School assemblies can sometimes get a little noisy, but when Dovie Thomason, a Kiowa-Apache storyteller, started talking to the students in Hillcrest’s auditorium on a recent Wednesday, you could have heard a pin drop.

The students were mesmerized by Thomason’s performance, which took place as part of the Center for Documentary Expression and Art’s month-long education outreach program at Hillcrest. The program, called, “Sacred Images: A Vision of Native American Rock Art,” began with a weeklong workshop in making murals and storytelling. Thomason shared her experiences in individual ninth-grade geography and English classes throughout the week, then took the stage to captivate her audience at the assembly. 

“We all have stories we don’t want to tell,” Thomason told the audience, “but we need to.”

In her story, Thomason described the movement to “educate” Native American children in the late 1800s by sending them to boarding schools and stripping them of their culture. Thomason talked about visiting the former grounds of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania with her daughter, telling her of the abuse, sickness and cultural annihilation that occurred there. The children who were sent to the school were punished for speaking their native language, Thomason told the crowd, and their personal belongings, including heirloom blankets and traditional clothing, was destroyed. Years later, when the children were released, they no longer spoke, or acted, or thought like their parents, Thomason said.

“With fire you can make the day longer — with light you can do powerful things that humans can do,” Thomason told the students. “We can use this history lesson as fuel. We can use this to light our way. … I want better for my daughter. For each of you, I want something better than survival, and for that we have to use our history as fuel.”

Thomason has been featured at the National Museum of the American Indian, the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Museum and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in England. She has also voiced narrations for the BBC, NPR, PBS and the National Parks Service. She visited Hillcrest as part of the Center for Documentary Expression and Art’s artists and scholars-in-residence program.

The program, with financial support from various community resources, began with a day-long field trip to Nine Mile Canyon, where students examined ancient rock art and petroglyphs.

“We come from a complex place, and it was complex long ago,” Leslie Kelen, Executive Director for the Center for Documentary Expression and Art said as he explained the purpose of the field trip. “How do you begin to get a sense of the place we live in? This is all about that. In a lot of ways, what we do is about a connecting of worlds.”

A group of 15 students will take their impressions from the canyon and create a mural of their own, to be presented in November during Native American Month. So far, the students are still developing the theme for their mural — but it might have something to do with the future, said Jennifer Lopez, a senior working on the project who was inspired by the longevity of the petroglyphs.

“I thought it was interesting,” Lopez said. “It’s amazing that it’s still there, and it’s been a really long time. It just tells us about our past.”

Photos by Kent Miles, courtesy CDEA
“The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.” – Thomas Carlyle

On National Custodial Workers Recognition Day Oct. 2, 2014, Canyons School District wishes to honor the men and women who work behind the scenes to provide students and employees with a clean and safe learning and working environment.

Thank you to all 708 Canyons custodians and custodial support staff, who dedicate their workdays to maintaining CSD schools, offices, and campuses. Custodial workers’ efforts truly are critical to the District’s daily operations -- and certainly have not gone unnoticed. The Board of Education in 2011 provided its highest honors to one custodian: Vo Lam of Sandy Elementary. Lam has worked nearly 30 years in custodial services, starting as a school sweeper. For his outstanding service and dedication, Lam received the Board’s Apex Award for Education Support Professional of the Year.
In the same halls roamed by Star Wars' R2D2 and The Incredible Hulk rolled a droid designed by the Hillcrest Robotics Team.

HARV-E, the creation of Husky Robotics, participated in the Kid Con portion of the acclaimed Sept. 4-6 event, which drew hundreds of thousands of costumed visitors to marvel in all things sci-fi – and was the first Comic Con in the country to involve FIRST Robotics students. There, about 20 Hillcrest students drove robot HARV-E to perform exhibitions. Students commanded HARV-E to kick and throw giant balls down a court at the event to the delight of throngs of cheering spectators – and even got the Utah Jazz Bear and "Mythbusters" TV star Grant Imahara into the act.

Robotics is part of CSD's STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) initiative, aimed at preparing students for success in college and the jobs of the future. To donate to STEAM or get involved in FIRST Robotics, visit
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 00:00

Headlines Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

Around Canyons
Willow Springs students 'take to the streets'

Corner Canyon hosts instrumental concerts

New U. center focuses on integrating arts in other curriculum areas (story written by Board Member Kim Horiuchi)

Football: DNews posts Brighton v. Bingham photo gallery

Utah seeks ways to end intergenerational poverty in education, health

Granite District reaches settlement with family of boy who shot self outside the school amid allegations of bullying

Davis District: SAGE results will feel like a 'gut punch'

Lawmaker wants to require high school students to register to vote

Two-thirds of nation's superintendents support developing common testing tools

Canyons District on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 started accepting applications to its Dual Language Immersion Programs for the 2015-2016 school year.

The deadline to submit an application is Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014.

In addition, parents and guardians who have questions about the programs are invited to attend a Parent Information Night on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 at the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East. The event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in the CSSC’s Professional Development Center. 

CSD is home to eight elementary Dual Language Immersion Programs: Mandarin Chinese-English programs are at DraperLone Peak and Ridgecrest elementary schools; French-English programs are at Butler and Oak Hollow elementary schools; and Spanish-English classes are taught at Alta ViewSilver Mesa and Midvale elementary schools.

All programs except for the Midvale program are for students entering first grade for the 2015-2016 school year. The Midvale Spanish-English dual-language immersion program is for students entering kindergarten for the 2015-2016 school year.

A lottery will be held to determine entrance into the programs if the number of applications is greater than the number of space available in the classes.

Questions? Call the CSD Evidence-Based Learning Department at 801-826-5045.

The Board of Education is continuing its momentum on a series of building projects made possible by a $250 million bond that voters approved in 2010.

Five of the bond projects remain. They are:

• Mount Jordan Middle rebuild, underway now and scheduled for completion in fall 2015
• Butler Elementary rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2016 under a new, expedited schedule approved by the Board
• Midvale Middle rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2017
• A White City area elementary rebuild, scheduled for completion in fall 2017 under a new, expedited schedule approved by the Board
• Indian Hills renovation, scheduled for completion in fall 2018

In an Aug. 5, 2014 Board of Education meeting, President Sherril Taylor said the Board has worked hard to keep its word on the bond projects placed before voters prior to the June 2010 bond election.

The completed projects made possible by bond proceeds are:

• Corner Canyon High School: Fall 2013
• Upgrades at Brighton and Hillcrest high schools to accommodate ninth-graders: Fall 2013
• Rebuilt Butler Middle School: Fall 2013
• Rebuilt Draper Park Middle School (formerly Crescent View Middle School): Fall 2013
• Rebuilt Midvale Elementary: Fall 2012
• Refurbish Albion Middle School: Fall 2012
• Seismic upgrades at Sandy Elementary: Fall 2011

Also underway in fall 2014 is construction of a Brighton High dedicated soccer field, located in front of Butler Middle School. The field will be one of the only stadiums created for high school soccer in the state of Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. The stadium will have two sets of bleachers and accommodate 300-350 spectators. It also will include a concessions area, small team rooms and storage. The stadium was designed following extensive input from the community.