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They are twins attending West Jordan High School in their sophomore year and they are turning 4 years old. At Antelope Canyon Elementary School a long-time second grade teacher is finally turning sweet 16.

On this episode of the Supercast, we find out what it’s like to have a leap year birthday. A birthday that comes around just once every four years on February 29, when the year is actually 366 days long, instead of the regular 365. Are leap year birthday folks forever young, let’s find out.


Audio Transcription

[Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. They are twins attending West Jordan High School in their sophomore year, and they are only having their fourth birthday. At Antelope Canyon Elementary School, a longtime second-grade teacher is finally celebrating her 16th birthday.

On this episode of the Supercast, we find out what it's like to have a leap year birthday. A birthday that comes around just once every four years on February 29th, when the year is actually 366 days long instead of the regular 365. Are leap year birthday folks forever young? Let's find out as we talk to them today on their actual leap year birthday.

[Music]

Come right in here. Let's do the birthday interview today. And we actually have from the Nutrition Services staff here at West Jordan High School a little birthday cake for each of you with some balloons. So happy birthday to the three of you. Alright grab some cake and let's talk about this birthday of yours. We're here at West Jordan High School with two students and a teacher who share February 29th as their birthday. And because the podcast comes out on Thursdays, we thought we'd talk with them today on the day of their birthday and celebrate with them and talk a little bit about what it's like to have kind of a non-day as your birthday. So let's have the twins introduce themselves first.

Luke Pearson:
I'm Luke Pearson.

Melanie Pearson:
And I'm Melanie Pearson.

Lucinda Preece:
And Lucinda Preece.

Anthony Godfrey:
And Lucinda you teach at Antelope Canyon. How long have you been teaching in Jordan District?

Lucinda Preece:
39 years.

Anthony Godfrey:
39 years, wow. Nearly four decades of teaching. Yeah, we love that you've been here.

Lucinda Preece:
Lots of birthdays here.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yes, that's right. But a lot fewer than I've had, right? How many birthdays have you had?

Lucinda Preece:
I've had 16 official birthdays.

Lucinda Preece:
16 official birthdays.

Lucinda Preece:
Sweet 16.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you've had 16 birthdays and the two of you are turning 16 today, is that correct?

Melanie Pearson:
Yes, but officially it's our fourth birthday, like big day birthday.

Anthony Godfrey:
For your fourth birthday, you're turning 16. She's had 16 birthdays. Worlds are colliding right now. Now here's the first thing. I don't know exactly what to call you. Do you have names for yourselves because you share this birthday? Are you leapers? Are you leaplings? What exactly is the proper term? Does anybody know?

Lucinda Preece:
I don't. I've heard on the radio, leapers is kind of a big thing right now.

Anthony Godfrey:
Leapers? It sounds a little close to leper though.

Lucinda Preece:
I know.

Anthony Godfrey:
I don't know if that's really what you want. I'm going to go with leapling. So tell me how does it feel to be a leapling? Tell me what that's like.

Melanie Pearson:
I don't know. For me it just kind of feels the same. I don't know. I've never known anything different. But it's cool because people can remember your birthday easier. I don't know. They're like, “Oh yeah, you're born on leap days.”

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh yeah. So people do remember your birthday more frequently. And you've got your twin brother here so you at least have someone to share it with. How about for you? What is it like for you?

Luke Pearson:
It is kind of nice because people always remember my birthday.

Anthony Godfrey:
Not anything that impactful in your life. So how about for you? Have you met before today? Have you met other leaplings?

Lucinda Preece:
You know, one year I actually had a student in my class who was a leap-year baby. And it was a leap year so we celebrated together with the class. I felt really lucky that that happened.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, you met them in a leap year. That's awesome. So let's talk about other years. Today we get to celebrate with you. But what do you do in other years when you don't have a birthday? Do you celebrate it all? Or do you just save it up so that every four years it feels particularly special? 

Luke Pearson:
Well usually on the 28th we just have a party and stuff.

Melanie Pearson:
We kind of just treat the 28th like it's our birthday. I don't think my parents would want to deprive us of it. “No, we need to save some extra money so…” I'm just kidding.

Lucinda Preece:
I actually grew up celebrating mine on March 1st. Just figuring it was whatever day would have been the day after the 28th. So that's why we just have always had March 1st. It's been kind of fun because I feel like on the non-leap years people aren't really sure what day so I kind of get two days. Do you notice that too? Yeah, and then I always did March 1st but then since Facebook came about it just sticks me on the 28th so I started getting all of these birthday wishes on the 28th so woohoo, kind of stretch it out there. Do you find that too?

Anthony Godfrey:
You said the same thing happens for you.

Melanie Pearson:
Like last year lots of people knew my birthday was the 29th but on the 28th they told me happy birthday but then some people were like on March 1st they told me. So it was like a two-day celebration. It's pretty fun.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, you deserve that since you don't get any day some years so hopefully that starts to help make up for it. I did a little research. In 1712 in Sweden when they were switching from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar it was actually a February 30th. So I felt really bad for those people. 

So if you were in Sweden born in 1712 on February 30th you really only had one birthday and that was the day that you were actually born so that would have been too bad. So see it could be worse, it could be worse. How about capitalizing leap year? Nobody capitalizes leap year. Does that feel like something that should be happening?

Melanie Pearson:
I don't know.

Lucinda Preece:
I do have a leap year shirt on.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh let's see.

Lucinda Preece:
Yeah, and I actually bought three because I couldn't decide on one. I think it says February 29th birthday something about being so awesome that the world could only handle it once every four years.

Anthony Godfrey:
I like it. I like it. That’s awesome. 

Lucinda Preece:
So somebody made money on capitalizing

Anthony Godfrey:
That’s awesome. Well, it is very rare. We have nearly 58,000 students in Jordan School District and there are only 43 students who have a birthday today, and you're two of them. So there just aren't very many. And we have 9,000 employees and we only have 11 employees out of those 9,000 who have a birthday today.

Lucinda Preece:
Amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
It is pretty rare.

Lucinda Preece:
I'll thank my mom.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what plans do you guys have for today? Do you have big birthday plans today or this weekend?

Luke Pearson:
We're probably going to have our family come over later today. And then probably, I don't know, we'd probably hang out with our friends but I might go to–

Melanie Pearson:
St. George. 

Luke Pearson:
Yeah, St. George with my dad because he wants to go to a four-wheeling thing.

Anthony Godfrey:
How about for you?

Melanie Pearson:
I don't know. Just hanging out with my family and maybe my friends this weekend. I don't know. Nothing too special. 

Lucinda Preece:
We're kinda the same. Dinner with family tonight and then lunch with some friends on Saturday.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well that sounds fantastic. Now are there leap day sales? Leap into savings? Is this like a big day for– I mean, I think companies find any excuse that they can to try to email us about a sale coming up.

There's a leap year movie with Amy Adams about the Irish tradition where supposedly women ask men. Women propose to men on leap day as an Irish tradition. So that's a movie based on that, and there's also 30 Rock. Anyone who watches 30 Rock, there's the one where they have a mascot for leap day. Kind of like the Easter Bunny but for leap day. It's a very odd kind of wacky episode.

So it's hard for me to remember all of my 54 birthdays but because you've only had four, is there one that stands out for you?

Melanie Pearson:
No, not really. I don't know. It's kind of just always a party. I don't know.

Lucinda Preece:
I've had a lot but I just kind of enjoy every one of them. I think one year– I usually don't take it off for school because it's a fun time to celebrate with the kids. So we've done like leapfrog things before you know for leaping and then that one that I had with my student was pretty special.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, I imagine elementary students have a really good time with February 29th. I kind of get to really be a kid again so that's fun.

Anthony Godfrey:
I wondered about this when you're filling out a form. Is it in the drop down menu that asks for your birthday? Does it say February 29th ever? My birthday's in June so I have no idea. Or do you just have to put the 28th or March 1st? Do you just have to choose a different birthday?

Luke Pearson:
You usually have to put the year and then it'll show up as the 29th option. So like if you just try to pick 29th sometimes it's just not there until you put the year into the...

Melanie Pearson:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh okay. So 16 years ago, what year were you born then?

Luke Pearson:
2008.

Anthony Godfrey:
So in 2008 it was a leap year.

Lucinda Preece:
And I find the same thing when I try to put a date in. I have to go forward to the year and then I was like “Oh yeah, you're right. Okay you were born on the 29th.”

Anthony Godfrey:
So it gives you the option based on the year. Okay that's great. Tell us a little bit more about yourselves here at West Jordan High School. You’re sophomores at West Jordan? How soon is the driving going to start now that you've turned 16?

