After the loss of so many wonderful and inspiring teachers last year, we all waited in great anticipation to see who could possibly fill those huge shoes and take up the responsibilities of those who left. As Valley welcomed these new faces, we were not disappointed in the staff members who received the torch down. Because of this surge of brand new faculty members, the newspaper staff felt the need to point out a couple of awesome new additions to the Valley High school family. One of the faculty members selected for this spotlight is none other than the new counselor, McKinley Withers. In the short time he’s been here, he’s inspired and helped countless students, including myself. “McKinley treats every student with the respect and kindness that they deserve,” said Ireland Lowe, Valley student, “He will always make sure that you are on the right track to graduate.” Not only is he great at making schedules to benefit his students, he is always there for emotional support. Seriously, an hour long motivational speech still wouldn’t equate to five minutes in his office. “He is ridiculously inspiring, and always helps your mood when you’re feeling down,” Julian Newland said. He is always willing to put in the extra effort to be sure everyone is okay. His constructive methods have been recognized by many of our students, which is why so many of us pile up at the office just to see him. McKinley isn’t the only outstanding new addition to Valley this year. Ian Waterman, the new secondary math 2 teacher, has exceeded expectations and has made math more interesting for many students. “Ian is awesome because he likes to joke around with us and is always understanding while also being a really great teacher,” said Valley student Luiza Ferreira. Ian turns such a complex subject, math, into an easily understandable subject while opening student’s minds up to the brilliance of mathematical equations. That alone makes him an amazing teacher, not to mention his sense of humor and incredibly witty remarks. “He was kind of quiet in the beginning,” said one Valley student, “but he warmed up to Valley pretty fast, he became part of the school’s family!” Ian is an outstanding math teacher, and is much appreciated by everyone here at Valley. These two individuals have already, in their first year here, impacted many Valley student’s lives and made this school even more brilliant. As a Valley student, I am more than happy to tell McKinley, Ian, and all other staff members new to valley this year, welcome to our school- you are now part of our little family and we are all so happy that you’ve joined us.
Student Spotlight: Jacob Lacey
By Julian Newland
Jacob Lacy is 18 years old, and he’s also 6’10. His parents aren’t extraordinarily tall, a complete anomaly, and yet he is so much more than a pretty face and a tall frame. Jacob is a lover of memes, and a champion of the human spirit. His sensitive side shines, and delights. Mr. Lacy enjoys tippy toeing through meadows, with his puppy dog, Douglas, who is quite esteemed. Speaking of flowers, Jacob is quite fond of Guns-N-Roses. Music is very important in his life. He listens to music throughout his daily routine of waking up, going to school going home and going to sleep. Video games are another important piece of media for him, as he owns an X-Box and plays it quite frequently. How does he get through his grueling schedule, you ask? Jacob asks multiple people if they’re Michael Bay. “Is that Michael Bay?” “Is that Michael Bay’s brother Mitchell Bay?” Jacob is the greatest of all time, at being tall, and hilarious. Great man, right here. Great man.
Humanities in Focus Program
By Ireland Lowe
Jeff Metcalf began his introduction of the series of documentary films created by Humanities in Focus by telling his audience why storytelling is so important, why it is so crucial that he help these individuals learn how to tell their stories. Prior to one of the documentaries produced by the program, the presenter spoke about what prompted Metcalf’s creation of the program, “he was fascinated by the stories that spilled out of these students before and after class. Stories of being homeless, of living with domestic violence, of living with addiction, and of being a refugee of war. These stories were deeply compelling and needed to be told.” The Humanities in Focus program, centers around a diverse group of students who have struggled with hardships like no other, and are choosing to share their story with the rest of the world through the lens of a camera. These are people who, much like the students at Valley, are looking for the chance to make a difference in their life and the lives of others. There are a number of students who have told their story through the program, and they have helped to spread awareness of the issues that surround our world. Jeff Metcalf is one of the founders of the program, and a professor of the University of Utah since 2008. Even before Jeff introduced the program, he greeted the audience with humor and great warmth, a truly fascinating individual with a valuable lesson to teach. He is also one of the founders of Valley High School, and he knows first hand what it’s like to have to overcome trials. As one of the original faculty members of Valley, he made a suitable environment for anyone in need of help or alternative learning. Jeff taught English, Journalism, and the literary magazine. In fact, Jeff taught Jeremie, our current Language Arts and Journalism teacher. Other achievements include his publishing and production of a one man show describing his experience of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, titled A Slight Discomfort. In one part of the production, he talks about how he refuses to let cancer dictate who he is, “I’m a very simple man when it comes to the cancer in my body. I don’t want to own it. To walk down the sidewalk letting it instruct me. I want to stomp it into the ground, eradicate it from my body. It is not welcome.” One of the documentaries introduced in the program was ‘The Ripple Effect’, following the story of Carolyn Tuft and her survival in the Trolley square shooting on February 12th, 2007. Nearly a decade after the shooting, Carolyn is still recovering from the tragic event. “I’m paying the price for someone else’s consequences. And that is not okay.” She talks about how something so horrible can happen in a matter of seconds, and can change your life forever. The audience was silent after she finished, several wiping tears from their eyes. Carolyn continues to share her story in the hope that events like this can come to an end; in hopes that we can grow stronger from issues that are completely out of our hands, but should be preventable. Change can happen to anyone, it doesn’t pick and choose. Diego was just eight years old when he made his journey into America. ‘Diego’s Dream’ discusses the obstacles he faced while he was crossing from Mexico to America. It would be years later until he finally realized the significance of this journey. He tells the audience just how scary it was for him to not understand the true dangers of what he and his family had to go through. Diego received constant criticism for making his journey, “People tell me all the time that I didn’t do it the right way. But what is the right way? If I was born here, that would have been the right way, right? I didn’t have that option. You can’t be telling me what is the right way" The Humanities focus program provides a way to share the story of these people’s lives. They teach you that not only is it important for you to develop your voice to better share with the world, but it’s important that you do it for yourself.
By Apollo Crabtree
Here at Valley, it’s a common misconception that our school is full of slackers and miscreants. It’s not false that we have those here, as much as other schools do, but most of you truly strive to graduate in the face of bad odds, and those who graduated here have a pretty good track record in employment. But the Exchange Clubs of both Sandy and West Jordan have graciously given out awards to the highest academic achievers amongst all schools. These awards are called the Accepting the Challenge of Excellence Awards, or A.C.E. Awards for short, and three of our students here have earned them. Those students would be:
Jazmynn Meaux - Sandy Bailey Stuckey - Sandy Emma Padilla - West
Thank you to these students who have gone above and beyond in their achievements, and thank you to all of you at Valley for continuing to outshine others’ poor expectations. Keep at it and make thisanother great year!