Getting Involved





Getting Involved

From Colombia to Duke University, Corner Canyon Graduate Living Her Version of the American Dream

After growing up in Colombia until she was 10 and spending six years bouncing around the United States, Catalina Giraldo says she ended up in Draper, Utah, USA, by accident. Consider it serendipity.

Major life moves that led her to Corner Canyon High might’ve been from happenstance, but Giraldo’s hard work and drive are determining her future path. After impressive junior and senior years with the Chargers, her next big step will be a cross-country move this summer to Durham, N.C.

Giraldo will attend Duke University on a full-ride scholarship attained through the QuestBridge program. In college, she’ll work toward a law degree and continue to wrestle, a sport she picked up as a senior at CCHS.

Giraldo can’t believe how her life is turning out. As a kid, she never imagined moving to the States. As a young woman, she’s grateful how things have worked out, including her mom’s job opportunity that led their family to relocate from California.

It didn’t take long for Giraldo to embrace — and be embraced — in Utah and at Corner Canyon High.

“Oh, I love it here,” she said. “Part of it is the state. Part of it is the people. It just feels like home to me at this point.”

She’s appreciative of her counselor, Sandy Steele, encouraging teachers, friends, and her wrestling teammates. The Charger grapplers celebrated her successes and lifted her up after struggles as she placed third in region in her first year in girls wrestling.

“I was extremely surprised to see such a welcoming community, such great teachers, such great counselors,” she said. “They were just so ready to help and ready to integrate me and get me up to speed. I personally believe if it wasn’t for their help, I would not be where I am today. And it’s because of them that I feel completely prepared to go into college.”

May has been a busy month for Giraldo. She ambitiously took six AP courses her senior year and is in the throes of taking the final tests for Statistics, Biology, Government, Comparative Government, Psychology, and Literature.

“It’s definitely not like school just comes easy to me. That’s not the case for me,” she said. “I like to take a challenge and push past my boundaries when it comes to my academic achievements. I just decided that I was going to challenge myself through my curriculum this year.”

Giraldo didn’t speak English when her family moved to the U.S. from Colombia in 2016 while she was in elementary school. She quickly mastered her ESL courses. “And from there, I just kind of picked it up along the way.”

If she could give her younger self any advice, it would be to not be so harsh on herself. Everything doesn’t have to turn out perfectly.

“Like anything else in life, learning is like trial and error,” she said. “You have to be a little bit more forgiving of yourself and learn that obviously you can learn through your failures. Failing … it’s part of the process.”

Giraldo is grateful that she’s been given a chance to live her version of the American dream.

“If you come to the U.S. and you work your butt off and you really strive for those dreams that you want to achieve, anything is possible,” she said. “That is my experience.”

Share This Post

Board Meeting Schedule

PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given that the Board of Education for Canyons School District will hold a regular study session and public business meeting at the Canyons District Office building, 9361 S. 300 E., Sandy, UT each month unless otherwise posted. The Board may determine to conduct some business during a study session. All business meetings will begin at 7:00 p.m. unless changed by the Board and appropriately posted for the public.

Please note that ALL DATES, TIMES and LOCATIONS listed on this scheduled are TENTATIVE and are subject to change at any time.  Please check this schedule often to be informed of any changes.

Unless otherwise specified, all meetings in the schedule below will take place as the Canyons District Office located at 9361 S. 300 E. in Sandy, Utah.

District Leaders

Dr. Rick Robins


Dr. Rick L. Robins is the superintendent of Canyons School District. Dr. Robins, who was selected by the Canyons Board of Education after a national search, brings 24 years of experience as an educator to his role as the chief executive officer of Utah’s fifth-largest school district. Prior to joining Canyons, Dr. Robins, who earned an Ed.D. from the University of Las Vegas, for six years was Superintendent of the Juab School District, based in Nephi, Utah. While there, Dr. Robins, who also was the Juab High School Principal from 2009-2013, helped oversee efforts to improve the district’s graduation rate to 97 percent, a double-digit increase over a 10-year period. Other innovations he led in Juab included a partnership with Arizona State University for blended-learning opportunities; the launch of a districtwide competency-based personalized learning model driven by a 1:1 technology initiative and standards-based reporting system; and the construction of the STEM-focused West Campus Innovations Center, funded largely through private and corporate sponsorships. Dr. Robins began his career as a history teacher at Copper Hills High in the Jordan School District and has worked as an assistant principal and principal in the Alpine, Nebo and Juab school districts. He was the 2012 Utah High School Principal of the Year for the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals, and in 2014 earned the Lexington Institute Superintendent Fellowship Award presented to innovative superintendents across the country. Dr. Robins was starting quarterback for the football team at Southern Utah University Thunderbirds from 1991-1995, and in 2013 was inducted into SUU’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He has four children and one grandchild.

Leon Wilcox

Business Administrator and CFO

Leon Wilcox is a seasoned professional with 20 years of governmental accounting experience, with an emphasis on financial reporting, budgeting, and auditing. As Canyons District’ Director of Accounting from 2009-2013, Wilcox was intricately involved with the 2009 division of $1.5 billion in assets of the former Jordan School District, and was responsible for establishing Canyons’ original and subsequent budgets. Wilcox, a certified public accountant who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Utah State University, also has worked nine years in the Granite School District and six years in the State Auditor’s Office.

Supervises:  Accounting and Budget Services, Facilities and Maintenance, Insurance, New Construction Budget, Nutrition Services, Purchasing, Payroll

Dr. Robert M. Dowdle

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and School Performance

Robert Dowdle has a Doctor of Education degree with an emphasis in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah, and more than 31 years of experience as a teacher and educational leader. He began his career at Mount Jordan Middle School, where he taught Earth Science, English and Social Studies. He later taught Advanced Placement Economics, U.S. History and World History at Bingham High School, and served as Principal of Jordan High School and Assistant Principal for Alta High School and Brighton High School. Dowdle has served in the District office for 11 years as Assistant Superintendent. This role has included various leadership responsibilities, including Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Dowdle currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and School Performance.

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!

Specialty Schools

High Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Statement

Canyons School District is committed to making this website compliant with the ADA. At this time, we recognize that not all areas of this website may be ADA compliant. We are currently in the process of redesigning and creating new website content to be compliant with the W3C Level Two guidelines. If you are experiencing issues with this website, please contact us here

1 2 3 16