CentraCom offering six

college scholarships


FAIRVIEW—Tomorrow is the deadline for six CentraCom scholarships.

For over a decade, “CentraCom Interactive has offered scholarships to eligible high school seniors planning to attend college,” says the CentraCom press release.

The six scholarships are for $500, yet if a recipient chooses to attend Snow College, the scholarship value increases substantially to $1,250 since CentraCom’s part becomes $1,000 and Snow College adds $250.

“The scholarship may be used for any college expense, such as tuition, books, housing, etc.,” and “scholarship deferrals for service opportunities will be managed by Snow College,” states the website (https://centracom.com/scholarship).

To apply for a scholarship, obtain an application by contacting Erin William at 427-0688, by e-mailing her or by downloading the application.

The requirements include being a high school senior planning to attend or accepted to attend college in the fall of 2018 and being a legal dependent of a CentraCom Interactive customer.

In addition to the completed application, candidates must submit an essay, high school transcript, ACT results, a recommendation from a principal or teacher and a recommendation from an employer, civic leader or religious leader. More details are at the website.

Completed applications must be postmarked no later than tomorrow and mailed to CentraCom, PO Box 7, Fairview, UT 84629 or delivered to the office at 35 S. State in Fairview.

A committee will use the following criteria for evaluation: “originality and creativity in presenting the essay, noteworthy involvement in community service and school activities and future goals demonstrating a genuine interest in continuing education.”

Those selected will be notified by telephone and by mail and will also be featured on CentraCom’s website.

NSHS nixes casting call on campus


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

Apr. 5, 2018


MT. PLEASANT—A proposed documentary about rural Latter-day Saint teens will not be using North Sanpete High School in Mt. Pleasant as a basis for their filmmaking efforts.

A film production crew approached North Sanpete High administration about making a documentary series on the lives of rural Mormon teenagers, beginning by hosting an on-campus casting call.

However, leaders at the school and in the district are skeptical about the proposition.

“I guess I am a little worried about the association with the school,” Nan Ault, the school’s principal, said during the last meeting of the North Sanpete School District. “I am very protective of my students. I asked myself how I would feel as a mother and how I feel as a principal.”

During Ault’s report at the school board meeting on March 20, she said the production crew claimed to be funded by social media giant Facebook.

She said, by all appearances, the crew seemed to be nice and genuine people, but she is very hesitant about granting the filmmakers their request to host a casting call at the high school for the project.

Ault said her main concerns were a negative portrayal of North Sanpete High and its students, either due to inaccurate reporting or Hollywood-style stereotyping.

One of the board members agreed with her concern, saying, “You never know how they will end up editing what they film.”

According to Ault, the filmmakers—who were professional and polite in their request—want to host the casting call as the first stage in the reportedly Facebook-funded documentary series. The crew told her they expected to have a finished pilot episode by summer.

Ault said the casting call was the only request the production crew had made so far, so she didn’t know if they wanted to film the series itself on the North Sanpete High campus.

Sam Ray, superintendent for North Sanpete School District, agreed with Ault that there was potential for problems in the concept, which he said would be better off handled by the LDS Church, instead of North Sanpete High or the school district.

Ray said if the production crew wanted to do a series on Mormon teenagers in rural Utah, they should go through the LDS Church to make it happen.

“The church has an entire media relations department,” Ray said. “They have public relations specialists. The show concept is almost entirely religious. The church is much better equipped to handle something like this.”

Ray suggested that if this production crew was intent on moving forward at North Sanpete High, he thought the only place the casting call should be hosted was in the seminary building adjacent to the school, since the pitch was about the lives of Mormon teenagers, not simply rural Utah teenagers.

He suggested that if an arrangement were made with the production crew, the crew should rent the seminary building—thus maintaining a separation between church and state, but the North Sanpete High campus is not a good place for it.

Sixteen of the 19 gold cup winners performed at this year’s Gold Cup Recital in Ephraim on March 18.

[Read more…]

Student thespians from Snow College’s upcoming play, “Peter and the Starcatchers,” get into their parts for the theatrical Peter Pan precursor (L-R): Gavin Ruska locks eyes with Dakota Davis, while Corben Cantrell wrestles with Lee Harding over the Neverland ship.