Melanie Pearson:
Whenever they reach out for roads they're a little behind here. So whenever we can do our road tests and stuff we'll get it. I'm very excited to drive but they're a little behind.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now do you have–

Lucinda Preece:
I've been driving a long time.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, you've been driving a long time so you're all set. So they turned 16. This is your 16th birthday. Do you have any wisdom to share after all of these February 29th?

Lucinda Preece:
I would just say suck it in on those years that it's for real, but even the non years take those in because you know you have two or three days people just kind of celebrate you. And the uniqueness for conversation. That's pretty fun.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, I don't think I've ever met anyone with a birthday on February 29th so I really appreciate your spending your birthday and leap day with me here this morning and I wish you a very happy birthday and a handful more birthdays to come.

Lucinda Preece:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you to Colbie Summarell and Allison Morgan from Nutrition Services here at West Jordan High School for baking these cakes for these students and this teacher on leap day on their birthday. We really appreciate your support.

Thanks for joining us on another episode of the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today even if today only comes around every four years. We'll see you out there.

[music]

It was an evening of fun traveling back in time to 1984 when Joel P. Jensen Middle School first opened its doors. Joel P. Jensen recently threw a big birthday bash to commemorate four decades of being a part of the community.

On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside the 80’s style party where everyone was having fun celebrating 40 years of history, making memories, building friendships, and educating students.


Audio Transcription [Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. It was an evening of fun traveling back in time to 1984 when Joel P. Jensen Middle School first opened its doors. Joel P. Jensen recently threw a big birthday bash to commemorate four decades of being at the heart of their community.

On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside the 80s style party where everyone was having fun celebrating 40 years of history, making memories, building friendships, and educating students.

[Music]

We are here at Joel P. Jensen celebrating 40 years of Joel P. Jensen. It's an exciting time. Introduce yourselves and tell me about your relationship with Joel P. Jensen, the middle school, not the man, and how long you have been here.

Aaron Hunter:
Aaron Hunter, principal, off and on at Joel P. for a decade, 10 years.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about the offs and the ons.

Aaron Hunter:
So I started my admin career in Jordan District at Joel P. I was an assistant principal here for six and a half years and then two years ago came back as principal.

Anthony Godfrey:
A triumphant return to everyone's delight that they got to have Aaron Hunter back in their lives.

Aaron Hunter:
It's a great place to be.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you have done a great job of promoting Joel P. Jensen and the great things that are happening here, which we'll get back to in just a moment. But let's take a trip through memory lane and talk with a couple of employees who've been here for a while.

Deb Atkinson:
I'm Deb Atkinson. I'm the head secretary. I've been here for a really, really long time. This is 26 and a half years so far.

Anthony Godfrey:
26 and a half years.

Deb Atkinson:
I had one little break in between where I got bumped to the district office and I was in Info Systems for 13 months and then I interviewed and came back to my school.

Anthony Godfrey:
You knew where you needed to be. Okay, we'll get back to some stories from you. Tell me about your time here at Joel P. Jensen.

Suzie:
My name is Suzie. I started 25 years ago. I started in the ISS room. Steve Crowther hired me. I was there for a while then they asked me to be a hall monitor. I was that until we went under numbers. So then they said that I had to not do a hall monitor, but I didn't want to leave because I liked Joel P. so much, so I stayed as a tracker. And then when numbers went back up, I came back to the hall monitor and then they went to the part-time stuff. I hung out with that and then I kind of retired until this lovely gentleman over here called me and said would you come back? For some reason, I said yes, probably because I love Joel P. So I came back and so I've been back for the last year and a half.

Anthony Godfrey:
So this is really a pattern for all three of you. You leave, you come back. And for you you leave and you come back and you leave and you come back.

Suzie:
Yeah, it was like I can't describe it. There's– Joel P. is just different. The kids are different. I love it. I missed it. I tried somewhere else a long time ago and it's just not the same.

Anthony Godfrey:
As Al Pacino says ‘They keep pulling you back in.’

Suzie:
He pulled me back in and she's amazing so to work with. The two of them have just been– it's just really cool. It's a good relationship. I really like it and the kids. I mean there are no other kids like Joel P. kids. They just climb into your heart and they hang out there. And then they come back and see you, and then they bring their kids to register which makes him feel older. I'm fine.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you've had multiple generations of kids here at Joel P. Jensen that you've worked with.

Deb Atkinson:
Some this year that we have the parents that were like “Hey, I remember you. You were here.”

Suzie:
And then they go “These are our kids” and then they go “and you're still here.”

Anthony Godfrey:
But see if they can remember you after 25 years that's a really high compliment to you that you've been able to be recognizable after that many years. Tell me what is it about Joel P. Jensen kids that you love, and I'm going to have each of you answer that. What is it that makes this place special when it comes to the students?

Suzie:
There are so many different– just diversity in these kids but they all get along together. They're just– to me, it's just, I don't know. You walk into Joel P. and it's so different but they're so much the same. They're like no other kids. I don't know. I can't explain it. They need you. Joel P. kids need you and Joel P. kids let you know that they truly need you. You come in here and I see all these mini-me's because I struggled. I mean I went to Kearns High and I was not the best student. I’ll own it. That's why I'm really good at what I do. But the kids that are here– I mean, you walk in and you know they care and you know they need you. These kids just crawl into your heart and they stay there.

We've gone through a lot of admin together me and Deb. We've had a lot of teachers we've gone through. And some of the admin crawl into your heart and they stay, but Joel P. you're just– I don't know I can't describe it but we keep coming back. It's like you can feel truly that they need you and it just– I get a little emotional about it so it's Deb’s turn.

Deb Atkinson:
Well, I just love the fact that they're so unpredictable. So when you feel that you've seen whatever one student is going to do, you’re like “Okay I've seen it all now” and then they come up with another fun thing that you're going like “Okay, this is why I come back every day because they make it great.”

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, it's true, if anywhere in the district is full of surprises it's middle schools. You never know what your day is going to bring. I miss middle– I started out as a middle school teacher at Bingham Middle School and then at West Hills. I love the middle school age and like you said Joel P. Jensen is unique even within the middle school group because of the the kids that you have here and the real sense of belonging that you create here. I've known that for a long time. Tell me about the students here Aaron.

Aaron Hunter:
Yeah, it's been said, but it really is a special place. People laugh when I say it's the best school in the state, but I really, truly do believe that. I think a lot of our kids outside of West Jordan are misunderstood. I think people– there's a certain stigma outside of our area of Joel P. and it's all wrong. I can tell you that 100 percent. Most of them need caring adults and that's why relationships are number one in our hearts. That's what drives our work here is those good relationships. There's nothing better than in June when they come back with a graduation announcement or “Hey, I'm working at Jiffy Lube”. You know, just great news of “Hey, you spent time, you took time out of your day to care about me and it means a lot.”

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, what I found, and this is very true of Joel P. Jensen, is that schools like this draw those caring adults because you don't survive if you don't care about kids. And so over time, over 40 years, the faculty just continues to attract caring adults that care at a deep level and make a personal connection with students like all of you have described. It's really rewarding to see as a Superintendent a school that functions like that.

Stay with us. When we come back more fun memories celebrating four decades of Joel P. Jensen Middle School.

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.

[Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about the faculty and the people who've worked here over the years. You've been here off and on over the last decade. We'll come back to Deb and Suzie. I'm sure they have a lot of stories about the people who've passed through here. Tell me about about those caring adults that you've worked with.

Aaron Hunter:
Well, you hit the nail on the head. I've been here a decade-ish, the teachers that stay are the teachers that– I don't want to say are the teachers that care because I think every teacher cares. I think everybody that goes into education, they care about kids.

Anthony Godfrey:
But there's an intense need for that different level of relationship here. If that's something that you're ready for then this is the type of place where you want to be.

Aaron Hunter:
Yep, and we and we foster that because this is a– I don't even want to say difficult. It's just our kids have different needs here. And so because of that fostering that sense of family is very important. I can't speak for everybody that works here, but I know me as a principal, my number one priority is to make sure that our teachers feel that they're supported to be their best selves. Because like you said middle school is hard. Joel P is sometimes hard and so we have that family aspect here where we can rely on each other. We can cry on each other's shoulders. We can get mad at each other. But at the end of the day, it's all because we love and care about kids. Our kids are never going to do the best on the state test scores and I fully know that as principal. But I can tell you one thing, they leave here knowing that they're fully taken care of and cared for.

