Canyons District has announced the dates and times of its 2016 high school graduation ceremonies.

History also will be made this spring when Diamond Ridge High, Canyons' new alternative high, holds graduation ceremonies for the first time. The first cohort of students at Diamond Ridge, now housed at the Canyons Technical Education Center, 825 E. 9085 South, is made up of 16- to 18-year-old students who previously were seeking high school diplomas at Entrada, Canyons’ adult high school.

Alta High
— Thursday, June 2, 10 a.m., University of Utah Huntsman Center

Brighton High — Thursday, June 2, 2 p.m., Maverik Center

Corner Canyon High — Thursday, June 2, 1 p.m., University of Utah Huntsman Center

Hillcrest High — Thursday, June 2, 10 a.m., Maverik Center

Jordan High — Thursday, June 2, 6 p.m., Maverik Center

Diamond Ridge — Wednesday, June 1, 7 p.m., Board Room, CAB-East

South Park Academy — Wednesday, June 1, 8 a.m., Timpanogos Oquirrh

Entrada — Tuesday, June 28, 7 p.m., Mount Jordan Middle School

Jordan Valley — Thursday, May 26, 11 a.m., Jordan Valley School

For a group of students at Jordan High School, a broken drone on a desk is all it takes to cause a buzz of excitement and distraction.

Their passion is to make things, like the Jeopardy-style buzzer with LED lights and 99.99 percent accuracy they made for their English teacher and a host of other computer programs and robots they’ve tinkered with since childhood. They dream of creating liquid superconductors and sending satellites into space, but until recently, their opportunities to learn about such things at school were limited.

That’s why Boyd Christiansen, a junior at Jordan High, asked his mathematics teacher, Cameo Lutz, to help him form an after school “makers” club. Through Lutz, Christiansen applied for — and received — a Canyons Education Foundation Innovation Grant for $8,668 to pay for technology and robotics materials the students could use. Then, after the 16 year old and his friends generated so much interest in the makers club they sometimes met past midnight to accommodate everyone’s schedules, Jordan Principal Tom Sherwood decided to turn the project into a class: the Maker Collective. Christiansen and his friends are the teachers; Lutz is an advisor.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever had kids that were this self-motivated before, to seek after a learning experience like they have,” Sherwood said of the group. “It’s an altruistic approach to expanding the collective knowledge of our community, and it’s fantastic. It’s almost like the foundation of what schools should really be, where students are pursuing their passions in a meaningful way and helping each other gain understanding.”

Sherwood directed some of the school’s resources toward supporting the class, which had space for 24 students, even though more than 30 applied to participate. Students who weren’t admitted into the class can attend the after school program, where members of the Maker Collective will share what they have learned.

Christiansen’s application to receive a Canyons Education Foundation Innovation Grant was his first attempt to obtain funding for a project. The Foundation distributed $113,000 in grants in November to 25 teachers who proposed innovative and enriching ideas to support excellence in their classrooms. The grants are made possible by donations from members of the community who wish to further Canyons District’s mission to help every student become college-and career-ready. To the end of raising money to support students with extra funds, the Foundation is hosting a Spring Gala at Corner Canyon High on April 28 at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the event, click here.

Christiansen and his classmates are already applying for more grants from other sources with the hope of purchasing a 3-D printer to aid their projects.

“Boyd has a saying that totally suits him — he says, ‘Don’t ask, don’t get,' " said Christiansen’s fellow student, Topher Johnson, who helped form the class. "Boyd’s like, ‘If I want to do something cool, the worst thing I can do is ask and they say no.’ ”  

The students plan to explore concepts in engineering, work together, fix that broken drone they’ve agreed to repair for another teacher and create a special space in Jordan High where maker kids can build and create to their hearts’ content. They’ve got big dreams and a lot of potential, Christiansen says as he eyes the drone on his teacher's desk. Then he adds, “Hopefully, everything works out and nothing blows up.”

