Two electric Canyons athletes have shown on the playing field they know how to win from within. And now Brighton High volleyball phenom Dani Barton and Alta High football standout Josh Davis have been selected by sports-drink giant Gatorade as the Utah Players of the Year in their respective sports. 

Davis, who is mulling scholarship offers from Air Force, Army, Weber State, Southern Utah and others, was presented with the Utah Gatorade Football Player of the Year award at a Hawk home basketball game on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Barton, also a member of the 2015 5A state championship girls hoops team, received her accolades shortly after the Bengals’ fifth-place finish at the Utah High School Activities Association’s 5A tournament.

The Canyons Board of Education honored the dynamic duo for their achievements at a Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 meeting. Bottles of Gatorade in Alta’s and Brighton’s school colors were handed out to the folks in the audience. 

It’s not hyperbole to say Davis and Barton are among the most talented athletes to serve an ace or score a touchdown on Canyons’ athletic fields.  Here’s what Brighton High coach Adam Fernandez told the Deseret News about Barton’s athletic prowess:  “She’s the best female athlete in the state, hands down.  You could give her a ping-pong paddle, and next year she could be your state champ.”

Indeed, Barton’s raw athleticism was apparent in more than one sport. She helped the Bengals win the hoops title as a sophomore, and made the state finals of the 100-meter and 400-meter dash on her first try running track as a junior. She comes from a long line of accomplished athletes: Two of her brothers play college football; her mother, Mikki Kane-Barton is a member of the U.’s Crimson Club Hall of Fame; and her father, Paul Barton played football and baseball at the U.

But inborn talent is nothing without discipline. What sets Barton apart from other outside hitters is her internal drive to improve and her never-quit attitude on the court, says Fernandez who had his eye on Barton from the time she attended the school’s volleyball camp in seventh grade, when she was already playing as well as his varsity team members. She didn’t let her coach down. Barton finished the volleyball season with 418 kills and 71 blocks. She led her team in digs and landed 91 percent of her serves. She is ranked No. 4 in Utah for her accomplishments.

“What I love most about volleyball is it’s more of a mental game,” Barton told Adam Mikulich at KUTV as she was highlighted as the Prep of the Week. “It tests your mental toughness, and I just love being on the team.”

Now, Barton, who graduated from Brighton early to get a jump-start  at the University of Utah, has her eye on her next goal: competing in beach volleyball, which is a sport the U. is adding to its roster in the spring. Of course Barton plans to win, but her dreams go even farther than that. She wants to win at the Olympics. She wants to win at the Olympics. Barton has maintained a 3.70 GPA and has volunteered on behalf of her church and for youth volleyball camps. 

Like Barton, Davis was his school’s go-to guy for leadership. He scored 72 touchdowns and he earned 5,290 rushing yards as a Hawk.  Davis also has been credited with helping to revive Alta’s storied football program, and push his team to the Class 4A semifinals this year. He scored 28 touchdowns in his senior year and finished the season with 2,645 yards, breaking the state single-season record for all-purpose yards and averaging 203.5 yards per game. Davis is so fast he even qualified for the finals of the 100-meter dash at the state track and field championships last spring.

Davis is also a dedicated student, with a GPA of 3.86, and he spends his time volunteering in the community and helping in a retirement home.

Davis is the third Gatorade Utah Football Player of the year to be chosen from Alta in 32 years. Previous winners from Canyons District include Brighton’s Simi Fehoko, who won the 2015-2016 award, and Jordan’s Austin Kafentzis, who won in 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.  Jordan High slugger Colton Shaver won the state award in 2014, the year the ‘Diggers won the 5A state title. 

The coveted Gatorade title is one of many claimed by Davis over the years. The 6-foot, 170-pound running back is a two-time pick for KSL-TV Game Night 4A MVP. This year, he was named to The Tribune’s All-State Team and was dubbed an MVP by the Deseret News. If that wasn’t enough, Davis was hand-picked for the USA TODAY High School Sports' 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Utah Football Team.

While Barton has already committed to the U., Davis plans to make his NCAA selection public at a Feb. 1 National Signing Day breakfast ceremony at Alta High.

Photos: Courtesy of The Salt Lake Tribune.
Camden Seeborg was five minutes late to German class at Corner Canyon when he found out that he received a perfect 36 on the ACT. He walked into the room, glancing at his phone as he opened the door, and gasped out loud as he saw his score.

Luckily, his teacher forgave him for the disruption when she found out the reason for his exclamation. Seeborg is the first Charger to receive a perfect score on the ACT since the school opened in 2013. 

“It was probably one of the happiest moments in my life, really, learning that I got a 36 — a perfect score,” Seeborg said.

This is the second time Seeborg, a senior, has taken the ACT. The first time he took the test, he was a junior who completely forgot it was test day — and he still scored a 34. According to the national ACT organization, which oversees the standardized test, less than 1 percent of students across the country scored above 33 in the in 2014.

How did he do it? Old-fashioned hard work and a well-rounded education, the Charger says.

“I have always prepared rigorously at school,” Seeborg says. “I’ve always done my work. That’s a big part. You just have to apply yourself and then you’ll be ready.”

Seeborg didn’t take any special preparation courses to prepare for the test, but he did take multiple AP tests and other advanced learning courses throughout his schooling. As a middle school student at Midvale Middle, Seeborg convinced his teachers to let him take Spanish and French at the same time. Now he speaks English, French and Spanish fluently, and he’s taking AP German and AP Chinese — all while serving as the vice president of the French club and Gay Straight Alliance, a new student club aimed at reducing bullying and offering support for fellow students.

Seeborg hopes his language skills and smarts will help him land a job as a diplomat or with the State Department some day.

“I’d love to be a translator at the U.N. in New York or possibly with the (European Union),” Seeborg says. “If I could be an ambassador under a future president of the United States, that would be a dream come true.”
Note: To listen to the Board's discussion, please visit BoardDocs and select the agenda item of interest.
Bond Issuance Resolution
The Board of Education approved a resolution allowing the District to issue up to $60 million in bonds. When issued, the funds will go toward “acquiring land; acquiring, constructing, furnishing and equipping new school facilities; and renovating and improving existing facilities and to pay expenses reasonably incurred in connection with the acquisition and construction of said improvements and the authorization and issuance of the Bonds,” according to the resolution. The bond issuance is part of the $250 million general obligation bond that Canyons voters approved in 2010 to build new schools and renovate, improve or rebuild aging schools. The Board has previously authorized the issuance of $148 million of the voter-approved bond amount.

Future Bond Proposal Discussion

Board member Robert Green led a discussion on the establishment of a 5- to 10-year plan for upgrading facilities. Safety and academic and administrative needs should be taken into consideration while building this plan, he said. He suggested the Board start working on a plan this school year. He’d like to spend time gathering input and prioritizing any projects that could be funded by a potential new bond. Board member Chad Iverson warned the Board that a bond proposal would be a tough sell and wondered if it’s too early to start talking about another bond.

Academic Goals

Green urged the Board to begin discussing specific student achievement goals for the District. He would like to see the Board establish a percentage-increase target in science, mathematics, English and reading. Green also urged the Board to begin talking about setting a goal for the number of students who take and pass Advanced Placement exams. Iverson said that, with input from the Administration, the Board should set three to five academic goals that are attainable. Superintendent Rhode said she would continue discussing this issue with Board members and staff.  

Grade Reconfiguration Update

Interim Superintendent Rhode updated the Board on the plans to reconfigure grades in Canyons District. Rhode told the Board the District had sent to parents and students transportation information. In the mailer, they were told whether they received bus service, and, if so, the bus number, location of the bus stop and the pick-up and drop-off times.  She also said postcards had been mailed to families in Draper Park and Mount Jordan communities to alert them to their new locations.  She said online registration was continuing smoothly, teachers’ books and equipment had been moved to their new schools and the Human Resources Department was completing the hiring for the upcoming year. As of Tuesday, there were only five secondary openings and six elementary openings.

