Denmark isn’t a socialist utopia where everything is free, as Bernie Sanders is wont to describe it. Nor is it an example of the pitfalls of socialism as portrayed in a recent White House report that compared Denmark’s standard of living to that of Venezuela.

In fact, the Nordic country isn’t socialist at all, Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States Lars Gert Lose explained to a group of Brighton High students on Friday. “We are a social-democratic country.”

It’s a nuance that may be tough to describe on a bumper sticker, or in 140 characters or less, but it wasn’t lost on the Model UN and Advanced Placement students who gathered in Brighton’s auditorium to hear Lose speak. The Ambassador’s appearance was arranged by social studies teacher Jim Hodges through Brigham Young University’s Kennedy Center.  The Kennedy Center sponsors several ambassadorial visits each year, and arranges to have the dignitaries meet with as many student groups as possible. danishsmall

At Brighton, Lose spoke of life as a diplomat and of Denmark’s long and valued ties to the United States. The two countries may not agree on everything, he said, but “there’s much more that binds us together than separates us.”

Denmark’s diplomatic relationship with America dates back to 1801 due, in part, to historically large Danish migration to this country. Economically, the two countries are important to one another. “The U.S. is the third largest market for Danish companies, bigger than France or the UK,” Lose said. And the two regions share common foreign security philosophies with their investments in military defense.

Culturally and politically the two countries may sometimes seem worlds apart, but the distinctions aren’t as black-and-white as is commonly thought. Among the surprising facts that Lose shared:
  • Denmark is part of the European Union but has its own currency.
  • The country has a democratic political system and free and open-market economy, but also could be described as a welfare state due to its government-funded health care, higher education, and robust social supports.
  • The vast majority of Danes are affiliated with trade unions because the government doesn’t regulate employment standards, such as setting a minimum wage. Liberal employment regulations also make it easier to hire and fire workers who can always fall back on the country’s safety net, creating more job mobility. But unemployment is low, and currently at about 3.6 percent, and productivity high. 
  • Lose described his homeland as a “very pragmatic and compromising country” with nine political parties in Parliament that have had to learn to work together in order to get work done.
Of course, the Danes devote nearly have their wages to income tax. Social supports “come at a price,” Lose said, “but it’s true that we have a great quality of life.”

Denmark’s foreign policy priorities include the fight against terror and climate change. The country began innovating in the area of renewable energy in the 1970s in response to an oil crisis. Renewable energy sources now meet half of the country’s energy needs, Lose said.

The country also would like to see free-trade alliances and agreements preserved. There’s nothing wrong with Trump Administration’s America-first stance, Lose said. “We have a Denmark-first policy as well.” Lose also agreed that the World Trade Organization has allowed China to compete unfairly.

But Lose questioned the logic of “blowing up” fair-trade rules and structures in an effort to improve them. “That won’t play well in the long-term. Look at Utah. I think 25 percent of all jobs here are dependent on global trade,” he said. “The point is how you pursue America’s interests. Playing a zero-sum game and having to win every single time, makes it difficult to find compromise.”

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Swashbuckling pirates, a jukebox legend, childhood classic, spookily familiar family, and timeless civil rights story: Canyons District’s fall musical lineup has something to please theater goers of all ages and interests. 

Tickets can be purchased at each school’s box office. Here is a list of show dates and times (including matinee performances):

The job market faced by today’s high school graduates looks nothing like the market of five years ago, and with the pace of change in technology, there’s no telling what tomorrow will bring.

Auto makers are already testing automated driving systems that will reduce the need to hire truck drivers, and computer algorithms are being developed that could one day replace insurance underwriters, financial analysts and even radiologists.

What does career-readiness look like for students coming of age in such a rapidly-changing world? What kinds of skills and knowledge should they be acquiring, and how?  

If you asked Jamie Hyneman, co-host of the popular TV show, MythBusters, he’d say that while accessing the right training and schooling is important, the secret to securing a fulfilling career comes down to having the right attitude. “It comes down to resilience, hard work, and self-discovery. Growing up, I discovered if you’re methodical and work hard, you can do anything,” he told high school-age attendees of the 2018 Pathways to Professions Expo, a showcase of Career and Technical Education courses available at Utah’s public schools. His appearance, a question-and-answer session narrated by Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, was sponsored by Salt Lake Community College.hynemansmall

Before he was a TV show host and special effects expert, Hyneman was a man of many trades. In his younger years, he worked as a mountain guide, cook, building inspector, and builder in addition to laboring on farms and in libraries. At first blush, his resume might appear haphazard, or the record of someone who is perpetually distracted.

But Hyneman said he approached each of these occupations like an insatiably curious “forensic scientist” bent on soaking up all the knowledge he needed to master the job. “I didn’t start with exceptional skills. I’d follow-up, and follow through. I’d get my foot in the door, pay my dues and become an asset to the company,” he said.

His advice to students: Find things that interest you, and experiment with them—preferably not with explosives until you’re ready—be methodical, and don’t be afraid of failure. “Just be methodical and work hard and it’s amazing what you can do,” he said.

This strategy certainly comes in handy when it comes to orchestrating special effects, busting myths and inventing, which is what Hyneman is doing now for the U.S. military and venture capitalist entrepreneurs. MythBusters was an enjoyable and lucrative side gig that has given him the freedom to choose how to spend his time, he says. “My life now is about going into my shop, locking the door, cranking the music and coming out with something that nobody ever dreamed of.”

Asked by a student attendee when he realized what he finally wanted to do in life, Hyneman said, “I don’t think I’m there yet.”

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  • Hundreds braved the early evening heat Thursday to celebrate the beginning of construction on a complete rebuild of Brighton High School. Parents, alumni, members of the Cottonwood Heights City Council, Canyons District administrators, Brighton’s High’s principal, teachers and members of Canyons’ Board of Education came to celebrate this milestone for the Bengal community with a ceremonial turning of dirt. collagebhsgroundbreaking.jpg

    But most of all, there were students. From the band and cheer squad who performed the school’s Fight Song to the football players who put away the chairs, Brighton’s students filled the air with cheers in eager anticipation for the remake of their campus. “Any decisions we have made about the design of this new school has been with the students in mind,” Brighton Principal Tom Sherwood said. “The physical, emotional and educational welfare of students will always be at the forefront of our decision making.” 

    Brighton High is among three CSD high schools to be rebuilt or remodeled starting this summer with funds from a $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017. The bond will also be used to rebuild three other schools and build one new elementary school in west Draper, as well as school improvement projects. 

    After opening its doors in 1969, Brighton is fast approaching its 50th birthday — but a lot has changed in 50 years. “When this school was built, the state-of-the-art technology was black and white TVs,” Sherwood said. MHTN Architects and builders from Hogan and Associates Construction will use modern techniques to build a new school that is equipped to educate students in a modern age. 

    The new home of the Bengals will be built in phases over three years, starting with construction of a new auditorium, arts and CTE program spaces, where the existing school sits. Throughout the project, workers will be “building a new school on top of the old school, while still having school,” said Canyons Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.

    Space is a premium on the campus, and there will be challenges during the build, most notably limited parking. But Wilcox said when the new school is completed, students and employees will have more parking space than they do now.

    Other design features include a line of sight down the hallways for administrators and capabilities to lock down classrooms with the push of a button, in case of emergency. The school will have large windows and skylights to bring natural light into the commons area and classrooms, with an emphasis on small-group collaboration. Efforts to preserve elements of Brighton’s history are under way, including circular design elements that harken back to the school’s beloved circular halls.  

    Individuals with ideas on the pieces of Brighton’s heritage they would like to save are invited to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their thoughts and contributions. So many people have fond memories of the school, said Canyons Board of Education 2nd Vice President Amber Shill. “My own family is very attached to this place. As the mother of four children who have graduated from here, or who will soon attend here, I feel privileged to take part in its future.”

    Over the past half-century, alumni of Brighton have gone on to be accomplished scholars, athletes, government and industry leaders, artists and contributors to their communities. Canyons School District Vice President Nancy Tingey told the crowd she’s confident many more will join them over the coming years. “With the rebuild of the school, future generations of students will build memories here, too. … Whether your children are involved in sports, whether they have an affinity or math or passion for science, they will find in this school a welcoming place to thrive.”

    Members of the community came to show support to the new school. Canyons Superintendent Dr. James Briscoe, Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor, as well as members Steve Wrigley, Clareen Arnold, Mont Millerberg, and Shill and Tingey, who represent the Brighton area and feeder schools, were there, as well as Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, Utah School Board member Katherine Riebe and members of the Canyons Education Foundation.

    “None of this would be possible without your support,” Shill told the audience gathered at the school. “This is possible because of those who had the vision to create this school district and the voters who showed confidence and trust in the Board of Education. This trust is not taken lightly.”

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  • Twenty-six more Canyons District athletes have been presented Academic All-State Awards this year for excelling in sports and in the classroom.

    The awards are announced each sports season by the Utah High School Activities Association with this latest round going to students involved in track and field, boys soccer, baseball, softball, girls golf and boys tennis. This brings to 65 the total number of CSD honorees in 2017-2018. 

    Congratulations to these sporting scholars:

    5A Boys Soccer, Combined GPA, 3.999
    David Brog, Brighton 
    Thatcher Schwendiman, Brighton 
    Jace Vance, Brighton

    5A Baseball, Combined GPA 3.994
    Zachary Larson, Brighton
    Matthew Ebeling, Corner Canyon
    Dalton Hagen, Corner Canyon

    5A Softball, Combined GPA 3.991
    Maguire Wright, Alta 
    Erin Christensen, Brighton 

    6A Girls Track and Field, Combined GPA 4.0
    Madison Hooper, Hillcrest 
    Madeline Martin, Hillcrest 
    Jessica Ulrich, Hillcrest 

    5A Girls Track and Field, Combined GPA 4.0
    Claudia Caten, Brighton 
    Emily Johansen, Brighton 
    Olivia Liu, Brighton
    Nicole Critchfield, Corner Canyon 
    Makenzie Easton, Corner Canyon 
    Raili Jenkins, Corner Canyon 
    Hannah Sanderson, Corner Canyon 
    Madison Westerlind, Corner Canyon 

    5A Boys Track and Field, Combined GPA, 4.0
    Aaron Jackson, Corner Canyon 
    Trevor Lawson, Corner Canyon 
    Michael Petty, Corner Canyon 

    5A Boys Tennis, 3.997 GPA
    Trek Lewis, Corner Canyon

    6A Girls Golf, 3.986 Combined GPA
    Jessica Ulrich, Hillcrest 

    5A Girls Golf, Combined GPA 3.990
    Mia Montgomery, Brighton 
    Katherine Pearson, Brighton
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