In recognition for their pursuit of excellence in scholarship, leadership and citizenship, 22 Canyons District students have been named as finalists in the 2016 Sterling Scholar competition. The final interviews were Tuesday at Corner Canyon High.

In addition to public recognition, many of these outstanding high school seniors will receive cash scholarships and tuition waivers from area colleges and universities. Good luck to these exemplary students:

Business & Marketing

Jared Sagae, Corner Canyon High

Wylie Kimball, Jordan High

Brooke Ricks, Brighton High

Computer Technology

Jacob Williams, Hillcrest High

Joseph Hawkins, Alta High


Amber Lelegren, Alta High


Madelyn O'Farrell, Corner Canyon High

Helen Schroeder, Hillcrest High

Family & Consumer Studies

Hannah Caplin, Corner Canyon High

Kimberly Fenstermaker, Hillcrest High

Instrumental Music

Katie Ann Powell, Hillcrest High


Jake Perry, Corner Canyon High

Anthony Cheng, Hillcrest High


Nityam Rathi, Hillcrest High

Skilled Technical Sciences Education

Sadie Lee Chidester, Corner Canyon High

Dale Schlachter, Hillcrest High

Social Science

Sophie Will, Corner Canyon High

Speech, Theater Arts, Forensics

Ian Buckley, Hillcrest High

Vocal Performance

Alexandra Palmer, Hillcrest High

Abigail Fryer, Brighton High

World Languages

Camden Seeborg, Corner Canyon High

Madeline Talbot, Hillcrest High

Eleven Canyons students have been chosen by the Utah High School Activities Association to receive Academic All-State Awards for excelling in athletics and the classroom. Winners of the prestigious award were selected from a pool of 85,000 athletes statewide and have an average GPA of 3.993. 

Each of the District's high schools are represented. These exemplary students are proof that it's possible to successfully balance the demands of athletics and academics—and come out a winner.

Boys Basketball

Thomas Dickey, Jordan High

Girls Basketball

Abigail T. Anderson, Alta High

Jessica L. Anderson, Alta High

Avery M. Hoopes, Alta High

Girls Swimming

Rachel M. Madsen, Corner Canyon High

Caroline Young, Hillcrest High

Boys Swimming

Luke M. Brockbank, Jordan High

Jacob Elias DeBry, Alta High

Drill Team

Riley Anne Hanson, Brighton High


Rhett Olson Bonner, Jordan High

Chandler S. Pond, Jordan High

Canyons School District is home to four five-star schools — with five-star fans.

Brighton, Hillcrest, Jordan and Alta high schools have received FIVE STAR Sportsmanship honors as part of the Utah High School Activities Association’s “Raise-the-Bar: Sportsmanship Matters” program. The program recognizes schools’ continued successful efforts to exhibit sportsmanship in the stands by embracing the values of personal responsibility, honesty, integrity, leadership, respect and teamwork when cheering for the home team.

CSD schools have made a concerted effort to promote sportsmanship among spectators as part of the districtwide implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle, who oversees CSD schools.

“Canyons District holds the UHSAA’s FIVE STAR award in high esteem, and we thank the UHSAA for recognizing sportsmanship efforts in the Brighton, Jordan and Hillcrest communities,” Dr. Dowdle said. “We’re proud of the schools for their continued focus on positive behaviors in all aspects of the educational experience, and are especially proud of the students for choosing to be positive spectators and supporters of the home team. Their behavior truly helps to create a safe and welcoming place for peers and all those who visit our campuses.”

Under the program, schools apply to earn one star each year for exemplary sportsmanship. Applications are reviewed by the UHSAA’s Sportsmanship Committee, which determines whether schools meet specific sportsmanship criteria. Earned stars are placed on the school’s sportsmanship banner, which is displayed in the school.

The program, now in its fifth year, is part of the UHSAA’s efforts to focus on new ways to improve sportsmanship at competitive events statewide, including the Dare2Lead Student Leadership Conference and the policy, “’Do Rowdy Right’ — Cheer for Your Team and NOT Against Your Opponent.”
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