Need a book suggestion? A friendly face? Some advice? Ruth Bradford is the person to go to. Not only is Ruth, Valley High’s librarian, she is an adventurous and loving dog mom to two mini schnauzers. The first question I asked Ruth was “Why did you choose to work at Valley?” Her answer was nothing short of what Valley High’s administration stands for. Ruth replied with, “I decided to work at Valley knowing I could make a difference in people’s lives.”
While making a difference in our library, