Wednesday, 06 August 2014 00:00

Work to Start on New Brighton Soccer Stadium

In just a few months, Cottonwood Heights, a significant part of Canyons District, will be home to a high school soccer stadium, one of just a handful in Utah.

The Canyons Board of Education on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 approved the construction bids for the new full-sized soccer field in front of Butler Middle School. It will be the dedicated field for the soccer teams at Brighton High, which are known for their skills and tenacity and have a long-standing tradition of success on the pitch. Last fall, the Bengals’ girls soccer team claimed the 5A state championship trophy.

“It will be so nice to have the stadium — not only as an addition to the community but to carry out the championship legacy for Brighton soccer,” said Kim Horiuchi, a member of the Board of Education who represents Cottonwood Heights neighborhoods.

Since spring, the District has solicited input on the project from many people in the community, including Brighton High Principal Charisse Hilton, the Brighton School Community Council, and the high school’s soccer coaches. They gave valuable advice on the design of the field and planned amenities such as bleachers, parking, and a concessions stand.  

The extensive and wide-reaching effort to obtain community advice and comment delayed construction. However, Horiuchi said, the short waylay was worth it to ensure that the project meets the needs and wants of the community.

“I do appreciate all the input that we have received on it, not only from the community but from the Brighton High School Community Council, as well,” said Horiuchi.  “We felt that gathering that input was necessary.” 

Nancy Tingey, who also represents Brighton High as a member of the Board of Education, shares that sentiment and recognizes the value of working with community partners. "Thank you for your patience and engagement in this project. The new home for Brighton soccer will serve the school and community well for many years to come."  

The soccer-field project, which will be completed by Hughes Construction, is the latest in a string of improvement and revitalization projects undertaken at CSD schools and District property in Cottonwood Heights. 
The new Butler Middle School is the largest project that has been completed since the District’s inception in 2009.  But CSD students, employees and patrons also now enjoy Brighton’s new Bengal Building; a new track at Brighton for student and community runners; Mountview Park; and playing fields and tennis courts where the old Cottonwood Heights Elementary once stood.

Furthermore, the Board of Education has approved a timeline for construction for a newly rebuilt Butler Elementary, a scheduled project funded by the $250 million tax-rate-neutral bond approved by CSD voters in spring 2010.  According to the timeline, work on a 70,000- to 75,000-square-foot Butler Elementary would begin in spring 2015 and be completed by fall 2016.  

Crews will soon begin work in earnest on the soccer field. When completed, it will be part of the athletic complex in Cottonwood Heights that has become ground zero for creating champions in soccer, tennis and swimming.  

In addition to the title-holding girls soccer team, Brighton’s boys tennis team has topped the state tourney seven times and last year BHS players won state titles in singles and doubles competitions. Brighton also has the most accomplished swimming program in the state. Last year, both boys and girls swimmers, who train at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, won state championships, and this year the boys team won its sixth straight 5A state trophy.   

A nationally known expert on grading, Ken O’Connor, who is known as “The Grade Doctor,” will visit Canyons District on Thursday, July 31 to do a series of workshops.

O’Connor’s daytime workshops will be with Canyons District principals and administrators. His evening workshop will be for parents, patrons and guardians of children in Canyons schools. 

This free public event will be from 7-8 p.m. in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East.  

The workshop will assist the Canyons community as schools move forward with discussions about student-achievement data and why grades need to represent a student’s actual level of learning.

Alta High has a new top Hawk. 

Brian McGill, currently Assistant Principal at Corner Canyon High, has been appointed Principal at Alta High School.  The Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. 

McGill has a first-hand familiarity with the legacy of excellence at Alta High.  After all, he’s a part of it:  McGill graduated from Alta High in 1991 with a 3.9 grade-point average.

“I am a proud graduate of Alta High, and I’m grateful to the Board of Education and the Administration for allowing me to return to my alma mater in such an important role for the community,” said McGill, who is pursuing a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in social justice at the University of Utah. 

“The teachers at Alta helped me realize my potential,” he said. “I am grateful for all they did for me, and I consider it an incredible opportunity to be able return to the school and play a part of continuing the amazing tradition of achievement at Alta.”

McGill looks forward to leading an effort to make “personal connections” with students. With the opening of Corner Canyon High in 2013, enrollment at the once-overcrowded Alta has stabilized to a level that is more conducive to building mentoring relationships with students, he said. “Alta High will continue to be known for its strong post-secondary preparation, as well as achievements in arts and athletics — all the things that Alta has been known for in the past several decades.” 

“We have a great opportunity for us to focus on the students and make our community as inclusive as possible,” McGill said. “We look forward to continuing the tradition of being a community that supports and rallies around each other.” 

McGill brings a wealth of experience to the post. Before joining the administrative ranks in Canyons District, McGill served as the principal and Chief Executive Officer of the Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science Early College High School; the Assistant Principal of Elk Ridge Middle School; and as a school counselor and Administrative Intern at Riverton High School.  In addition, he was the Manager of College Access and Outreach for the Utah System of Higher Education.  He also was a guidance counselor at the middle and high school level. 

McGill, who succeeds Dr. Fidel Montero, earned a master’s in educational administration, a master’s of educational counseling and a master’s of mental health counseling. He also has a bachelor’s of science in psychology.

McGill will begin work immediately in his new position. 

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 21:39

American Idol: Charger Takes Her Shot

Kenzie Hall has gone from the "Alta Idol" stage at her Canyons District high school to the American Idol stage in Hollywood. 

The Corner Canyon High School junior dazzled a star-studded panel of judges to secure a coveted golden ticket on the popular reality TV show, known for discovering superstars Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, and fellow Utahn David Archuleta. On Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, Kenzie will begin appearances on the infamous "Hollywood Week" American Idol rounds, where she will compete against other talented amateur vocalists from across the country. There, judges will whittle the field for the live program, where viewers vote for their favorite singers and the next American Idol.  

"This is a complete surprise," Kenzie's mother, Dawn Hall, said of her daughter's advancement to Hollywood Week. "I was thinking American Idol would be a good experience. The experience keeps going, and it's been so much fun. I'm so proud of her."

Not a bad showing for a student who hit the stage for the very first time just one year ago. Kenzie debuted her easy guitar-strumming and bluesy tones when she sang The Beatles' "Oh Darling" at the Alta Idol competition in Feburary 2013. Kenzie won the contest, and her star has been rising since. 

Kenzie went on to clinch a Draper City vocal contest. Local talent scouts started calling shortly afterward. The Draper teen, who started her junior year at the new Corner Canyon High School in Canyons School District, since has performed at venues including "Rock the Block" in Rexburg, Idaho, and the Radioactive Fest, where she opened for Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons fame.

Last summer, Kenzie auditioned for the 13th season of American Idol before star judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr., who came to Salt Lake City in their national search for the next recording sensation. She wowed the judges with her accoustic-guitar infused version of John Mayer's "I'm Going to Find another You."

"You've got everything going on," Lopez said. "She's one of my faves," she added as Kenzie dashed from the room to show her family her ticket to Hollywood.

Hollywood Week airs Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 5 and 6, at 7 p.m. on KSTU Fox13.

"My goal is to make it as far as I can," Kenzie told Fox13 reporter and weekend anchor Annie Cutler, "and be happy with my performances and be happy with myself for how it went."
Gentlemen – and women – start your engineering! Some 200 students from 20 teams throughout the Western United States gathered Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 at Hillcrest High for the 2014 FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff – one of several hundred similar events that took place all over the world that day. The Kickoff was an opportunity for teams from all over the world to come together to share in the excitement of seeing the new game unveiled. Participating Canyons' teams are from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon and Hillcrest high schools.

This year's game is "Arial Assist." Teams have six weeks to create robots that can launch giant balls into goals. Teams earn points by scoring as many balls in goals as possible during a 2½-minute match, by having robots work together to score goals, by throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended just over five feet above the floor as they move the ball down the field. Last year, teams created robots that could launch Frisbees. At the Kickoff, teams received kits containing parts they'll use to begin constructing their robots. The teams will unveil their robots at the regional contest, scheduled for March 13-15 at the Maverik Center.

Last year, Hillcrest won Rookie of the Year honors and advanced to the world competition.
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