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It is a performance filled with passion involving writing, rhyme, alliteration, metaphors and in many cases audience participation.

On this episode of the Supercast, find out why so many students are using Slam poetry to express themselves and the way they look at life. Poetry slams are a big hit and we head to South Jordan Middle School to find out why.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
It's a performance filled with deep emotion involving writing rhyme, alliteration, metaphors, and in many cases, audience participation. On this episode of the Supercast, find out why so many students are using slam poetry to express themselves and the way they look at life. Poetry slams are a big hit right now. And we head to South Jordan Middle School to find out why.

Student:
My name is Jackson Miller. And my poem is called Middle School.
Driving traffic. The obnoxious, babbling and blaring of car horns.
Angry, agitated, and aggravated, the light remains red,
Struggling to find those who feel similar.
The light will turn green anytime now
I'll be home. Okay.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell us a little bit about your poem.

Student:
Um, well I thought a lot about it and I decided to do it on middle school because it's middle school. I have a lot of feelings about middle school so I figured it'd be easiest just to write it about that. And I got some help from Mr. Baney. I got some help from some teachers. But, it's about kind of the struggle of being in middle school and how it can be hard to function with everything happening in drama and emotions and our body's changing. And sometimes you just feel like you're kind of stuck in place and you can't really go anywhere. But at the end I kind of tried wrapping it up saying I'm almost out of middle school. I'll be in high school soon

Anthony Godfrey:
And how does it feel to look at the page and see that with some help, you've been able to put those feelings into words.

Student:
It feels amazing. It feels great. I'm so, so glad I got to do this and I'm going to continue doing poetry and improve.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's great to hear. Are you looking forward to high school?

Student:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you'll be at Bingham next year?

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Well, best of luck and keep that poetry flowing with you. Great job.

Student:
This is Just Kids by myself, Emily Johnson.
The warm ocean breeze brushes against my arms and knees like getting stung by a thousand bees.
But bees seem like smiles and happy trees.
The trees quake and seemed to say, "Stay with me and dream".
As bright eyes kids, we fit under the stars that gleam,
Wondering why can't we just stay out here and blow off a little more steam?
But the alarm, she rings a little different this time when the original bee stings,
Signaling that the school bell still dings and dings and dings.
A constant goal of one day receiving a wage.
You're just kids stop thinking about that at this age.
But no, go pick out a career that determines every last page.
We get burnt out and caught up as you cry,
Trying to explain to these authority figures that we really do try.
But these feelings sit in our consciousness like a little white lie.
We come home and do our work as if put under a spell or potion,
Then lay in bed, longing for sounds of the ocean.
Not so ready to wake up in the morning and go through the exact same motion.

Anthony Godfrey:
Emily, tell me about the poem that you recited today.

Student:
I wrote a poem called Just Kids and it's about the pressures of being a young student and like having so much pressure to be older than you are and growing up so fast.

Anthony Godfrey:
I thought it had a really nice cadence and flow to it. Is there a favorite phrase or favorite imagery in that poem?

Student:
Well, I really liked the bees stinging part. Bees sting because when I was younger I got stung by a lot of bees. So it's kind of cadence to that. Just like I feel back to my childhood. And it can be a good thing too because bee stings, like smiles, can feel so many things. So I really liked using that phrase.

Anthony:
Yeah. And you were able to really evoke the sound of a bell ringing and the day going on and on and on. What was the phrase you used?

Student:
The school bell still dings and dings and dings.

Anthony Godfrey:
And the way you paused when you read, when you recited it and all of that, you did a very nice job on that. What does poetry mean to you, reading it and creating it?

Student:
I kind of created it. I was having a really hard time with school and I just not doing well mentally. And it was like 2:00 AM and I was like, there's a poetry thing coming up. I should write something. So it like really was just raw emotion that I just put on paper. It was a lot of feelings.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's obvious that it really came from a place of personal experience. Okay. Thank you.

Stay with us. When we come back, we'll talk with one of the judges. She'll tell us what makes a poetry slam performance rise above the rest.

Break:
It is one of the most prestigious academic achievement programs available for high school students. And we're proud to say, it's coming back to Jordan School District. We're talking about the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, which will be located at West Jordan High School. The IB Program supports personal and academic achievement for students at the very highest level. IB diploma courses take place during a student's junior and senior year in high school. All sophomores are invited to consider the IB Program for next year. There are no prerequisites for IB and interested middle school students can start preparing. Students with the IB diploma have a better chance at getting into some of the most prestigious universities in the world. For more information, or to find out if your teen is a good candidate for IB, visit http://ib.jordandistrict.org, or call West Jordan High School.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here at South Jordan Middle School talking with Cindy Mitchell, the librarian here, and also personally in charge of the Poetry Out Loud competition. Tell us a little bit about that.

Cindy:
So Poetry Out Loud originally is a national competition for performance poetry, where you memorize an official poem from their collection and then compete, based on your interpretation and recitation of the poem. Here at South Jordan Middle, however, we are focused on original poetry performance. So most of the students that entered have written their own poems, and then we've given them a forum. So it's a little Poetry Slam without all the interaction from the audience and a little bit of Poetry Out Lous.

Anthony Godfrey:
How do students sign up to participate?

Cindy:
This was totally at their own discretion. They just came by and filled out a slip and if they could fit in. So what we did was we had three weeks of competition. Each week for the first three rounds, we had new poems each of those weeks and we choose the top three from each week to perform today. We had nine original poets perform, and we didn't have as many performance poets. So we only had five performance poems today.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how long has this been going on at South Jordan Middle?

Cindy:
This is our first year. And it's going to be more after this. I really enjoyed it. I have to tell you, I've been playing with this idea for about four years or so. And this year, since it was such a different year, I decided I'm just going to do it. We need something for kids who want to perform. And April is National Poetry Month. I couldn't put my magnetic poetry on my wall. I have a gigantic blank wall in the library, and I had magnetic quote, quote, quote, unquote, poetry, ready to go on that wall. And I couldn't do that. So I thought, I'm just going to dive in. We're going to do Poetry Out Loud.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, I think it's exciting for students to have the chance to do this. And one of the great skills we try to teach students is self-expression and being thoughtful, introspective about how they're feeling and how to express that. And poetry does a great job of doing that.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think if you get a chance to listen to some of the poems, you'll see that they basically come from a very personal space and that the kids are talking about what is important to them right now. And that's what I loved about it. I don't think that these students are just good for middle school poets. I think they are really good at poetry.

Anthony Godfrey:
I would agree. Great stuff, from the heart and definitely reflective of their experience right now.

Cindy:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
Lots of these kids were really passionate about the poems that they performed. How did that make you feel?

Cindy:
As the librarian, I don't interact with them necessarily on a daily basis, like in the classroom and especially not as their Language Arts teacher. So for me to know that they are willing to come and be so open and raw in this situation was really important for me, because I think that means they also trust me, and that's not necessarily something that I know most of the time. So I really appreciated them being willing to come and share. And it helps me remember that middle school kids, kids at any age, have deep feelings and we need to respect those feelings.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, congrats on putting together a great event that allows students to express themselves and keeps poetry moving forward into the next generation.

Cindy:
Well, thank you. And thank you for coming. We appreciate you coming and sharing a poem with us too.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you. We're here with Brenda Johnson at South Jordan Middle School who has taught a number of the students. She and I were able to judge in the Poetry Out Loud competition.

Brenda:
Yes, indeed.

Anthony Godfrey:
And you taught them Creative Writing in seventh grade.

Brenda:
Some of them, yes. I took on the Creative Writing for a year and I got to teach a lot of the kids that performed today.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me what it feels like to have taught them a year or two ago, and now get to see them perform their poems.

