in my previous competitions, the state level and the regional level. And I'm just happy with the amount of work that I've put into this and where I've gotten with it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, congratulations. I'm super impressed with the work you've done, staying with a project for this long and learning as much as you have. You have great things ahead next week and well beyond. So congratulations on your success and your hard work and I wish you the best going into competition.

Fianna Smith:
Thank you so much.

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 you out there.
[Music]

They wanted everyone to feel good about going to prom and cut costs in the process.

On this episode of the Supercast, hear from an inspiring group of students who belong to an organization called “Sources of Strength” at West Jordan High School. Find out how their free Self-Care Event made prom much more ‘picture perfect’ and affordable for students, creating feel good moments and memories to last a lifetime.


Audio Transcription [Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. They wanted everyone to feel great about going to prom and cut costs in the process.

On this episode of the Supercast, hear from an inspiring group of students who belong to an organization at West Jordan High School called “Sources of Strength”. Find out how their incredible Self-Care Event made prom picture perfect and affordable for students, creating feel good moments and memories to last a lifetime.

[Music]

We are here at West Jordan High School with Robyn Briggs, the advisor for “Sources of Strength” and you're putting on a Self-Care Event tonight. The media is out, all kinds of students are out. Tell us about what's going on.

Robyn Briggs:
We're super excited that you're here. We're doing a “Sources of Strength” event and this event is all about bringing mental health awareness to the kids and helping them realize that their thoughts and opinions about themselves is important for their mental health. And so to give a little self-care to yourself goes a long way.

We've collaborated with a ton of volunteers from our community and they're all coming out to do manicures. We're making corsages and boutonnieres for these kids' prom dates, we have permanent jewelry, we have eyelash extensions.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow.

Robyn Briggs:
We've got haircutting. We've got so many things. Brow waxing. These kids are literally coming out of here a whole new person.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow.

Robyn Briggs:
I'm serious.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's the total makeover. So is prom tomorrow night?

Robyn Briggs:
Prom is tomorrow night and all the kids signed up for appointments for this event. We've had over 45 volunteers come to perform services.

Anthony Godfrey:
45 volunteers and how many students signed up?

Robyn Briggs:
We're serving over 100 students today.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. That's fantastic. And tell me a little bit about “Sources of Strength”, the group that organized this.

Robyn Briggs:
So “Sources of Strength” is a suicide prevention program at our school. It's actually a class and I'm the advisor for that class. The students in the class are called our peer leaders. They're nominated by their peers as people that they can trust and go to when they're struggling. And so Sources of Strength is an upstream approach to suicide prevention.

We focus on the good rather than the negative. So focusing on stories of strength rather than stories of trauma. We help students draw to their, like go to their strengths when they're going through a hard time rather than focusing on the trauma that they're going through. So looking around them and being like, "Oh wow, I have so many strengths around them. I have my family's support. I have my mental health. That's a really strong strength of mine. I have my physical health. I have all these things. I have mentors." All of those things are their strengths and we help them recognize their strengths so when they are going through a hard time they can turn to those strengths.

Anthony Godfrey:
And by organizing this event, these students are now being a source of strength for the broader West Jordan High School community.

Robyn Briggs:
Exactly. And not only that, but they're getting to know the peer leaders that are at the school who are putting these things on and they're realizing, "Oh, I can get to know these peer leaders and they will be my friend." And all the peer leaders are super welcoming, super loving, and they're just like pillars in our school who shine and are positive and willing to be literally anyone's friend.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's fantastic. Yeah. And I can see the great turnout here. There's a ton going on. Talk me through. Let's walk and talk through some things that are happening.

Robyn Briggs:
Okay, sounds good. To our left right here we have our brow station. We have girls getting brow laminations, brow tints.

Anthony Godfrey:
What is a brow lamination? Putting your head through a laminating machine doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Robyn Briggs:
Okay, no, exactly. A brow lamination is when you take the hairs on your eyebrows and you laminate them up so it makes for a fuller-looking brow. And honestly, it's a huge trend right now and it's actually pretty expensive to get done. It's kind of a newer trend though. It makes your eyebrows look fuller, I guess.

Anthony Godfrey:
I have not experienced this trend.

Robyn Briggs:
Yeah, and there's also eyebrow tinting going on here. So if your eyebrows are naturally a little lighter than your hair color, they can tint it so that it matches the hair color on your face.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you can emphasize the brow, change the color of the brow so it matches the hair.

Robyn Briggs:
Exactly.

Anthony Godfrey:
And it makes for a wonderful Prom.

Robyn Briggs:
And then we've got like Skin Core over here doing waxing. They volunteered to do waxing eyebrows for us. They're doing men's, women's, all the things. Men need to get their eyebrows waxed too. Did you know that Dr. Godfrey?

Anthony Godfrey:
I did know that.

Robyn Briggs:
Okay, I'm just making sure.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yes, they do. And so tell me, so we've got the waxing going on here and this is teeth whitening right here it looks like?

Robyn Briggs:
This is teeth whitening. Can you even believe it? We've got a teeth whitener came out and donated their time to do teeth whitening on these students.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's amazing.

