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Getting Involved

Prisoners Provide Pumpkins For Jordan Valley School

The front lawn at Jordan Valley School on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 was dotted with hundreds of pumpkins that had been provided by the Utah State Prison for Canyons District’s school for students with severe disabilities. 

Students at Jordan Valley arrived to the sight of the pumpkin patch. Bundled in blankets and coats, the students spent the morning selecting the pumpkin that they could take home to carve or decorate.

The crisp morning air was filled with squeals of delight and laughter as the faculty and staff helped the students pick their pumpkins. Some students were guided hand-in-hand. Others were pushed in wheelchairs. All were thrilled at the chance to choose their own pumpkin from the colorful bunch, which were delivered Monday by corrections officers.

Each year, inmates at the prison plant, cultivate and harvest enough pumpkins to donate to Jordan Valley and other similar Salt Lake Valley schools.

“I think it’s a win-win situation in that the prisoners get to give back, and this is an opportunity for our students to come out and pick whichever pumpkin they want,” Mark Donnelly, Jordan Valley School principal, told the Deseret News. “They get excited, and it’s just another great opportunity for them to get that sensory input.”

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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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