Come be a child again


Snow Theater presents
‘Peter and the Starcatcher’


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

Apr. 5, 2018


EPHRAIM—The final play of the season for the Snow College Theatre Arts Department is set in Neverland, and it is really a “play,” since it “playfully explores the depths of greed and despair … and the bonds of friendship, duty and love.”

The play, which is a “Peter Pan” prequel of sorts, is titled “Peter and the Starcatchers.”

The summary at Snow College’s website adds that the play contains “marauding pirates,” “jungle tyrants,” “unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes” as a “young orphan and his mates” embark on a journey that “quickly becomes a thrilling adventure.”

“This show is the embodiment of the idea that you should follow your dreams, and I think that it can restore that idea in the people who come to see it,” says Corben Cantrell, who plays the character Black Stache in the play. “I feel this show can instill hope in people, and people need hope in today’s world more than ever.”

In the show, Peter and his friend Molly fight pirates and thieves to keep a magic secret safe from villains. There will be familiar characters, and others not so commonly known in the world of Neverland.

The story is based on a series of youth books by Dave Barry and Ridley Peterson that are the precursors to the Peter Pan story. The play is written by Rick Elice and will be directed by Milinda Weeks.

“I think we all wish that we could live life a little more like we did when we were children,” said Max Higbee, who plays the part of Peter Pan. “That’s part of what makes the Peter Pan story so timeless and valuable is that it appeals to all of our senses of nostalgia. The idea that we could never grow up still seems to be a happy thought.”

He adds, “This show examines that idea in a new and really inspiring and interesting way. I think it’s a play that anybody who loves stories, anybody who loves Peter Pan especially, should see.”

The adventure begins Wednesday, April 11, and runs through Saturday, April 14.

Curtain time for the show, which is being held in the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, is at 7:30 p.m., and ticket prices are $8 for adults, $7 for high school and younger and $2 for Snow College students with their ID card.

For more information, call 283-7478.

Manti High School’s drama program took first place in region competition. The school’s drama students have won region seven times in a row.

[Read more…]

ACT Aspire will replace

SAGE for 9th, 10th graders


By Linda Petersen

Staff writer

Mar. 29, 2018


A change in state student testing is music to the ears of some local educators and administrators.

On March 16, the Utah State Board of Education announced that beginning next year, ninth and 10th graders will take the ACT Aspire test instead of the SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) test. Younger grades will still take the SAGE test.

North Sanpete High School has already been using ACT Aspire to help students prepare for college.

“This is exactly what we’ve been preparing for,” North Sanpete School District Superintendent Sam Ray said. “ACT Aspire is a much better assessment of our students’ ability than the SAGE test.”

Ray said SAGE is a good exam, but “due to state policies, there is no incentive for students to even try.”

According to those policies, SAGE testing is not mandatory, and with parents’ permission, students can opt out. Test results also cannot be counted toward a student’s grade.

Ray said students often didn’t take the test very seriously, and they were getting whatever students felt like doing that day, not their best work.

“With the ACT and ACT Aspire, the students know they’re used to help them get into college. There’s little challenge to get them to try,” he said. “We feel it will be a much better measure of our students’ abilities.”

SAGE was originally intended as an assessment for third through 11th graders.

In 2016, lawmakers passed legislation allowing school districts a choice on whether to have 11th graders take the SAGE test. This year, both school districts passed on having juniors, who already have to take a state-mandated ACT test, do so.

While more reserved in his response, South Sanpete School District Superintendent Kent Larsen said implementation of Act Aspire over SAGE “probably is a pretty good idea, in my opinion.”

(Larsen said he had not heard from leadership about the change and so was reluctant to comment officially).

Larsen said when SAGE, a Utah-developed test, was introduced by the Department of Education, its objective was to make it more aligned with international testing of students. Initially, American and Utah students did not seem to measure up to their peers in other countries, he said.

“Their assessment was we don’t expect enough of our kids,” he said, “but the truth is, in the U.S., we test all kids. In other countries, many students are diverted to alternative schools where they are trained in blue-collar skills. So they’re really just testing the top 30 to 40 percent of kids.”

“SAGE was really hard at first. It was a step up for all Utah students, especially the elementary school students,” he said. “The standards themselves are good, but there were people who didn’t like SAGE who opted their kids out.”

“Once 7 to 10 percent of kids are opting out, the validity of the test goes away,” he added.

Larsen said while the emphasis on preparing for college is good, it is important that students who choose alternatives such as vocational college or training not be overlooked.