Robyn Briggs:
Yeah, and you know, honestly, smiles are so important. They light up a face and when you're not confident about your smile, that ruins your self-image. It really does. And so if that's something we can do to help them so they feel a little bit more confident and feel like, “oh my gosh, I can smile and I can be happy.” All of those things. Isn't that what we're trying to do?

Anthony Godfrey:
That's wonderful. Permanent jewelry. Talk to me about permanent jewelry. Now, I think my niece did this. So is it when you weld a kind of a link in a chain and now you've got a bracelet on permanently?

Robyn Briggs:
Yes, exactly. I actually just got mine done.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, let's see. Lovely. Very nice.

Robyn Briggs:
And I'm matching with my student Aspen. Shout out to Aspen. She's doing permanent jewelry. She's taking, they get to choose their chain, their design and they get it welded onto them. It's not really permanent. You can cut it off at any point in time, but it's super fun.

Anthony Godfrey:
Sure, what is permanent? But it’s as permanent as anything gets.
Robyn Briggs:
Yes, exactly. It's not quite as permanent as a tattoo though. Okay. So we're good. We're good on that.

Anthony Godfrey:
Then, we've got the brows here and the eyelash extensions. Wow.

Robyn Briggs:
Yes, we have eyelash extensions. Can you even believe that these women came out to donate their time? Eyelash extensions take up to two hours to do and you're literally gluing on individual eyelash hairs to like make your eyelashes fuller. Some of these girls might not have very full natural eyelashes. So it really does make a huge difference on their self-confidence. But we have, you can see, we have six stations doing eyelash extensions right here. Six girls that are going to have a full set of lashes for prom.

Anthony Godfrey:
It looks, it does look intense and complex.

Robyn Briggs:
Right.

Anthony Godfrey:
For those who are listening, there are tables set up everywhere. There's a ton of swag and it's just obvious there are lots of volunteers here helping everyone look their best and feel their best. That's the most important part.

Robyn Briggs:
Isn't that the most important part? We've also got over here, we've got Dapper Delinquents, a barber shop here in the valley. They came out, they have six barbers here doing our men's haircut. We wanted to make sure that the boys felt included and knew that we understood that their self-image is really important to their mental health as well.

Anthony Godfrey:
They've got the clippers out. I don't want to get too close and distract them. They're putting a sharp line on the edge of these boys' hair and it looks really great.

All right Dom, so you're the president of “Sources of Strength”, right?

Dom:
Yes sir.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you are currently getting your haircut.

Dom:
Yes sir.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how's it feeling so far?

Dom:
It's pretty good. I'm happy with it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about this event. How have you felt as this haircut comes to a close?

Dom:
Honestly, it's been one of our best events and I'm happy with the way it's turned out. More people showed up than I thought and honestly, I think it's made a big impact.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now that you have had this haircut, are you feeling at your best?

Dom:
Yes sir.

Anthony Godfrey:
You look your best.

Dom:
Thank you. All thanks to my man right here.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what's it been like helping out tonight with all these haircuts?

Carlos:
It's been good, you know. Just coming out here seeing new people and getting new people to come into the shop, getting to check us out. We've only been around for like a year in the West Jordan area.

Anthony Godfrey:
And tell me your name?

Carlos:
Carlos. People know me as Los Cuts as well on Instagram and everything.

Anthony Godfrey:
Los Cuts, okay. How did this event come together? Where did the idea come from?

Dom:
So we wanted to find a way to help boost everybody's confidence or self-esteem. And one way we thought was, you know, one of the biggest dances was prom. So we thought, “hey, maybe if we run an event where people can come in and help fix up maybe if they need their nails done or and don't have the money for it, they can come in and people can donate their time and resources that could help out.”

Anthony Godfrey:
It's a time when you want to be your best and your self-esteem is really important. So I think it's well-timed. I loved the idea from the moment I heard about it. That's why we wanted to come out. So thanks for being a source of strength for so many people tonight.

Dom:
Of course. And thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back more with “Sources of Strength.”

Break:
Hello, I'm Stacee Worthen, Secondary Counseling Specialist for Jordan School District. Do you know all the ways Jordan School District counselors can help you and your students? School counselors play such an important role in our schools. They provide parents with resources to help guide their children in academics. They provide support with the mental and social well-being of students in our schools. And if you are in the process of preparing a student for college, or just beginning the conversation of higher education, now is the perfect time to reach out to your child's counselor. We can assist with college applications and college readiness. I encourage parents and guardians to schedule an appointment and get to know your student's counselor. Together, counselors and parents can help develop plans and strategies for students to succeed long after they leave Jordan School District. Reach out! We're always here to help. You can find us and learn more at counseling.jordandistrict.org.

Anthony Godfrey:
Sahalee is a peer leader with “Sources of Strength” and you're also helping with the tinseling of hair tonight.

Sahalee:
Yes, I am.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tinsel is something that is for a Christmas tree–

Sahalee:
And for hair now.

Anthony Godfrey:
–from the 1900s for me. But I'm being brought into the 20th century.

Sahalee:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about tinseling hair.

Sahalee:
Well, you can tie it in. We're beading it in because it's a lot faster. So we're just doing like chunks and just putting it in. It's heat resistant. You can still curl your hair. Just–

Anthony Godfrey:
So can you curl it with your hair? And you said you're beading it in. How do you bead it in? How does that work?

We have small beads that we're clamping in. Okay. So we're just like putting it in through these and we loop it and clamp it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Oh, so there's a little tool.

Sahalee:
Yes. There is.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wire on the end of the handle.

Sahalee:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
You pull the hair through it looks like.

Sahalee:
And then we have a clamp.

Anthony Godfrey:
And then use a bead. The bead is the clamp?

Sahalee:
No, we use a bead and then we clamp it down.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Sahalee:
And then it's in your hair.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh wow. Okay. And how permanent is the tinseling?

Sahalee:
Honestly, it comes down to like how well you take care of it. So you can have, I've had it up to like a month, but some people get sick of it. You could just clamp it the opposite way and it'll fall off or you can pull it out.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you were just tinseled. How does it feel?

Sahalee:
I guess cool. I mean, I can't really see it, but everybody's giving me compliments.

Anthony Godfrey:
It looks great.

Sahalee:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think it shimmers. It's wonderful. So yeah, well done. Oh, and look, there are different colors. I would have thought it would be–

Sahalee:
Lots of different colors.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. There's a whole array. What goes with my faded old hair?

Sahalee:
I say bright pink.

Anthony Godfrey:
Bright pink. I’d really make a statement.

Sahalee:
Oh, 100%.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, it would have to be cut pretty short. Those are long strands of tinsel unless I wanted it to trail behind me.

Sahalee:
I think that would be awesome. That's a look.

Anthony Godfrey:
I guess it is a look. I could give a whole vibe.

Sahalee:
You could give a vibe.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yes. Okay. Thank you. I've learned a great deal in just the last few minutes.

Sahalee:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
What do we got next?

Robyn Briggs:
My personal favorite thing that this event has, it has inclusivity for all different hair types and all different diverse students. We've got a whole section back here for girls with textured hair, our black Latino students, our Polynesian students, which West Jordan has a large population of those students. We've got braiding, cornrows and things like that. And then we also even have wig installations and girls can bring their wig and get educated on how to install their wig properly. I don't know very much about all the things that they have to deal with with their hair and self-care and all of that, but I do know that installing a wig is actually very difficult. And so educating the black girls on how to do that is really influential for their self-confidence. And so all of these women came to help out with that.

Anthony Godfrey:
Those appointments filled up fast. Yep. They did.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now I'm still going back to the tinsel hair. I'm seeing the result of–

Robyn Briggs;
We've bamboozled him.

Anthony Godfrey:
–the tinsel hair there. I don't know if it could work for me, but I like the concept.

Robyn Briggs:
I don't know, what about a little silver sparkle?

Anthony Godfrey:
A little silver sparkle.

Robyn Briggs:
You're what they would call a silver fox so let's just elevate that.

Anthony Godfrey:
It just doesn't sparkle. No, I think that looks great. That's really fun.

Robyn Briggs:
Oh my gosh, your hair looks so beautiful.

Student:
And she's doing tinsel too.

Robyn Briggs:
She's doing tinsel on your hair.

Student:
But it's a surprise. It's a surprise. I don't know what it looks like yet.

Robyn Briggs:
So cute. Okay, we've got all of our nail tech over here. We had over 16 nail techs come out today to do all different types of nails on these girls. Isn't that amazing?

Anthony Godfrey:
So then we've got the little light here. Is that right? It's a light.

Robyn Briggs:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Does the light dry?

Robyn Briggs:
It cures the paint.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. And there's a lot here I don't know. This is beyond my my world.

Robyn Briggs;
I know.

Anthony Godfrey:
I have sons all the way.

Robyn Briggs:
But girls, we do know it. We know it. Yeah. And we even have somebody who's come in pre-made press-ons so that the girls can choose from a ton of different press-ons to put on. Her name is Yasmin and she's amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
And I see we have a boutonniere station here as well. Tell me about that.

Robyn Briggs:
So we actually had all of these flowers donated by Ensign Floral. They donated enough corsages, enough flowers for 25 corsages and boutonnieres. So 50 total. And I'm pretty certain we're gonna have a lot extra because they were really generous. And so we're really appreciative of their donation. We have Maddie Sorenson, our agriculture teacher here, and she's educating and teaching all of these kids on how to create a corsage and a boutonniere for their date. So they're hand-making their corsages and boutonnieres.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. I see lots of glue and sprigs and ribbons and other materials. People working hard to put those together. All of them custom, hand made.

Robyn Briggs:
And all of them are specific to the student's outfits, right? You want your corsage to match your dress. So we have a wide variety of flowers here. We have a wide variety of colors and ribbons so that their corsage can specifically match their dress.

