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Canyons District Schools Honor Valor, Strength of Community’s Veterans

Let freedom ring on Monday, Nov. 11, when the country will pause to honor the men and women who have fought to uphold and preserve America’s freedoms, traditions, and ideals.

Canyons District schools proudly join in this celebration of the community’s veterans.

On Friday, Nov. 8, Draper Park Middle and Eastmont middle schools hosted early morning events for active or veteran members of the U.S. Armed Forces. A photo album of Draper Park’s breakfast and patriotic program can be found on the District’s Facebook page

In addition, Butler Middle will continue its tradition of curating and displaying a Veterans Wall.  Several schools, including Alta High, on Monday will host assemblies featuring patriot songs and performances, and Alta View Elementary has invited Utah VFW’s Sr. Vice Commander Darryl J. Root to conduct a flag ceremony the morning of Veterans Day. 

Also, following a tradition in Canyons District, employees who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces will receive a letter of appreciation from the Canyons Board of Education and Administration. 

“You are a valued part of the Canyons District family, and we applaud you, as a current or former service member for your countless contributions at home and abroad.  We recognize that  your example of dedication and service enriches the educational experience in our schools. It is comforting to know that Canyons students are surrounded by patriotic women and men who have given so much of themselves in defense of our freedoms and rights, including a child’s right to an education,” reads the letter from the members of the Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe, and Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.

“From your example, students are learning the value of service to country and community. The lessons taught in our classrooms about America’s steadfast fight for liberty come to life in our students’ minds because of the valiant contributions of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard throughout the decades.”

Some 50 current CSD teachers, administrators and Education Support Professionals are current or former members of the military. A little more than 2 percent, or 110,000, of the country’s K-12 teachers are veterans, according to a recent analysis of Census Bureau data by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Everett Perry, an administrator in the Human Resources Department who served in the U.S. Navy and Marines, says he enlisted to “gain some discipline so I could get through my higher education.  I came out of the reserves with a bachelor’s degree in Health Education, advanced medical training, and strongly improved leadership skills.”

Service in the Army National Guard aided Hillcrest teacher Clief Castelton’s pursuit of higher education. “The knowledge I gained helped me later in completing my master’s degree,” Castleton says.  He added that, when appropriate, he ties in his service and what he learned during his time in the service to discussion sin the classroom. “I have used the military exams and skills to give examples of where math can be applied,” he said.

Brighton High physics teacher Janice Spencer-Wise, who served in Operation Deseret Storm as part of the U.S. Air Force Reserves, says her service gave her “respect of multiple perspectives, investment into this country, and that is continued by my investment into the future as a teacher.” 

The military is a viable career choice – not just a fall-back plan if post-secondary plans don’t pan out, says Brighton teacher Albert Spencer-Wise.  “The education benefits and the real-world skills developed are unique and cannot be found anywhere else,” he says.  “The brotherhood I have with veterans across the country is amazing and I know that no matter what, they will have my back if ever I have the need.”

South Park Academy Principal Todd Bird appreciates the Veterans Day celebrations in the schools, as well as the history lessons about the bravery of our troops.  Bird’s service in the U.S. Army National Guard helped finance his education to become an educator.

“I think it’s important for us to recognize those who fought to protect our freedom and help others around the world obtain and protect their freedoms,” he said. “I also think it’s important to recognize all those who willingly signed on the dotted line, that they would also give their lives to do the same. I will always be proud of my military brothers, and sisters for their willingness to serve.”

The freedoms and rights of the American people are precious, says Janice Spencer-Wise. The country, she says, “is not perfect but it cannot get better if we do not value and use the freedoms we have for the greater good.”

“It is important for us to remember that there are those who have given of themselves to protect those freedoms,” she said.  “Our democracy and ideals mean that if ‘we the people’ band together we can make changes. That is why we must celebrate Veterans Day,  we can’t forget.”

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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