Brenda:
A lot goes into my feelings watching this because when they were in seventh grade, they were just little kids. They were just tiny, and to see them develop and be passionate throughout the year that I had them and develop lot of skills that they get to perform two years later. It's validating in a lot of ways for them. More than anything, to see that their efforts a couple of years ago came through somewhere else and they were able to get some credit and some performance skills to reflect the things that they were writing them when they were younger.

Anthony Godfrey:
I was impressed that they were able to perform poems that they'd written themselves in front of peers with such confidence. That's not an easy thing to do.

Brenda:
It isn't, but I think that as they have developed through the writing process, and having opportunities to perform their emotions. And I think that a lot of the COVID consequences are playing out with them. They're soulful, they're thoughtful, and they are definitely expressing themselves in ways that I've never seen before. So to have an avenue to voice their thoughts and voice their feelings and get through kind of some of their anger, I think it's kind of a wonderful thing for them.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, I think it's a good self-care skill, just to be thoughtful about how you're feeling and trying to find a way to express that and articulate it.

Brenda:
Absolutely. And I think that poetry is almost a forgotten part of our language. And to see it still alive and these kids and have them be so passionate about it. And to perform it for the first time ever, because they've never done those kinds of things. It's kind of fun. It really is beautiful.

Anthony Godfrey:
It is. It's rewarding. And I got goosebumps more than once, I have to admit.
Thanks for joining us on another episode of the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see out there.

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They are a source of strength, kindness and compassion for students, always ready and willing to help in any way they can. We are talking about school counselors.

On this episode of the Supercast, find out what happens when the Superintendent joins in on a big surprise for some of these dedicated employees. Employees who had no idea they were about to receive the honor of a lifetime.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. There are a source of strength, kindness, and compassion for students, always ready and willing to help in any way they can. We're talking about school counselors on this episode of the super cast. Find out what happens when I joined in on a big surprise for some of these dedicated employees, employees who had no idea, they were about to receive the honor of it.

Anthony Godfrey:
We are here at Fort Herriman Middle School with Allie Barson, Counselor of the Year for the State of Utah. Allie, how does that feel?

Allie:
Pretty amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's great to have your family here. You have a ton of support, and I saw a standing ovation here in the Media Center for you. Obviously, the school really appreciates what you do.

Allie:
We have an amazing school here.

Anthony Godfrey:
So I saw that your team was right there beside you. Also, tell me about working with the team here at Fort Herriman.

Allie:
So I have an amazing team of counselors. We work really well together and they just are always thinking of the best thing for students and how we support the students and the teachers and the entire school.

Anthony Godfrey:
I was talking with your principal on the way in, and he told me all about all the things you're doing with social, emotional learning.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me a little bit about that.

Allie:
So that's definitely our passion here. We love to support the kids in that way. So truthfully, a huge part of it is the teachers that are very supportive and are teaching lessons in their class. We have a whole curriculum that we do every TA and we have our leaderships groups that also create lessons for our students. So it's pretty amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
What do you like most about being a counselor?

Allie:
I love watching the kids grow, so that's why I love middle school specifically because they grow and change so much throughout those years. Watching them just come into their own and figure out who they are is just so incredible to watch.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's a great way of putting it. I loved it as a middle school teacher and principal as well. You just, you get to see such growth from seventh to ninth grade and working with that group of students, you get to see them move forward.

Allie:
Yeah, it's pretty amazing. I actually ran into one of my used to be students and she's now graduating. So it was so great to be able to hear what she's doing and her plans for college and everything.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks again for all your great work. We need counselors more than ever. Thank you so much.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here at Copper Hills High school with the Utah School Counselor Association, Rookie of the Year, Derek Bennett. Derek, congratulations.

Derek:
Thank you. It really is an honor. I'm humbled and grateful. Really.

Anthony Godfrey:
So you are Rookie of the Year. How long have you been a counselor?

Derek:
This is my fourth full year as a counselor, all in Jordan District, all here at Copper Hills.

Anthony Godfrey:
Wonderful. What made you want to be a counselor?

Derek:
You know, ultimately I transitioned from actually working in drug treatment and college athletics to wanting to have a greater impact with teenagers. It's for those formative years and realistically, those are some of the best years of somebody's life. I wanted to have an impact during that crucial time, academically, emotionally, socially, and help students transition into adulthood.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some of the unique things that are happening here at Copper Hills High School?

Derek:
Yeah, at Copper Hills we work hard to ensure every student feels college and career ready. We did that in English. Myself and another counselor have gone to classes and worked in Spanish to help those students who may have English as a second language. We do CCRS in Tongan and we have all that posted on our website so that they have resources here. Mr. Groethe, one of our administrators and I created a program called Project Z. That's where we take all the students who are skipping school, not going to class, not using, you know really the opposite of what we call it to benefit their academics. And we take them and we talk about a TED talk where we talk about something that's going on in the world, because we want them, those students who might fall through the cracks, to feel like they're welcome here at Copper Hills as well.

Anthony Godfrey:
What would you say to someone who's considering becoming a counselor?

Derek:
I'd say go for it. Absolutely. Everything in life, you know, has a reason and a purpose. And if your purpose and reason is to succeed professionally, you are to be a counselor, absolutely go for it. There's so many people that you can benefit; faculty, administration, yourself, your family, and most importantly, the students.

Anthony Godfrey:
You're Rookie of the Year and you're Department Chair. And I got a sense there's a real feeling of of being a team here at Copper Hills.

Derek:
Absolutely. When I was asked to be Department Chair last year, I made it a point to have it be a team. You know, we're not just a department. We truly are a team. My emails start with the morning Team, Hello Team, Happy Friday Team. And really, that's something that's permeated through these two years. We do team activities once a month where it's a team building exercise, and it can go from everything from miniature golf in the hallways to talking about how to pronounce Mexican-American names or Polynesian names. Really, we try to be inclusive. The team here is fantastic. We have eight solid and quality counselors, along with the wonderful support staff. But realistically, you know, I wouldn't want to change my team for anybody else.

Anthony Godfrey:
Let me know. the next time miniature golf in the hall is happening.

Derek:
We have we have Corn Hole coming up, not this Friday, but next Friday. You're welcome to join.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, we're sure glad to have you here at Copper Hills and Jordan School District. And I know that your team and the students appreciate it. So thanks for everything you're doing.

Derek:
Thank you very much. It's a great day to be a Grizzly!

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. We'll be back with more right after this break.

Break:
Do you simply love learning online? We can't wait to have you join the amazing teachers in our brand new Jordan Virtual Learning Academy. In Jordan Virtual Learning Academy schools, we offer innovative, fun and flexible online learning with daily real-time instruction from teachers. Enrollment is currently open for all K-12 students in Utah. Start on the path to personalized virtual learning success now at http://connect.jordandistrict.org.

Anthony:
We're here at Riverton high school with the Team of the Year from the Utah School Counselor Association. In fact, Jordan School District swept all the awards this year, which is really exciting. Normally we know it's award season in the entertainment industry, but it's also award season in the education industry. And we're really excited for this team. So I want to go around, they're all holding their hardware, by the way, kind of over their heart or close up against their chest, because they are really excited about this award and very deserving of this award. It's really exciting. We're going to start with Brian here. Tell us what do you love most about being a counselor?

Brian:
Just like working with students. A lot and just getting to know the community. I love the Riverton community and it's a great school and a great team to come in and serve the students with.

Anthony Godfrey:
How about you, Holly?

Holly:
I enjoy being a counselor because it's the one thing that when you go home at the end of the day, you know, you've done something good.

Anthony Godfrey:
Katelyn.

Katelyn:
I love advocating for my students. I think the counseling group are one of the only people that can really advocate for a student with counseling. So I love doing that.

Anthony Godfrey:
How about you, Kristen?