First-Day of School Activities

Assistant Superintendent Kathryn McCarrie said the District had planned orientations Aug. 15-16 for students who are attending middle school and high school for the first time in the 2013-2014 school year. This year, sixth- and seventh-grade students in the middle schools and ninth- and 10th-grade students in the high schools will be new to their respective schools. This is a result of the District-wide grade reconfiguration, which is a key part of CSD’s Board of Education approved academic plan. Starting on Aug. 19, 2013, high schools will serve students in grades 9-12, middle schools will be home to grades 6-8, and elementary schools will educate grade K-5 students. Communications Officer Jeff Haney said that a Back-to-School Call Center already has started for patrons who have questions, and red carpet events being planned for the first day of school.  Pencils with the Canyons District logo also will be given to some students as they arrive at school.
Athletic Compliance Update
Jamal Willis, the District’s new Coordinator of Athletic and Fundraising Raising Compliance, said his role will be to help schools remain compliant with the regulations of the Utah High School Activities Association. He said his office will provide training to athletic directors, coaches, and student athletes on applicable state and federal laws and District policies governing civil rights, bullying, harassment, discrimination, misconduct and hazing. Willis also told the Board he will work collaboratively with high school administrators, athletic directors, the Canyons Education Foundation and the Chief Financial Officer/Business Administrator to make sure high schools are complying with laws, rules, and policies regarding school-based and booster-club fundraising efforts.  His office also will provide annual training to ensure ongoing compliance.  The Board also urged Willis and McCarrie to look into making sure school logos aren’t being misused by private groups.
Construction Update
All projects that crews had been working for the upcoming school year have been completed or substantially completed in time for the start of school, said Facilities Director Rick Conger. Conger said the District has either received or expects to receive certificates of occupancy at Canyons’ new schools — Corner Canyon High and Draper Park and Butler middle schools. Draper Park, however, won’t be completely finished by the time school starts. Work still needs to be completed on the auditorium, wood shop and playfields. Furthermore, the new parking lot at Butler, where the old building was built, won’t be ready until later this fall.  Conger told the Board the additions at Brighton and Hillcrest high schools will be ready for the start of school on Aug. 19. Conger also updated the Board on the demolition of Mount Jordan, expected to start in September. Construction on the new Mount Jordan is slated to start in February or March 2014.  Scheduled completion is June 1, 2015.
Anti-Discrimination Policy Update

Jeffrey K. Christensen, Policy and Research Coordinator, gave an update on the work done by the District’s Anti-Discrimination Policy Task Force, which was created last year to review District policies governing discrimination and harassment. The task force will continue its work in the coming school year. The Task Force will bring recommendations to the Board as they are completed.
Superintendent Search

