It’s March Madness of a different kind for Canyons District students who remain in contention to become a 2013 National Merit Scholar.
Seven students from Hillcrest High, two from Alta High and one student from Jordan High are anxiously awaiting word about whether they’ve been chosen for the prestigious honor. The National Merit Scholarship Committee is scheduled in the coming weeks to mail scholarship offers to winners at their homes and notices to high school principals.
The students were recently announced as finalists in the 58th annual competition. The high-achieving students are among the approximately 16,000 students nationwide to earn finalist status by demonstrating scholastic excellence, leadership capability and involvement in school activities and clubs.  
The students have already advanced through two rounds of judging. The primary round, announced in September, awarded the students semifinalist status. As finalists, they are vying for 8,300 scholarships collectively worth about $32 million. The students are:
Hillcrest High School
Jacob Brown
Cory D. Goates
Aaron A. Johnson
Micah R. Johnston
John R. Morrell
Jarom T. Norris
Caius S. Worthen

Alta High School
Parker Awerkamp
Macey Crockett
Jordan High School
Jessica Lindsay
About 1.5 million juniors in about 22,000 high schools entered the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, the initial screen of the applicants. Students also must submit an essay, be recommended by the high school principal, and demonstrate leadership at school and in the community.
A family-friendly park tucked away in a corner of a cozy Sandy neighborhood will bear the name of a Canyons District employee and longtime Sandy City Councilman who has dedicated much of his life to the betterment of the place he calls home.

For his contributions to the city and its residents, the former Center Street Park, 8920 S. 150 East, has been re-named after Scott Cowdell, the District’s Custodial Coordinator and 23-year member of the Sandy City Council. The announcement was made during Sandy’s annual Appreciation Awards on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.
Canyons District is pleased to announce new leadership appointments.  
The following have accepted new administrative roles in Canyons District schools:
Electric-blue lights will shine bright in the night sky when honors come raining down on the Corner Canyon Chargers. Thanks to a generous donation, a Victory Light will be installed in the new bell tower atop Canyons’ new high school, which opens this fall.
“You will be able to see it from all parts of Draper,” said Principal Mary Bailey. “It’s going to be quite special.”
The Chargers’ Victory Light was paid for with a donation from the community. John Martindale, a member of the Corner Canyon School  Community Council, whose children will attend the Draper school, provided the financial support through an account established by the  now-deceased Martin Elston. Martindale was asked to ensure that the money was used to help people and make the world a better place.

Martindale learned of the school's need for a donor at a Community Council meeting. He didn't hesitate to support the effort. 

"I was just in the right place at the right time," he said. He added that his family is excited to see the lights when they are turned on for the first time to note a Corner Canyon victory or achievement.  

"Every time that light shines, our family, and the people of Draper will know of Marvin. He spent time in this community and as a homeowner in Big Cottonwood Canyon, paid taxes to our schools. We feel honored to bestow this memory and living legacy of a man who continues to live through the greenbacks that represent a life of hard work and frugal living," Martindale says.

Bailey says that a plaque commemorating Elston’s support will be placed in the school’s rotunda.

The Victory Light will be set ablaze when the Chargers claim a victory, whether it be at the football stadium, in FBLA competitions or on the Sterling Scholar stage. The aim of the light is to unify the community behind the achievements of the school.

 “The idea behind it,” says Bailey, “is that it serves as an announcement to the world that great things are happening at Corner Canyon.”
Two Canyons District record-holding student athletes and this year's 5A gridiron champions are nomineees in the Governor's State of Sport Awards, which honor excellence in athletics. Winners are chosen by the public via online voting.  

Votes can be submitted Monday, March 4, 2013 through Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at midnight.

High School Female Athlete — Brianna Francis
  • Two-time 5A Female Swimmer of the Year
  • 4-time Utah High School 5A State Champion
  • 5A and state record holder  
  • Alta High records in the 100 Breaststroke, 100 Backstroke, 200 Individual Medley
  • 3-time USA High School All-American
  • Holds 19 state swimming records
High School Male Athlete — Austin Kafentzis
  • Passing: 200 completed; 313 attempted for 3018 yards and 32 touchdowns
  • Rushing: 237 attempts; 1884 yards for 7.95 yards per attempt, 26 touchdowns
  • 58 touchdowns accounted for in 2012
  • Threw Javelin 199’ 5’’ for 5A state record
  • 5A State Champion in Javelin

High School Team — Jordan High School Football Team

  • Team had 6,962 yards of total offense to set a new state record
  • Team averaged 49.1 points per game in the 2012 season
  • Seven 1st team All-State players and two 2nd team All-State players
  • Outscored opponents in the playoffs 198-28

Awards will be presented in nine categories including Female High School Athlete, Male High School Athlete, Female Collegiate/Pro Athlete, Male Collegiate Athlete, Male Pro Athlete, Highlight of the Year, Game or Event of the Year, Coach of the Year and Team of the Year. 

A committee made up of Utah sports media and industry leaders chose the nominees.

Winners will be announced Tuesday, April 16, 2013 during a ceremony at the Energy Solutions Arena.

In addition, an Olympian of the Year will be awarded, a "Team Utah" Sports Partner of the Year will be awarded to the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, and a Lifetime Achievement in Sport award will be presented to Spencer Fox Eccles.

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