“There is a growing need for technical occupations,” he said. “The narrative is changing. It used to be that students that had bachelor’s versus associate degrees or certificates made more. That’s not necessarily true anymore.”

“We don’t want the emphasis to be solely on preparing kids for four-year universities. We want to push our kids to get everything out of school they can,” he said.

Going forward, younger grades will still take a SAGE-like test, according to Darin Nielsen, Utah assistant superintendent of student learning.

The state recently rebid the contract, and it has gone to a new vendor, Questar (not to be confused with the former utility company).

The test’s core was developed by Utah educators and is owned by the state, but with a new vendor, there will be a new portal or delivery system for the test. Additionally, there will probably be a name change, Nielsen said.

“The name implies things that are no longer true,” he said. “We may need to rebrand to provide clarity to those changes.”

Inside Our Schools


Compiled by Linda Petersen

Mar. 29, 2018


Ephraim Elementary

Coming up on Friday, April 6, is the Junior Genius Fair from 8:30-10 a.m.

The PTA is looking for someone who is willing to serve as PTA president next year. Interested parties should contact Sandra Summers.


Ephraim Middle School

Ephraim Middle School Symphonic Band performs at Utah Music Educators festival.

The Ephraim Middle School Symphonic Band participated in the 2018 State Utah Music Educators Association Junior High Concert Band Festival last Friday, March 23, in the Libby Gardner Concert Hall at the University of Utah. The festival took place over two days, Thursday and Friday. In order to be invited to participate in the festival, each band must submit a recording of the required chorale and a piece selected by the director that best represents the strengths of the group. The submissions are then evaluated by a group of judges, which narrow the 30 bands down to 15 which are classified as Sweepstakes bands and play on Friday. This year was Ephraim Middle’s second year in the Sweepstakes category. Band members played well, did great with their sight-reading piece and enjoyed a music clinic with Robert T. Herrings III.

Nathan Bigelow, son of Russell and Amie Bigelow of Manti and an Ephraim Middle School student, was recently selected by audition for the All State Jr. High Band. The band was under the direction of Jermie Arnold of California State University, Long Beach. They performed in Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City on Jan. 20.


Gunnison Valley High School

Next week will be student body elections with an assembly on Wednesday, April 4.


North Sanpete High School

North Sanpete High School took second overall at the region drama competition at Manti High School last Friday and Saturday, March 23-24. Keagan Mitchell was named Best Actor for his portrayal of Otto Frank in the school’s one-act version of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Taking first place in Classical Scenes were North Sanpete’s Emily Hill and Brynne Lamb. Second place in Contemporary Scenes went to Aubrey White and Nettie Knudsen and third went to Alicia Perry and Kylee Davis.

North Sanpete High School will present “The Diary of Anne Frank,” written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, newly adapted for a new generation by Wendy Kesselman, on April 4 to 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students/seniors and $7 general admission. Anne’s diary tells of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a storage attic during World War II, and the play captures the ups and downs of their emotions during those two dark years. Yet Anne’s voice shines through, as she wrote on April 5, 1944: “I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me! When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived!”

The cheer team recently hosted Red and White Night on Thursday, March 22, with performances by the cheer team, Snow College Badgerettes, Britts Just Dance and Airborne Gymnastics and Cheer.

The team from Ephraim Middle School which built an electric car and raced it at the state competition last year (L-R): Ashton Hirschi, Kaulin Nielsen, Mathew Olsen, Keegan Merrill and Kaden Owens (in car).


Green car competition set for April 26


Will Sanpete schools power
their way to victory again?


By Linda Petersen

Staff writer

Mar. 29, 2018


Students at several local schools are getting ready for the annual Utah Greenpower Exhibition which will be held at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele on April 26.

Last year, Sanpete schools swept the top four spots, showing the Green Power program, where students build and race a single-seat, electric car, has been very popular in the county.

Twenty schools are participating this year.

At the race, the qualifying heat lasts about 45 minutes and then the main heat goes for around 90 minutes.

Winners are determined by how many continuous laps a car completes. At least three drivers take turns on the course. The car that has the fastest lap gets extra points.

In addition to racing the car, participants must make a video introducing themselves and their role in building the Green Power car.

“The kids have to learn the best speed to race at to be the most efficient,” Tiffanie Baker, Ephraim Middle School’s GEAR UP coordinator, said.