Anthony Godfrey:
I like what you said about taking care of each other. It’s adults looking out for each other as well and supporting each other as you support the students. How about for you Deb?

Deb Atkinson:
Well, I think the faculty and staff they kind of have more of a family atmosphere where it's like we're all one group and we're all working together for the same goal. So that's what draws me to it. That's why I wanted to come back so bad because I just love the whole atmosphere, the people I work with. It was just great here, so that's why I wanted to come back. And I still love it. Anthony Godfrey:
There must be hundreds of faculty members you've worked with over 25 years.

Deb Atkinson:
Oh yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, that's really exciting. How about for you? What do you think Suzie?

Suzie:
Faculty-wise, if you stop and think about it, we had Connie Bailey here she was a PE teacher.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh wow.

Suzie:
Who's now an admin. Cynthia VanderMeiden.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah.

Suzie:
She was a teacher here and then Todd was here for a while. We had Joanne Ackerman. She was a teacher and then an admin. Oh my gosh. Tim Heumann. I mean and the stories. Oh my goodness. He was a science teacher. Yep, yep. We'll just go on to the next one. Tim was a blast. Love, love Tim.

So yeah, I mean we've gone through a lot. We were talking about that. We figured 25 maybe admin, teachers are just tons, and then you figure kids average a thousand a year. That was 26,000 kids. It's just– I don't know it's always just been that unique school.

It's like I said when I came back. I wanted to be in a place where I wished I had– I wanted to be what I wished I had when I was at school. And that was my goal to make sure. Then you see teachers struggle here, so we do things like sneak down and put stuff on their desks and don't tell them where it came from. Just something that you know they like.

You know when I was a hall monitor, I would go help them out with their lovely students, my mini-me’s, that would be in there because you just support each other. There's no place like it. It's just really weird. I get to look back at Connie Bailey you know and Cynthia, remember those days with them, and boy the stories that you could go on for those. Me and Deb were thinking we could probably write a book one day when we retire officially and we don't come back.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well you never know that it will be permanent it sounds like. You could never count on that. Luckily, luckily you keep coming back.

Suzie:
I don't think so. I don't think it'll be permanent. As long as he's here and she's here for right now. They keep my sanity. I had a rough couple of years and they brought me back so you know it is what it is. You know, these kids that pop back in and see you and some of the teachers I run into, and then they say “Do you remember?” and I'm like “I do not recall that”.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, you can only store so many stories up there. That's right. So when you're in this area of the district just driving around stopping for gas, shopping, whatever, I'm sure you run into some of those 25,000 people everywhere you go.

Aaron Hunter:
All the time. Yeah, all the time. Jordan Landing, O'Reilly Auto Parts down the street. And what's the most rewarding part of the job for me is, like I said, the goal is for our kids to at least reach it to high school and graduate. That's the goal. Unfortunately, for some of our kids, that doesn't happen. But it doesn't make it any less rewarding to see the kid working at O'Reilly that didn't graduate but is still a productive member of society and is doing his part. And “Hey Mr. Hunter do you remember me?” I mean, of course, I remember. You were in my office 70,000 times. So yeah, that's why we do what we do. I was told the other day that we think about these kids often but the kids that we impact think about us 10 times more than we think about them. That's pretty powerful.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you know, you're looking at how you can support them academically, of course, that's a very important goal. But you're supporting them in all kinds of other ways. How to manage the difficulties in their lives and how to find a pathway forward. Hopefully, that pathway includes graduation from high school, but credits are not the only thing that you take away from school when you have caring adults looking out for you. I think it's a great compliment when people say “Hey, remember me?” It's because they want to go back to those times and remember those times when they see you. That's because you've created memories and you've made the most of those moments with them.

Aaron Hunter:
Yep, yep, sure. Yeah, I mean like you said, as principal academics are obviously important. That's the number one reason you come to school is to learn. We tell kids that all the time. But the number two reason you come is to hang out with your friends and establish relationships. A lot of times with our kids that means more to them than the academic piece and that's why we love working here.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, the sense of community makes the academics possible.

Suzie:
I live in West Jordan, closer than you think. So I live real close to West Jordan in a sense and I'm very very protective of Joel P. and I get really outspoken when people say things about Joel P.. I'm like “No, you need to be there to understand. Joel P. is a different type of school. What I enjoy is when the kids come back and say, let me see if I can word this right. “I'm sorry I was not nice to you. I'm sorry I said those things to you. But I want to tell you how much of an impact you made on us.”  I had some parents who would come by and “Why do you work at that school?” Why not? If I could’ve had a Joel P. when I was growing up I wouldn't have gone the path I went in a certain amount of years.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about today's celebration. 40 years is a big deal. I mean, I did the math. I could have been a seventh grader here the first year that Joel P. opened. That's how old it is now. So that's a long tradition of taking great care of everybody. Tell me about today's celebration.

Aaron Hunter:
Yeah, so 83-84 was the school year that Joel P. opened. This year with parent-teacher conferences our theme has kind of been to think outside of the box and to have a different spin on it. So we thought, what better time to celebrate 40 years? So tonight it's a big party. Everybody should come. Magicians, food, activities, booths, prizes, music, everything. It's going to be a big party.

Anthony Godfrey:
And because Joel P. Jensen opened up in the early 80s, it's an 80s theme tonight I understand.

Aaron Hunter:
Yes, 80s theme. I'm about ready to get my Miami Vice on right now as soon as we're done with this podcast.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, it sounds like I need to stick around just a little bit longer then so I can make sure that I get to see that. I'm sorry I'm not wearing two Izod shirts with my collar popped.

Aaron Hunter:
You always can Superintendent.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yes. I could. I could.

Aaron Hunter:
It’s always a possibility. Slick back the hair-

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, that’s right. Peg the pants a little bit, yes.

Aaron Hunter:
–get some gold chains, no socks.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, boat shoes. The list goes on.

Aaron Hunter:
Yes, pleated pants. I mean, it’s all in my closet.

Anthony Godfrey:
You are clearly a man of style. How about for you guys? Is your 80s wardrobe in the closet ready to go?

Suzie:
I could be his mom, so no. I could be probably everyone’s mom.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, in a way you are, it sounds like. In a way, you are.

Suzie:
I am. You made it really clear. Yes, most of the assistant principals, my children are older than them. So I could be a grandma. You never know.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, that's awesome. In addition to all these great things about Joel P. Jensen, you are the only school with a middle initial. JPJMS it just kind of rolls off the tongue.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's right, JPJMS.

Suzie:
Today’s a good day, JPJ.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh yeah.

Suzie:
See we've got all kinds of them.

Anthony Godfrey:
It rolls right off the tongue, it rolls right off the tongue. You're also the closest school to Dunford Bakery.

Suzie:
I know, straight up, seriously.

Anthony Godfrey:
How do you not stop for a cherry turnover every single morning?

Aaron Hunter:
I was going to say, we actually kind of do. There's no how do we not, we go to Dunford often. Anthony Godfrey:
Well, with the middle initial, and the donuts, and the caring people, and the great tradition of creating a community like this, permits are available for next year. If anyone's listening and thinking I need some Joel P. Jensen Middle in my life because it is a tremendous school with obviously, as you hear tonight, tremendous people. So thank you for taking such great good care of kids and taking such great care of each other.

Aaron Hunter:
Thanks, Superintendent.

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

It is a lesson that can drive some student’s buggy, while others are literally eating it up.

On this episode of the Supercast, we head to Mountain Creek Middle School where we find social studies teacher Kristina Meng bringing some creepy, crawly creatures into the classroom. It’s for a lesson on how bugs are considered a culinary delight in some cultures around the world. Join us for a classroom taste test like no other and a lesson students won’t soon forget.


Audio Transcription [Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. It is a lesson that can bug some students while others are literally eating it up.

On this episode of the Supercast, we head to Mountain Creek Middle School, where we find social studies teacher Kristina Meng bringing some creepy, crawly creatures into the classroom. It's for a lesson on how bugs are considered a culinary delight in some cultures around the world. Join us for a classroom taste test like no other and a lesson students won't soon forget.

[Music]

We’re here at Mountain Creek Middle School with Ms. Meng, we're about to talk with her geography class. What are we in for today?

Kristina Meng:
So today we're talking about cultural relativism, how different cultures place different values on things. Just because different cultures all do things differently and if you're judging a culture, you have to judge it like off of what's normal for them, not what's normal for us. So sort of our case study, our example is eating bugs because here in the US, that's seen as like disgusting, gross, dirty, awful. But in a lot of the world, bugs are a viable food source.