Anthony Godfrey:
This is super impressive. Obviously, “Sources of Strength” has an incredible focus on helping students get through the difficulties that they may be living through at home or at school. And tonight, lots of kids are going to have an incredible time at prom tomorrow. There's no doubt about that.

Robyn Briggs:
There's no doubt about it for sure. And I'm super excited with how it all turned out. And we're grateful that you came out and you're here to support us.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm thrilled that I got to see SOS in action. You guys are awesome. Thank you so much.

Robyn Briggs:
Thank you.

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

[Music]

They are having fun, singing their hearts out, and really rockin’ it, taking the stage at Copper Canyon Elementary School.

On this episode of the Supercast, meet 6th grade students who make up the cast of ‘School House Rock Jr.’ and find out how their Beverley Taylor Sorenson teacher is helping them to bring down the house during their performances of the energetic show.


Audio Transcription [music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. They are having fun singing their hearts out and really rocking it, taking the stage at Copper Canyon Elementary School.

On this episode of the Supercast, meet sixth grade students who make up the cast of Schoolhouse Rock Jr. and find out how their Beverly Taylor Sorensen teacher is helping them bring down the house during their performances of this energetic show.

[music]

We're here at Copper Canyon this morning with our BTS Theater Specialist and a few cast members for the production that is underway right now. Thank you very much for spending time with us. Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what's going on.

Sheri Harrington:
My name is Sheri Harrington and I am the Beverly Taylor Sorensen Learning Arts Specialist here at Copper Canyon Elementary. We feel very privileged and honored to have you here. We were surprised at it. So we are getting ready to perform this week the production of Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr. We've been practicing this since October. It is a musical based on– a lot of parents might remember when they were young on Saturday mornings– the Schoolhouse Rock cartoons. I'm just a bill, yes I'm only a bill.

Anthony Godfrey:
And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill if I'm not mistaken.

Sheri Harrington:
Yes, see what you learned from it.

Anthony Godfrey:
I do remember, yes I did.

Sheri Harrington:
Conjunction, junction, what's your function? And so what I love about this musical,

Anthony Godfrey:
Picking up wood and freezes and clauses.

Sheri Harrington:
See, you remember that from how long ago?

Anthony Godfrey:
Did I get it right?

Sheri Harrington:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Sheri Harrington:
And how long has it been since you have heard that song?

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, let's talk about that. It's been a very, very long time. Decades, many decades. Back in the 1900s girls when I was listening to that.

Sheri Harrington:
Way back in the 1900s.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what made you pick this particular production that stirs so many memories for me and for some others? Now our elementary parents are a little bit young to remember some of this, which is a jarring fact for me to embrace this early in the morning.

Sheri Harrington:
Yes, me too. Some of them remember them and are familiar with them. But of course a lot of them are a little young.

Anthony Godfrey:
Even the concept of Saturday morning cartoons where cartoons were contained to one part of one day of the week, as opposed to being continually available.

Sheri Harrington:
Right.

Anthony Godfrey:
Even that concept is a little bit foreign to most people at this point.

Sheri Harrington:
Right. Well, one reason I chose this musical was because it integrates theater with all of our core subjects. The musical covers social studies and math and science and language arts. So it's not just a singing, dancing, fun musical. It's a musical that teaches students about conjunctions. It teaches students about how it works as a bill on Capitol Hill.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now it is a singing, dancing, fun experience.

Sheri Harrington:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
But there is that side benefit of having some things burned into your brain.

Sheri Harrington:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
That are really essential and really important about government and grammar and everything in between.

Sheri Harrington:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
What is a favorite song of yours in this production?

Sheri Harrington:
My very favorite number is called "The Great American Melting Pot." And I actually get teary-eyed every time I watch it. I would get teary-eyed in front of the students as I was teaching them the song because it's a song that talks about – In fact, I have the lyrics right here. It talks about how America accepts immigrants and you simply melt right in. It doesn't matter what your skin. It doesn't matter where you're from or your religion. You jump right in. "The Great American Melting Pot."

And in this number, we have -- there's about 25 kids on stage and they're all holding a different flag, a big world flag from countries all over the world. And they sing this beautiful song. I've got one of the soloists here. Both are soloists. That's right. And so two at a time, they put their world flags in this big melting pot and they shake hands. And after all of the world flags are put into this melting pot, we pull out a big, giant American flag and wave the American flag with our hands over our hearts. It makes me teary-eyed talking about it right now. It's just, to me, that's so beautiful.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me, what are the experiences that you hope students get from being a part of this?

Sheri Harrington:
Well, you know, when we first decided to do a musical here, it's been at least 10 years since Copper Canyon Elementary has done a musical. And when we first -- my principal, Patty Bowen, asked if I would do a play, and it could have been a play. I chose a musical. I have a musical theater background and love singing and dancing.

At first it was going to be an audition basis with the sixth-grade students being able to audition for the show. And when I introduced the show to the sixth graders and asked how many of them were interested, at first there were very few because they're sixth graders. And especially the boys were like, "I'm not going to sing and dance. I don't want to -- you know? No, this is embarrassing."

