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It is a full day set aside for students, teachers, and staff in Jordan School District to prioritize their health and wellness at home and in school. The second annual Health and Wellness Day is Friday, February 10 and while there will be no school for students that day, they are invited to participate in the Wellness Quest with family and friends.

On this episode of the Supercast, we explain what the Wellness Quest is and how something called the “SELFIE’” model is at the heart of the Wellness Quest curriculum.


Audio Transcription

Transcription coming soon.

It is something you don’t hear about very often, sixth grade students becoming published authors. But that is exactly what has happened at Riverton Elementary School.

On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside Cassie Crandell’s classroom where students wrote and illustrated a picture book telling the true stories of trees surviving tragedies and natural disasters. The book was inspired by a survivor tree at the 9/11 memorial in New York City. Meet the young authors and find out where you can now buy their book.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello, and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. It is something you don't hear about very often, sixth grade students becoming published authors. But that is exactly what has happened at Riverton Elementary School. On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside Cassie Crandell's classroom where students wrote and illustrated a picture book telling the true stories of trees surviving tragedies and natural disasters. The book was inspired by a survivor tree at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Meet the young authors and find out where you can now buy their book. We're here in Mrs. Crandall's classroom at Riverton Elementary, talking with her sixth graders and with her about a very special project they've been working on. Tell me about that.

Cassie Crandell:
So we started this project called The Tree of Hope, and what we did is we wrote a narrative fiction book about five survivor trees, and my students did all of it. I gave them the trees and they researched them, learned about how they survived, what they went through, and then they narrated the stories and they gave each of the trees a character and a struggle. The whole idea of this book was to create the power of hope and resilience. And then what we did is we created a schoolwide mural. So my students painted a tree, and then they went and explained the project to each class, and each student got a circle and a color that they colored or drew or something that represented hope to them, or just colored it in for the younger kids. And then we put it up on the tree. Then we invited each of the classes to come down and we read them our book about the Tree of Hope and the power of hope and resilience.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what was the impetus for starting a project like this?

Cassie Crandell:
I knew I wanted to do something. I wanted to create something with my students that would be beneficial to not only them but to our community as a school. And now it's kind of reaching out into the community, which I think is amazing. I love the tree from the 9/11, the survivor tree from 9/11. I visited the monument years ago, and I always thought that that was such a powerful story. And I feel like our kids, with everything that they've gone through and the things that continue to happen, sometimes the world can just feel really heavy. But I felt like we could create something that would be beautiful and give hope to not only my students but to the whole school and the community.

Anthony Godfrey:
So tell me how this has been organized and what the creation of the book and publishing and distribution of the book have looked like.

Cassie Crandell:
Yeah. So I essentially gave my students the idea. I told them the idea and asked them how they felt about it and if they wanted to do it. And they were really excited from the beginning. And then I picked five survivor trees. I split them into five different groups, and they got with their groups and they did everything. They did the research, they wrote the narratives. I met with them, I would listen to their stories. I gave them feedback. They met with other groups and got feedback from them. They did multiple revisions. And then we split into new groups after we'd all written. And so then I had another group that wrote the introduction and the conclusion and information about the actual trees. I had another group who was working specifically on just the formatting. I had a group of illustrators who illustrated and met with the writers and what their ideas were, how they wanted the story to be portrayed through pictures. And then I had a group of students who worked just on the mural and designing the tree and taping it up and putting all the circles on. And then I had another group of students who actually went to all of the classrooms and met with the teachers and collected the circles and explained what was going on, wrote the email to the teachers, explaining it and all of that. And so they really have, like, I've just kind of been the director of all of it, but they have really taken it and just done this amazing thing.

And then as far as publishing, they formatted the book. I made a few simple formatting changes and put it into an online website that I found. And then we were able to publish the book and it's available for anybody to buy if they wanted it. And so I know that some of the students' parents have bought the book and it's been a really cool thing. I've seen their confidence in their writing grow. But also this idea that they can make a difference and actually do something that can affect people for good has been awesome.

Anthony Godfrey:
It is wonderful for students to get that sense of efficacy. I can do something and it has an impact in a positive way on the lives of others. I love the Hope Tree, we walked by that. Now, sixth graders generally rule the school, but this way, they're leading the school as well by being in classrooms and sharing a message. What was the reception like from teachers when they heard about this idea?

Cassie Crandell:
They were really excited about it. They were really willing to help. And they've been, I mean, they've been willing to take time out of their class to come and have us read the book to them. All of the teachers that I talked to personally were really excited about the project. They were really impressed with what my kids created. And were really willing and helpful and just supportive through the whole thing.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some of the things that you hope your students have learned through this project?

Cassie Crandell:
First and foremost, I hope that they have learned the power of hope and resilience. Life is not an easy thing and these kids have been through a lot. You know, they've been through a pandemic and war and inflation, and that's not it. That's not gonna be the only things that they deal with. And my hope is that through these stories and through doing this project, that they will really realize that they are resilient. And that they can choose to find hope, and that they can have that hope and keep that hope. They don't know this, but my husband recently lost his job. And it was a really, really hard thing. And as I sat there struggling with it, I remembered this project that I had done with my students and the power of hope that we had talked about. And it was such a good reminder to me to remind myself that what I had tried to teach my students and what we have been trying to teach the community, that when we rise together, when we work together, when we come together, we can always find hope. And it doesn't necessarily mean that everything's the way we want it to be, but it does mean that we can be okay.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's had a huge personal impact for you, obviously.

Cassie Crandell:
It has. Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
And for these students, I think it has probably shifted the way that they view the world and their own capacity for making it better.

Cassie Crandell:
I hope so. That's the hope.

Anthony Godfrey:
There are a lot of academic concepts embedded in this project as well.

Cassie Crandell:
Oh yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Absolutely. Talk to us about that.

Cassie Crandell:
Yeah. So this is my first year doing any kind of project like this. So in sixth grade I teach narrative writing and generally, we write a personal narrative. So this was kind of a different shift on that, but it was such a fun experience. And I feel like my students have really grown as writers and they really see themselves as writers because they were able to take these stories and really narrate them. And so each of the trees actually has something that real people might struggle with. Depression, anxiety, overconfidence, the innocence of youth, and the loss of family members and friends. And so they were able to take real-life things and put it into a narrative and use descriptive language, and dialogue, and all of these really great narrative techniques. And then on top of that, bringing in the art, and writing the emails, and the formatting, and working with groups, and the revision, and the editing, and just all of that has been so amazing to see my kids really take on the process of a writer and what that really looks like, rather than just writing a paper.

Anthony Godfrey:
I like the way that you described that they get to see themselves as writers, so they envision something beyond what they might have otherwise. Because too often we may look at just the assignment in front of us, instead of what that means about us, the fact that we're engaging in this activity.

Cassie Crandell:
Right. I agree. I think it's been really good for them.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's amazing that you're giving them such great experiences to have this deep emotional connection to their learning as they're helping other people and really connecting to the work that they do in class. So thank you for providing that opportunity.

Cassie Crandell:
Thank you. I appreciate it. It's really important to me. I think academics are obviously why I'm here, but at the end of the day, if my students can walk out better people and better citizens and didn't learn as much math as they needed to, or didn't score as high as they wanted to on a test, then I still feel like I've done my job as a teacher.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, connecting the academic learning to learning how to be a better person makes both types of learning last even longer.

Cassie Crandell:
Right, exactly.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back the book’s authors share their story and excitement over being published authors.

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.

Student reading aloud from the book:
The ground started shaking and the tides seemed to retreat from the shore. On the horizon, I saw small waves slowly growing and marching across the ocean.

“Tsunami! Earthquake!” The lifeguard shouted, jumping up from the shade of my branches.

All I could do was hope as the wave shortened the distance between us. Wave after wave, quake after quake, my family fell around me.
“No!” I wailed as my close friend fell. “Why?”

The salty water felt like my tears. It sickened me to know that my family was falling without me. I had known that the tsunami was coming. I was the only one that knew. When the dominant wave finally washed back, the devastation was real. Entire buildings crumbled. Families separated. Nothing was as it was before. It would never be the same again.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me exactly how would you define a survivor tree?

Cassie Crandell:
I think a survivor tree is a tree that has survived against the odds in a natural disaster or even a manmade disaster. Some of these were bombs that were dropped, those obviously weren't natural disasters. Some of them survived earthquakes and tsunamis and hurricanes. And while most of the other trees were lost, these trees were nurtured back to health. Mostly because people came and found them and saved them. And I think that that's a really important lesson, that because often it's hard to find hope alone, but we can find hope in those around us, and this with the support of others. And so, like one of my students mentioned one of the trees did end up dying, but it was still a symbol of hope because it did survive initially. And I think a survivor tree gives hope to us because if a tree can survive, then so can we.

Anthony Godfrey:
Anyone who wants to buy the book, how do they do that?

Cassie Crandell:
It's on a website called Bookemon. Like Pokémon, but Bookemon.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, okay. Gotta catch 'em all.

Cassie Crandell:
Yeah, that's right. And it's called Trees of Hope by Mrs. Crandall's class. There's a link that I don't know if you want it.

Anthony Godfrey:
We'll put a link in the show notes.

Cassie Crandell:
Yeah, you can put a link in the show notes. I know that the Riverton Journal is doing an article on it as well, and they'll have a link to it as well. But yeah, it's a great book. And obviously, we don't make any profits from it. We're just here to kind of spread hope and joy.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'll hop on and get a copy. Thank you.

Cassie Crandell:
Thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now let's talk about the trees that you guys covered. Tell me your name.

Parker:
My name is Parker.

Anthony Godfrey:
All right. Parker, what tree did you write about?

Parker:
I wrote about the Oklahoma City bombing tree. It was about it happened in Oklahoma City in a big work building and a truck pulled up with a bomb in the back. And then when the bomb blew up, basically the entire building was destroyed. But the tree was like the only thing left.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you wrote from the tree's perspective as a narrator in the story, right?

Parker:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
What issues in the story was the tree dealing with?

Parker:
The tree was really dealing with anxiety a lot because it was like a near-death experience and in the tree's mind we tried to convey that the tree was riddled with anxiety forever but still could get over it because it had hope.

Anthony Godfrey:
What were some of the things that you learned from this project?

Parker:
I learned that hope is a very powerful thing and that you shouldn't give up on things. Even though it's hard, you should always keep on trying, keep on fighting.

Anthony Godfrey:
Does this make you want to keep writing?

Parker:
Actually, yes it does. I really like this story. It was a lot of fun to create.

Anthony Godfrey:
Great. Thank you. Tell me your name.

Ellie:
My name is Ellie.

Anthony Godfrey:
And Ellie, what tree did you write about?

Ellie:
I wrote about the Miracle Pine.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about the Miracle Pine.

Ellie:
The Miracle Pine was one of the thousands of trees that survived a tsunami and an earthquake in Japan. And sadly it died a few years later, but they're rebuilding a monument of it so that everyone can still come visit and see.

Anthony Godfrey:
What did you like most about this project?

Ellie:
What I like most about this project is that I was able to explore more of my writing capabilities cuz I've hardly ever written true stories.

Anthony Godfrey:

And does this make you want to do more of that?

Ellie:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, great. Thank you. Tell me your name.

Sophie:
My name is Sophie.

Anthony Godfrey:
And, Sophie, what was your tree?

Sophie:
I did the Puerto Rico banyan tree.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Tell me about a banyan tree.

Sophie:
The banyan is a kind of fig tree and the one in the story was by the San Juan Gate in Puerto Rico. And Hurricane Marina came through and tore it and threw it into the sea, pretty much.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what did you, what did you learn going through this project?

Sophie:
I learned that hope is powerful and it can save lives.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, wonderful. Thank you. Tell me your name and what tree you covered.

Wyatt:
My name is Wyatt and I covered the bonsai tree in Japan that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The bonsai was like in its outdoor nursery and it was like surrounded by walls. And then when the bomb was dropped it exploded the walls around it. But the wall protected it from the bigger blast. And like, it didn't feel the blast much, it just felt the pieces of rocks from the wall.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. And what did you learn from this project?

Wyatt:
I learned that, like Parker said, hope is a very powerful thing and you can learn lots of things from it and you should never give up on things even though they might seem hard.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Awesome. And tell me your name.

Claire:
I'm Claire.

Anthony Godfrey:
And Claire, what tree did you cover?

Claire:
I did the 9/11 Callery pear tree.

Anthony Godfrey:
And tell me about the Callery pear tree.

Claire:
It is a tree and it was during 9/11. It was around 30 years old and about eight feet tall. In the book, the tree is living its perfect life and nothing hard or anything. And then terrorists took over two planes in New York City and crashed them into the Twin Towers and it covered the 9/11 tree in debris. He lost all hope and his perfect life just vanished in a few moments, but people found him and like nurtured him back to health, and he survived.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what did you learn from being a part of this project?

Claire:
I learned that like Parker and Wyatt said,  hope is very powerful and it can save you from the most difficult circumstances. And whenever you are in a hard spot in your life, you can always find hope.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wonderful, does this make you want to do more writing?

Claire:
Yes, definitely.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Had you been doing much writing before this project?

Claire:
Kind of, but this project has really made me wanna write more.

Anthony Godfrey:
Awesome. All right. Thanks you guys. Fantastic.

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.

She is a champion for students with special needs in her classroom at Mountain Ridge High School. Now, Sarah LaFond has risen to the top in something else she is passionate about. Sarah recently became the women’s world champion in arm wrestling during a competition in France.

On this episode of the Supercast, we head to Mountain Ridge High where we meet this dynamic educator and athlete who is a powerful force in and outside the classroom.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. She is a champion for students with special needs in her classroom at Mountain Ridge High School. Now, Sarah LaFond has risen to the top in something else she is passionate about. Sarah recently became the women's world champion in arm wrestling during a competition in France. On this episode of the Supercast, we head to Mountain Ridge High where we meet this dynamic educator and athlete who is a powerful force in and outside the classroom. Find out what it takes to make it to the top as a world champion for both right arm wrestling and left arm wrestling.

We're at Mountain Ridge High School with Sarah LaFond, world champion in left and right hand arm wrestling. Sarah, thanks for taking time to talk with us.

Sarah LaFond:
Thank you for having me.

Anthony Godfrey:
When you're not arm wrestling, you're also a special education teacher here at Mountain Ridge. Tell us about your career.

Sarah LaFond:
I've been teaching, this is my sixth year teaching. I've always done math resource at a secondary level. So I teach the kids with mild, moderate disabilities the high school math content.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what made you want to become a teacher?

Sarah LaFond:
I'm dyslexic. Had a hard time learning to read and so I guess I saw the difference a good teacher could make and wanted to be that teacher for some kids.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you ended up with math as the focus?

Sarah LaFond:
Yes, definitely. I have always preferred math to language arts.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Fair enough. Now let's talk about arm wrestling. First of all, what got you into arm wrestling in the first place?

Sarah LaFond:
Okay, so I've lifted a very long time. I started out lifting when I was a young teen with my dad and have lifted for most of my adult life. And it got to a point where I felt like I was strong enough and not doing anything with the strength that I was building. So I kind of started researching different options. My upper body's always been my strength and so I thought breaking into arm wrestling would be easy. There was a local team and so I just started going, that was only about a year and a half ago, so I'm pretty new to it.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you've only done it for a year and a half and you're world champion?

Sarah LaFond:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
That feels pretty awesome I’ll bet.

Sarah LaFond:
It's pretty good. Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
So how did you find out there were teams to start with?

Sarah LaFond:
My dad really, cuz I was talking to him about different competitive outlets and he was like, you should look into arm wrestling. So I googled it, you know, found a Facebook group.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay.

Sarah LaFond:
Yeah. That's pretty much it.

Anthony Godfrey:
Are you generally a competitive person?

Sarah LaFond:
I'm very competitive.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Yeah. So you needed an outlet for that?

Sarah LaFonda:

Everything's a competition.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay, you knew you had to compete somehow, somewhere.

Sarah LaFond:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about the equipment that you, when you, if you walk into the club or the competition, what does the table look like? What does the equipment look like? I've pictured in the past someone, you know, having to hold a post with one hand and then wrestle with the other. So will you describe that?

Sarah LaFond:
Yeah. So you've got a table that's just, at least on me, just above hip height. There are certain requirements, but I actually don't know 'em off the top of my head. And then you've got these square pads that your elbow has to stay on at all times. So your elbow's always on the pad and then you've got a peg off to the side that your other hand has to be on. So, like the main rules, if you had to say what are the rules, is you have to have one foot on the ground and one hand on the peg, elbow on the pad. Right? And then you're just trying to pin the other person. There's a pad just next to you that you're trying to pin their hand to.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. So are you sometimes trying to pull people off of those rules to get them to break the rules?

Sarah LaFond:
Oh yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Not necessarily just win, but disqualify them because they break the rules?

Sarah LaFond:
Yeah, so you can win based on elbow fouls, right? So if their elbow comes off the pad, they get an elbow foul. And if that happens twice, you win. So you can win with elbow fouls and you can definitely do that. I mean, it takes a lot of lat strength, but it's a strategy to just elbow foul 'em out. You just pull 'em off the pad.

Anthony Godfrey:
So do you do research on people as they come into this and now, okay, this is a person where lats are a strength and they may try to pull me off the pad. I'm gonna be ready for that.

Sarah LaFond:
Yeah, absolutely. Like you try to know your competition, right. And to see kind of, so there's different methods. The main two are top rolling and using a hook. Right? So you like to know if they're a top roller or use hooks and how you can combat that. So you go into it trying to know how they're gonna attack you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay now I instantly have to know what top rolling and using hooks are, so tell me about that.

Sarah LaFond:
Of course. Okay. So the top roll is what you would see in Over the Top, right? So you're kind of trying to pronate your hand and drag your elbow back to essentially attack their fingers and just win your hand straight.

Anthony Godfrey:
To attack their fingers? Can you show me kind of what that would look like?

Sarah LaFond:
Yes. So if I were to grip up with you, what I'm doing here is instead of just going sideways, I'm coming through here and attacking your fingers.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, so you're kind of pulling my arm and hand toward you. I see. I can see you’ve done that before.

Sarah LaFond:
Uh huh,  and then a hook you want to go ahead and you're gonna actually hook your wrist together and then you're just trying to drive them that way. So they're almost opposite.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. Hook the hand again, because when you hook it, you're kind of pulling toward me a little bit, aren’t you?

Sarah LaFond:
Yes, uh huh. And then I'm just gonna drive my bone into your bone there.

Anthony Godfrey:
I can see that that would be very effective. So because they're opposites, you kind of have to think what are they gonna try to do? And if you're defending for one, you're actually opening yourself up to the other.

Sarah LaFond:
Definitely. Yep. And you have to kind of know, cuz I mean, speed is huge. So if you're a top roller and they use hooks, if you're faster than them, you'll probably beat 'em. But if you're not, a hook's gonna beat a top roll. Right.

Anthony Godfrey:
So, how much of the competition is about matchup then? Is there, if you top roll and they hook, does that make that more difficult or?

Sarah LaFond:
It really, at that point, it's just gonna depend usually on speed. Right. Whoever hits first is probably gonna win. If you're going a top roll against a hook.

Anthony Godfrey:
So I have so many questions. So do you go fast and hard or, I mean, is that the strategy?

Sarah LaFond:
Almost always. Right. Unless you're significantly stronger than your opponent and you kind of just wanna get a feel for 'em, otherwise you wanna hit. so it's called the ready go. Right. You can go as soon as they say go, right, but you get a warning if you go before the go. So, ready go, you wanna hit, you wanna make sure you get the advantage because as soon as someone's wrist breaks, not breaks, but just like cracks so to speak, that person's probably gonna win, right?

Anthony Godfrey:
So when the wrist gives, they’re gonna lose.

Sarah LaFond:
Yeah, you've got 'em. Almost always, almost always. I did that in the finals on left hand. I came back from a bad wrist position and won. But it doesn't happen very often.

Anthony Godfrey:
Have you experienced injuries over the last year and a half as you've been arm wrestling? And what kind of injuries are possible?

Sarah LaFond:
Okay, so I mean, I just have basic like tendon pain, right? Like, and that's super common. Just your elbow's not really meant to go that direction, right? It's a hinge joint and you're trying to make it go every which direction. So that's just tendon pain. But that's just, if you just rest it, usually it gets better. And your tendons get better at enduring it so that I don't get a lot of pain anymore. But I've seen spiral fractures. So if you aren't good, you gotta be careful, right? I've seen guys have, so that's just up here in their humerus. It's just they're pushing one way and the other person's pushing the other way and their humerus just is a spiral fracture. So just twists in the two different directions and snaps. It's a loud noise.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'll bet it is. Yeah. Is that kind of a stubbornness, like it's not going your way? Or does it just happen out of nowhere?

Sarah LaFond:
No, you know, if you're, if you're doing it right, it won't happen. So you have to just look at your hand. That's like the first rule. Like you pretend there's a pencil from your thumb to your nose, and if you stay there, you're never gonna get a spiral fracture. But if you let your shoulder get in front of your arm like that, then it can twist. If your technique's good, it shouldn't happen.

Anthony Godfrey:
So do those who are just starting out sometimes do that and pull their shoulder to try to get a little more leverage?

Sarah LaFond:
Definitely, yeah. They think that it's gonna make 'em stronger. It gets you in a weaker position, but it's just natural to try to pull your whole body to try to win, you know, so you just have to practice it.

Anthony Godfrey:
I feel like I do that with a golf swing. I do things that feel better, but actually make my swing worse.

Sarah LaFond:
Yep. We all do it.

Anthony Godfrey:
So do your students know about your arm wrestling and does the faculty know?

Sarah LaFond:
Yes. I'm somewhat prideful about it. I have my arm wrestling awards displayed in my classroom, so my students know it's a point of pride for me.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, that's fantastic. You should show it off. Absolutely.

Sarah LaFond:
I do, all the time.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what is their reaction?

Sarah LaFond:
Well, when I get new students, they're always like, what are those for? And I say, arm wrestling. And usually they don't believe me. Right. And then I'm like, no, go read 'em. You know, and they say arm wrestling all over 'em. And then their immediate reaction is, will you arm wrestle me?

Anthony Godfrey:
So what does an arm wrestling trophy look like?

Sarah LaFond:
Oh, most of the time they're medals. I do have a couple belts in my closet but I don't know how to display those so they just stay in my closet.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Stay with us when we come back. Sarah LaFond helps me up my arm wrestling game.

Break:
In Jordan School District, we like to support students in and outside the classroom along with their families. That's where the Jordan Family Education Center comes in, offering support services and a wide variety of classes for students and their families, free of charge. You can take a class called Blues Busters for children feeling sad or worried. Just Breathe is a class that helps students reduce stress. Or how about a class that supports parents in helping their children make and keep good friends. There are also support groups and free counseling, all provided by Jordan School District school psychologists and counselors. To find out how you can benefit from free family support services offered by the Jordan Family Education Center, call 801-565-7442 or visit guidance.jordandistrict.org.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about coaching. Who's your coach? How does that work? And what are some of the things you've learned from them that you can share? Don't share any secrets.

Sarah LaFond:
Okay. Yeah. So I kind of have three coaches I would say. Bob Brown, he's really big in the arm wrestling community, trained for a very long time with Brzenk, which is what over the top is based off of. Brzenk's like the goat. Right. So, they're good friends. And so I train with Bob Brown and he's really well known in the community. I train at his house. And then I have Craig Tullier and he's now back in, I think Louisiana, I can't remember. He was out here for a while and he trained me. And also Luke Pulscher and he's in ooh, Minnesota maybe? And so those are more like remote, you know, they'll give me tips and stuff like that as they're watching live streams. They can text me and stuff like that. Bob, I train with all the time.

Anthony Godfrey:
What percentage of success is based on strength versus technique? I know, I know it's a 100% mental also.

Sarah LaFond:
Right, right. Oh, there's lots. But I would say if I were to say a percentage probably 30/70. 30% to strength and 70% to technique. Cuz I think I'm, and not to be boastful, I think I'm stronger than most of my opponents, but my technique's not as good because I'm new. And so they can sometimes beat me out in that way. So I think usually technique's gonna win. If you're even in strength, even if you're a little stronger than someone, but their technique is better, they'll probably beat you.

Anthony Godfrey:
But with your level of strength and the focus you've had on lifting for a long time, over time you're going to continue to hone that technique so you are going to get the full benefit of your strength at a certain point.

Sarah LaFond:
Yes. Eventually, hopefully. They say usually kind of around two to three years is when you really kind of hit your stride. So we're getting closer.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. Yeah. That's fantastic. Now let's talk specifically about the national competition. Where was this held and how many rounds did it take to get to the finals?

Sarah LaFond:
Okay, so Nationals was in Texas over the summer. Dallas. And I went there and I was uncontested, meaning there was no one else in my weight class. So it's a weight class sport, just like wrestling is. So I was 57 kilograms, which is around 125 pounds. And so there was just no one else in my weight class. It's a small sport, not a lot of women in it. And then, you know, if you get down into the really finite weight categories, there wasn't anyone. So I was by default the state's 57 kilogram female arm wrestler.

And so then I went to this past September, end of September, beginning of October was Worlds and that was in Dieppe, France which is like an hour outside of Normandy, off the coast. Super pretty area. So I  went there, got to explore Paris a little bit, and then went down to Dieppe and there we had a more sizable pool of females. It's a double round elimination tournament. So if you lose twice, you're out. So left hand, I lost to the first girl, her name was Fia. So I was on the B side of the bracket cuz I had lost once and beat everybody else. So then you come back for finals and she hasn't lost any. So in order to beat her, I have to beat her twice. Because she's beat me once, so I have to beat her twice to be better than her. So I did, I came back, I beat her twice. That was left hand, and then right hand, I stayed on the A side of the bracket. So I didn't lose any, I was just won 'em all.

Anthony Godfrey:
So let's talk more about left hand. You have to come from the B bracket and come back and beat the person twice.

Sarah LaFond:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
That you'd lost to. How many matches is that, and in what period of time are you doing that?

Sarah LaFond:
So at worlds, it was very fast just cuz they're efficient, they've gotta get through a lot of people. Right. And so I had to go and win three matches in between to get to her. Which sounds like not much cuz they're so fast. But you'd be surprised by the adrenaline and how exhausted you are. And then sometimes it's an immediate turnaround. You do a pull and then you're the next person up at the next one. So you get one minute, you know, they give you 60 seconds.

Anthony Godfrey:
How can you do that with the same arm? It does not sound easy at all.

Sarah LaFond:
No, it's exhausting. It's exhausting.

Anthony Godfrey:
It sounds, it sounds absolutely draining.

Sarah LaFond:
It is. And it can be frustrating sometimes, you know, you go and you have a really big battle with someone and then you're up next on the bracket again and then you lose to someone who you might not have just cuz you're totally beat. Right. So sometimes it's luck of the draw with the bracket. That's just how it goes.

Anthony Godfrey:
And it's a little bit about how much energy you have to expend  to get to the finals so that you're as fresh as possible against your most difficult opponent. Tell me about the right hand in this competition.

Sarah LaFond:
Yep. Right hand. So I actually didn't go up against the girl who gave me more trouble left-handed. She elbow fouled out with one of her first opponents. And so she got eliminated before I ever pulled against her. She was from Sweden, so left hand, the final was against Sweden and then right hand my final was against a woman from Poland. And she was a battle too, but I always felt in control of that one. The one left hand, I wasn't sure how it was gonna go for me. I was surprised by the outcome. Right hand went a little bit smoother for me. I think just confidence was boosted, maybe by left hand, I was able to keep my calm.

Anthony Godfrey:
So it was maybe good to do left hand first, maybe.

Sarah LaFond:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Which hand do you prefer?

Sarah LaFond:
Usually I'm more confident left hand. I'm right hand dominant, but my strength is pretty even and most people are weaker left hand, so I just tend to perform a little bit better left, but right went well. So I won't complain about it.

Anthony Godfrey:
That makes sense. Well, congratulations again. That's awesome. Let's talk about this video. This is your left hand video?

Sarah LaFond:
Yeah, this is the final.

Anthony Godfrey:?
Can we start this over?

Sarah LaFond:
This is Fia from Sweden, so she slips, right.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, okay.

Sarah LaFond:
That was an intentional slip because, you see, I was in a winning position, so then our hands get strapped. Right. If you slip, you get strapped. And then she beat me in the strap.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh yeah.

Sarah LaFond:
And this is just another girl from Sweden. So that was my first loss, my first pull. Then I beat this girl from Sweden.

Anthony Godfrey:
Is it harder when it's strapped?

Sarah LaFond:
It depends. Some people are really good in the strap. I'm usually good in the strap, but I did not get it that time. So then here we come back, this is finals. We actually slipped and got into the strap. And so I beat her in the strap this first round. So now we're even, she's won one, I've won one, and I have to win one more to beat her. And so this is our last pull here. And you can see she definitely gets me right there.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, it looks like she's got you. She's leaning way in.

Sarah LaFond:
And like coming back from something like that. It's a, I mean.

Anthony Godfrey:
Right here. Did you think you had a chance to come back?

Sarah LaFond:
I didn't, but I just was gonna give it my all the whole time.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh that is so cool. That is so cool. She is leaning in, she's got her whole body going. She's got one foot down, one foot down.

Sarah LaFond:
You’ve got one foot up, one foot down. Lots of people ask me about that. So, but I was able to yeah pull her back from that.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh wow. You just crank, crank, crank. It's like three cranks and she's down.

Sarah LaFond:
Yep.

Anthony Godfrey:
What did it feel like to win two world championships left and right?

Sarah LaFond:
It was amazing. I did not go into it expecting that. I went in expecting to go two and out, especially being that I didn't have anyone to compete against at nationals. I was just like, I was the default person, you know? So I didn't feel like I had really a, and being new to the sport, I just thought, well, this will be a good experience. I won't win. I didn't even think I'd win a single match, you know? And so then once I saw, you know, I stood a chance, it changed my mindset a little bit after pulling a couple girls and then that left hand win, that was, that was an unparalleled feeling cuz I came back from the B side. I came back from a losing position. It was my, you know, first world's champion win. It was, yeah, it was unreal. Definitely. Like, just the adrenaline was unbelievable. And then obviously right hand was great too. It was just that left hand. Yeah. That was an unparalleled moment.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, that's pretty remarkable. Congratulations again. Maybe we need to submit a request to the state to start an arm wrestling class here at Mountain Ridge.

Sarah LaFond:
In Sweden they have an arm wrestling high school so…

Anthony Godfrey:
An arm wrestling high school? Oh my.

Sarah LaFond:
We're way far behind in the States compared to Europe.

Anthony Godfrey:
We are behind the Swedes once again. In another area. Oh wow. Okay. That's something. I'm looking that up. That's incredible. I know that you don't arm wrestle students, do you arm wrestle superintendents?

Sarah LaFond:
Ooh, I don't know.

Anthony Godfrey:
Not with full intensity, but just kind of show me. Let's do a reenactment. Let's do a reenactment. So show me how it felt when you, on the left hand when you were back. So first of all I'm not gonna give a spinal or a spiral?

Sarah LaFond:
A spiral fracture?

Anthony Godfrey:
First of all, I'm not gonna get a spiral fracture, am I?

Sarah LaFond:
No. Nope. Keep your eyes on your hand and you're good.

Anthony Godfrey:
All right.

Sarah LaFond:
Okay. So you just wanna feel kind of how I do it?

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah.

Sarah LaFond:
Slow motion. Okay. Yeah. So I'm gonna go like this.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh wow.

Sarah LaFond:
And then I would come down here. Okay.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wow. I instantly had no ability to stop you.

Sarah LaFond:
Right, with the top roll, cuz I'm attacking your fingers, you can't use hardly anything up there. It's all about your hand strength and I’ve got you in an amazing position right there.

Anthony Godfrey:
Right, it’s hand strength only and I have no strength whatsoever. Wow. Yeah. I was going down, you were taking me down. There is no question about that. So what was the other move? That was the top roll. Sarah LaFond:

That's the top roll. And so the other one's a hook. So that'd be, I'd go in here and then the goal would be to just push against your bone. Right? With my bone.

Anthony Godfrey:
I could feel, that does not feel great. That's like I am going down again. That's incredible. Well, congratulations. I know you've got some secrets too.

Sarah LaFond:
Of course.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's very, very cool. Very cool. So, well thank you for taking the time and for explaining all this to us. It's fascinating. Congratulations on your success and thanks for being a great teacher here at Mountain Ridge.

Sarah LaFond:
Thank you. I enjoyed talking with you guys and I love being a teacher here at Mountain Ridge.

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.

They are a top-notch team of professionals devoted to promoting the individual growth and well-being of students, teachers, staff and families throughout Jordan School District.

On this episode of the Supercast, we sit down with the District’s Student Services team to hear about the important work they do on a daily basis supporting the overall social emotional wellness of students in and outside of school, empowering them to achieve academic success, along with college and career development.

Listen and learn about services available to support your child and your family.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello, and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. They are a top-notch team of professionals devoted to promoting the individual growth and well-being of students, teachers, staff, and families throughout Jordan School District. On this episode of the Supercast, we sit down with the district's student services team to hear more about the important work they do on a daily basis, supporting the overall social emotional wellness of students in and outside of school, empowering them to achieve academic success along with college and career development. Listen in and learn about services available to support your child and your family.

I'm excited to have our Student Services department here with us today. We're gonna start with Travis Hamblin, the director of the department. Just a few years ago, this department did not exist in this form. Travis, Student Services covers a wide range of student needs and district services. Everything from maps and enrollment to behavior and other services. Services through McKinney Vento for students who are experiencing homelessness. Let's focus on talking about the health and wellness and mental health aspect of what you and your department are responsible for.

Travis Hamblin:
We have an amazing group of people that provide a countless number of resources and supports for students. We have McKinley Withers with our Health and Wellness, he works with everything from our clinical support staff to prevention. We have Fulvia Franco, who is our consultant for Guidance, which are all of our psychologists and our Jordan Family Ed. We have Stacee Worthen, who works with all of our school counselors, K-12 and the Comprehensive Guidance program and working with them to provide direct services to students. It should be noted that all three of those individuals work with professionals in the mental health field that work directly with students to help them in whatever area or need that they may have, whether it's academic, whether it's social, whether it's emotional or mental health, any of those areas. We also have student support personnel people that work with our students that have concerns with truancy or any other areas. But specifically, we work a lot with our mental health for students and staff.

Anthony Godfrey:
We talk about student health and wellness. We talk about bolstering health and wellness, but we also talk about responding to emergencies and difficulties and hard situations when they do occur. So let's talk about prevention. I think people have looked at prevention over the years in silos. There's suicide prevention, there's bullying prevention there's school safety and prevention of school violence. How does that all fit together now, the way that we're looking at things in Jordan?

Travis Hamblin:
The prevention efforts that we're doing now, look at everything holistically. We see things not just in a bucket of preventing and responding, but in a holistic view of doing that all at the same time. The example would be this, is if there is a student that's in suicidal crisis, we're not only looking at, okay, how can we respond? But we're also looking at how we can look at preventing or addressing the unknown factors that are out there. The students that we don't know about, and supporting them in a wide variety of manners so that we can address students who may be suffering in silence and those that we don't know about. So it's not just about addressing one side of an issue or another. It's about saying, okay, we do, we know we have students that are struggling in certain areas or in many areas. So how do we address it holistically, both from an adult perspective, but also from a kid-centered perspective?

Anthony Godfrey:
And I think all of those issues overlap when we address one issue, we're really addressing others, bullying, suicide, school violence, all of those are interrelated. And really, if we're addressing the health and wellness of students early on, then we're able to prevent a lot of issues rather than simply respond to them. So I wanted to go around the room and talk with each of you about some of the efforts that are in place to address both aspects of the issues that we encounter. How are we helping prevent problems in the first place? And then how are we responding to them when they do occur? Let's talk with Stacee Worthen, who works with all of our school counselors. First of all, let's talk about the expansion of school counselors in our schools.

Stacee Worthen:
Yeah, that's pretty exciting. So we've expanded to a true K-12 program. So we've been able to lower our school counselor to student ratios in the secondaries from about 1 to 350 to about 1 to 300. So we added a half-time position in every middle school. So we have a ratio of one school counselor to about 300, in some cases even 250 students per counselor. So that's actually really exciting. What that does is it allows our counselors a little bit more time to create connections. And that's really what we're focusing on is, in the secondary level, trying to build relationships with our students so that they feel like they have an adult that will connect them to the school. And so that's a prevention piece that we're really trying to focus on. Is there one adult in that building that they really feel like they can come and talk to about academics, about mental health issues, about you know, if the student’s in crisis, who is that adult that they feel like they can trust in that time of need? And in the high schools, we have about a 1 to 300 ratio with the support of our principals in lowering that ratio.
The other exciting thing is that Jordan School District has approved hiring one elementary school counselor for every elementary school. We have been able to hire 12. Those school counselors are working with their students. Anything that the teachers and the principals feel like that community needs within that school, then that's what that school counselor is focusing on. But then they're also working with those kids by providing groups. Grief groups, friendship groups you know, all sorts of different needs that these kids have. They're really working on helping them so that they fill those supports with their school counselors.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm really excited about our elementary school counselors, but we've also added some supports at the district level as well. So we're providing greater support to our counselors out in the schools, additional training. And that's a trend that's been in place for several years now. I think the role of counselor is more important than ever, and there's more access than ever to counselors for students. The elementary role really allows everyone to get a chance to do their job. I think that need has always been there, but now that there's a counselor at the elementary level, that reduces or shifts the workload on a school psychologist and on administrators so that those unique roles can be fulfilled, and the unique needs of students can be met even more effectively.

Stacee Worthen:
That's right. And we've had really great success with our school counselors working with our school psychologists. They've been really successful in providing group opportunities for students. So we've been able to really meet the needs of more kids because they've been working as a team. And also with our social workers. They really are a team of school clinicians that can provide a lot of different opportunities for our students. That really creates a connection to the school and a lot of opportunities for us to really put in a lot of preventative measures so that these kids are successful.

Anthony Godfrey:
The point that you made there is really important, I think, because we've had part-time positions here and there over the years for psychologists, and for counselors, and for assistant principals. It's very difficult to be effective in building those relationships when you're only there Monday, Tuesday, and half of Wednesday. So I'm excited to see the changes already this year in the connection that we have with students and with parents.

Stacee Worthen:
That's exciting.

Anthony Godfrey:
When talking with parents, if parents are concerned about their students, a great place to start is with a school counselor or school psychologist. Just call up, make an appointment, have a conversation. Speaking of which, Fulvia Franco, talk to us about our school psychologist and what's happening there.

