Showing off their checks as winners of the Snow College Opportunity Quest competition are Ayman Aquachar, Jared Christensen, Kathryn Christensen, Crystal Call, Garrett and Luc Christensen (brothers), and in front, Dallin Aston.

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Santa steps from his plane in 2015, the last Santa Flight in Sanpete for Manti Elementary. Ephraim Elementary School students are scheduled to meet Santa and his elves at the Manti Airport on a nice day in mid-December, when the Utah Wing of Angel Flight arrives to deliver donated gifts.

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Reflections projects are spread out on tables for judging at Ephraim Elementary School. The theme this year was “Look Within.”

Theme of ‘Look Within’ expressed in Ephraim Elementary Reflections entries


By Danna Long

Staff writer




EPHRAIM—The Ephraim Elementary School PTA displayed entries and announced winners it its Reflections contest on Oct. 30.

The PTA Reflections program is a chance for students to express their creativity through visual arts, literature, dance, music composition and photography. Twenty-seven students participated.

This year’s theme, “Look Within,” inspired the students to create entries with titles such as “Mirror,” “Happiness,” “Looking Within,” and many more.

Erika Saxey, PTA Reflections chair, said participants took advantage of the competition “to apply and heighten their imaginations.”

Many of the pieces will go on to the regional Reflections contest.

In the Primary Division (grades K-2), winners of excellence awards were John Everitt, kindergarten, “Mirror;” Harvey Chaney, second grade, “Nature;” Draco Stevens, second grade, “Beauty.”

Winner of a merit award in the primary division was Lucy Saxey, second grade, “Within a Tulip.”

In the Intermediate Division (grades 3-5), winners of excellence awards were Adelie Douglas, third grade, “Ben Ten Fights Villains;” Hades Garcilazo, fourth grade, “Skeletons;” Clara Hales, fifth grade, “You Are Amazing;” Ellian Crouch, fifth grade, “Roy’s Means Family;” Aspen Tui, fifth grade, “New Friend.”

Winners of merit awards in the primary division were Isaac Wallace, fourth grade, “Seeker;”   Ella Thompson, fifth grade, “Amazing Nature;” Avery Th




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Inside our Schools


Gunnison Valley High School

            The first quarter ends next Wednesday, Sept. 18. There will be no school on Monday Sept. 23. Parent-teacher conferences will begin at 2 p.m. that day.

Gunnison Valley Elementary School

            The deadline for nominations for two parent spots on the Gunnison Valley Elementary Community Council is Sept. 18. You can nominate yourself or another parent by calling 528-7880.

Gunnison Valley Middle School

Students at Gunnison Valley Middle School stage last year’s school play, “Shrek”. Auditions are underway for this years play, “Marry Poppins”

Students have been participating in auditions this week for the school play, “Mary Poppins,” which will be performed the second week of November with Laura Barlow as director.

            Auditions were held Wednesday and Thursday of this week, with call-backs on Friday.

            Parent-teacher conferences will be held Monday, Sept. 23 beginning at 9 a.m. There will be no school that day.

Ephraim Elementary School

            The STAR reading program needs volunteers who can tutor a child twice a week for 30 minutes per session. The school seeks volunteers who display a positive attitude toward reading and school in general.

            To sign up, email Miranda Taylor at or call her at (801) 413-4369.

Fairview Elementary

            On Tuesday, Sept. 17, White Raven Studio will be at the school throughout the day to take school pictures.

            On Thursday, Sept. 26, the Sanpete County 4H program will stage a Family Fun Night for families whose children attend the 4H after school program. The fun night runs from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and includes dinner.


North Sanpete High School

Homecoming week starts Monday, Sept. 16 with the theme, “Look up, reach out, rise together.”

Students will paint windows on businesses on Monday.

Special costuming is recommended on Monday through Thursday.

Monday is “Hat Day, where students wear hats of their choice.”

Tuesday is ” Tacky Tourist Day”.

Wednesday is ” Fake an Injury Day”.

Thursday is “Fake Mustache Day”.

On Friday, there’s an assembly at the school and parade is downtown in Mt. Pleasant.

The homecoming football game against American Leadership Academy is that night at 7:30.



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Kirsten DeSantis (left), Ali Hatch and Aika Swenson, sophomore members of the Manti Homecoming Committee, take a break from painting windows at Main Street Pizza in Manti Monday night.

Manti homecoming marks 50 years of football

By Suzanne Dean




MANTI—Confused by letters painted on the window of a business that say “HO-CO?”

Well, that’s just short for “Homecoming,” which is being celebrated at Manti High School this week.

Some activities have a 1950s overtone as the school observes the 50th anniversary of the Manti Templars football team. (For a nostalgic look at the team’s difficult early years, read James Tilson’s column in this week’s sports section.)