Anthony Godfrey:
A great source of protein, as you say.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah. And it's also going to bring in cultural diffusion, spreading cultures around the world, looking at like global sustainability, how a lot of people in like sustainability efforts are trying to use more bug protein instead of like other livestock and things. So we're going to be, you know, introducing all those concepts to the students today, and then at the end, they get to try bugs.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. And have you done this with other classes previously?

Kristina Meng:
I have, yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
What is the general reaction when students try bugs? How does that normally go?

Kristina Meng:
Well, it starts out, I have them take a poll, like, have you…? I don't tell them that they're going to have a chance at the end yet. I just say, “Have you ever eaten bugs before? Like would you ever?” And they're like, “Oh, no, disgusting, awful.” Some of them are like, “I don't know, it doesn't sound that bad.” But then we get to the end, like, “Well, you know, would you?” And I pull them out and they're like, “Oh, I don't know.”

Anthony Godfrey:
So now they’re faced with a real choice instead of just a hypothetical one.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah. Instead of hypothetically.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah.

Kristina Meng:
And there's some of them who just totally refuse to try. Some of them who try reluctantly and then hate it and regret everything that brought them there.

Anthony Godfrey:
They question all their life choices at this point.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah. And then there's a lot of them who are like, whoa, that's so cool. They're like, “That's way better than I thought it would be. Can I have another one?” We've got different flavors of crickets. So some of them ask to try like every flavor. So yeah. And there's ants too.

Anthony Godfrey:
Is there a particular seasoning that pairs better with bugs than others?

Kristina Meng:
I think that no seasoning pairs well with crickets. In my opinion, crickets are always bad.

Anthony Godfrey:
I did hear that ants are one of the options as well. Or is that not the case?

Kristina Meng:
So I tried them last–the ants are in the options. Yes. I tried them last year and I was really reluctant because they looked like ants.

Anthony Godfrey:
Too ant like.

Kristina Meng:
Except they are–Ants are naturally citrus-flavored. They have like they've got like–

Anthony Godfrey:
Wait a minute. They're naturally citrus-flavored?

Kristina Meng:
Yeah. It's like some acid that they have in their bodies. So they taste sort of like lemon zest. If you just like close your eyes and imagine that you're eating lemon zest, it's a lot more bearable.

Anthony Godfrey:
So in other words, you really do have certain spices that might pair better with certain insects based on their inherent flavor.

Kristina Meng:
True. Yeah. Yeah. I've seen ants in like–not restaurants that I've been to, but I've seen pictures online of ants used as like garnish in fancy sushi places.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. Yeah. I have not been to a place that fancy. I don't think. So it's interesting this point about cultural relativism and realizing that something is not inherently gross or bad or strange just because it's something that isn't common to you.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's interesting. I went to a training once for International Baccalaureate. To get us in that international sort of mindset the question was, what do you think kids eat most often? So what do you think the answers were initially?

Kristina Meng:
Chicken nuggets.

Anthony Godfrey:
Chicken nuggets, hot dogs, McDonald's, whatever. What is the actual answer? Rice. Because it's kids throughout the world that they were referring to. But what we do is we automatically think about the children in our own lives, when we were a child. So I think this is an extension of that kind of concept that there are things that other cultures do that would not occur to us, but that are a part of a sustainable, healthy, meaningful lifestyle.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah. And it's interesting. One of the other geography teachers, she did this lesson earlier this week here, and she brought home some extra crickets to her four and two-year-old daughters.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah.

Kristina Meng:
And she said they loved them. They were like getting all the legs to finish them. So without that, I guess, inhibition of being told, like, “That's gross. That's awful.” Like, they really enjoyed it.

Anthony Godfrey:
So the trick is to try to get crickets on the plate of children early.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah. That's how you trick them.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think there are some people who may be listening thinking, ‘I can't get my child to eat anything that's green, much less a cricket.’ So, you know, it's worth trying. Those listening out there, get a cricket in front of that four-year-old.

Kristina Meng:
See what happens.

Anthony Godfrey:
See if we can get some sustainable protein in front of them. See if they like it. Do you eat crickets or ants every time?

Kristina Meng:
I do. Yep. I have to, you know–

Anthony Godfrey:
And have you developed a taste for a favorite?

Kristina Meng:
Absolutely not. I think they are terrible every time.

Anthony Godfrey:
Which is okay.

Kristina Meng:
Which is okay. Although I will say I don't like just whole crickets, but I have tried cricket powder ground up in pancakes. You can't even taste it. It's like a normal pancake. It's delicious.

Anthony Godfrey:
I have heard that there's kind of a meal or a flour or something you can create.

Kristina Meng:
You know, whole bugs may not be for everyone, but it's surprising how many options there are out there that are bugs, but not in a way you may recognize.

Anthony Godfrey:
Can I ask you what your bug source is? Where do you get these bugs?

Kristina Meng:
Amazon.

Anthony Godfrey:
Amazon, ok.

Kristina Meng:
Which we have to search very carefully. Our incredible secretary orders them for us. And when you first search like dried crickets, it's all like snake food that you see. And so you have to search human food crickets nd then you find good stuff. It comes in all sorts of flavors. There's barbecue, there's chili lime, there's dill pickle. So there's a variety.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Well, so those listening can hop on Amazon and get two-day shipping and have crickets brought to their door.

Kristina Meng:
Just make sure they search for human food crickets.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. I think that's an important point.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some of the student takeaways you're hoping for?

Kristina Meng:
So one of the big things I hope is I think it is a very memorable way to learn about cultural relativism and how different cultures place value on things. But also I think one of them is just broadening student's horizons and realizing the way that they've been told their whole life of this is how things are.

Anthony Godfrey:
Right.

Kristina Meng:
Realizing that that's like the world is a bigger place than just our experiences. And hopefully like across all of geography, hopefully one of the big things they're learning is how big the world is and that it doesn't have to be scary. That just because something is different doesn't mean you have to be afraid of it.

Anthony Godfrey:
The world is big. The world is different. And it doesn't have to be scary because of that. I love that. That's a great message. And actually, I think that's going to apply to the person sitting next to them too. Like this person next to me may value some different things. And I may be a little more comfortable with that than I was before I ate an ant.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah. And like we've got students from a lot of different cultures. So it's possible that like there are students at this school who have come from countries where it's normal to eat bugs.

Anthony Godfrey:
Right.

Kristina Meng:
And to have I guess students can start to realize like that they can accept that other people are different. Not just that like people in other parts of the world are different and that's okay. But like people here are different too. Like you were saying like you know even with this person sitting right next to me no two students have had the same life experiences to bring them here and just starting to open up that worldview and like it's okay that you're different. You can be different and still accept each other.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm sure as a teacher of geography it's very rewarding for you to experience this to see this happen with students that their world gets larger because of you.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah absolutely. It's definitely one of the most gratifying things. Sometimes I even have students who will be like “Oh, I went on vacation to this place and I thought about this thing that you taught us” and I love that because I love that geography is just, it's the world. It's all around us all the time. And I love when they start making those connections.

Anthony Godfrey:
So their experience in your classroom impacts the way they view the world and the learning doesn't stop in the classroom. They're on vacation thinking about your class. That's one of the highest compliments you can have I think.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah, and hopefully you know that's the goal of like all education. That it doesn't stay in the classroom. The goal right is to prepare these students to go out in the real world. They are in the real world already and preparing them for life.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. Well, I think it's fantastic. I love your enthusiasm. And I love the way that you make this learning very real. You don't forget either eating a cricket or an ant or having to choose whether to do it or not. And it says you learn about yourself, you learn about the world, and you learn that ants taste like citrus naturally. Now I'm not going to look at an ant the same way anymore.

Kristina Meng:
Now you know lemon zest in your backyard.

Anthony Godfrey:
OK perfect. Well thank you very much for taking time with us today and for providing such a unique and memorable experience for your students.

Kristina Meng:
Yeah it's been my pleasure.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back some of the students try some insects for themselves.

Break:
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Kristina Meng:
So by the end of class today you guys are going to be able to define what is cultural relativism as well as giving examples of it. You're also going to be able to define cultural diffusion and explain how cultural relativism and cultural diffusion can be linked.

Just for you guys we have bugs that you can try. We ordered them off Amazon. When you first search it's all like snake food, but these are human food-grade crickets for you as well as ants. So the crickets come in multiple flavors. There's fiesta. I don't know what that is. It's just what they call it. Fiesta flavored, dill pickle, smoky barbecue, chili lime, and hot and spicy. And the ants are naturally citrus-flavored. They taste like lemon zest. Like if you like close your eyes and like don't look at what you're eating. They're like pretty good.