Kristen:
I always feel it's a privilege to work with our youth because they're our future. Listening to what their goals and aspirations are, and then trying to provide them with resources to attain them. I just think, what a better gift and a privilege to be a counselor to be able to do that. So, everyday I come to school, I'm just grateful to be part of  the Riverton community and team.

Anthony Godfrey:
And how about you, Amy?

Amy:
I really enjoy the relationships that I build with the students. That's the best part of the job for sure. And then also, we have the great team and I love to work with our coworkers.

Anthony Godfrey:
Natalie.

Natalie:
I'm trying to think of things that not everybody has already said, but I just really love working with kids and our job is unique in that sometimes you're there for emotional support. Other times you're talking with schedules and graduation or guidance and post-secondary endeavors and you know, where they want to go to college. Just being able to be there and support students and in all those different ways. It's just really fulfilling and I love our community and I love our students.

Anthony Godfrey:
So how does it feel to work on the Team of the Year?

Natalie:
Every single person here is a true professional. So I love being on this team.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, we love having this team here. Congratulations and honor well-deserved. And even though I had nothing to do with it, I'm really going to enjoy it for a long time.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here with the Officers of the Utah School Counselors Association. I'll let them introduce themselves.

Officer:
I'm Hillary Emer, I am the president this year for USCAP. I'm Kate Staker, I am the elementary vice president elect and the award's chair. I'm Shauna Walker and I am the president elect this year.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about this awards season for counselors.

Officer:
Jordan School District swept the awards.

Anthony Godfrey:
If I'm not mistaken, we did, which I don't know that that's ever happened in all the years I've been involved. We were looking back at the historical records. So I guess this was a first for the association and pretty cool.

Officer:
I obviously am very excited being a Jordan District Counselor, but I do have to say I wasn't a part of the process. It was a very honest format and we, the counselors that were on the committee, were totally unbiased and were just during districts.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's awesome. And what would you say to anyone who's considering being a counselor out there?

Officer:
I think it's the greatest job. Honestly, this is the job I wanted to be when I grew up. So since high school I always kind of thought about being a teacher and then I discovered psychology and school counseling put these two things together. And so since high school, I kind of knew this was the route I wanted to take and really geared my career path toward that. So it's awesome for me because I am living what I wanted to be.

Officer:
Yeah, it's very, very rewarding. You put in a lot of hard work to really help these kids. And when you see their successes, it's just amazing. I love being a counselor. I love working with kids. I could actually retire, but I love my kids. And so when they come in or a parent tells me, "Hey, we appreciate all you've done." Just met with a parent this morning. And they were grateful for the solutions I offered. That totally makes my job worthwhile and being at Herriman High, when kids walk across the stage and get their diploma, I absolutely love it. So I just love working with kids. So being a counselor is great because you can work with them on a different level than you do as a teacher where we see a great benefit to students and honestly, everyone in the school and community from the amazing work that our counselors do.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks for supporting counselors in their work. And thanks for the work that you were individually doing in your schools. We couldn't do anything that we do without you, so thank you very much.

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

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When Eastlake Elementary School Principal Kristy Howe issued a “Kindness Challenge” to her entire student body, something started happening that likely changed some lives forever.

On this episode of the Supercast, hear the heartwarming story of how students rallied to meet the challenge and succeeded in a way that took kindness to a whole new level at the school.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Elementary school principals issued a kindness challenge to her entire student body. Something started happening that likely changed lives forever. On this episode of the Supercast, here's the heartwarming story of how students rallied to meet the challenge and succeeded in a way that took kindness to a whole new level at the school. We are here at Eastlake Elementary School with Ms. Staley, to talk about the kindness challenge. Thanks for spending time with us here on the podcast.

Ms. Staley:
Thank you so much for letting me be here with some of my second graders. It's exciting.

Anthony Godfrey:
It is exciting. It's always a good day when I get to hang out with some second graders. Tell me a little bit about this project.

Ms. Staley:
Well, all year long our theme has been Color the World with Kindness. The library had came in one day and said we were having a kindness challenge where they would let the kids write down and nominate different children in the classroom for things that they saw happening where someone was being kind. And so that's where my class and all the other classes were able to do this every week. They could write someone new down. So just kind of like catching someone doing something kind.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what were the kind of responses that you received?

Ms. Staley:
Oh, well the library had told me, they said Ms. Staley's class had the most responses. They were amazed at how many people were nominating each other and writing nice things about each other.

Anthony Godfrey:
And do you think that asking students to engage in this way made them realize how much kindness there is around them that they may have overlooked before?

Ms. Staley:
Absolutely! The thing that I was noticing were extra acts of kindness being done in my classroom after the kindness challenge started. It's almost like was more on their brain. After they said, "Oh, have I been kind? Oh, who is being kind of me? What am I noticing?" You could see that it was kind of slowly sinking in with the kids in my class. It was amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
So it really made everyone a little bit more intentional about being kind. It's about recognizing kindness in others.

Ms. Staley:
Absolutely. It really did. I know in my classroom, we've read a book. Do you guys want to tell Dr. Godfrey what the book was that we've read in our classroom?

Student:
It was called "Our Classroom is a Family".

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me your name and tell me about that book.

Student:
It's about how people are a family in a class and how they help each other and to help someone when they're down.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what's your name?

Student:
Isabella.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell me about reading the book, "Our Classroom is a Family".

Student:
Well, it kind of helps readers know that it's not nice to hit people or something like that and care for others because they won't help you when you need help. It's kinda like my sister. She doesn't really help me and I try to help her.

Anthony Godfrey:
And so now that you're thinking about kindness, do you keep trying to help her, even though she doesn't always help you?

Student:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
What's your name?

Student:
Reese, tell me a little bit about what you learned from that book.

Student:
That even though people aren't in your family, they're still kind of like a family.

Anthony Godfrey:
So even if they're not in your family at home, they're still someone that you should treat like their family.

Student:
Yeah.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some of the ways that you take care of people in your classroom like they're family?

Student:
Being kind, helping them if they need help ,and respecting my class friends and my teacher.

Anthony Godfrey:
I noticed that you all have Stay Kind shirts. Tell me about that.

Student:
Well today the library teachers said out of our classes, ours is the one who shows the most kindness. And we act like a family, the most family as a class, and we got these from there, and we got some treats from them.

Teacher:
They let me know that out of all of the classes in the whole school that they felt like my class was winning the Kindness Challenge by being kind to each other and accepting each other. And they said they love to come to my classroom. They said it's their favorite place to come. And they sent me a very, very kind note a week ago. It had been a hard day, you know how teachers have hard days.

Anthony Godfrey:
Sure.

Ms. Staley:
And I just cried when I read this note because they were talking about how they noticed my kids and how they have extended their kindness and love, especially to some kids in my classroom that had been struggling this year and they just said how wonderful it was to see them reaching out to this particular student that needed some extra love and some extra care. And they didn't ever make fun of him. They tried to do whatever they could to help him succeed. And to me, that has just made my heart so happy to see these kids rally around this one student that needed this help.

Anthony Godfrey:
Does your classroom as a whole feel different because of this challenge?

Ms. Staley:
Absolutely. Everyone has commented on my class this year and what a good group of kids they are and how good they are to each other. And to me, I don't always hear that every year, but this little group, when I had a substitute, they'll write me a note saying, "Wow, you have the best class". And I know that I do. And so that says a lot, you know, when I'm not there, that they're still remembering all the things that we've talked about and practiced in the classroom. From the very beginning of the year, I always teach them to think before they act and to make good choices. And they remember that. And part of this kindness challenge was part of thinking before you do something, how will this makes someone else feel. And they've just totally embraced this, and you can see it in how they treat each other.

Anthony Godfrey:
You can, I'm impressed that the second graders are able to articulate so well what they've done to be kind, and how they're really being intentional about trying to do that. What are some other things that you've learned? Has this changed how you are at home?