Ephraim Middle School was last year’s fourth-place winner (tying with Uintah and Clearfield high schools). Students at Ephraim Middle School are working on making modifications to last year’s car to improve their performance this year. They are also giving the car a fresh coat of paint.

Utah State University sponsors the Green Power program to inspire students to go into the engineering field.

“They found that while a lot of kids would sign up for engineering classes in college, many would quickly become overwhelmed and drop out,” Baker said. “With programs like these, the kids are much more comfortable with engineering before they reach college.”

“There are just so many opportunities out there these days,” she said. “A lot of those opportunities are in engineering and computers.”

At Ephraim Middle School, the number of students involved in the Green Power program varies but is usually a core group of about six. About half participated last year and are taking what they learned to improve their car.

“They think it’s great that they get to drive a go-cart around the parking lot,” Baker said. “The program is very student driven,” whether her pun was intended or not.

At all of the schools, teachers, generally Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers, are paid an hourly rate by GEAR UP to run the program after school. The groups all purchased kits and built the cars from there.

Gunnison Valley Middle School has about 11 students in the program, about half of whom participated last year, Samantha Dyreng, GEAR UP coordinator, said.

Last year was the first year GEAR UP offered the program at the school. At the state competition, despite a tire that picked up a screw in the preliminary race which resulted in a flat tire, Gunnison Middle School took first place.

Last year’s Manti High School car took third place at state but went to international competition (as a result of a first-place state finish the previous year) against 24 other teams in England in May and competed on the Grand Prix road circuit at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Manti team took fourth place overall despite major electrical problems which caused the motor to completely fail during the preliminary heat.

The team had a strong second heat and was able to use its score from that heat to achieve the fourth-place finish.

Four Sanpete students to

attend leadership meet in

Valley Forge during April


By Linda Petersen

Staff writer

Mar. 29, 2018


Four local high school students will attend a four-day conference in Pennsylvania next month.

Three Gunnison Valley High School juniors—Tiandra Taylor, Teersa Payne and Ruth Lyons, along with Manti High junior Edison Cluff, will shortly have the opportunity to attend the April 12-15 Spirit of America Youth Leadership Conference at Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, Penn.

To be considered for the conference, students must submit a detailed application and an essay and be interviewed by a selection committee.

“It’s pretty unusual for us to choose three students from one school, but we were just so impressed with the students from Gunnison,” committee chair Dennis Ward said.

Sponsored by the Freedoms Foundation, the conference brings together students from across the nation to study the American political process, citizenship, democracy, the free enterprise system and the judicial system.

“It’s absolutely invaluable for the kids to go because of their exposure to the roots of American history,” Utah chapter president Dennis Randall said.

Edison said he is fascinated with the political process and wants to learn how to utilize it to help others.

Tiana said she is looking forward to learning more about the history of our nation.

Along with lectures and reenactments, students will participate in a mock Congress where they will debate hot topic issues like gun control and national security.

“The adults back off and let the teens work together,” Randall said. “It’s fascinating to watch.”

At the conferences, participants are intentionally not housed with the group they travel with so they are exposed to a diverse mix of youth. This is something, Edison, who moved to Manti from Texas just over a year ago, is particularly looking forward to.

Along with conference tours of Valley Forge and the Medal of Honor Grove, the group will also get to tour Independence Hall, homes of George Washington and Betsy Ross and the new Museum of the American Revolution before heading home to Utah.

The Utah chapter of the Freedoms Foundation pays $900 of the $1,300 cost for each student’s attendance at the conference and the airfare. The students are asked to pay the rest and are encouraged to obtain sponsors.

Edison’s grandmother and aunt agreed to sponsor him if he would perform acts of service around his neighborhood and community.

“It was a bit different being paid to do service,” said Edison, who usually serves without charge.

Tiandra said her parents paid half of her costs, and she paid the rest.

Randall said the Utah chapter is blessed to have several wealthy donors who help fund the program and volunteers who are willing to visit schools to share the program with students.

“There’s a real passion for the principles of patriotism and the values of the Freedoms Foundation, and the reality that this country is made up of all kinds of people and states yet we’re all in it together,” he said.

The Freedoms Foundation also sponsors a weeklong summer program for history teachers. All costs are covered by the local chapters.

More information can be found at freedomsfoundation.org.