So, oh, and an allergy warning. If you're allergic to shellfish you may be allergic to insects. Please don't have an allergic reaction. So if you guys want to try them we've got a mega bag.

So the ants are pretty small. I've got like a spoon to scoop them out. The crickets. If you're like, I don't know, maybe. I will say Miss Anderson did this lesson earlier this week and she brought some extras home to like her two and four-year-old kids who couldn't get enough of them. They were like, "This is the best snack I've ever had". And in case you're still thinking that it sounds disgusting and no way. Here's the reviews on Amazon.

“Five stars. Delicious. These crickets are absolutely delicious. I just love the way they crunch between my teeth.” I don't think they're that crunchy for what it's worth. I don't think they're that crunchy.

“Squirmed on the first two or three but after that they were a go-to snack. Even had trouble with the kids stealing them. Also, I think as an American we are sheltered from the fact that insects are really a normal and viable food source for most of the world. Glad I broke that barrier.” So if you guys try them you can be smug like this person.

And my favorite one-star review. “One star failed to meet my gustatory expectations. This is my first time trying edible insects and so far I'm very disappointed in the taste.” So up to you. So if you want to try insects, now is your chance. Come on up. Let me know what flavor you want.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, so now you have a cricket in front of you. What flavor did you choose?

Oliver:
I think I got smoked barbecue.

Anthony Godfrey:
Smoked barbecue.

Oliver:
I think so.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how about for you?

Millie:
The same.

Anthony Godfrey:
The same. Smoky barbecue. Okay. And you were the first to leap up when you had the opportunity to eat a cricket.

Oliver:
Okay. Last year I was given the opportunity also by Ms. Meng after she had the lesson with Ms. Anderson. I was given the opportunity, and I held it, and I chickened out, and I regret it. That I feel weak.

Anthony Godfrey;
This is your moment.

Oliver:
This is my moment to prove myself.

Anthony Godfrey:
To take care of those regrets.

Oliver:
Yeah. I'm just gonna do it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Alright. I'm glad that I'm here to see this progress.

Oliver:
We should do it together.

Millie:
I'm terrified.

Oliver:
Oh, I hate the way it feels.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now you’re doing it with a friend. Does it not even... Let's take a look here.

Oliver:
I'm taking the wings off. I don't care.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, well what if the wings have all the flavor?

Millie:
They feel weird.

Oliver:
Yeah, what if?

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Oliver:
I'm going full-on.

Anthony Godfrey:
You're going with the wings.

Oliver:
Um, yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh wow. There's quite a nice pattern on that.

Oliver:
Yeah, it's pretty. I feel like... Hold on. Can I go get my water really fast?

Anthony Godfrey:
I think that's a good idea. Okay. Are you gonna do it together?

Oliver:
Do you want to do it together?

Millie:
Okay. Okay.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you want me to give you a count?

Oliver:
Let's do it. Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Is it on three?

Oliver:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
When I say three, then you pop it in your mouth. Right?

Millie:
Oh, I'm shaking.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. Okay. Here you go. Ready? One, two, three. Okay. You're chewing. It's in.

Oliver:
That was like... That was fine.

Anthony Godfrey:
How is it?

Millie:
It was fine.

Anthony Godfrey:
Smoky barbecue. You didn't even reach for your water right away.

Oliver:
I'm so dramatic.

Millie:
Wait.

Anthony Godfrey:
Uh oh.

Oliver:
This was a...

Anthony Godfrey:
A little bit of an aftertaste. Was there a wave?

Millie:
That's so bad.

Oliver:
Okay, I won’t lie. That was... I was being dramatic.

Anthony Godfrey:
Is it impactful? It's not as bad as you thought.

Oliver:
It tastes like... I don't know, crackers. That's what I...

Anthony Godfrey:
Crackers? Okay.

Millie:
That's disgusting.

Oliver:
It was fine. The texture isn't that bad.

Anthony Godfrey:
You’re having different reactions.

Oliver:
It's just the seeing it. Honestly. Just the knowing that it's a bug. Cause if I see a video of live bugs, uh uh.

Anthony Godfrey:
It got inside your head a little bit.

Oliver:
But now it's fine.

Millie:
It’s so gross.

Oliver:
I still don't think I would eat like, I don't know, a caterpillar. No thanks. But this is fine.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think this is– It's a big step forward. You had a regret from last year-

Oliver:
Maybe I would eat a tarantula.

Anthony Godfrey:
This is a good pattern for life. You have a regret and you correct.

Oliver:
Maybe I'll become a... like only bugs. Maybe I'll only eat bugs from now on.

Anthony Godfrey:
Only bugs. This could be the first step of a long journey.

Oliver:
Yeah. Maybe. I'll be as smug as that one review.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, tell me your names.

Millie:
I'm Millie.

Oliver:
I'm Oliver.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what have you learned today from this lesson and from trying the bug?

Millie:
Lots of people eat bugs, more than I thought.

Oliver:
I also learned along with this and my weakness of last year that it's... If you get it in your head and just like... It's more scary to wait than to just do it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Just dive in. Get after it.

Oliver:
Just, you know, like even that one second of, you know what? Just immediately. Take it, go, and then it's fine.

Anthony Godfrey:
So maybe the anticipation–

Oliver:
The anticipation is so much worse.

Anthony Godfrey:
–is worse than the experience itself. Now, it wasn't as tasty for you.

Millie:
It was really bad.

Anthony Godfrey:
You don't regret doing it?

Millie:
Yeah–

Oliver:
I would get more.

Millie:
–cause now I don't have to do it again.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you won't have a year of regret that has to be corrected.

Oliver:
I would happily go get more. Like a full 10.

Millie:
Go do it.

Anthony Godfrey:
If you keep addressing regrets as quickly through the rest of your life as you have today, I think you're going to be in great shape for a long time. Well, well done. I admire you both. Bravo.

Millie and Oliver:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
We've got a couple more who have chosen the cricket. Now, tell me what you have. Are these ants right here?

Student:
Yes, they're ants.

Antony Godfrey:
Okay. Are they crushed up a little bit?

Student:
I think so.

Anthony Godfrey:
So they're supposed to have a lemon zest to them is what I understand. So which are you going to try first? Are you going with the cricket or the ants?

Student:
I say the cricket.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, cricket first. What flavor did you choose?

Student:
Chili lime.

Anthony Godfrey:
Chili lime. Okay. I did a count for the other students. Do you want me to give you a count?

Student:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. On three. When I say three, the cricket goes in. Okay. Alright, here we go. One, two, three.

Student:
It's not very good.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, it's not very good.

Student:
It's just, it's just weird.

Student:
It tastes fine.

Anthony Godfrey:
Is it more texture than flavor?

Student:
Yeah. Like when you first bite into it, it's super like crunchy and then it just like–

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. All right. You're going to wash it down with some lemon zesty ant, right?

Student:
And these like aren't flavored at all.

Anthony Godfrey:
So my name is Anthony. So I kind of feel a kinship here. All right. Let's see this happen right now. Do you want another count to three?

Students:
Yeah. Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. One, two, three. Oh wow. She just put her palm right up to her mouth to dump all the little ant parts in.

Student:
Oh, that's even worse. Ew. Oh, the ants are not good.

Student:
They taste like nothing, but they're really crunchy.

Student:
They're really strong.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, for you, they taste like nothing for you they're really strong.

Student:
They taste like lemon juice.

Anthony Godfrey:
Really? So you are experiencing that lemon zest flavor.

Student:
They kind of taste like lemon.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow.

Student:
They're just really crunchy and really tiny. So it's weird to me.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now tell me your names.

Morgan:
Morgan.

Anthony Godfrey:
Morgan.

Lila:
Lila.

Anthony Godfrey:
And Lila. Okay. So do you think you'll be eating crickets and ants again?

Student:
I would do it again.

Anthony Godfrey:
A cricket?

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Maybe less so on the ants.

Student:
Yeah, probably.

Anthony Godfrey:
All right. So what have you learned today from the lesson and from trying some insects?

Student:
Um, that eating bugs, they want to try and get it more into diets because it's better for the environment and yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
But you're not fully on board yet.

Student:
Yeah. Well, I eat it again, but I don't think I'd eat it like every day as a diet.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. How about for you?

Student:
Same thing. Just like how we're trying to normalize it that people already do it daily.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. Okay. Well, great. Thanks for letting me witness this moment. This was important.

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Good job. Congratulations.

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.

Recently many first-grade classrooms in Jordan School District looked a little more like lively senior centers because students and staff were celebrating the first 100 days of the school year by dressing up as if they were 100 years old.