Fulvia Franco:
With our school psychologists, we do do assessment, but we do direct service to students. We provide individual and group counseling. We do crisis intervention, crisis counseling with students. We do post-crisis postvention kinds of things to support children who've been impacted by a crisis in their lives. We also provide services at the Jordan Family Education Center. Jordan School District is unique in having a center like the Family Ed Center in that, that center, was established 44 years ago. We provide parenting classes, we provide intake assessments. That's where a parent, if they have a concern about their son or daughter, can come in, meet one-on-one with a school psychologist or school counselor who's trained to do clinical intake assessments to try to determine what the nature of the concern is and make recommendations to the parent. Those recommendations can range anywhere from something we'd like schools to implement, some support in mental health areas at a school level, or working with our clinical support staff in connecting families with community resources.
One of the biggest things that I've seen change with Student Services is that Travis Hamlin has been instrumental in bringing us together to be school-based mental health teams. For years, we've read in the research that we need school-based mental health services. Well, Jordan District, to me, is doing it the right way in that we put staff directly into the schools. We have full-time allocations for school counselors, K-12, as well as school psychologists. Our secondary, middle and high schools all have clinical support staff, whether they be social workers or clinical mental health counselors. We are doing so many things to support children's needs and students needs, and in that we help parents.

Anthony Godfrey:
And again, I would say it's hard for parents perhaps to imagine all the resources that are available. I would just say make that call. Connect with the professional at the school, and they can really open some doors. Stay with us, when we come back more with the incredible Student Services team.

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:
McKinley, let's talk with you now about some of the things that we're doing to connect students to outside resources if they need longer term care or more specialized care. Because as we just talked about, we've got a lot of great people that can help with many issues and concerns that would be facing families, but sometimes families don't know where to go next for outside services that they would seek as a family. Tell me about how we connect them to the right people.

McKinley Withers:
Over the last few years, we've established a partnership with several, I guess 19, community-based mental health providers that are partners with our district. And through our Mental Health Access program, we can facilitate access to one of those community mental health providers that have, you know, clinicians that speak a specific language that a student might need, that might provide specialized treatment that a student might need. And by being able to have an existing partnership with our community resources, we can better match a student to their need.

Anthony Godfrey:
Over the last few years, we've also added clinical support staff to all of our secondary schools and some of our elementary schools. Can you tell me what role they play in the lives of students?

McKinley Withers:
So these are individuals that have outside of school mental health experience. So these are DOPL licensed mental health clinicians who, the intent is to have them meet with students who have more severe mental health needs, and to be a bridge between those students and their needs and the community resources that would best match those needs.

Anthony Godfrey:
So that's their focus is to work on maybe some of the more severe needs. But counselors and psychologists work every day with students with severe needs and help them make the most of their school experience and help them make the progress they need to be making.

McKinley Withers:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
Talk about some of the things that we're doing to prevent suicide, bullying and violence in the district.

McKinley Withers:
So again, there are a variety of efforts within Student Services and within Health and Wellness specifically. We've worked with schools to create their own unique but district supported Prevention Plan that addresses each of those topics. And the foundation of good prevention work is understanding and acknowledging that, like you mentioned earlier, prevention of suicide and what characteristics or components are essential to that kind of prevention, are the same characteristics that prevent school violence, those same efforts. So trying to connect all of those efforts under one umbrella, a comprehensive prevention plan. Where if you're making an everyday effort in your school to deepen connections with students, to notice them, to know names, to have added staff, like has been mentioned, so that there are more adults to connect with students. That's going to be prevention effort across the board, whether it's suicide, bullying, or violence.

So because prevention shares common characteristics, each school can create their own unique plan about how they are meeting students' unique needs on building skills, social skills, so they can have quality relationships with peers and adults, and building skills for emotion regulation. Those two things, those two skill building opportunities commonly are referred to as social and emotional learning. So how are we intentionally building skills, providing opportunities for students to practice skills in real time for problem solving, relationship building, emotion regulation. Those are all efforts that lead to prevention in all of those areas. So it's giving people throughout the system the skills for making an everyday effort to enhance students' skills for life.

Anthony Godfrey:
And I like the way you described that, and you described it to principals the same way in a recent meeting, that there's a school-based plan that's district supported. So there's some consistency across the district, but there's also specialization and customization based on the specific needs of a school. And it's pulling a team together around that common effort of prevention and promoting health and wellness in students.

McKinley Withers:
Yeah. And some of those district-wide systems. So district-wide, all of our schools are on the Safe UT app, which means any student in any of our district schools, if they notice something, they hear something concerning, about a friend wanting to hurt themselves or others, or they themselves were bullied. They can submit tips through Safe UT and it will get to the school staff and they can respond accordingly. So all of our district schools are on that Safe UT app. Within the app, students can connect directly with professional crisis worker. So if they themselves are feeling intense emotions, don't know what to do, they can chat or call using the app. And then also our district has implemented a content monitoring system. So on the student accounts, specifically, if a student types in an email or a document or you know, is chatting to a friend about wanting to die, wanting to hurt someone, or an incident that has happened that is concerning we are alerted of that so that we can respond and intervene.

Anthony Godfrey:
Many layers to help prevent and respond to difficulties in our schools. Travis, you've assembled an amazing team of people and it's really exciting for me to watch the progress that we've made as a district and as we referenced earlier, just how we've been able to empower every adult in this district to be a part of helping support our students and promote their health and wellness. Anything you'd like to add about the efforts of Student Services?

Travis Hamblin:
Well, I would say one of the biggest things that we operate on is that relationships don't support the learning, they are the learning. So we focus on helping the adults and helping all of the staff members to build meaningful relationships with students to ensure that we know of the needs that they have, that we can respond, that we can prevent, and that we can assist them through their journey to whatever their journey is going to end in academically, socially, and any kind of wellness activities. We are focused on ensuring that we provide the support that every student needs to succeed. At the end of the day, that's why we get up. We are passionate about making sure that our students have everything they need to succeed.

Anthony Godfrey:
And the bottom line is in the short term and long term lives are being saved.

Travis Hamblin:
Every day, every day.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, thank you for your hard work everyone. Thanks for taking the time. And just another reminder, call your school, call your counselor, call the psychologist, talk with your administration, ask for help because there's a lot of help out there and a lot of great people who can support your student.

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.

It was a real-life lesson in creating and marketing a new business. Some Bingham High School students partnered with entrepreneurs in the community to compete in something called “Miner Tank,” based on the reality TV show “Shark Tank.”

On this episode of the Supercast, we take you inside Andrea Call’s CTE Business and Marketing class, where four groups of students competed to get financial backing for their business ideas which included “Germ a Phone,” “My Creature Teacher,” “Dock Hero,” and “Demon Time.” Find out which potential business was deemed best and scored some big financial backing.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. It was a real-life lesson in creating and marketing a new business. Some Bingham High students partnered with entrepreneurs in the community to compete in something called “Miner Tank'' based on the reality TV show “Shark Tank”. On this episode of the Supercast we take you inside Andrea Call’s CTE Business and Marketing class where four groups of students competed to get financial backing for their business ideas, which included “Germ a Phone”, “My Creature Teacher”, “Dock Hero”, and “Demon Time”. Find out which potential business was deemed best and scored some big financial backing.

We're talking now with Andrea Call, the Business and Marketing teacher here at Bingham High School, who has organized “Miner Tank”. Thanks for taking a few minutes.

Andrea Call:
Sure.

Anthony Godfrey:
This was an exciting day in your classroom.

Andrea Call:
It was a big day. Yeah. It was really awesome. All the kids were able to pitch for the Jordan Education Foundation, so it was exciting to see them realize all of their work and be able to have questions from the mentors and the Board. And I was really proud of all of them.

Anthony Godfrey:
What gave you the idea to want to make a “Miner Tank” experience? Because that's going above and beyond, that's a lot of extra work obviously.