Sanpete Sterling Scholars shine


Depth of candidate’s knowledge and
skills required are remarkable


By Suzanne Dean


Mar. 22, 2018


RICHFIELD—The Sterling Scholar program is designed to recognize high school students for achievement in 14 subject areas. A few students are honored in the 15th category, “general scholarship.”

But when Maria Shilaos of KSL Radio read profiles of regional winners during the Central Utah awards ceremony last Thursday, March 15, at Richfield High School, it was obvious the talent and drive of Sterling Scholars stretches far beyond their specific subject areas.

Breanna Hedelius of Manti is named the regional Sterling Scholar in math at an awards ceremony at Richfield High School. Congratulating her are Dallas and Janelle Overly of Gunnison, co-chairs of the program in Central Utah.

Take Breanna Hedelius of Manti High School, the Sterling Scholar in math.

At age 4, she learned the square root of 144. She’s currently taking calculus. And she got 33 out of 36 possible on the math section of the ACT, which put her in the top 2 percent of test takers nationwide.

But Breanna, the daughter of Eric and Merilyn Hedelius of Manti, is much more than a math brain. She’s a student body officer at Manti High, serves on the Manti Youth City Council as mayor and is the reigning Miss Manti.

And she played a key role in collecting 7,460 books for Kenya.

Thirteen high schools participated in the Central Region Sterling Scholar competition this year. A number of small schools had contestants in only a few categories.

Nonetheless, it was notable that five of the 15 winners, or one-third, were from two Sanpete County schools. Manti High ended up with three winners, while North Sanpete had two.

Besides naming a winner, Sterling Scholar judges tapped two runners-up in each of the 15 categories, or 30 runners-up total. Twelve of the runners up, or 40 percent, were from the three public high schools in Sanpete County.

North Sanpete had seven runners-up, Manti three and Gunnison Valley two. (See accompanying chart.)

Hannah Ostraff of North Sanpete High talks with her father, Joe Ostraff, before the Sterling Scholar awards ceremony. Later, she was named winner in the visual arts category. Her father is also an artist.

Other top winners from the county were like Breanna. Their profiles, as read by Shilaos, showed a broad range of accomplishments.

Kjerstin Birch, daughter of Troy and Lori Birch of Ephraim, who attends Manti High, was named Sterling Scholar in business and marketing.

She has been an officer in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) at Manti for the past three years and was selected as a Utah delegate to the national FBLA convention. She participated in a three-day entrepreneurship competition at the Leonardo museum in Salt Lake City.

But besides those business-related activities, she played volleyball and basketball for Manti, is mayor on the Ephraim Youth City Council, has a 4.0 grade-point average and had a composite score of 30 on the ACT, which puts her in the top 5 percent of the nation.

Trevor Olson of North Sanpete High with his proud dad, Glen Olson, after Trevor was chosen as Sterling Scholar in music.

But she says the highlight of her life was building housing in Merida, Mexico, for neglected and abandoned elderly women.

The regional winner in music was Trevor Olson, a North Sanpete High School student and the son of Glen and Ann Jeanette Olson of Moroni.

A saxophone player, he has participated in state competitions in band, jazz band and marching band. Last year, he was the drum major of the marching band. He has also participated in community music ensembles.

But aside from his music, he helped found the chess and math clubs at North Sanpete, has a 3.99 grade-point average and scored 29 on the ACT, which put him in the top 8 percent.

Another North Sanpete High student, Hannah Ostraff, the daughter of Joe and Melinda Ostraff of Fairview, was the regional winner in visual arts.

She has participated in four international art shows, two national shows and several state exhibitions. She organized an art show involving six schools in New Zealand and another that drew from schools in Ireland.

Besides her art activities, she played tennis all four years in high school and was a state semi-finalist her senior year. She is on the staff of the North Sanpete school newspaper, has a 3.9 GPA and has organized many community projects, including one with a senior citizen center.

The fifth Sanpete County winner was Killick Mickelson, a Manti High student and son of Ryan and Jennie Mickelson of Manti. He was named Sterling Scholar in computer and information technology.

Killick has attended computer camps at Southern Utah University and Snow College, he took charge of filming Manti High football games and is a team captain for the wrestling team specifically in charge of media.