On this episode of the Supercast, we talk to some very impressive silver-haired students at Silver Crest Elementary School about their 100th day costumes. Find out what they say about the aging process and when someone is considered “old.”

We’re going to start however, with some teachers who also look “aged to perfection” on the 100th day.


Audio Transcription [Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Recently, many first grade classrooms in Jordan School District looked more like lively senior centers because students and staff were celebrating the first 100 days of the school year by dressing up as if they were 100 years old.

On this episode of the Supercast, we talk with some very impressive silver-haired students at Silver Crest Elementary School about their 100th day costumes. Find out what they say about the aging process and when someone is considered old.

We're going to start, however, with some teachers who also look aged to perfection on the 100th day of school.

[Music]

I'm here with the first grade teachers here at Silver Crest. I cannot stop smiling and laughing looking at them, but looking at you guys was pretty startling as well. Did you have to dig deep for these costumes or is this just a regular Friday?

Teacher #1:
I just went over to my mother's house who’s 96 next month. I just picked from her wardrobe.

Anthony Godfrey:
What is this referred to as? Is this a house coat? What is this exactly?

Teacher:
Yeah, like a house dress.

Anthony Godfrey:
A house dress?

Teacher:
She called them a house dress. She always wore a turtleneck with it because she didn't want her neck to be seen. She had wrinkles on her neck.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, because she didn't want her neck to be seen. I see, because that would be a sign of old age.

Teacher:
And to keep her warm.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, well you wear it well.

Teacher:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
How about for the rest of you? The Golden Girls.

Teacher:
The Golden Girls look.

Teacher:
This is just fun Friday for me.

Anthony Godfrey:
Is it a particular Golden Girl or?

Teacher:
I am the Golden Girls.

Anthony Godfrey:
You embody all of them. Yes, very nice. Well, I really have to come back because some of you I haven't met and I really need to meet you in your natural state rather than in your this advanced age. How about for you guys? Where did you find your outfits?

Teacher:
I just got a collection. First grade teachers always have to have a bin of fun things. So we collect things, we dress up, lots of fun things.

Teacher:
I stole my grandma's nightgown.

Anthony Godfrey:
Does she know that you stole her nightgown?

Teacher:
Maybe.

Teacher:
I hit the DI.

Teacher:
So did I. The DI is an awesome place.

Anthony Godfrey:
The makeup, I hesitate to say this, but the makeup is a key component. It really brings out the, well, and the stockings. I can't stop looking at the stockings. The ankle stockings with the low heels and the skirt. Really, it's quite an ensemble.

Teacher:
My makeup took me back to my 80s.

Anthony Godfrey:
I also love that not only are you wearing glasses, but you have glasses on a chain around your neck. Now, the key component to this would also say, where are my glasses? I can't find my glasses.

Teacher:
Exactly. I never can.

Anthony Godfrey:
When you have two of them on your person.

Teacher:
Exactly.

Anthony Godfrey:
Clearly, pearls are also...

Teacher:
Yes. I don't know if we all know you're right.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now, the 100 days of school, I really love that you are highlighting this. Because I think we're always looking at the next day, we're always moving forward. We forget to look back at the progress that we've made. And I would guess, I've never taught first grade, but I would guess that teaching first grade, you really get to see a lot of progress from the kids over those 100 days. Can you tell me about day one in comparison with day 100?

Teacher:
They wouldn't be sitting like this on day one.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, it's clear you have some very effective routines down. No question about that.

Teacher:
When they come to us, they're just really little kindergartners. They're really still kindergartners. And now they've blossomed into students, right?

Teacher:
Yeah, I was looking at their journals from first day to now. And just the growth, it's so fun. I don't think you've any other grade you can see the growth that you do in first grade. And they're reading, they're writing. It's awesome.

Teacher:
Another thing you notice is the confidence. They come in crying, they don't want to leave their moms. And now they can't wait to come into school.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, and I love that. That's such a key element of what you accomplish as first grade teachers, is teaching them to be at school, giving them that confidence, that sense of efficacy like, "Hey, I belong at school. I didn't know how to do this, and now I do." Because my teacher helped me learn how to do that.

Teacher:
Yeah, it's awesome.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's wonderful. Well, I'm super impressed. I love this activity. And I really should have busted out my readers. So I'll put my readers on for the rest of the time. I'm going to go do something this weekend to feel young. I've got to, maybe I'll go clubbing this weekend. Well, you're all fabulous. Thank you so much for letting me take time with you.

Teacher:
Thank you for coming.

Teacher:
Remember, we tell parents that we will only believe half of what we hear if they promised to only believe half of what they hear.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think that's a fair bargain. I really think it is.

Teacher:
That's our motto.

Anthony Godfrey:
Believe half of what you hear. Well, you heard it here first at Silver Crest. Thank you very much for creating such a wonderful environment and for letting me take some time this morning.

Teachers:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back students answer the age-old question, "When is a person really old?"

Break:
Hello, I'm Tracy Miller, President of the Jordan School District Board of Education. There are seven members on the Board of Education, one in each voting district. We are committed to listening and serving our constituents as we work together to provide the best possible learning environment for the students we serve. As members of the Jordan Board of Education, we believe it is our duty and responsibility to: increase student achievement; provide parents with the choices they deserve and desire; recognize and reward quality in educators; empower school leaders through policy governance and professional development; and communicate with the public, legislators, business leaders, cities, and parents. We invite you to get to know the Board member who represents you in your voting district and to please join us at our monthly board meeting held on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Or listen from the comfort of your home, on our live stream. For more information and to find your Board member, visit jordandistrict.org. With parent and community input and support, we will continue our work to give students every opportunity to succeed in Jordan District schools and beyond. Thank you for your support. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Anthony Godfrey:
As first grade students are assembling here, we're looking at people in housecoats and curlers. There are a lot of canes and glasses are a key component. Oh, and there's some gray facial hair too. Lots of gray facial hair. So you guys are celebrating a hundred days of school?

Students:
Yes!

Anthony Godfrey:
By dressing up to be a hundred?

Students:
Yes!

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, so tell me, how do you like my old man costume?

Students:
[Applaud and cheer]

Anthony Godfrey:
Is it pretty good?

Student:
That’s not a costume! That’s your actual uniform.

Anthony Godfrey:
Raise your hand if you want to tell Doug something about my old man costume. What makes it an old man costume?

Student:
It has a tie.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, so wearing a tie kind of makes me look like an old man. Is that right? Okay.

Student:
White hair.

Anthony Godfrey:
My white hair. Oh, my white hair. Did the spray work? Can you see the real color of my hair?

Students:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, my hair didn't always used to be white. It used to be a different color. That's right. Raise your hand and somebody tell me about the oldest person that you know. Who is the oldest person you know?

Student:
Great grandpa.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how old is your great grandpa?

Student:
Ninety-four.

Anthony Godfrey:
Ninety-four. And are there some things he does that only old people do?

Student:
Watch TV.

Anthony Godfrey:
He watches TV. Does he watch a lot of TV?

Student:
He does.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what kinds of shows does he like, you know?

Student:
Old movies.

Anthony Godfrey:
Old movies. Does he ever watch Matlock? No, Matlock. Okay. All right. How about you? Who's the oldest person you know?

Student:
My dad.

Anthony Godfrey:
Your dad? And how old is your dad?

Student:
47.

Anthony Godfrey:
Does he do some things that make him seem old? What are some things that he does?

Student:
He does push-ups, I think.

Anthony Godfrey:
He does push-ups. I think that makes him seem young. Are push-ups for old people, kind of?

Student:
No.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, okay. All right. That's all right. You tell me, how old is old? How old does a person have to be before you think, you know, that person's old. How old? Tell me, how old?

Student:
To be like 100 years old.

Anthony Godfrey:
If they're 100, they're old? If they're younger than that, they're not old yet? Okay, that's good. That makes me feel better. Okay. How about you? How old is-- does a person have to be before they're old?

Student:
60.

Anthony Godfrey:
60. Once you're 60, you're old.

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Well, I'm not there yet. That's good. How about you? How old?

Student:
200.

Anthony Godfrey:
200? Oh, I'll never be old. I will never be old. That sounds great. What is your name?

Hudson:
Hudson.

Anthony Godfrey:
And Hudson, how did you pick out your outfit?

Hudson:
I just looked at it and it seemed like it would be for an old man, so...

Anthony Godfrey:
What about it makes it seem like old man? Is it because it's gray?