Board member Kim Horiuchi discussed the progress made in finding a consultant to assist in the search for a new superintendent. The deadline for the request for proposals from consultants who have experience in conducting national searches has been extended two weeks. She said the Board still plans to name a search consultant in September and begin the public-input process on the characteristics the CSD community would like to see in a new leader.  Throughout October meetings will be held to receive comments from parents, patrons, students and employees. The information gathered during this process will influence the job description, to be published in January 2014.  The Board will then interview a pool of finalists. The Board plans to appoint the successful candidate at the first meeting in March.  Dr. Ginger Rhode is acting as the Interim Superintendent. Dr. David Doty, Canyons’ first superintendent, resigned in April to become the leader of an education-reform firm.
Board Action
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the June 18 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Board Hires and Terminations; June Financial Reports; a Home School Affidavit; the approval of a 700 East right-of-way memorandum; the purchase of two building lots for CTEC’s Home Building Program; and the adoption of a resolution allowing the District to issue $60 million in general obligation bonds.  The Board also approved student overnight travel for Hillcrest’s Shakespeare team and Hillcrest’s music department.  The Board also voted to modify the terms of a student appeal.   
Superintendent’s Report
Dr. Rhode reported on the professional development that has been provided to teachers and administrators. In addition, she said more than 200 administrators attended the fourth annual Leadership Conference, where the featured presenter was Dr. Randy Sprick, director of Teaching Strategies, Inc. and lead consultant for Safe and Civil Schools. The focus of the day was Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports.  She also updated the Board on the District’s efforts to provide short- and long-term housing in the community for foreign Dual-Immersion Language Program teachers.  She thanked Susan Edwards, Community Engagement Coordinator, for her work finding community housing for the educators.
Board Reports
Green participated in the Healthy Lifestyles Day with District administrators, and said it was fun to socialize with the employees and enjoy a day of bowling.  He and 2nd Vice President Nancy Tingey met with the science and math teams in the Evidence-Based Learning Department, and he said he’s excited for the progress the District is making in science, technology, engineering and math.
Kim Horiuchi entered the Butlerville Days parade and heard many people along the parade route thank the District for building the new Butler Middle School.  She saw a lot of familiar faces in the Cottonwood Heights production of “The Music Man,” and reflected on the talent in the community, particularly the students.  She’s looking forward to attending next week’s ribbon-cutting events at Corner Canyon High, Draper Park and Butler middle school. She thanked voters for approving the 2010 bond that is allowing the District to build and renovate schools.
Nancy Tingey, who reported on tours of the new Draper Park Middle and Corner Canyon High schools, thanked the administration for welcoming her at the Aug. 1-2 Leadership Conference. She also attended a conference about School Trust Lands that she found very instructive. Tingey reflected on the start of school, saying that it seemed like a “magical time” in the history of Canyons, with the opening of new schools, and the implementation of grade reconfiguration and new boundaries.  She wished everyone a very happy and productive start to the school year.
Vice President Steve Wrigley enjoyed the Leadership Conference and appreciates the focus on behavior management. He said the new schools are aesthetically pleasing, conducive to learning, and energy efficient.  Wrigley said Canyons communities are growing excited for the new schools.
Iverson expressed thanks for the back-to-school events, especially the Middle School Orientations, which his sixth-grade daughter will attend.
President Sherril Taylor thanked the administration and staff for their hard work preparing for the 2013-2014 school year.
Closed Session

The Board met in Closed Session for the purpose of discussing collective bargaining; the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual; and the purchase, exchange or lease of real property.
Three Canyons District students are in the running to win a $1,000 cash prize in Zions Bank’s “Financialize a Film” video contest, which promotes making good financial choices.
Videos by Mount Jordan students Heather Repp and Rachel Cowdell and Hillcrest student Aaron Hsu are posted on Facebook for a public vote. The films will compete with 13 other submissions from Utah middle and high school students. Finalists were chosen from a pool of nearly 70 entries.
The 60-second video by Repp and Cowdell, called “Why Should We Use Banks,” uses a purse thief to disprove one student’s theory that she should keep her money with her instead of depositing it at a bank. Hsu’s 60-second video shows an older brother introducing the concept of saving to a younger sibling after the two find a penny on the sidewalk. The name of the video is “Saving Every Penny.”
The makers of the film that receives the most votes will win the $1,000 cash prize, plus a $1,000 matching award for their school. Second- and third-place winners will receive $500 and $250, respectively, plus matching awards for their schools.
Voting is open through March 31. Winners will be announced the week of April 8.
The Canyons Board of Education is pleased to announce two administrative appointments. The Board voted unanimously for the appointments on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.
  • Corrie Barrett is interim principal of Oak Hollow Elementary School.
  • Justin Matagi is the new assistant principal at Alta High School.
Barrett has been working as an assistant principal at Alta High School, and previously worked as assistant principal of Butler Middle School. Barrett will replace Trenton Goble, who resigned to pursue other career opportunities.

Matagi, who works as a hearing officer in the District Office of Civil Rights and Accommodations and previously worked as an intern assistant principal at Hillcrest High School, will replace Barrett as assistant principal at Alta High.