A commemoration of the 50 years will be presented during halftime of the homecoming game against Richfield on Friday. The game starts at 7 p.m.

The week started Monday with “Tourist Day,” when students dressed up like tourists. That evening after school, homecoming committee members and student leaders painted windows in Manti and Ephraim.

On Tuesday night, school letters were lit on fire at the Fairgrounds arena.

On Wednesday, students wore all manner of sports jerseys to school. There was a powder puff football game with female competitors, while boys played in a “volleybuff” game.

Thursday was “cowboy” or “hick day.” Students who dressed to the theme got a free pancake breakfast at 7:15 a.m. Students who didn’t dress up paid $1 for breakfast. After lunch, a cadre of students led by teacher Ben Shoppe climbed a mountain east of the high school to whitewash the “M.”

The homecoming parade will travel down Main Street in Manti on Friday at 4 p.m., with the football game to follow that evening.

A homecoming dance will be held Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Sanpete County Fair Exhibit Building.



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SafeUt chart showing total chats and tips by school, in South Sanpete School District.

Student mental health high on list for district, State

By Lloyd Call

Associate Publisher


MANTI—Student mental health was a major topic at the South Sanpete School District board meeting last Wednesday.

The district now has more funding available for mental health resources with the passage of HB373 by the Utah Legislature.

As previously reported, the district was able to hire a second school nurse this year, and has also hired Kyle Parry as the district restorative justice coordinator. This program is designed to give schools more options than sending a problem student into the juvenile justice system.

Resource officers in schools also serve an important safety role, because students feel confident they can safely turn to an officer during a physical or emotional crisis.

Next year, if funds are available, the district may be able to hire a clinical social worker and/or a psychologist.

Ephraim Middle School had tectum panels placed in its common room during the summer. The panels are abuse resistant and have sound suppression qualities.

“Statewide, including our district, everyone is justly concerned about student safety, and increasingly, that includes the mental health of students,” said Kent Larsen, district superintendent.

Last year’s SafeUT report showed the number of incidents reported in the district, as well as statistics from the whole state. The SafeUT app is designed for parents, teachers, or students who witness or have concerns about a student’s safety. Users can send in a tip or institute a chat immediately with support personnel.

The top five categories of actions that were reported last year in elementary schools are: bullying, suicide, cutting, depression and acts of kindness; for middle schools: bullying, suicide, depression, cutting and drugs; for high schools: suicide, drugs, bullying depression and cutting. (See chart for details.)

“Anyone who witnesses a student struggling can quickly send out a tip for help. Professionals are on duty 24 hours a day. Chats are especially effective, especially if a student is considering suicide,” said Larsen. “It makes a huge difference if a student in crisis can talk to someone immediately, and that is what these professionals are trained for.

“Studies show that most suicides occur within 15 minutes from the time the student first develops a plan. Guns are the highest used method, so for this reason, parents are reminded that gun owners should always keep their firearms locked and secure from students.”

Larsen also reported that progress is being made to prevent suicides. In the state, suicides overall are down 10 to 14 percent this year, with 23 percent fewer suicides among students. “Looking at the chart, Gunnison Valley High School has lower incidents reported by SafeUT. It is possible the lower numbers there reflects that their speak out campaign is having good results,” he said.

Pipes at Gunnison Valley High School received attention during the district’s summer renovations.

The district reviewed the summer capital investment projects, including replacing floors and walls with better materials, roofing improvements, plumbing repairs, environmental controls and cement and paving repairs throughout the district.

Most, but not all, will be completed in time for school. For example, the replacement of the HVAC system at Manti High School will be done in two weekends, to make sure of its completion before cold weather could complicate the repairs.

The board discussed whether laptops would be better than iPads, especially for students planning on moving on to college upon graduation. “Laptops would cost about twice what the iPads do, but have more capabilities,” Larsen said. “If we did consider this, we would choose Macbooks over Chromepads, because they are more reliable.” Some parents have suggested the district look at getting laptops, but the board decided to stay with iPads for the present.

David Warren, the board member who was elected to be the Utah School Boards Association (USBA) delegate, and Gary Olson, another board member, attended the USBA delegate assembly. “We have more strength with the legislature when we have a common voice,” said board member David Warren. “We are asking the legislature for a 6 percent increase in weighted pupil average, which is vital to us.”

The state constitution says that education’s main funding will come from income taxes, and the district and USBA agrees that funding should remain secure. However, as soon as the legislative session is adjourned, the joint committee begins preparing for next year’s session, and there is talk about modifying the constitution.

Manti Elementary had its gymnasium floor replaced this summer.

“We are willing to sit down with the legislature and discuss our priorities. We believe the founding fathers set up our constitution to protect education funding, and we think that should not be threatened,” Warren said.

The next board meeting will be Sept. 11 at 3:30 p.m. at the Gunnison Valley Elementary School.