So we decided that we were going to make it non-optional, the entire sixth grade. There was some resistance from some of the students who, you know, have never danced and don't sing. And to do something like this in front of people, you know, they were none too happy about it at the beginning. However, the more we've done it, the longer we've done it, they've really started to enjoy it.

I've had students who, at the beginning, said, "Can I just be on stage crew? Can I just be a tree?" And slowly, one at a time, they came forward and said, "Miss Sheri, can I sing the song? Can I say these lines? I would like to do it." And now the kids are fighting over, "No, I want to do it. I want to do it." I actually heard a comment the other day, some boys behind the curtain, and they literally said, "You know, I didn't want to do this at first, but it's actually really fun." And I was like, "Yes!"

Anthony Godfrey:
They thought the curtain was protecting them from being exposed to actually enjoying the singing and dancing. Well, that's great. What I love is that you're giving them experiences that they didn't really know they had in them, finding some abilities that they didn't realize were nestled deep within.

Sheri Harrington:
And most of them will probably not go on.

Anthony Godfrey:
Sure, it doesn't mean that they're going to be on Broadway.

Sheri Harrington:
Some of them might. I have some very talented young ladies here today. But, you know, whether this is the first and only musical they do, or whether this is one of many, I have witnessed these students become so much more confident over the last several months. All of them, actually, you know, just more confident in their abilities to perform in front of others, to speak in front of others.

We work on projection a lot. I don't let the students depend on microphones, even though we do have microphones to assist their voice. I really think it's important for students to learn how to project their voice and talk loud enough for whatever audience they're talking in front of. So we've worked on that, and students who have, you know, a naturally quiet voice have learned how to speak louder. And I think that right there is a very important skill to learn in life.

Anthony Godfrey:
Absolutely. It's an unforgettable experience with some skills that will carry them for a long time.

Up next, sixth-grade students in the cast of Schoolhouse Rock Junior talk about their roles and how much fun they are having performing this musical.

Break:
Hello, I'm Sandy Riesgraf, Director of Communications for Jordan School District, and we want to invite you to connect with us. So many exciting things are happening in your child's school, your neighbor's school, in every school here, every day. Don't miss out on following the fun or simply staying informed when there's important information we need to share. Join us at jordandistrict.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @jordandistrict. We can't wait to connect.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, let's talk with some of the stars of Schoolhouse Rock Junior Live. Introduce yourself and tell us what grade you're in.

Nadia:
I'm Nadia, and I'm in sixth grade.

Emma:
I'm Emma, and I'm in sixth grade.

Brynli:
I'm Brynli, and I'm in sixth grade.

Rory:
I'm Rory, and I'm in sixth grade.

Anthony Godfrey:
You were all giving sixth-grade vibes. I just have to be sure, you know. So tell me, what has it been like being in this performance for you?

Nadia:
It's been really fun, actually. I love to do my song, to dance. Like, performing is fun. Yeah, it's just been really fun.

Emma:
I also would say it's been really fun and kind of like an amazing adventure to go on. Because when I started sixth grade, I was like, this is mostly going to be like the hardest year of elementary school. And then we started the play, and it felt like it was just so much fun.

Brynli:
I also think it was fun. So, at the very start, I guess, I wanted to be in it, but like not actually sing or dance. But then, when the whole sixth grade is doing it, I still got cast as a singer. So, I guess, the more that I sang, the fun it was.

Sheri Harrington:
She's amazing. They're all amazing. I can't believe, I had no idea the talent of some of these students. I'm so proud of them.

Rory:
I think it was a lot of fun and exciting to be on such an exciting play, and getting to dance and have fun with other of my friends. And it was just a lot of fun being with them.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about your favorite part of your performance. What do you do in the production, and what's your favorite part?

Rory:
I like being with my friends and being able to have a fun time learning them and performing them after. One of my favorite songs is "Interjections” or “Nouns." And they're both the very first or last song, but they're really fun to do.

Anthony Godfrey:
Interjection. Yes.

Students sing:
Or emotion. They're generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point, or by comma when the feeling’s not as strong.

Anthony Godfrey:
Once you start, you can't stop. It feels good. That's awesome. How about for you? What's your favorite?

Brynli:
My favorite song is "Interjections," because I have a microphone on that one.

Sheri Harrington:
She's a soloist.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, great. How about for you?

Emma:
My favorite song probably has to be “Nouns”, because I feel like it's kind of a really fun number. And it gets you to know the teacher and all of the ideas that go along inside her mind. And also because I sing it, and I think it's really fun.

Nadia:
Oh, my bad.

Anthony Godfrey:
Go ahead.

Nadia:
My favorite songs are "Interjections" and "Unpack Your Adjectives," because I sing in that one. And "Interjections," I just love the emotions and the dance moves. It's just really like high energy.

Anthony Godfrey:
And introduce yourself and tell us what your favorite song is to perform.

Sheri Harrington:
Oh, hi, Nephi.

Nephi:
Hi. My name is Nephi Vilifiti, and my favorite song for the play is "Three is the Magic Number."