Student:
I've helped my mom by cleaning up my room.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's awesome.

Student:
And I've helped my sister.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now, when you say clean your room, does that mean shovel everything under the bed so no one can see it?

Student:
No.

Anthony Godfrey:
How about you? What have you been doing at home to be kind?

Student:
I've been not annoying my brother on a weekends.

Anthony Godfrey:
So let's start with what annoying your brother does look like. What does it look like to annoy your brother?

Student:
It looks like turning off the X-Box.

Anthony Godfrey:
Turning off the X-Box in the middle of a game?

Student:
Yeah. Oh, wow.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, I did that. You really have annoying your brother down to a science, don't you?

Student:
Yeah. He's like nine years old. Almost 10.

Anthony Godfrey:
What else do you do to this 10 year old victim?

Student:
Sometimes I just put bugs in his bed, like fake bugs in his bed.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now what you do instead to be kind to him?

Student:
I clean his room when he needs to go to soccer.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. Wow. So it's more than just not being annoying. It's actually helping him as well.

Student:
Yeah, he has a messy room.

Anthony Godfrey:
Oh, so that's a big job.

Student:
Yeah. It's a nightmare.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you know where everything goes?

Student:
Yeah, sometimes I put his stuff under his bed, sometimes.

Anthony Godfrey:
You know, you gotta do it sometimes.

Student:
But sometimes do you clean it all the way?

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah, sometimes.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's good. And how about you? How have you been kind at home?

Student:
I'm usually with my brother and he has a hard time taking turns. So usually I will let him take the first turn and let him have the longest turn. And with my sister, she usually gets mad at me a lot. She loves cookies, so we have this big basket of cookies and I just give her something. And then that makes her happy.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, I love hearing that it has transferred over to home and that you're kind at home and in the classroom and noticing kindness in others. All right. Do you guys have advice for me on how I can be more kind?

Student:
If someone's getting bullied, you can help them and care for them and help them up.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. We're working on Bullying Programs all the time across the District. So that's a great idea. How about for you? What advice do you have for me?

Student:
Do you have children at your house?

Anthony Godfrey:
I have two children. One of them is still at my house? Yes. He's 12.

Student:
Okay. Oh, well, if he pushes himself too hard on like math, you could like say, "Hey, it's okay. I could help you with some of it", or something like that.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's great advice. I do that sometimes, but I need to do it more often. That's a really good thought. What advice do you have for me?

Student:
That if something goes wrong, then you could help fix the problem.

Anthony Godfrey:
I really try to do that as much as I can. That's great advice. Thank you for the advice that makes me feel better. Those are the things I can work on. Oh yeah. Your teacher gets to tell me how I can be more kind also.

Ms. Staley:
I just want to say, just keep listening to the teachers. I think you have done a phenomenal job so far as our Superintendent and you're listening to us and you're taking into consideration our needs. So just keep listening. There are a lot of us compared to one of you.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you. I will keep trying to do that as much as I possibly can. I always love to hear from teachers. You guys are wonderful. What a great time for me to stay with us. When we come back, more on the Kindness Challenge that led to unexpected acts of kindness throughout Eastlake Elementary School.

Break:
Do you simply love learning online? We can't wait to have you join the amazing teachers in our brand new Jordan Virtual Learning Academy. In Jordan Virtual Learning Academy schools, we offer innovative, fun and flexible online learning with daily real-time instruction from teachers. Enrollment is currently open for all K-12 students in Utah. Start on the path to personalized virtual learning success now at http://connect.jordandistrict.org.

Anthony Godfrey:
We are here at Eastlake Elementary School with Principal Kristy Howe, who has been here all of a couple of months and has already started a Kindness Challenge. Tell us a little bit about that.

Principal:
Well, we have a great school here that is implementing and nominating their students here to be kind. They fill out a form that they get from their teacher, that they are able to write down a nomination of their peers, whether it be in their class or just a friend that they see on the playground or ride the bus with of how they were kind to each other and how it made them feel. And the students get called down to the office to receive an award and a big congratulations for being such good examples and that is starting to really make a flow through the school of students recognizing everybody being kind and having a positive attitude.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what are some of the results you've seen in school for having this challenge in place?

Principal:
The amount of nominations that I get each day brought down to my office and even they have an envelope up in the library, so they have two places to put it. Our abundance of nominations, I've would say, that I get from all grades, kindergarten all the way up to sixth grade, at least 15 to 20 each day.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what are some of the prizes associated with that?

Principal:
They receive a t-shirt that goes off of being kind and they get to pick from some treats or some toys that are great prizes. Slime is always one of the favorites.

Anthony Godfrey:
I did see slime here in your office and a few other jars of trinkets and treats. So any good elementary principal is well-equipped with that sort of thing. Oh, I even see Uno Kitty from the Lego Movie. Wow. Nice collection. So were you surprised by the results that you saw?

Principal:
I was. I knew that my students would recognize each other for being kind, but I did not realize how much they would go out of their way to ensure that they wrote it down. So their friends get nominated, not so much for themselves, but that their friends are being kind to them. And they wanted to make sure that they were recognized for it. It's amazing.

Anthony Godfrey:
So the nomination process itself has kind of a kindness that you can do something for someone else, nominate them to win a prize when they've done something, a particularly kind has it, has it added to the positive behavior around the school. Are kids more focused on that as a result?

Principal:
I feel they are because they really are getting along with each other a lot more. I'm not getting so many students saying coming up to either the playground aides or their teachers or myself saying this student is, was saying mean things about me. It's more so that these papers are coming into my office, just flowing in. And when they get brought down to be recognized at the end of the day. When I call three or four of them down, they want to know who recognized them so they can go and say, thank you and watch them and nominate them for the next day.

Anthony Godfrey:
I can't stop smiling through this interview because it just so fun to listen to stories about kids, focusing on each other and focusing on being kind. It's a great way to end the school year and send kids into a positive summer. Where did the idea come from?

Principal:
My librarian saw some extra shirts and prizes and said, why don't we recognize being kind? And just by coincidence, I got a couple emails from parents saying my student came home just a little sad. So you're aware that this child was sad, or my child came home saying that a friend or a peer that was not being so nice to them saying things. And I wanted to make sure that I put a positive twist and help students see each other in a different light rather than having to find it as a negative thing of putting others down.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks a lot for spending time with us and putting in place such a great program to highlight kindness.

Principal
Thank you for coming out and highlighting it. So it's recognized across the District as a positive thing, and I hope it does carry over.

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

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School is out for the summer and that means kids will be having fun with friends, staying up late, sleeping in, taking trips and often enjoying a fun but different diet. On this episode of the Supercast, we sit down with members of the Jordan School District Health and Wellness team to find out how we can keep kids on track – by following a few health and wellness tips for a happier summer with family and friends.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. School is out for the summer, and that means kids will be having fun with friends, staying up late, sleeping in, taking trips and often enjoying some fun foods and a different diet. On this episode of the Supercast, we sit down with members of the Jordan School District Health and Wellness Team to find out how we can keep kids on track by following a few health and wellness tips for a happier summer with family and friends.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're back in our little studio here in Jordan School District Offices. We haven't been here since the start of the pandemic and it feels really good to be here. What better way to kick things off than to talk with McKinley Withers and Rachel Dangerfield from our Wellness Team and it's summer. We made it to summer 2021, which is very exciting. I recently read an article about a bird called the swift. And a swift, they now have the technology where they can put a little camera and a little altimeter on the bird and they can tell kind of the flight patterns and the swift flies for ten months without landing. Ten straight months without landing, and I think we all feel a little bit like a swift right now. We haven't landed for a long time, so it's good to finally have a summer where we can land and take a little bit of a breather.