Hudson:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
And it matches the makeup that you have on. You have big, bushy, gray eyebrows and a big, bushy, gray goatee. Tell me about-- who did your makeup?

Hudson:
My grandma.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, your grandma did. And what did you think when you saw yourself in the mirror?

Hudson:
I thought I looked pretty old.

Anthony Godfrey:
You do look pretty cool.

Hudson:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
You look pretty old. So tell me. You also sprayed your hair white?

Hudson:
Yeah, I used like a gray spray..

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, okay. So are you going to take a picture and then make sure you have a copy of that picture you can look at many years from now to see if this is what you actually end up looking like when you're older? The wrinkles. I just noticed the wrinkles. You also have wrinkles painted on. Oh, now wait a minute. Is that gray hair in your ears?

Hudson:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. That is a nice touch. That really brings the whole thing together. Very nicely done.

Student:
You look like old people.

Anthony Godfrey:
I look like old-- what makes me look like an old person?

Student:
You have white hair.

Anthony Godfrey:
I have white hair. Yeah, I do.

Student:
And freckles everywhere.

Anthony Godfrey:
And freckles everywhere. So my skin, my hair-- but other than that, I look pretty young, right?

Student:
Mm-hmm?

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Tell me, how old do you think I am?

Student:
You're 25.

Student:
200?

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, if I were 200, wouldn't I talk a little bit more like this? Really, you think I'm 200? How do you think I am?

Student:
Um, 50?

Anthony Godfrey:
50? That's pretty close. Actually, I'm old enough that 50 sounds really good right now.

Student:
I know how old you are.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm not the president.

Student:
56?

Anthony Godfrey:
But God bless America.

Student:
Are you the President of the United States?

Anthony Godfrey:
No, I'm not the President of the United States. Tell me, who is the oldest person you know?

Student:
My, um, Grandma Ruth.

Anthony Godfrey:
Your Grandma Ruth? How old is your Grandma Ruth?

Student:
I can't remember, because on her next birthday, she's going to be 100 years old.

Anthony Godfrey:
She's going to be 100 years old on her next birthday. Wow. So what are some things about your Grandma Ruth? What can you tell me about her?

Student:
She loves her dogs.

Anthony Godfrey:
She loves her dogs?

Student:
Mm-hmm. And she has grandkids.

Anthony Godfrey:
She has grandkids? Does she have some great grandkids too?

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. That's pretty awesome. Is there something that your Grandma does with you, or that she makes for you that you really like?

Student:
Yeah, cookies. She makes cookies.

Anthony Godfrey:
What kind of cookies does she make?

Student:
I kind of don't remember.

Anthony Godfrey:
Can you tell me your name?

Student:
It's squeaky.

Anthony Godfrey:
Can you tell me about your costume? It looks really great. What are you wearing, and what did you bring?

Student:
I have the same walking stick as my teacher.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, yeah. Your teacher does have that same walking stick. Tell me about the clothes you're wearing.

Student:
This.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, that's a hat with some gray hair attached to it.

Student:
And I have these kind of glasses.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, yeah. Look at those glasses. Where did you get those glasses?

Student:
Got it from, like, a costume that we found on our computer.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. And tell me about your outfit.

Student:
I have a hundred year old vest and this is a coat that my mom put on. And here's the "How DoYou Do World" scarf.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think you look fantastic. Even your shoes kind of look like old-person shoes a little bit. Yeah, I like it. If your old person that you're dressed up as had a name, what would his name be?

Student:
Um, I don't know. Paul.

Anthony Godfrey:
Paul? Okay. Very cool. Tell me the favorite thing you've learned or been able to do in those 100 days. What have you loved about the first 100 days of first grade? Right back here in the orange shirt.

Student:
Play Guess Who.

Anthony Godfrey:
Play Guess Who? Are you pretty good at Guess Who?

Student:
Yeah. Kinda.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Good. How about you? The suspenders here. Yes, sir.

Student:
Um, lunch.

Anthony Godfrey:
Lunch. You like lunch? Yeah. Which lunch? What do you like for lunch?

Student:
Macaroni and cheese.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's my favorite. I went to a school on Monday just so I could have macaroni and cheese. Okay. What's your favorite thing about the first 100 days of school?

Student:
Math.

Anthony Godfrey:
Math? What do you like about math?

Student:
That I count on and pick the bigger number. Awesome. That's great. I love that you love math.

Student:
Um, to be with friends.

Anthony Godfrey:
To be with friends. That's a really important part of school. How about you?

Student:
Math.

Anthony Godfrey:
Math? What do you love about math?

Student:
Um, so we can, um, everything.

Student:
I like reading. I like reading because I like reading books.

Anthony Godfrey:
What do you like, what type of books do you like to read most?

Student:
It was horror.

Anthony Godfrey:
Horror books? Yeah. Wow. Cool.

[Music]

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]

Take one listen and you will quickly discover that it is not your ordinary elementary school orchestra…this one is extraordinary.

On this episode of the Supercast, we find out what makes the Welby Elementary School orchestra so amazing with students playing and performing at very high levels. Listen in as we learn about the young orchestra members and their love for musical instruments and making magical music.


Audio Transcription [Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Take one listen and you will quickly discover that this is not your ordinary elementary school orchestra…this one is extraordinary.

On this episode of the Supercast, we find out what makes the Welby Elementary School Orchestra so amazing with students playing and performing at very high levels. Listen in as we learn about the young orchestra members, their love for musical instruments, and making magical music.

[Music]

Anna Edgell:
We're going to double-check our tuning with everyone. Chelsea, come on up. She's got our notes for us today. Play your A nice and loud. Everyone can hear.

[Music]

Anna Edgell:
Okay, good. Let's hear your D.

[Music]

Anna Edgell:
Okay, let's hear E.

[Music]

Anna Edgell:
It's good. It sounds good. Energy.

[Music]

Anna Edgell:
Very good. Sounds great. Can you max into a C for us?

[Music]

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm here at Welby Elementary talking with four students in the orchestra program. Tell me your name and what instrument you play.

Barbara:
My name is Barbara and I play the viola.

Matteo:
My name is Matteo and I play the violin.

Chelsea:
My name is Chelsea and I play the violin.

Alexa:
My name is Alexa and I play the viola.

Anthony Godfrey:
What made you pick this particular instrument? What made you want to play the violin versus the viola versus the stand-up bass?

Barbara:
I just feel like the viola, like there are just a bunch of violins and I want to be like a little bit different, so I chose the viola.

Matteo:
I wanted to choose violin because I didn't have anything to do, and I just saw it and I wanted to play the smallest instrument.

Chelsea:
In my family, we have a tradition where we pass down old violins to our younger cousins or family. I love playing the violin and I love seeing people play the violin and I watch a ton of videos on it and I really wanted to be a violinist.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you've watched a lot of videos about it?

Chelsea:
Yeah, I've watched a ton of videos about it.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's awesome. Do you have a favorite violinist that you watch?

Chelsea:
Ray Chen.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, okay. Great. How about for you?

Alexa:
I want to play the viola because I thought that the viola was interesting. My parents didn't let me play the violin.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, okay. What made you want to be part of the orchestra program in the first place? You come early to school to be a part of this. Tell me what made you want to play an instrument here at Welby?

Barbara:
Because my family, all my family members except for my dad all play an instrument.

Anthony Godfrey:
What other instruments do members of your family play?

Barbara:
My mom, so everyone in my family used to play the cello but my brother. He quit very early playing the viola so I just wanted to do the viola.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Matteo:
The reason I wanted to join the Welby Orchestra is I felt I was capable of doing a lot more than just going to lessons. So I started doing orchestra in second grade and I've been playing for about two years now.

Anthony Godfrey:
Have you been taking lessons as well on the side?

Matteo:
Yes, I've been taking lessons for seven months now.

Anthony Godfrey:
And do you feel like when you practice by yourself it's different from getting to play with other people?

Matteo:
Yes, I feel a lot better when I'm doing stuff with other people.

Anthony Godfrey:
And it's fun. You get to make friends and feel a part of something. What about you?

Chelsea:
So I actually started this because I watched the Harry Potter play where they would like do the background music and I thought it was really cool so I wanted to join. At my old school I did it too, because I'm new here.

Anthony Godfrey:
And is that the musical or the play that...

Chelsea:
The musical.

Anthony Godfrey:
And that came out. Remind me what that's called.

Chelsea:
It's called the Harry...it's for like the background music for Harry Potter.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, so did you go see the movie with the symphony playing in the background?

Chelsea:
Yes. So I thought it was really cool if I did.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh wow, that's awesome.