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, yes, “Three is a Magic Number.” I remember that now. You guys are stirring things way back in the cobwebs. That's pretty awesome. What do you like about that song?

Nephi:
I'm the father, and I have to pick up Elone.

Sheri Harrington:
We have about 95 students in the show, and so most of them have done the practicing and the rehearsal during their theater rotation times. However, the soloists come very early in the morning, and they're here by 7.50. So – school starts at 8.35?

Students:
8.55.

Sheri Harrington:
8.55. So, you know, they're here almost an hour early. And Nephi shows up every day very early just to say, you know, "Ms. Sheri, what can I do to help you get ready for rehearsal this morning?" So I've just been impressed with the dedication and the hard work from these students. They really have worked hard.

Rory plays the part of the teacher. There are ten musical numbers in this show with some dialogue in between each number, and Rory literally is on stage from the beginning to the end. She dances every musical number and sings every number, and she doesn't stop. She doesn't get a break.

Rory:
Well, I don't do “American Melting Pot”, I just sit on the stage.

Sheri Harrington:
Yeah, I gave her a break. But you're there.

Anthony Godfrey:
So are there particular teachers that you've known over the years that you're kind of channeling and using as inspiration when you try to play a teacher?

Rory:
Well, my mom's a dance teacher at Copper Hills.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, okay. Awesome.

Rory:
Yeah, so I know, and that's where I got my costume. She brought some of the things home from school because she has a lot of costumes that she doesn't use. So we've got a lot of things that we don't need.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's awesome. What is it like being in a production in sixth grade like this?

Nadia:
At first, it was kind of like embarrassing because I don't really like to perform in front of other people. But I mean, when I got cast to the role to sing, I just decided, like, okay, I'm going to sing so I can't be nervous anymore. And during this, I've gotten more confidence. So I think I might join some more plays or musicals over time.

Anthony Godfrey:
Great.

Emma:
Well, it's kind of like Nadia said. I got a lot more confident with this because I don't know. It just helps me feel like I can perform on stage without being nervous.

Nephi:
Very embarrassing because, like, whenever I got put to be the dad for “Three is the Magic Number”, I felt really nervous because, like, “Oh, what if I drop Elone? What if he doesn't run into me?” Or like, “Oh, what if I just let him go or something?” And that, like, made me scared because there's, like, more than 400 people that's coming and, like, I can't mess up. So then I practiced with my little brother. So it's easier now.

Sheri Harrington:
What Nephi is talking about is in this number, he plays a dad and one of the other sixth-grade boys plays a baby. And so at the end of this number, the sixth-grade boy, this other one, Elone, runs and jumps in Nephi's arms. So Nephi has to catch him. And so he was worried about dropping him. But he's doing a great job. I cast him as a dad because I knew he was very strong and he could do it.

Anthony Godfrey:
All right. Stand up. Give me kind of a dad stance. Show me how you -- wow. That is good dad energy right there. That's really good. You guys, you all, all five of you have some real poise and the confidence really comes through just as I'm sitting here talking with you. So those 400 people are in for a treat. This is really exciting. I'm thrilled for you guys that you get the opportunity to learn from Miss Sheri and you're getting such great skills and experiences from it. So thank you for letting me talk with you about this. This is really exciting. And I know these performances are going to be awesome. Is there a song that you all sing that we could hear a little snippet of?

Student:
We're all in “Nouns.”

Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now, if I recall, a noun is a person, place or thing if I'm not mistaken, right? All right. Let's hear it.

Sheri Harrington:
All right. Emma, take it away.

Students singing:
A noun's a person you can know
or any place that you can go
or anything that you can show.
You know they're nouns.

A noun's a special kind of word.
It's any name you've ever heard
I find it quite interesting.
A noun's a person, place or thing.

Oh, I took a train, took a train to another state.
Choo choo.
The flora and fauna I saw were really great.
We saw some bandits chasing the train,
I was wishing I was back home again.
I took a train, took a train to another state.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, that brings back a lot of memories. That sounds fantastic. I don't know why taking a train, taking a train to another state brings back memories like it does. But, wow, I am right back in Terre Haute, Indiana, sitting in front of the TV watching Saturday morning cartoons. You guys are going to transport people, you're going to teach people, and they're going to have a blast. And you, I know, are going to have a blast as well performing. So thank you for letting me sit and talk with you about this and have a great time.

Sheri Harrington:
Thank you for coming and talking to us. We feel very honored and privileged and we appreciate your time.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you very much.

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.

[MUSIC]

They are becoming some of the best young bucket drummers around with a beat all their own.

On this episode of the Supercast, meet members of the Percussion Club at Mountain Point Elementary School and find out how they are making music come alive from around the world with a bunch of five-gallon plastic buckets, flipped upside down, turned into drums.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello, and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. They are becoming some of the best young bucket drummers around with a beat all their own.

On this episode of the Supercast, meet members of the Percussion Club at Mountain Point Elementary School and find out how they are making music from around the world come alive with a bunch of 5-gallon plastic buckets flipped upside down and turned into drums.