Andrea Call:
It has been a lot of work, but I really believe that we learn best in real world opportunities. I was trying really hard to make a business and marketing lab where we could have the opportunity to give students real money and let them really try to start these businesses because when you sit in a classroom, you're really limited on the application piece. But if we can get community partners to come in, that opens the doors for us to have these real world experiences for students. So this is something that, luckily, Mike Haynes from Jordan Education Foundation was like in 100% and helped just really drive this engine.

Anthony Godfrey:
I know this is something that is aligned with what we're trying to accomplish in all of our classes. A level of creativity, real world learning. Kids can tell when an experience isn't authentic. And this is as authentic as it gets, pulling in the community the way that you did. So, congratulations on providing an incredible learning experience. It was awesome to see.

Andrea Call:
Thanks.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's obviously had a huge impact on students as well. Tell me about the impact that you've seen over the years when students get a chance to be creative in an entrepreneur class.

Andrea Call:
Yeah. I think creativity, I think the more opportunities we can give for kids to have choice in their learning and to be creative in the way that they express and demonstrate learning, the more that learning becomes very real and something that they actually remember.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, this was an emotional experience for every team. Because they're working together, and that's the other aspect of it. This is group work at its finest. And I know that you paired people up intentionally to be sure that they learned from each other and from the experience. So this is really fabulous to see because I think teamwork is something that seems to be missing in our society more and more, so for kids to get this type of experience is really valuable.

Andrea Call:
Yeah. Yeah. And it was also really important to me that they have the opportunity to work with a mentor, because I see so many kids who don't know an adult to put as a reference. They don't know another person to write a letter of recommendation for them. And so the other piece that really matters to me is that now all of these kids know all of these entrepreneurs, and have their email addresses, and can call up someone like Shaun Stevenett, who has been incredibly successful and he knows them well enough to write a letter of recommendation and help them in the future, because that network is really important.

Anthony Godfrey:
So it's not just about how it feels in this class to win and have that investment. You've paved a path forward for them through the connections they create so that they can continue to be successful as an entrepreneur or simply having support from an adult that they didn't have a connection with before.

Andrea Call:
Yeah. That was my hope. That was my hope.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, congratulations. This is fantastic.

Andrea Call:
Thanks.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's the deep learning that we hope to see everywhere and I'm just thrilled with the work you're doing.

Andrea Call:
Thanks. I appreciate it.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're talking with one of the mentors here who is involved in Shark Tank at Bingham High School. Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your experience.

Shaun Stevenett:
Oh, man. Okay. Well, I'll give you the short introduction. So Shaun Stevenett and I am originally from Alberta, Canada. I've been here since I was nine years old. And I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My father was always self-employed, his dad was always also self-employed, goes back, and then I just caught that bug when I was 25 years old. So I've had a few different companies and I was invited with Bingham at this entrepreneur class. I didn't know exactly what it was, but as soon as I saw the passion with these students, and what they were doing and learning, real life experiences as far as like what it takes to start a business or even come up with the ideas and whatnot, I got excited and so I was on board as soon as I entered the classroom.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some of the things that you offer as advice to students and others who want to be an entrepreneur?

Shaun Stevenett:
Oh, man. I think the biggest advice is get your relationships. And if you have strong relationships, and even if you've got a good business idea, there's definitely things you cannot do alone. And one of it is starting a business. So as long as you've got those right relationships, and relationships sometimes go bad, I get it. Especially like if you're best of buddies or best friends or whatnot. But you kind of keep at those relationships until you find the right ones and then you can succeed together.

Anthony Godfrey:
As an entrepreneur of many years, and, like you said, it's a tradition in your family. What do you think of a program like this?

Shaun Stevenett:
I wish they could do this in every school, not just here in Utah, but across the country.

Anthony Godfrey:
What was it about the presentation from these two in the product that made you want to jump on board? You said, I am all in, you were enthusiastic in, in your mentorship with these two. Tell me about what, what made the difference for you?

Shaun Stevenett:
I think the biggest difference was that these girls, I quickly realized that, the first time that I met them, that there was something special about them. I knew that quickly that they were friends and I asked them that. I said, are you guys friends? And they quickly said, yeah, we're best friends. And so that told me everything right there. And not only that, but they had a fine definition as far as like what each of them did as far as like how they were gonna bring their ideas together. So they, they both had their own responsibilities, and I think that was kind of cool to see that they recognized where each other strengths were early on.

Anthony Godfrey:
You're a great supporter of Jordan District. You're a member of the Foundation Board. You also, I know, are involved in a lot of other charitable endeavors. So that's an important part of a business model for you obviously.

Shaun Stevenett:
Gotta give back. So if you're not giving back, I think that you're not gonna be given to. So if you are giving back, whether it's time, money, or even introducing individuals to other relationships to help others, because you might not be as strong in that field, but you've gotta get back. I've seen it over and over again, that by just giving back other things happen in your life. You've heard karma. So karma is a real thing. And then once you catch that bug, or actually take that step, sometimes it's very, very difficult to be able to do that because you know, I did this, I made this, blah, blah, blah. But as soon as you start kind of giving back you wouldn't believe how many more doors open, especially this experience. Right? Like, I wouldn't have been able to, if I didn't give back and I didn't get involved with the Jordan Education, and I wasn't introduced through it to it, I wouldn't have had this awesome experience today.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, I love that you were here to mentor them. Thank you for everything you do for Jordan, and thanks for being a great example to them. Just your being here shows them the importance of being connected to the community as an entrepreneur and as a businessman. So I really appreciate it.

Shaun Stevenett:
Thank you so much.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us when we come back. We are very excited to talk with the winners of “Miner Tank”.

Break:
In Jordan School District, we like to support students in and outside the classroom along with their families. That's where the Jordan Family Education Center comes in, offering support services and a wide variety of classes for students and their families, free of charge. You can take a class called Blues Busters for children feeling sad or worried. Just Breathe is a class that helps students reduce stress. Or how about a class that supports parents in helping their children make and keep good friends. There are also support groups and free counseling, all provided by Jordan School District school psychologists and counselors. To find out how you can benefit from free family support services offered by the Jordan Family Education Center, call 801-565-7442 or visit guidance.jordandistrict.org.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here at Bingham with the two students who just won “Miner Tank.” I'm going to ask them to introduce themselves and talk about their company and their product.

Rylin:
My name's Rylin.

Mary:
I'm Mary.

Rylin:
And we're the founders of My Creature Teacher.

Mary:
Yeah. So My Creature Teacher is basically this product that we designed that's a little stuffed animal toy that comes with a book and some accessories, and it's designed to help teach children valuable lessons that they can learn through auditory and visual learning.

Mary:
So the one that we started with today for Miner Tank was Bedtime Lion. It's a little stuffed lion that comes with a book that teaches kids the major, most important steps of getting ready for bed to make parents' lives easier.

Rylin:
And make it fun.

Mary:
Yeah. Something that we did with our product that we really like is we put a special effect with it. Bedtime Lion actually has lavender in the stuffing to help your kids fall asleep. Not only with teaching, but showing, and that helps it as well.

Anthony Godfrey:
The Lavender Lion

Both students:
Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
I have trouble going to bed, so I should probably read this book. I think I need this product.

Mary:
We’ll send one your way.

Rylin:
I'm not even joking. I've read the book and I'm like, ‘oh, I guess I’ll brush my teeth now’. I'm like, dental hygiene .

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. So what gave you the idea to choose the book and the stuffed animal as a product?

Mary:
Yeah, so Rylin and I both work with kids. I come from a really large family, so I have tons of nieces and nephews that I'm constantly babysitting and then Rylin nannies. Yeah. And so we both are just bouncing ideas off of each other, kind of come up with something. And Rylin had the initial idea, and then we just started building on it together. We wanted a toy that just was made, made learning more fun for kids.