Alexa:
I was just mainly really curious and I kind of needed a hobby to do. And then at the beginning of fourth grade I saw that orchestra was around so I tried orchestra to see what it was all about.

Anthony Godfrey:
I love that you guys have each found a different path that has brought you to this orchestra program. Tell me, what is it that you love about orchestra?

Barbara:
It’s that I get to play my favorite instrument.

Matteo:
Because I get to be around people and have some good times with some people and make new friends.

Chelsea:
So I can learn and play with my friends and show my family what I can do.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you said that you're new to the school so has this helped you make friends?

Chelsea:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
In fact, the friend that you're standing right next to.

Chelsea:
Yes.

Alexa:
I honestly, I just thought the music that they did was incredible so I wanted to try seeing what this music felt like. And I think it's really beautiful how the music turns out.

Anthony Godfrey:
What would you say to students who are thinking about maybe getting up early during the week and being part of an orchestra program? What would you suggest?

Barbara:
I'd probably sleep in early so you're not tired.

Anthony Godfrey:
Go to bed early so you can get up and be part of it.

Matteo:
I always wake up when it's super dark in the morning because I'm just like, "Oh, it's dark. It's the darkness that it usually is at 7am. Just go. Go downstairs. Have some breakfast."

Chelsea:
So usually I'm tired at the start so actually my friends cheer me up. So that's how I wake up.

Alexa:
I would probably tell them to start getting used to the schedule. Waking up early. You've got multiple concerts coming up and I would say it's a great choice for them to choose being an orchestra.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me, are the days when you have orchestra, does the rest of the day feel different than the days when you don't?

Alexa:
Just Tuesday and Thursday’s for advanced. Honestly, I think it's not really a big difference. You wake up a little earlier, you might feel a little bit different. Just basically waking up early and practicing.

Chelsea:
It's actually way different because if I'm at an orchestra, not a lot of friends cover me up. And then when I'm outside, they surround me so it's kind of different.

Matteo:
It only makes... Yeah, there's a big difference between Tuesday, Thursday, and Wednesday because on Tuesdays and Thursdays I cannot miss school. And I do not like missing school at all because I cannot leave my friends at all.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, you gotta be here. I love that.

Barbara:
I kind of have to be here all the time except for Fridays because my mom kind of works here. So it doesn't really feel that different but whenever we don't have orchestra, it feels very different. It kind of feels good.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, okay. What's next for you as a musician? Are you going to keep playing here? Do you want to keep playing in the middle school and high school? What's next?

Alexa:
I think I'll probably still, but I know the high school is at like 6am so I might start fading out. But maybe come back in college when it gets to high school because it's really early in high school. But I'll probably do the middle school.

Chelsea:
Yeah, I'm probably going to play for the rest of my years because I think violin really helps me with stuff.

Anthony Godfrey:
Awesome.

Matteo:
I'm going to try and play. I'm going to try. I really like to, like, I'm really going to try and play until I'm like, past college. I'm going to really try and play.

Barbara:
I would definitely keep on playing. I would, I don't know why, but I really love playing instruments. So I would play through like all the years.

Anthony Godfrey:
I love that. I love your enthusiasm and most people who have played an instrument and get to be my age wish they had kept playing that instrument. So I love that you guys are going to keep playing. I'm really proud of you guys and the work that you're putting into this. I'm excited for your enthusiasm. Keep playing and I can't wait to see your performances. See you guys. Thank you.

Anna Edgell:
Warm-up tempo. One, two, ready, go. Three, four, one, two, three, four.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back more music with the extraordinary Welby Orchestra.

Break:
Does your student want to become a veterinarian, commercial pilot, programmer? Maybe they want to make a difference as a dental assistant, work in digital media, robotics, welding, or web design. 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 and/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. Our two Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers (JATC) campuses offer unique programs to fit your child’s dreams for the future. 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.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here with Anna Edgell, the orchestra teacher from Welby Elementary. Thank you for letting us visit today.

Anna Edgell:
Thank you so much for coming. It's great to have you here.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about your musical journey and what brought you to Welby.

Anna Edgell:
Well, so it started, if we go clear back, it started in sixth grade. I went to band and played the flute. Then in junior high, I played flute and saxophone. And then high school I played saxophone, just only saxophone. Then my band teacher started up an orchestra at our high school. And so that's when my journey on the violin started, in my high school.

My mom noticed that that was an elective. And she said, "Oh, you should do that. It would be so awesome. You can play violin." I was like, "Yeah, let's try that out. I love learning instruments.” And so I took that up and then just fell in love with the violin and all the string instruments, I love and just have a great passion for it. And it just took off from there. Then I studied it in college and my minor is music.

I continued taking private lessons through there and conducting classes that I took and the theory classes. And that was all really, really fun, and just continued on. I've continued to take lessons. I've taken from America's violinist, Jenny Oaks-Baker. She's amazing. She does not disappoint. She's so good at playing, but she's also a fabulous teacher. She's so good. So I've learned so much from her and she's so fun to learn with.

My daughter goes here and last year when they, right before school started, they're like, "Oh, we have an opening we need to fill for orchestra teacher." And Kathy Worthen was before who did amazing, had been here 20 plus years. So I just applied for it. So it's my first year here.

It's been amazing. The kids are so amazing. What a great group of kids. They work so hard and they come early before school twice a week. I leave every day with my heart so full because just making music together and being able to share that together and just their service that they serve to one another is amazing to see. They helped me set up the classroom with, you know, just jump in and they were so willing to help. And then to clean up the classroom and during class and to make sure that I have my stand and everything that I need. What a great group of kids that we have here at Welby.

Anthony Godfrey:
As I watched them this morning, it was obvious how much they are connected with each other and how much fun they're having as part of the orchestra program.

Anna Edgell:
Yes, yeah, we've been having a lot of fun. I think that's something that Kathy did when she was here is just to build just a love of music and to have fun with it. So my goal is to continue with that and hopefully we can just instill that love of music and continue on having fun and creating music together.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about how it feels to just to watch their progress because I'm sure that when they come, when they start out, you have a beginning and an advanced band, by the way. So you're doing this four days a week. You're alternating. But with both groups, tell me how it feels to see where they start and where they end up based on the time they spend together with you.

Anna Edgell:
Oh, it's amazing. It is so incredible to see and it's so much fun because, you know, in our beginning one, we call it the Red and Black Orchestra, they come on Monday and Wednesday. And so they're here for 45 minutes, twice a week. And a lot of them have never touched an instrument before. And so, you know, it's just taking it from the very beginning and it's just all those little details of how to hold the bow, how to hold your instrument. And there's a lot that goes into it, the counting, the staff, learning the notes.

It's incredible to see because, you know, at the start of the year, we go for a few months. And then here we are at Christmas time doing a concert and they've only been playing just a couple of months and learning twice a week for a couple of months. They haven't had, you know, a long time yet, but it was so incredible to see it all come together. I'm so proud of them and they should be so proud of themselves and all their hard work that they put in because it's really rewarding at the concert to see it all come together. And it's just we get to enjoy what we've been working on for months. It's so fun to see.

Our advanced Wildcat, we call them the Wildcat Orchestra. And it's so fun to see them too because they've been there. We're all on our own different journeys. You know, some we're just all in our own different spot. But that is completely 100% OK. And I hope that everyone can feel welcome in the orchestra because it doesn't matter how long we've been playing for. You know, it's not a comparison. It's just we want to get together and make music. And they're so great at just coming together, playing music, helping one another out and seeing their progress. They did so good at the concert and they sounded so good. And I was just so proud of them and their progress as well. So it's so fun to see.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you for doing this.

Anna Edgell:
You're welcome.

Anthony Godfrey:
It means so much to the kids and it's such a great enrichment to their school experience and helps to find who they are. And more than anything, I'm just excited that they get this sense of efficacy. Like I try something I've never tried before. And look, I can get better at it and I can be good at it.

Anna Edgell:
Yeah. Yeah. No, I love that. And it is I just think it's so great that they offer it here at Welby in an orchestra. They have that option. I didn't have the option growing up, but you know, but that's that's OK. But I just think that it's a great opportunity. And just like you said, just the connections that they're making with each other, the friends that they're making. We definitely learn, you know, all the music stuff, but it's definitely more than that. It's the friendships that we're building.

The time that we get to spend together, the memories. And so it's just in the community. And then, you know, we get to bring bigger community. You know, their parents get to come in and see what they've been learning. So it's just a great way to bring people together.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you very much. Yeah, that's great. It's so nice to meet you.

Anna Edgell:
Nice to meet you.

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.

(upbeat music)