There is summer school going on, but hopefully everyone can get a little bit of a break. We're here to talk with McKinley and Rachel about how to get the best break possible over the summer. How to really be focused on social, emotional wellness. I think there's going to be a level of freedom that students are experiencing that maybe we haven't had before with the transmission lower in the county than it's been for a very long time, with the mask requirement lifted, and with some opportunity to socialize now returning. Let's talk about some of those tips for social, emotional wellness. You always give us great advice. It's great to have you both here.

McKinley:
Well, we are so grateful to be here, and as fellow swifts making our way through this. So we are just so thrilled to be here and grateful for the chance that we have to connect with you, and reconnect with the parents that are out there. And one of the things that we've been talking about in our work with students and fellow educators, in the wake of this pandemic, as swifts who have just been kind of surviving and hanging on, just making it through, we want to be very thoughtful about approaching changes with the mindset of working on gains and not recognizing gaps. So what I mean by this is that the little victories are actually really big. We want to just make small bits of progress, rather than acknowledge what big differences or gaps may exist because of this altered lifestyle.

Anthony Godfrey:
And they certainly do exist.

McKinley:
They do.

Anthony Godfrey:
But we tend to focus too much on the losses and not enough on the gains.

McKinley:
Yes. And so what that looks like when we're trying to identify, is some small opportunities for gains, rather than gaps. There are a lot of strategies we can kind of talk through and hit. But the biggest one is the continued practice of gratitude. So it's okay to acknowledge that times are hard and to get through the difficult times and see those difficult struggles, but it's also okay to recognize and acknowledge the things that are going well or have gone well and creating a practice around that.

Anthony Godfrey:
When you're talking about in gains, not gaps, give me an example of that.

McKinley:
Okay. So let's assume maybe your child is feeling like they haven't had a lot of time with friends over the last 10 months. Maybe some social situations, there may be some gaps in their experience or their practice with being with friends, talking with friends, reaching out to friends. And so there may be some social gaps. But what would be focusing on gains would be, well, what could we do today that's very small? So let's just text a friend. Let's focus on reaching out, that's a gain, right? It might not feel like it meets the whole gap, but that's a gain. It's something you can do. It's something that feels manageable. If it's something that feels possible and enough, small gains over time can meet those gaps. But we don't want to feel overwhelmed by what isn't there. Rather, what could we do? What's our next smallest step?

Anthony Godfrey:
It's always difficult though, because one of the last things a child wants to hear is ,why don't you call a friend. Call Tommy, he'll come. You know, encouraging the social aspect sometimes doesn't sound very fun from a parent. But you're right, a little bit is a little gain.

McKinley:
And acknowledging and appreciating the little gains rather than seeing the whole gap. So celebrate there's a text back. Maybe the friend didn't come over, but that's exciting. right? And the more we can appreciate, rather than say the next step. I like to use, what's the next smallest step, because it feels much more manageable.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some other strategies kids can use to make the most of summer?

McKinley:
So along the same lines, and it's still kind of under the mindset of gains rather than gaps, is trying a streak.

Anthony Godfrey:
Now trying a streak may not be exactly what leaps to mind when people hear that term. Tell us about what that means.

McKinley:
So what it means is you try and maintain a behavior. Your streak is however many days you do that one thing. So a good streak for healthy eating would be...

Anthony Godfrey:
Four hours, I went without eating Funyuns. And that is a streak.

McKinley:
I guess, if you're counting your streak as every hour, that would be a streak. But if you are just focused on what's your next "smallest" step, a streak for healthy eating would be, I'm going to see how many days in a row I can eat a vegetable. So just see how many days you can accumulate of eating a vegetable, which for many people that would be a positive change. And rather than shift to some big diet that you give up on, or don't actually enjoy, just try a streak. What's a small behavior that you're up for today. That you'll be up for again tomorrow. So a vegetable every day, see how long your street goes, or if it's exercise or movement, see how many days you can get your set of really minimal, you know, amount of movement, your 15 minutes of walking in the sunshine, how many days in a row can you maintain that? And maybe we could have, you know, many students who have maintained a couple of streaks throughout the summer. And I think you would, you start to see the benefits accumulate over time.

Anthony Godfrey:
I did read a long time ago about an older gentleman who had been physically fit his whole life. Very strong. Maybe you've heard this done pushups. And he said, somebody asked him, what's the secret to doing so many pushups and staying so fit. And he said doing one push-up every day, because once you've done the one you started, there's the momentum. And I may as well do a couple more and I may as well keep going. And so the cumulative effect of just sending the goal of doing one pushup every day, gave him the start. He needed to really be on a path toward physical fitness.

McKinley:
That's a perfect example. You know, when we think about students re-adjusting or adjusting to, or creating a lifestyle post pandemic, that one, push-up a day, that one vegetable a day, that five minute thing that you're doing, those are the things that add up over time. And that's how human behavior gets.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us. When we come back, more tips on health and wellness during the hectic summer.

Break:
Do you simply love learning online? We can't wait to have you join the amazing teachers in our brand new Jordan Virtual Learning Academy. In Jordan Virtual Learning Academy schools, we offer innovative, fun and flexible online learning with daily real-time instruction from teachers. Enrollment is currently open for all K-12 students in Utah. Start on the path to personalized virtual learning success now at http://connect.jordandistrict.org.

Anthony Godfrey:
Rachel Dangerfield, some ideas for making the most of the day by structuring it somewhat.

Rachel:
Yeah. So it's funny because I've heard parents say, "well, my kid thrives better without a routine." And what's funny about that to me is we know that's actually not true. Kids do well in school because they have routines and they know what to expect, right. Especially our anxious kids when they start worrying about what's going to happen today. That's when we see them start to fall apart. So obviously, your whole summer doesn't have to be structured for some of you. It may be, but just routines like what time you're going to bed, what time you're waking up. Routines with brushing your teeth, taking showers, things like that, that we need to do every day.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's one to be doing that every day.

Rachel:
I hope so.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. That I have down. I'm on a really good streak for showering and brushing my teeth that are working. It is true that with my son, showering every day is not a given. If there's a reminder there, especially in the summer, it feels like vacation when you're not showering.

Rachel:
Yes. And to that, one strategy parents can use that works really well, especially with elementary aged kids is a visual schedule, right. Especially for our friends that like do lists, so do our students and our kids. So when they can check it off and go on a streak was showering. It all just ends up really well.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. I do agree that a visual representation or chart can really make sure that kids follow through on those routines. And like you said, it doesn't have to be completely structured. The summer probably ought to be a good blend of the two. You get those structured things done. And then you have some free time and you're able to do the things that you want to do, connect with friends and do the other things that you would choose for yourself.

McKinley:
And I would add to that. It's probably a good idea to add to your routines, some very small strategies for social or emotional wellness. Here's an example. So we were just saying, texting or reaching out to a friend every day, just not even being too concerned about what the response is, but helping our child practice the skill of reaching out, practicing, building friendships. There's one routine that you could do every day. And then the emotional wellness component of that you could add to your routine would be something as simple as as a gratitude practice. So that could be at dinner time. Everyone says one positive thing that happened that day or a journal where they write three things that they're grateful for from that day, or talking, just sharing or writing down.

Anthony Godfrey:
The social aspect, I really liked the idea of reaching out to a friend and not being so hung up on what the response is. So many kids, and my kids are no exception, over the years have just thought, well, nobody's asked me. They're playing basketball and nobody asked me to play or join in. How about you're the one who starts getting everyone together to play basketball or whatever it may be. And so initiating that social interaction is something that sometimes kids expect others to do for them, but they don't take the thought to initiate that themselves.

How do we prepare for the beginning of the school year? There may be some anxiety about returning to school. School is going to be very different from what it has been for the last year and a half. And many students may be returning from virtual learning into school and they haven't been in school for a year and a half. What are some of the things that you have found have been successful in the past when someone is anticipating something like that, that's creating anxiety for them?