Rylin:
Yeah. Especially because when I do, like, when both of us take care of kids and it's time to put 'em to bed, we know how much of a hassle it is. Especially with like the two to five year old, they're like tornadoes and they don't wanna go to bed. All they wanna do is play and play and play. Barbies, dinosaurs, anything you can think of, they wanna play with it. So that's why we created this, to help us go through that bedtime process.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how did the book come together? Who wrote it? Who illustrated? It looks fantastic. I had the chance to look through it.

Rylin:
So I actually wrote it and then, yeah.

Mary:
So then I helped edit it, and then I started the illustration and then Rylin helped vet my process through it. So we just kind of worked together on both of the processes. So that just kind of was both of our child.

Rylin:
Yeah, it really is.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you didn't outsource any of that book?

Mary:
No, no, we did it all.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's fantastic. It looks really good.

Both students:
Oh, thank you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now tell me about the stuffed animal that accompanies it. How did that come to be? It's a great looking lion.

Rylin:
Oh, thank you. So actually what we did is originally, because we did wanna do these stuffed animals, I have a connection to Minky Couture Blankets. So the way we did it is we took leftover scraps from like blankets that weren't big enough to be made into a blanket anymore. And we took those and pieced them together and we found a pattern just for our original prototype. And Mary sewed it up for us.

Mary:
Yeah. And then I went to my sister, who's just the most amazing seamstress, the most generous, charitable person I know. And I was like, ‘Hey, do you wanna help me out with this? It can be an early Christmas present. Teach me how to sew this.’ And she helped me out. And it was, it took a long time. I mean, it's kind of a complicated little pattern, but I mean, it was so worth it. And it all came together really, really well.

Rylin:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, they look fantastic and now you have a mentor who is investing in your company. So tell me what's happening next.

Rylin:
Yeah, so we had Shaun, he's literally the best mentor ever. He helped us through so many different things, and so did his brother Mark. He helped us with the name and everything for our company, which, you know, is pretty important to have a name to your product. So next, I mean, we're gonna start producing these, we're gonna get patterns, books, and everything ready so that we can start selling these.

Mary:
I mean, the first step is really just taking it to a larger scale. I mean, we're gonna start looking at graphic design, commissioning our own pattern and that kind of stuff that can really actually start us making a product.

Rylin:
Yeah. So we can actually start selling it.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you're gonna continue to work with Shaun and his brother? And they're investing in the company to get you started off. Are you excited? There's a lot of work ahead.

Mary:
Yeah. I mean, scared and excited, I think.

Rylin:
Scared, scared and excited. Yes. Cuz just these couple weeks or this quarter that we've been doing this has been insanely busy and stressful. And it's all been worth it in the end. And I think that's what's gonna get us through the next part, is we know how this victory felt. So I think it'll be helpful to know that like, if we do all this work, a new victory's coming.

Mary:
Yeah, totally agree.

Anthony Godfrey:
And it's not just the product, it's the process. It's what you've learned along the way. Do you feel like you're thinking in a different way because of approaching this project the way you have?

Mary:
Totally. I mean, I was just telling Miss Call the other day, our teacher, like, even if nothing came out of this, this is before we knew that we won. But even if nothing came out, I was so grateful for this experience because it's taught me so much about being a better, like team player and just thinking about things in a more logistic way and just, I feel like the way I think about things is so much more broadened and so much more logically put than just pure what I wanna do. And then learning to work with Rylin, like could totally be a struggle at times, but then my goodness, also, like, I'm so grateful because now, now I feel like I can work with anyone.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now that you've worked with Rylin, you can work with anyone.

Rylin:
Oh yeah. I'm the worst.

Mary:
No.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well that's a big hurdle to overcome.

Mary:
Yeah. Yeah.

Rylin:
So Shaun introduced us as best friends, and we totally are, but I mean, through parts of this, I mean, one of our documents that we used for this was, ‘I'm pretty sure we wanted to kill each other in this moment.’

Mary:
What it's titled.

Rylin:
Yean, it's what the document's titled, because that's the mood we were in. Like, we were just trying to figure out problems. And I was like, ‘Mary, just listen to me.’ And she's like, ‘just listen to me.’ And then like we, it was definitely a struggle through it all, but I'm so glad that we figured it out in the end.

Mary:
It worked out so good. I'm just so grateful, and I'm so grateful Rylin was my partner. I couldn’t have done it with anyone else.

Rylin:
Yes. Mary is the best partner. Are you kidding?

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, and Mary, I think you're the only student to have a repeat performance on the Supercast, so that's another big win.

Mary:
It’s true. Dogs and lions, kind of the same. Animal themed for sure.

Rylin:
They’re somewhat related.

Anthony Godfrey:
Animals are always involved, yes. You mentioned your teacher Miss Call. Tell me about her and the class.

Mary:
Oh, I mean, Miss Call is just the bomb. If I am ever having a problem with anything, I just go to Miss Call. I'm like, help me solve this. And then Miss Call, like the really, really kind of amazing thing about her is like, she's so brilliant that she does not have to be a teacher. And she was saying the other day, we were joking, we were like, well, we're just gonna hire Miss Call as our marketing director and then we won't have to do anything. And she just like, completely serious. Like, you couldn't afford me. Which is so true because she is so brilliant. She knows so many things, but she does like teaching because she wants to help us and like she's our DECA, we're both in DECA together and she's our DECA instructor. And I mean, she just goes the extra mile every single day, every single week to just help us become better people. And it's sometimes for no reward, honestly.

Rylin:
And then we also owe a lot of our project to Miss Call. She actually put groups together and  all of the other groups are three and four. And she put me and Mary just as a duo and she was like, you guys can do it, right? We were like, yeah. And I think she definitely believed in us more than we did cause we were like, this is a lot.

Mary:
She had to tell us to keep going sometimes.

Rylin:
Oh yeah. Yeah. She was like, you guys need to relax and just like get through this. And we were like, I don't know. But it's pretty stressful. But yeah, she's super helpful with all sorts of different aspects of life.

Mary:
Yeah. The most amazing teacher for sure.

Anthony Godfrey:
Having a teacher that believes in you makes a big difference.

Both Students:
So much. So much. Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
So what advice do you have for those who are hearing this and thinking, well, maybe I have an idea and maybe I could become an entrepreneur.

Rylin:
Yeah, for sure. So something I would say is just, you gotta, it's hard to do on your own. You need backup, you need support from other people around you. Because I know if I had to do this all myself, it probably wouldn't be done for the next five years. So I think it was super helpful to have someone that was here to do it with me, with Mary, and Shaun, and Mike, and Anne, and Miss Call. We had so many different people helping us in like the, the most absurd ways. Like, it didn't even have to relate to this, but in so many aspects they were really helpful.

Mary:
I think what I would say is just like, if you have an idea and you think it's worth something and you care enough about it and you have enough passion to do it, just do it. It doesn't really, it's not gonna cost you something  to research into something and to see if this is a plausible thing, even if you don't, you know, enter it in some competition or whatever. But I mean, just do, if you care about it that much, go as far as you can.

Rylin:
Yeah. Cuz I think we were told today that one of the reasons that we did win this competition was because of our passion for this product. And I think even though all the other groups, they had amazing ideas and they were passionate about it, we had personal connections to ours, totally through kids. Like my future career I want to do with kids, Mary is with kids literally almost every day. I think since our connection was so personal, it made us have such a strong passion for it.

Mary:
The product mattered so much to us because we were like, this could help us too. This is in our favor.

Rylin:
We're not just gonna design something that doesn't help the people that we care about.

Mary:
Yeah. Exactly.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, I admire your passion. I admire your bravery, and I admire that you worked so hard on this, and that friendship survived this process.

Rylin:
Yeah. I'm glad too.

Mary:
We didn't kill each other. We're still here.

Anthony Godfrey:
No. Congratulations. And I can't wait to see where it goes.

Both students:
Thank you so much.

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.