We're at Mountain Point Elementary School early this morning to talk about the Percussion Club. Introduce yourselves, tell me about your connection to the Percussion Club, and then we'll talk to students.

Angie Garrido:
Hi, my name is Angie Garrido. I started this club here at Mountain Point Elementary three years ago, so I'm just excited to be here with you this morning.

Mrs. Hammer:
Hi, my name is Mrs. Hammer. I am the fourth-grade teacher here at Mountain Point, and I've been helping Maestro Garrido for two years now.

Anthony Godfrey:
Maestro Garrido, you used to teach here, and now you are a DLI coordinator at the district. Tell me about that position.

Maestra Garrido:
Yeah, so I arrived to Jordan School District three years ago. I was offered a position as a first-grade Spanish teacher to start the program here at Mountain Point, and now I am helping the DLI teachers in the district and in the state to just to be better DLI teachers.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's fantastic. We love that you're here and that you now are playing this new role and that you have continued with the Percussion Club. Tell me what made you want to start the Percussion Club. My son has played percussion since seventh grade and he absolutely loves it, so I know the appeal, but tell me why you wanted to do this here.

Maestra Garrido:
So everything started in 2018. I was in another school district, and I attended BYU Arts Express, which is an event that teaches art instruction. I attended a session with a lady and she was doing percussion, but not with buckets like we do, but with bowls like those huge yoga bowls, and I was like, I want to do this. I didn't know if we had the money, so I did a little bit of research and I found this bucket drumming thing and I was like, “oh, we can afford this.”

Anthony Godfrey:
There’s a bucket drumming community, I guess.

Maestra Garrido:
Yes, yes. So I presented the plan to my principal back then and he loved the idea, so yeah, that's how it started. So our first performance was in 2019, so this is the sixth year of that.

Anthony Godfrey:
So a whole set of students has come through doing this. Tell me about your involvement, Mrs. Hammer.

Mrs. Hammer:
Well, the first year that we had percussion here at Mountain Point, I was just on the sidelines and I was watching and I just really enjoyed the upbeat music and the things that Maestra Garrido has even put together. And so I just decided, “hey, can I help out?” It was at the end of the first year that she had finished and I'm like, “can I help out next year, please?” And so she's like, “absolutely.”

So I did it last year and you just get into the movement and the beat of the music. And so I just wanted to continue it.  You see the smile and the enthusiasm that she gives, and I give, and then the kids all bring together and the performance when we do it at the end of the year is just amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about the level of participation from students. Has that changed over the last six years that we've been doing it here?

Mrs. Hammer:
It really has. I think that the first year we had probably like 50 students and now we have what, 90?

Maestra Garrido:
Yeah, we have around 90 students from kindergarten to sixth grade this year.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, so it's all ages that get to come and do it. And how frequently do they come? What does the schedule look like?

Maestra Garrido:
We practice once a week for 30 minutes. So they have to come before school at 8.15 and then we practice until 8.45 until it's time to go to school.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's fantastic. Tell me about the music selections. How do you decide what to play? I know there's a wide range of musical influences that you bring in to this activity.

Maestra Garrido:
So basically what I do is I select a theme for the year and then I choose the music and plan what the students are going to be playing. I look for inspiration everywhere once I have a theme in my head. And then for example, the inspiration I look for is everywhere. Last year I performed, because I am a dancer, I performed in a fall dance festival. So one of the songs that we're doing this year is from France and France was one of the countries participating in the festival. So one of the things we're doing this year is influenced by that show that I saw last summer.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh wow.

Maestra Garrido:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you pick up influences everywhere you go.

Maestra Garrido:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you're a dancer as well?

Maestra Garrido:
I am a dancer and I am a singer.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about your time as a dancer and singer.

Maestra Garrido:
So I started dancing classic ballet when I was four and then also did Polynesian dances. And then when I was in high school, I started dancing Mexican folklore dances. So that's what I'm still doing right now. I'm part of a group, a local group.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. Your talents are wide-ranging and all involve rhythm. Tell me about your singing.

Maestra Garrido:
So I've been singing since I remember. My mom's family they all sing. So our family parties are karaoke nights basically. So I've been singing all my life basically.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you have a go-to karaoke song or do you have all kinds of karaoke songs?

Maestra Garrido:
I like different music styles, but now I am focusing more on Mexican songs, which is like my country, my roots.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Tell me your favorite Mexican karaoke song though.

Maestra Garrido:
Well, I've been recording like lately, like this week, "Acá Entre Nos" which is a very popular song in Mexico. I just recorded "Bésame Mucho" which is a very well-known song.

Anthony Godfrey:
I know "Bésame Mucho" yes. I do know that one.

Maestra Garrido:
Yeah. And yeah, there's a variety of songs that I have been practicing lately.

Anthony Godfrey:
What was the first one?

Maestra Garrido:
"Acá Entre Nos"

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. I'm going to have you help me find that on Spotify.

Maestra Garrido:
Okay. I will.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. All right. My go-to, in case you were wondering, is either "Totally Eclipse of the Heart" or "Johnny B. Goode". So I think you and I need to be on the stage at the same time. I think we could really bring it.