Rachel:
I've had students tour the school and visit the school, across all ages. Elementary, they can meet the teacher beforehand. They can practice walking to their classroom. They can go play on the playground and start to sort of get used to that environment. In secondary, we've also set up tours, special tours because a lot of times, you know, the ninth graders will go to the 10th grade to the high school, but they can go again. And the schools are really, really awesome at working with these kids. They can go meet all of their teachers. They can go practice opening their locker when there's not the pressure of all the kids around and the bell's about to ring. So that's one strategy that I've seen work really well.

Anthony Godfrey:
Which fits in with the idea of taking on that anxiety a little bit at a time, getting a little bit of exposure stopping by the school. I love the idea of walking through your schedule or walking through the school, playing on the playground depending on your age. And then it starts to become a little more familiar and something that maybe you can picture a little bit more being at that school. And also, you know, there's of course every year there are those students who are going from ninth grade to 10th grade moving into the high school, sixth to seventh. Those are always times of anxiety for all of us where we're nervous about this big shift. There's a, there's a change in, in friend groups. So I like the idea of kind of dipping your toe in the water. Also counselors are there for a good portion of the summer off and on administrators are there and then teachers are there a week before school starts essentially. So there are some opportunities to become familiar. And the locker, I remember the locker is, is such a, I don't know why they have to be so difficult, you know, right left. Right. And you pass it the first two times, but you don't the third time, I don't know who came up with that many years ago, but it's been vexing twelve-year-olds ever since. But th those are some really good ideas to try to just get accustomed to the idea of being back in school after having a what's is hopefully a really restful.

Speaker 3:
And along with that still continuing to normalize the experience. You know, it a lot of kids may be nervous too. There's a lot of kids are also learning how to use their locker. But if, if I was asking you, Superintendent, twice a day, every day, all summer, are you sure you're going to be okay? Are  you nervous? Are you feeling a little bit nervous about this school year? I mean, it is so different, right? How would that make you feel over the course of the summer? What do you think?

Anthony Godfrey:
Like I was maybe supposed to be nervous to be here.

McKinley:
Like you were supposed to be nervous. So along with that, I think it's important that we acknowledge the feelings, we accommodate and we allow for children to experience anxiety, but we don't have to cue them for it constantly. Yeah, it may be a little different, but they've done school for a lot of years and they've adapted and they will adapt. They'll get used to it. So allowing for those small victories, those gains, but also, you know, not cuing them to have a bad experience.

Anthony Godfrey:
That a great thing to keep in mind. It's always a balance, acknowledging feelings but not emphasizing those in queuing. That's really the word for it. It's queuing. Well, schools are going to be very accommodating if there's any way that we can help over the summer and answer questions. It may be difficult to reach people on certain days, but I would just encourage anyone listening to keep trying, and you can make that connection.

McKinley:
One thing that we kind of just always remind people is that it's also okay if you're at this point where you know, that getting some additional help would be good. Getting help is the only way to get better in a lot of situations. And so the 24 hour crisis lines are available all summer long. There's the Huntsman Mental Health Institute crisis line (801) 587-3000. You can use the safeUT app all summer to do a chat or a call with crisis workers. And there's also a new resource for families called the stabilization and mobile response team. They will go to homes to support with behavioral or substance use issues in the home, or there's a whole variety of issues that they are ready and equipped to support families with, and they will do it at your home. So that number is 1-833-SAFEFAM which is also a good resource just to be aware of.

Anthony Godfrey:
Some great resources for the summer. Rachel, any parting words?

Rachel:
I hope everyone has a great summer and I hope they land comfortably.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yes, after our long swift flight.

Rachel:
Thanks.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks to both of you for joining us and for everything you do to help keep us, keep us well.

McKinley:
Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for having us. It's been fun.

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

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It is with great pride that we honor and congratulate the Jordan School District Class of 2021. The graduates have demonstrated strength and perseverance in what has been a challenging and unprecedented year.

On this episode of the Supercast, we hear from some members of the Class of 2021 who truly are an inspiration to all.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. I'm very proud to honor and congratulate the Jordan School District Class of 2021. The graduates have demonstrated strength and perseverance in what has been a challenging and unprecedented year. On this episode of the Supercast, we hear from some members of the Class of 2021, who truly are an inspiration to all.We're here at West Jordan High School with Eliani and she's speaking at graduation. And I would love to hear some of your speech. Now I have to say I was in the office and someone said you have to meet Eli. So I've already spoken with you a little bit about everything that's going on with you. You have some exciting things happening in association with graduation.

Student:
Yeah. A lot of awards that I'm going to be winning soon. Well, but my biggest award would be speaking at graduation.

Anthony Godfrey:
So speaking at graduation is your biggest award. That's pretty cool.

Student:
My biggest accomplishment that I've ever done.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, it's an exciting day. And like I told you the other day, I'm excited to be there. I get to speak with you, but mine is going to be pretty short and a lot less interesting than yours, that's for sure. Let's hear part of it.

Student:
Being a teenager has its challenges such as controlling emotions and impulses. But with these challenges come great rewards like having big dreams you can make and your own independent positions. Tomorrow, we wake up as adults and it's your choice to do what's best. Adulthood is a world of responsibility and work, transforming from a teenager to an adult. Might be challenging if you are here graduating today, I know you could make it in the future.

Anthony Godfrey:
I love that last line. If you're here, graduating today, I know you can make it in the future. You've come this far so you can keep going. What does it mean for you to keep going? What's next for you?

Student:
Well, for me, I want to continue my education and pursue an Associate's Degree in graphic design. I feel like a lot of people doubt themselves in the beginning and say, "Hey, I can't do this". I know I can't during the beginning of the school year, we were struggling to keep things going online. And in-person, a lot of kids struggle with that and they are here graduating in a couple of days. I know that they can make it in the future because they've been going through all this beforehand.

Anthony Godfrey:
What would you say to students who are worried about whether they're going to graduate next year or worried about starting high school next year? What would you say to them?

Student:
Something I would say is that it might be challenging at first, but even if I did it with having a disability, you can do it as well. And honestly, just have fun. Don't take it seriously. Take your grades seriously, of course, but live life a little. I would say go to dances now that the pandemics kind of over. Go to dances, hanging out with your friends late at night, just get a boyfriend. Honestly, just live life. High school is serious at times, but you need to live life. Yeah. Just live life.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think you're right. There are achievements in a high school and you want to make sure that you're having a good blend of hard work and good fun.

Student:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
It's a pleasure meeting you again. I can't wait to share a stage with you and I can't wait to see where you go from here. You have great things ahead of you.

Student:
Thank you.

Student:
I like to tell you my story. It all started my first year of high school. It wasn't the place for me. I failed many classes got into bad friend groups that pressured me into doing things that were detrimental to my health and well-being. It felt like everyone gave up on me and I was giving up on myself. My life was on track to get me where I wanted to be ever since I came to Valley. My whole world changed for the better. I've made so many awesome friends and my grades improved immensely. The positive atmosphere at Valley and the unconditional love and support from the faculty and staff helped me achieve my goals. Malaria once said, "It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do for which we are accountable." Valley teachers focus on putting the accountability in the student's hands, which helped me have confidence in making decisions about my future.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm speaking now with Rebecca Kelly, who's speaking at Valley High School's graduation. Rebecca tell me, Valley High School sounds like was exactly the right school for you.

Student:
It definitely was. Like I said, in my speech, I failed many classes and I got into bad friend groups. Yeah, it wasn't the place for me and I didn't fit in. I always sat in the back with no one and I didn't really have many friends. But ever since I came to Valley, my whole thing changed. I'm captain of the year book and like chief editor, and that's helped me get outside of my comfort zone a little bit. And I've made so many more friends.

