Glacier Hills Elementary Cheers Opening for Inaugural Year

Shortly after hugging the fuzzy Blizzard the Yeti mascot after his debut, watching her staff enthusiastically sing their new school song, delivering a speech in an unplanned rainstorm, getting covered in white fake snow, and greeting hundreds of young students, community members and local dignitaries, Julie Winfree took a deep breath while soaking it all in.

For a year and a half, the first-ever Glacier Hills Elementary principal has been going nonstop, planning and overseeing the construction of the new White City-area school and preparing to blend the student bodies from the old Edgemont and Bell View elementary schools.

“I’m actually a little overwhelmed but giddy,” Winfree said, beaming with pride in the gorgeous entryway of the arctic-themed school. “I’m just so excited for this community and these kids.”

Judging by the big turnout, the feeling is mutual.

“Can you believe this day has finally arrived?” Board Co-Vice President Steve Wrigley said during his remarks to the large crowd. “It’s an honor to be with you today — to showcase this beautiful new school where former Mustangs (Bell View) and Eagles (Edgemont) will come together into one big Yeti family.”

While Winfree had excitedly anticipated this moment for quite some time, she’s even more excited for Monday, Aug. 15, when the school officially opens along with the rest of Canyons School District, which will enter its 14th school year in operation.

“It is wonderful. I’m super happy,” she said. “I can’t wait until we open.”

Winfree and District officials offered public gratitude to the MHTN architecture team, Hogan Construction and CSD’s facilities crew for the extraordinary work they did during the pandemic and supply-chain difficulties to get this building ready enough to host students on the first day of the 2022-2023 school year.

Isaac Hennefer, a fifth-grader and member of the Glacier Hills Student Council, was among the many people oohing and aahing at the state-of-the-art elementary school, which is as practical and functional as it is beautiful. Glacier Hills is the 18th major renovation or construction project completed by Canyons since it became the first new school district to be created in Utah in nearly a century.

“I really like the school. It’s really big. It looks more like a high school than it does an elementary school,” he said while taking a short break from guiding students to their classrooms during the open house. “It’s really high tech and I’m really excited to be in it and walk around and actually do stuff.”

Another student marveled out loud about the cafeteria, which includes a gymnasium and a stage and will be used as a theater classroom. Students all received fun Yeti T-shirts, by the way.

“Whoa!” she exclaimed. “It’s enormous!”

Meeting Blizzard the Yeti and the campus tours were definite highlights of Thursday’s festivities. The crowd also roared in approval of the exuberant performance by the Glacier Hills staff and teachers. The spunky and catchy tune and lyrics were written by Glacier Hills instructional coach Jeny Wariner.

“I’ve been a principal for eight years,” Winfree added, “and I can honestly say that the teachers and staff who will be working with your children are among the best in the business. They have been so patient throughout the construction process, and never waning in their enthusiasm and dedication.”

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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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