An impressive line-up of dignitaries — including city leaders and local clergy — came to Wednesday’s groundbreaking for the largest renovation and expansion project in Alta View Hospital’s history.

But the honor of wielding the golden-tipped shovels went to a group of built-to-order bots designed by area high school students, including members of the robotics clubs at Alta, Brighton and Jordan. And, not surprisingly, it was the robots who stole the show as they wheeled down the red carpet, took their assigned places and, on the count of three, turned the first ceremonial shovels of dirt. altabot.jpg

Alta View CEO Bryan Johnson issued the design challenge to symbolize Alta View’s commitment to using technology to improve the patient experience and serve the Sandy community. Innovation in health care, he said, means drawing on the best minds, “skills and creativity of those around us.”

Students had just two weeks to design, build and test their mechanized earth movers. Each had its own flare and features, from the sleek physique of Alta’s bulldozer bot to Jordan High’s menacing serrated “root ripper.” Brighton’s digitized digger was equipped with powerful pneumatic arms. And a digger-dump-truck combo from the neighboring private school, Juan Diego had the advantage of being able to clean up after itself. But all the students’ hard work paid off as the robots performed on cue and with hardly a glitch.

After the event, students were treated to a tour of Alta View’s technology department, and the hospital put $3,500 toward each school's robotics program to propel the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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

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