Anthony Godfrey:
You're both captain and chief?

Student:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
That's pretty exciting. Tell me about some of the students and teachers you met at Valley that made a difference in your life.

Student:
I don't know. They always tell me to keep on working hard and you'll achieve a lot of things. I've never really been told that before in my life. So hearing that from someone, and hearing it over and over again, it made me feel like it more that I was going to achieve a lot of things.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think overcoming the challenges that you have and now not just graduating from Valley, but speaking at Valley High. How does that feel right now in this moment?

Student:
I'm freaking out a little bit. I got tummy tickles already.

Anthony Godfrey:
The tummy tickles can be a good thing. And I think these are good tummy tickles telling you that great things are happening for you.

Student:
Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
So the Class of 2021 at Valley High School, how would you like them to be remembered?

Student:
Just how far they've come and how much they've accomplished over the past year and a half. And not just through the COVID year, but before that too, with the struggles in their lives and what they've overcome. So many great things and that they are going to be doing great in the future.

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you have any words of encouragement for those who may be listening and might be struggling with fitting in at school or accomplishing what they want to?

Student:
I always kept on telling myself, don't be afraid to be you. I was not myself trying to just fit in, but me being me, it helped me grow.

Anthony Godfrey:
Some great advice that you can use the rest of your life. Great things are ahead. Thank you for talking with me.

We're here. Mountain Ridge High School, talking with Alexander Hill about speaking at graduation. Alexander, let's hear some of your speech.

Student:
We only have two subjects to speak on, reflection and relationships. We've all been traveling a similar path, but we're about to split 570 different ways. Before that happens, take a moment to reflect on what you have learned here at Mountain Ridge High School. I for one have learned from Mr. Arthur that the solution is far less important than the process. From Mrs. Robertson that everything in life has a deeper meaning if we can find it. And from Ms. Porter that we should each add to the tool belt, trying new things that improve our lives. And from Ms. Barrett, that when we are learning history, we are only learning about ourself. And that's just the beginning. Each and every teacher has made an impact on our lives that perhaps will never be fully recognized. What have you learned here? What principles will you take with you throughout the rest of your life?

Now relationships, not the lovey-dovey because I'm not too good at those, but the relationships with your friends and family. We were in the truck one day, so I stopped by the cemetery and took a look around at the rows of graves. I noticed that not one headstone had engraved "Here lies an honor roll recipient, 13 consecutive times." There's not a single one that mentioned if they were student body officers or club presidents, their AP test scores or 1600 meter time. No, rather those headstones are all about relationships, about friends and family and the love that connects them. About the love that those people gave and the love that those people received. As we navigated the next parts of our lives. Remember, it's all about the relationships we have.

Anthony Godfrey:
How does it feel to be at this point?

Student:
I never thought I'd get here. Seeing my siblings get here, seeing my friends get here, but here we are.

Anthony Godfrey:
It always feels like it happens to somebody else, right?

Student:
Yeah. It's usually a little scary, but mostly excitement to just go to the next chapter of our lives.

Anthony Godfrey:
And what is that next chapter for you?

Student:
For me, it's a little bit of everything. I'm at UVU right now, and then I'm going to military training starting in September. I'll be there for nine months. And then I'm going on a two-year church mission.

Anthony Godfrey:
Let's talk about elementary and middle school. Tell me a favorite memory from elementary or middle school that prepared you as well, because it's a 13 year process really to get you to graduation.

Student:
That's true. So I went to both Daybreak Elementary and Butterfield Canyon. And I have great memories of both, but I remember Ms. Nixon, my teacher in Daybreak, who's now a principal at Herriman Elementary. We played "Kick the Trash Can" and we would go out on the field and play that each day. And it was a hardcore intense game and there would sometimes be hard feelings, but that was a highlight of my fifth grade experience and I got pretty good.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, I run into Ms. Nixon now and then, so I'm going to have to talk with her about your Kick the Trash Can skills. It's funny, the things that stick and the experiences that stay with us. What advice do you have for anyone who may be starting high school and maybe he's a little nervous about that or is a junior concerned about graduation or graduating with the grades they'd like to see next year?

Student:
Yeah, I think the biggest thing is get involved. You can focus all day on your grades but you will walk out of high school with great grades, but you won't walk out with the soft skills that you need to be a successful person. And a lot of the soft skills I've gained have been through the different parts of been involved with choir and with DECCA, FPLA and with service. I'm serving on the Youth Council, so we get as involved as possible. You'll meet new people and you'll gain new skills. It'll take your life far.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, thanks a lot for taking the time. I know it's a busy, exciting week and I wish you the best going forward.

Student:
Thank you. Appreciate it.

Break:
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Anthony Godfrey:
I'm in the alumni room at Bingham High School with Jackson Wheeler.  Jackson, how does it feel to be graduating?

Student:
It's kind of surreal. Like I was saying earlier, I first started my freshman year here and we came in and we celebrated a State Championship that we had won. And now I'm a senior and I'm graduating at this crazy. I'm starting out the same way I ended it. The time goes by quickly. The days go by slowly, sometimes the nights when you're up late doing homework or having a good time with friends and all of that. But it's a big milestone.

Anthony Godfrey:
How does it feel? Looking back?

Student:
It's hard to put into words exactly what it means as far as this big milestone, because you know, it's the epitome of high school, right? Every student looks forward to the day they graduate and now it's here. And the culmination of these last four years, well, not even four years. The last 13 years of work, right. You've been working since you first started school and you know, here you are, and we're celebrating your education. It's more than anything I could describe and being fortunate enough to speak. I think just being able to embody Bingham High School students. I'm very grateful and very fortunate to have that opportunity.

Anthony Godfrey:
How would you like the class of 2021 at Bingham High School to be remembered this specific class?

Student:
I want to be remembered in a way that's different than any other high school class has been remembered, not just in the sense of we're graduating, but we're different. The time has changed, right? We live in a different world, different technology, but the things that we went through as far as being in school and establishing ourselves and who we are. I focus a lot on tradition, especially because the school is built on tradition. It's very historic. And then coming in a year later and having everything taken away and trying to figure out who we were right in between identifying who we are to having COVID hit us the way that it did and being students, specifically our class, because, you know, we had come in, everything was taken away and we had to relearn who we were, right. We're individuals that persist and no matter what, we're going to adapt. That's what makes Miners successful is we're going to get the job done, regardless of the circumstances or whatever.

Anthony Godfrey:
I like the idea of relearning who you are but at the same time growing and becoming even more. And that's really what we hope that your educational experience, like you said, all 13 years are all about. I'd love to hear part of your speech.

Student:
Absolutely. So the part that I thought about reading to you is the conclusion of my speech and the entirety of my speech.I kind of wrote down as a metaphor of a pencil. So the whole speech encompasses high school as a pencil. And there's different references and in jokes in here and there that you know, help capture what I felt high school really was. So I'll read this last part here. This is the beginning of the conclusion, and I'll go with this. Sitting here in this final moment ,we will end our chapter as changed characters, better because of the tools that we were equipped with. Henry Bergson once said "To exist is to change to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly." But before we jump into the journey ahead of us, we have to take time to reflect on this moment. Right now we are Miners through and through, for the rest of our lives a part of our hearts will always bleed blue. Although this chapter for the Senior Class of 2021 is closing, we will never outlive the knowledge we can gain from a pencil. First, everything you do will leave a mark, whether for good or bad, however, you always hold the ability to correct your mistakes as you erase. Yellow paint and an eraser only goes so far. It's what's on the inside that counts. Life will throw challenges at you, but the best pencils go through the most painful sharpening. Lastly, to be the very best you can be, allow yourself to be guided by the hands that hold you. All you have to do to infinitely impact your future is pick up the pencil and when life feels dull and pointless, just remember, sharpen your pencil.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thank you. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me.

