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A Valedictorian’s Perspective on ‘Putting Yourself Out There’

After taking full advantage of what high school has to offer with academics and activities, Katelyn Simmons has a super bright future ahead — which explains why the ambitious go-getter and AP Capstone Diploma candidate has bittersweet feelings as her time at Brighton High wraps up.

“I’m really excited for what’s to come and all the opportunities I have going forward,” she said. “But I’ve had such an incredible experience in high school that it’s going to be sad to leave behind both the people and experiences. I’m totally a school-minded person. I love going to school every day. It’s definitely going to be a big transition, but I’m excited.”

Utah State should be excited, too. The Aggies have one heck of a young woman headed their way. Simmons is thrilled to follow her father and grandparents to the Cache County campus. “I’ve been a Utah State fan my whole life,” she said. “I’ve been going to Logan pretty much since I could walk. It’s always been kind of a legacy school for me.”

Bonus: USU offered Simmons a great scholarship.

“It was like the stars aligned,” she said.

Simmons was very involved in high school. She was the choir president, sang for the Brighton Madrigals and performed in musical theater. She served as a Hope Squad leader, a Peer Tutor and a Bengal Buddy, allowing her to partner with special education kids. She loves working with people and the community.

Simmons was also a student body officer. If there was a dance, musical performance, assembly or activity at Brighton, there’s a good chance Simmons was involved.

Simmons intends on double majoring in English, with an emphasis in technical writing, and Broadcast Journalism. She enjoys being in front of audiences and wants to use her writing skills.

Like in life, the “unpredictable moments” often were the most rewarding. She enjoyed bonding with peers, whether at a rehearsal at 10 p.m. or hanging decorations for a dance at 6 a.m.

“You don’t go expecting to have such an incredible experience and then you get there and it’s just like the most fulfilling. You feel productive and you feel so united with those around you,” she said. “That’s really what’s been the most meaningful for me are those little moments.”

Simmons will forever be grateful for teachers like Jennifer Mattson, her AP Literature teacher, and Catherine Bates, Brighton’s teacher librarian. They were stellar examples and mentors who made a huge impact. She considers them to be guiding lights.

“Seriously, teachers have made the biggest difference in my life,” Simmons said. “I could not thank all of my teachers enough.”

Simmons considers herself to be a perfectionist whose work is a reflection of her.

“I want it to be something I’m proud of,” she said of things she works on. “I’ve never really had the parental pressure, because I haven’t had to. I’ve always had a self-expectation to perform highly. Performing well in school has been a really valuable reflection of just what I’m capable of and something I’m proud to work towards.”

Because she’s been so enriched through experiences and relationships made through clubs and other activities she’s engaged in, Simmons hopes others get involved and reap the rewards.

“I would just say, ‘Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get involved from the very beginning,’” she said. “There’s always going to be someone like that has your back in it, and you’re never going to be seen as any lesser for being kind and putting yourself out there.”

Simmons is an example of resiliency. She ran for student government three different times and lost before finally being voted in as an SBO for her senior year.

Her parting advice is simple: “The biggest thing you can do is just be kind to people.”

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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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