Sanpete County stood out in music at the Sterling Scholar awards program last week. The winner and both runners-up were from the county. Seated at the piano is runner-up Emily Frischknecht of Manti High. Behind her are runner-up Carolyn Donaldson of Gunnison Valley High and winner Trevor Olson of North Sanpete High.

He’s also involved in civic and community activities. He attended Boys State, observed at the Utah Legislature, was a member of the Child Abuse Prevention Team, was on Manti Youth City Council and coached a junior wrestling team for three years. He scored 32 on the ACT, which put him in the top 2 percent.


A traditional part of the awards program is a Sterling Scholar from the previous year returning to present a tribute to parents and teachers who helped the students on stage become Sterling Scholar finalists.

This year’s tribute was presented by Jennifer Boekweg of Mt. Pleasant, the 2017 winner in speech and drama, and a graduate of North Sanpete High School.

Recalling her Sterling Scholar experience, she said, “When I wrote my essays, my mother helped me through the revisions. … When I had stressful deadlines, she helped me through the emotional breakdowns.”

Boekweg said teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade had nurtured her and other Sterling Scholars. Often, she said, students started to love the subjects in which they are being honored that night after they were reached and inspired by teachers in those subjects.

The Sterling Scholar program relies not only on faculty advisors at the high schools but on community volunteers.

Dallas and Janelle Overly of Gunnison, outgoing co-chairs of the Central Utah program, received service awards.

And Andy Peterson was recognized for serving for seven years as Sterling Scholar faculty advisor at Gunnison Valley High School.

North Sanpete High School students gather around their student body officers, who delivered a message of kindness and support during the students’ observance of National Walkout Day last week. Approximately three dozen students participated in the walkout on Wednesday, March 14.

[Read more…]

School district reviewing

school safety procedures


By Lloyd Call

Associate publisher

Mar. 22, 2018


GUNNISON—Student safety at schools took top priority for the board of the South Sanpete School District as they recently met at Gunnison Valley Middle School.

With students, teachers and administrators still security-conscious following the Florida school shooting on Feb. 14, the board discussed school safety during their monthly board meeting on Wednesday, March 14, at the middle school.

“One of our most important goals has been safety for staff, students and our communities,” said Kent Larsen, district superintendent. “The recent school walkout on March 14 protesting gun-control problems emphasized that we live in a more dangerous world. We don’t really think teachers carrying guns is a great idea, but there’s no question that we can do even better to safeguard schools.”

Larsen also said all schools in the district practice lockdown, fire and other disaster drills on a regular basis. He mentioned a bomb threat emptied Manti High School in Oct. 2016.

Larsen added now would be a good time to review emergency procedures with law enforcement.

Gunnison Valley Middle School had held a lockdown drill on Jan. 9, looking for areas to improve. Following the drill, protocols now call for students and teachers to “shelter in place” rather than immediately evacuating the building. Students and teachers remain in classrooms, teachers lock doors, draw down curtains and await further instructions.

They discovered teachers had to go outside their classrooms to lock the doors.

They also learned students on the stage didn’t have a speaker to hear instructions in that area.

Since the drill, the middle school’s principal, Jeff Bartholomew, and staff have been working on solutions and fine-tuning procedures.

A speaker was added in the stage area, doors can now be quickly locked from inside the classroom and the school has requested additional security cameras.

Carl Wimmer, the school’s resource officer, now has an office in the middle school. Currently, officer Wimmer rotates between the three Gunnison Valley schools.

Board member Gary Olson wondered if retired law enforcement officers could help with school security and is talking to other districts and the sheriff’s office: “I’m sure there are many retired policemen who wouldn’t mind spending time helping students feel safer. They could serve their communities and use their experience to continue to protect us.”

Larsen said the legislative session is over, but detailed information hasn’t yet arrived. “We know there will be an increase in the WPU (weighed pupil unit) rate, but until we get specifics, we really won’t know how we fared during this session.”

He continued, “One concern we have is when the legislature allocates money for education but only on a one-time, not a continuing, basis. Also, legislators give us funds but tightly restrict what we can do with them. Finally, it now appears that the Our Schools Now initiative will not be on the November ballot. We’ll know more by next month’s meeting.”

The district also looked at proposed summer construction projects. Sidewalk projects are a possibility, and the district is doing major remodeling of the band rooms at Manti High and Gunnison Valley High.

In addition, the district reviewed the status of technology readiness in the district. “We have done very well in our infrastructure. We don’t have hardly any technology older than four years, and that’s a lot better than many other districts,” Larsen noted.