Student:
Absolutely. No, thank you. I'm grateful for this opportunity to be here, to embody what the inside 2021 class represents.

Herriman High Student:
At the beginning of senior year, coming back to school was strange. The lack of closure from the year prior echoed in our footsteps. Disappointment and absence of motivation was palpable throughout the last two years. Our classes navigated the waters that no class has had to endure before from trying to meet new people through a mask to Orange Chicken Thursday being the weekly highlight. Events have definitely been unknown. We trudged on, finding ourselves here today. Our senior year, while different, remained intact. We cheer as loud as we could throw our masks. During the first football game in the nation, we celebrated homecoming with a concert on our football field and watched our own students kill it. On that stage, we raised $50,640 to take care of children with rare diseases. During Hearts of Gold, we took home the coveted Spirit Bowl Trophy, all thanks to one of our own student's incredible dance moves. These memories will become the stories that we tell our kids and grandkids and who have we become. I figured that no one could explain this better than you, incredible Mustang student body!

Anthony Godfrey:
We are here with Clara Fowler from Herriman High School. You're speaking at graduation. How does that feel?

Student:
It's a little nerve wracking, but it's exciting. I actually really liked public speaking so I think it will be a really fun opportunity.

Anthony Godfrey:
What's it been like to be Senior Class President during a COVID year?

Student:
It's definitely been a challenge. I've really had to focus on unifying my class and on trying to find little pockets of hope all throughout the year. We've had to change our homecoming. We had a homecoming concert instead of a homecoming dance, and that was a different and fun tradition that we were able to introduce. But I think overall, it's definitely been trying to keep morale up, try to find ways to keep kids involved and in touch with what's happening at school.

Anthony Godfrey:
From your speech I can tell. And I've known throughout the year that you've accomplished a lot as a student body, despite the pandemic. How would you like the Class of 2021 at Herriman High School?

Student:
I think I'd like our class to be remembered as being the class that overcame this pandemic. And I think that our class graduating signifies the resilience and the strength that we've developed throughout this pandemic and throughout quarantine. We've had to overcome a lot of challenges from emotional challenges to figuring out how to graduate amidst people dying, in amidst people that we love going through a lot of difficulty. And I think it really highlights the resilience and strength of our class.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks for talking with us. Thanks for having me good luck with whatever is next for you. I'm sure it's big things.

Student:
I'm excited.

Anthony Godfrey:
It feels big right now.

Student:
It does feel looming.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're here at Riverton High School with Isabel Emery. Let's start with hearing some of your graduation speech.

Student:
Okay. The title of my speech is Planning Spontaneity. Be spontaneous. This piece of advice has always gone over my head a bit. So what exactly does it mean to be spontaneous? To be spontaneous is to act on instincts which are not controlled by outside forces. To me this means, do not plan or at the very least try not to plan so much. This is another hard idea for me to grasp because it seems like nothing will go right if I do not plan everything. But I have found through experience, if we avoid over-planning, we aren't disappointed when something goes wrong, and instead, enjoy the accidents that come. This leads us to a better place than we previously planned. President Dwight D Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States said, "Plans are worthless. Planning is everything." To me, Eisenhower is saying it is important to think about the journey we want to take so we can plan ahead, but we don't want to make firm plans because we will always have to deviate from what we originally thought.

Anthony Godfrey:
That speech was outstanding. And it really, it speaks, I'm sure, to all of the seniors who are graduating, because there's so much that they're expected to plan. And I think knowing what you want to do and knowing what your path is is great, but it's also great to be, as you say, spontaneous, and be open to ideas that come your way. Lots of my days are planned. My days are planned down to the 15 minute mark, but it's great when I get a spontaneous moment in there. So I think you've really hit on something. How does it feel to be graduating right now?

Student:
I've never liked growing up, so it's been kind of hard to accept graduating. And I also feel it's been a bit harder because I didn't get a full three years at the school and I didn't get to experience everything that usually happens, but I did get to experience some things that were different than maybe some other seniors have in the past, which I think is cool.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some of your favorite memories from elementary or middle school, because it takes 13 years to get you to graduation.

Student:
I remember in fifth grade, I loved my fifth grade teacher, Miss Baron.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. What about it inspired you?

Student:
She told me I could change the world and I will always remember that because I had never had someone tell me that. Even if it's small, it's important to feel like you can make difference in the world,, even if it's in just people's lives. And she saw that in me and everyone in my class and to this day, she is one of my favorite teachers because she made class so fun, and also it was important even if it was just the fifth grade.

Anthony Godfrey:
You can change the world. And I'm excited she got that message through to a fifth grader. Thanks for spending time with us. I know that it's an exciting and busy week. So I appreciate you sitting down and chatting with us for a bit and best of luck on everything. I'm sure you're going to find a great path for yourself.

Student:
Thank you.

Copper Hills student:
Without Copper Hills, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I know, just three years ago I couldn't imagine giving a speech at graduation. But enough about me because funny enough for the valedictorian, I hate talking about myself. When I first told my friends and family, they tried to rationalize how I got here for having both parents drop out of school. I guess they felt like they had to come up with a reason. Some of them said it was because I learned from their choices. Most of them applauded my resolve and my love for education. But to tell you the truth, I'm only here on the stage because of all of you. I really do mean all of you.  Without my parents.,I wouldn't even be here on the stage. Without my teachers, I wouldn't have done well in school. And without my friends, I wouldn't have enjoyed high school as much as I did. And without every parent here in this audience, I wouldn't have those friends. Every action, big and small put me up on this stage. Our spheres of influence are so interconnected and now we're all graduating. It's our turn to make a new beginning for ourselves. So our dreams and what we want to do, we do when we leave the stadium today. We'll do that with the help of those around us.

Anthony Godfrey:
Jose Rodriguez-Lira. That was a great speech. Very compelling story. How proud are your parents?

Student:
I would say that they're really proud.  love them so much. And I know that even if sometimes they don't show it, especially my dad, he's a lot more calm and collected. I just know that they're really proud of all the time.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, they have good reason to be obviously their sacrifices have paid off and your sacrifices have paid off. How does that feel to be at this stage of things?

Student:
It feels really good because I know that when I look back on all the sacrifices they've made, sometimes I've really adored my parents for everything they've done. But at the same time, I wish that they could have had the opportunities that I have. But looking back, looking at this moment right now, I think that it all just makes it a little bit better just to know that there was a reason for all of it happening and that it all turned out.

Anthony Godfrey:
Okay. So what are your plans next?

Student:
'm going to be going to the University of Utah. I'm not quite sure what I want to major in, but I know that I want to do something in the social sciences area.

Anthony Godfrey:
What would you say is your favorite class?

Student:
My favorite class, I would have to say that it was European history. That class was really the beginning of me getting out of my shell. I explicitly remember getting into that class and not wanting to ask a single question being too nervous to. But then, because of all the clubs I joined, because I was willing to put myself out there, I remember raising my hand a little bit more and more each day in that class. And I just adored all the concepts in there, in the way that that history has impacted the facts of today's life.

Anthony Godfrey:
What would you say to those who are just starting off in high school?

Student:
I would, it sounds a little cliche, but I really would say to join as many things as you can. I think people don't take advantage of all the really great programs that every single school has from the diverse set of classes that we have from clubs to just talking to new people. I really promise you that as long as you are willing to put yourself out there and talk and make new experiences, high school will be worth it for you and you'll love it.

Anthony Godfrey:
You have a lot of wisdom for someone just graduating from high school and you're well beyond where I was when I graduated. So I know great things are ahead for you. Thanks for spending time with us. And I wish you all the best in the future.

Student:
Yeah. Thank you so much. It was such a pleasure.

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see how [inaudible].

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