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Bonus Episode 74: From Sidelines to Super Bowl: New CSD Coaches Predict Winner of Sunday’s Big Game

Few other events bring the country together like the Super Bowl.  This year’s gridiron battle, which includes a graduate of a Canyons District high school, has the star power to best last year’s viewing audience of 115 million. 

Whether you’re a San Francisco 49ers or Kansas City Chiefs fan, plan to attend a party for the snacks, or tune in only for the advertisements or the halftime show, the Super Bowl is a uniquely American tradition that for some borders on a national holiday.

In a bonus edition of the Connect Canyons podcast, CSD Superintendent Dr. Robins, a former Southern Utah University Hall of Fame quarterback, as well as two of Canyons’ newest head football coaches, Jordan High’s Marc Albertson and Alta High’s Blake Burdette, predict a winner of Sunday’s game — and talk about how learning to be a part of a team is a life skill that will help students in all parts of their lives. 

As Canyons coaches, Burdette and Albertson are looking forward to watching several players and coaches who have Utah ties, such as Brighton High graduate Alex Whittingham, who is now a defensive coach for the Chiefs.

“I was up at the University of Utah with Fred Whittingham and then Kyle Whittingham,” Burdette said. “I had the chance to meet Alex, and he has a bright future. It’s awesome for the state of Utah to have that connection, and what a fun thing for that family to be able to have. Who knows, maybe there’s a fourth Whittingham down the road after Alex.”

Albertson and Burdette join Superintendent Robins in recalling with fondness the coaches who mentored them as they learned the game. “Over my playing career, I really admired my coaches,” says Robins, “because they were great teachers and I always felt like they really understood me and understood how to get the most out of me as an athlete.”

The coaches also hope their approach to coaching helps their players progress, not only as athletes but as human beings.

“Showing people you care about them in the classroom, learning who kids are and their learning styles and what makes them tick, it makes teaching a lot more fun because you get to cater all of these lessons to who these individual kids are and the same goes for the football field,” Albertson said.  

Burdette points to a saying he says some may consider a cliché but has a lot of truth to it:  “Kids don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care … I think at this age in coaching high school football, even coaching in the collegiate level, you have all the knowledge you want and unless you’re getting everyone to go in the same direction, then you’re not going to be successful,” he said.

Robins reflects on returning from the pandemic and the loneliness it brought a lot of people. “Now, more than ever, we need those guiding principles and I think football is one of those sports where if you work hard at it, you can really be a part of something special.”

While Friday Night Lights feature the football team, it’s not just about what is happening on the field, the coaches said. “When I look at Friday nights,” Burdette says, “football may be the main event, the main dish, but we have the band, the cheerleaders, drill team, students, and it’s not just for football. We have to work as a community, all together, to have the experience for everyone.”

“We are one community,” agrees Albertson, “we are one legacy that we’re trying to build upon. Being at Jordan, having a school which has been around for almost 120 years, you know there’s a lot of legacy and a lot of things that our kids can build upon to help create that positive community. Whether that’s later down the road, or in their communities and families right now.”

As for this year’s Super Bowl, Robins, a Las Vegas Raiders fan, says even though the game is being held in his favorite team’s stadium, he’s looking forward to a tough matchup between the Chiefs and the Niners.

“Football is such a cultural thing,” says Robins. “It brings us all together and I hope no matter what happens, no matter where you are or what your walk of life is, I hope everyone will just take a minute to connect with those they love. Tell them you love them and maybe give them an extra hug. Enjoy the game, enjoy the food, it’s a couple of hours for us all to unwind and enjoy a little bit of Americana.”

Albertson and Burdette say there is another factor of this year’s game that has brought their families closer together — Taylor Swift.

“My kids are starting to love football now because they see people they recognize,” says Albertson. “So, it’s going to be really fun to have my own little Hayden Panettiere from ‘Remember the Titans’ sitting next to me, watching football with me, and actually learning and understanding what I do as part of my job.”

Burdette’s daughter even reminded him of “Taylor Math,” educating him about the number 13, which is known to be Swift’s favorite number, and how many ways it can be applied to this year’s Super Bowl.  For example:  The date of the Super Bowl is 2/11 — or two plus 11 equals 13. Four plus nine — the name of the 49ers — is 13, as well.  

“My daughters would never sit and watch football with me until this year,” he says. “They’ll ask, ‘Is Travis Kelce playing?’ It’s fun to make that connection because football and sports have been such a big part of my life, and I love that my daughters, who are both in theater, are enjoying it now too.”

For some, the MVP is not on the screen, but on the table. Canyons District’s Nutritional Services Department has a few tasty recommendations to help fill out your Super Bowl spread in a healthy way. Dietitians from CSD Nutrition Services say healthy and tasty recipes can be found on several websites.  If you’re still looking for items to fill out your Super Bowl party menu, you can find 17 three-step recipes here.  

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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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