The board reviewed reports on graduation rates and scholarships and reviewed policies on grievance procedures and orderly termination.

The next board meeting has been changed to April 18 at 3:30 p.m. at Manti Elementary School.

Inside our Schools


Compiled by Linda Petersen

Mar. 22, 2018


Ephraim Elementary

2018 Kindergarten Registration — Parents of all children who will be 5 years of age on or before Sept. 1, 2018, are eligible to attend kindergarten at Ephraim Elementary School. Registration will be held on Wednesday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the school. If your student will be attending kindergarten in the fall, please call the school at 283-4171 in advance to have your child placed on the enrollment list. If your child is currently enrolled in Ephraim Elementary Preschool, they are already on the kindergarten list. On April 11, please bring your child, their current immunization record and their birth certificate. The process will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. You will need a valid email address to complete the online registration that day. The Central Utah Health Department will also be available in the morning if students need immunizations for school entry.


Manti Elementary

This week is Spirit Week at the school. Monday was Mustache Day where the faculty “mustache” the students to have school spirit. On Tuesday, with a theme of “we’re all a team,” students got to wear sports clothing and/or hats. On Wacky Wednesday, they could wear wacky clothing and have wacky hair. Today, PJ Thursday, they’re “tired” of bullying and are wearing pajamas. Tomorrow for Spirit Day, everyone can dress in the school colors, red and white.

The PTO has new baseball tees. They are $15 with glitter and $12 without glitter. (View on the PTO Facebook page.) Orders need to be turned in to the office by tomorrow. There are extra order forms in the office.


Gunnison Valley High School

The four-member speech and debate team recently took fourth place overall in the state 2A debate competition (L-R): Craig Jensen, Dylan Nielson, Larisa Martinez, K’Leigh Halliday and adviser Scott Jackson.
“We had a smaller team than most schools, but we double-entered our speakers,” adviser Scott Jackson said. “Each speaker performed extremely well in their respective events. As a result, we were able to place ahead of teams with many more competitors.”
Individual team members also did well. Dylan took first in SPAR (Spontaneous Argumentation) and third in Lincoln-Douglas debate, Larisa placed third in SPAR and K’Leigh came in sixth in Student Congress.


Manti High School

Korben Cox, the first soloist ever fielded at Day of Percussion from Manti High, did well. Last Friday, March 16, the Percussion Ensemble traveled to Juan Diego High School to perform as part of the Utah Day of Percussion, hosted by the Utah chapter of Percussive Arts Society. The Percussive Arts Society, according to its website, is “the world’s largest percussion organization” and is considered “the central source for information and networking for percussionists and drummers of all ages.” Schools from around the state competed for top honors in performances. The Percussion Ensemble performed three pieces, receiving consistently good ratings for all three.

On Tuesday, Student Government treated everyone to a free pancake breakfast.

Tomorrow and Saturday, the school is hosting the regional drama competition. Students from the seven participating schools—Manti, North Sanpete, Richfield, South Sevier, Emery, Grand and San Juan—will compete in various areas including one-act plays, musical theatre, dramatic/comedic monologues, classical/contemporary scene and pantomimes.


North Sanpete High School

Last Friday, March 16, GEAR UP students were able to spend the day at Camp Williams in Riverton learning about military careers and how the military can help them pay for college.

This week is Future Business Leaders of America Week at the school. Monday was Pajama Day. On Tuesday it was Superhero Day. Wednesday was Jersey/Hat Day. Today is Spirit Day, and tomorrow students “get” to dress in business casual attire for Business Casual Day.

On Tuesday, Student Body President Makade Talbot was chosen to be a Southern Utah University Ambassador.

Second annual HOPE Week

encourages students

to support each other


By Linda Petersen

Staff writer

Mar. 22, 2018


GUNNISON—Gunnison Valley High School kicked off its second annual HOPE Week on Monday with an assembly.

At the assembly, BYU professor Hank Smith talked to them about positive choices and supporting one another. Smith also shared with his audience tools they could use to make better choices for themselves and with their peers.

The school’s 12-member HOPE Squad is made up of students chosen for their empathic nature and willingness to include everyone. Each of them is trained to help others find the resources they need in times of crisis and strive to create a positive environment in the school.