Maestra Garrido:
Let's plan on it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. All right. So you sing, you dance and you do percussion in the morning. What do you hope that students get out of this experience?

Maestra Garrido:
One of the things that I like the most about this club is that they get to have fun because I mean they have buckets, they have drumsticks and they just enjoy. But obviously like I am expecting them to work on their timing, their rhythm. This activity is also like very stress relieving. So it's just a fun activity to do after school. And I think like I personally feel so happy after it and I am hoping the students are feeling happy too.

Anthony Godfrey:
I can witness in my own family the stress release that occurs when you bang on something. My son plays – when he plays the drums in a certain way I can tell, all right, he is stressed out and he is relieving that stress through the drums. What impact have you seen on students as they have participated?

Mrs. Hammer:
Well, the great thing about Percussion Club is that you don't have to have that musical talent. You just need to know like the beat and everything. So even if you are not in choir or orchestra or even band you can still do it. And like this year we had started our kindergarteners and they are following along. You know and that's a big key for children in elementary school is just to follow directions. So having that inspiration for them that they can grow that musical talent that they may have deep down inside.

Anthony Godfrey:
I would guess there is a real sense of unity also that comes from playing together with a group of 90 students of varying ages because students aren't always interacting sixth grade and kindergarten and the lower grades. But you have everyone together, probably some siblings, and they all feel a part of something.

Mrs. Hammer:
Absolutely.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back the Percussion Club performs and we have a fantastic front-row seat.

Break:
Hello, I'm Sandy Riesgraf, Director of Communications for Jordan School District, and we want to invite you to connect with us. So many exciting things are happening in your child's school, your neighbor's school, in every school here, every day. Don't miss out on following the fun or simply staying informed when there's important information we need to share. Join us at jordandistrict.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @jordandistrict. We can't wait to connect.

Anthony Godfrey:
Let's talk to some students about what it's been like to be a part of this. Introduce yourself, tell us your name and tell us what grade you're in.

Hallie:
Okay, I'm Hallie and I'm in third grade.

Elsie:
I'm Elsie and I'm in third grade.

Mason:
I'm Mason and I'm in fifth grade.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, tell me about how long you've been participating in the Percussion Club in the mornings. Hallie:
I've been participating for three years.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow.

Elsie:
Three years too.

Mason:
This is my second year.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you two third graders, you've been doing this half your life really, pretty much. So you already have a long career in percussion. What brings you back early in the morning? Why do you keep coming back? What do you love about this?

Hallie:
I love that we get to learn new songs and that we get to learn new rhythms and stuff like that.

Elsie:
I like that we get to inspire new songs like other songs that inspire other people.

Mason:
I like that we can get to be with our friends and have fun and even though if it's hard or anything we can still do it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now you do have to come early but I would imagine that it gives you a lot of energy to get to play the drums and bang out some percussion early in the morning. Now you all talked about how much fun it is to be with friends in the morning. Did you make some friends in Percussion Club that you didn't have before?

Mason:
I think I've talked to some but yeah.

Elsie:
Yeah, I have been friends with some people in Percussion.

Hallie:
Yeah, I've made friends in Percussion Club.

Anthony Godfrey:
Even if they walk to the beat of a different drum you guys have been able to connect with them. I like idiomatic expressions. Okay, so I have not been able to attend a performance yet but tell me about the reaction from parents and the expression on their faces when they get to see the result of all this work throughout the year.

Maestro Garrido:
Yeah so we have a performance for parents and we have one performance for students. So parents are just like so excited seeing their kids drumming even if they don't have a background in music as we have mentioned. So it's just exciting. One of the moms from last year she was like "Ms. Garrido, she's an angel" because she has like all the students with drumsticks and making noise and she has just the patience to tolerate that. And obviously for me it was just fun because I really enjoy having all the students playing and even if it's noisy at some point it's an organized noise if we can call it like that.

Anthony Godfrey:
And it's a joyous noise.

Maestra Garrido:
It is. Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
How about for you?

Mrs. Hammer:
Well, I am also a parent here at the school for my daughter that is in Percussion Club so it's nice to be together. But having an outside parent, so my husband, just witness all these students come together and play the music together in unison is like a standing ovation. I think we've had that and we've had probably if we could sell out we've sold out. Like it's packed every time.

Anthony Godfrey:
The arena is filled every time. I love it. That's awesome.

Maestra Garrido:
And one of the things is that we do this in a very short time like this year we have 19 practices planned for the season and we only practice 30 minutes a day and then we send a video home so that they can practice at home and so basically like they really learn these rhythms and the way we have to play very very fast. So it's impressive.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you so much for going to all this extra effort and making this incredible opportunity available for students. It's really fantastic.

Maestra Garrido:
Yeah, thank you for your time and for having us this morning. We are so honored to be here and be part of your podcast.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you very much.

Mrs. Hammer:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now let's head into practice and let's hear you bang on those buckets.

[MUSIC]

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 you out there.

[MUSIC]