HOPE is an acronym for Hold On, Persuade and Empower, and the members of the HOPE Squad have spent the week building a spirit of positive learning through activities.

Activities have included games, a poster contest and the opportunity to post to “The Wall of HOPE.”

Students have also had the opportunity to meet with various agencies throughout the community which specialize in helping teens overcome addiction and prevent suicide.

HOPE Squad was started in 1998 by Greg Hudnall, a Utah County high school principal, after he was called upon to identify a 14-year-old student who had committed suicide. Shaken by the experience, Hudnall vowed to do everything in his power to help stem the flood of teen suicides.

At that time, Provo School District was experiencing one to two suicides a year among its students.

Since that time, HOPE Squads have spread across the state and to neighboring states.

HOPE Squad members are considered the eyes and ears of a school. They are trained to watch for at-risk students, to recognize warning signs in depressed or suicidal peers and to report those signs to an adult.

National Walkout Day’s social media tag and logo.

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District terminates rest of North

Sanpete Middle School sports


By Linda Petersen
Staff writer

Mar. 8, 2018


MT. PLEASANT—The North Sanpete School District Board of Education has decided to discontinue the two remaining district-affiliated middle school sports programs: wrestling and girls basketball.

Club programs will continue to be able to use school-district facilities for a nominal fee, and the district will provide funding for another year to help the wrestling and girls basketball programs make the transition to being club programs.

The decision came out of a Feb. 20 school-board discussion on the logistics and costs of overseeing such programs at North Sanpete Middle School.

At that time, Superintendent Sam Ray told the school board that after its January decision to continue to fund busing of middle school wrestling team members to and from competitions, he had been approached by coaches from other sports to have their athletes bused too.

Additionally, since the school district pays the wrestling coaches a stipend, other coaches were also asking for one, he said.

“We’re looking for some direction. How far do you want to go with this?” he asked the board.

Middle school sports have evolved over the years in the North Sanpete School District. While at one point several sports were affiliated with the district, in the last several years most of them have moved to club leagues, Ray told the board.

Currently the school district only pays for busing and coach stipends ($1,300 per year) for the wrestling and girls basketball programs.

“Every other program has gone to a club team, an outside organization, so they can play more games and have a little more control on what’s going on,” North Sanpete Middle School Principal O’Dee Hansen said.

Ray and Hansen expressed concern over the lack of oversight by the school district in these programs.

Hansen said the coaches run the programs independently, choosing and paying coaches with the funds provided by the school district. He has never been approached about the hiring of coaches, approval of schedules when students leave school for games or busing, he said.

School district officials said it was unclear what the school district’s liability would be for these programs, particularly if it fulfilled the requests.

“If we go down the road with this … with paid stipends … I don’t think we can have our coaches appointing coaches. We’re going to have to go through the hiring process, which we have not done. … If you do this at the middle school level, and it blows up the way we’re talking about, it probably makes sense to have some kind of athletic director position,” Assistant Superintendent Randy Shelley said.

“We need to either fully fund and support it—I don’t know if we can afford to—or need to totally wash our hands of the whole thing. … If we’re either halfway in or halfway out, there certainly is a liability there for the district,” he said.

Board members went on to discuss issues the school district could be liable for including transportation, athlete safety and the conduct of coaches, athletes and students.

“We need to be all in or all out. If we’re all in, we can provide the controls and make sure we’re covering the liabilities, safety issues, travel issues, or we’re all out so we don’t have the liability issues,” Ray said.

After a prolonged discussion, board members agreed to discontinue sports programs at the middle school without a formal vote.

They decided to provide funding for another year to help the wrestling and girls basketball programs make the transition to being club programs.

School district officials said they would also work to find community members who would help with the two programs.

“I think we need to try to continue to build these two programs. Both of them are struggling. We need to provide whatever support we can for them. If this isn’t the support we can provide for them, maybe there are other supports we can provide to help those programs get off the ground,” Ray said.

At the same meeting the board voted to deed the former Fountain Green school property and building, which has been used as a city hall for several years, to Fountain Green City.

City officials recently decided to sell the building but discovered during a title search that there was an agreement in place that the property would revert to the school district if the building were ever sold.

Fountain Green Mayor Willard Wood told board members the city had two buyers. He said if he could get city council approval, he would like to pay the district a cash settlement if the building is sold rather than continuing to have agreements to take care of property the district owns in Fountain Green.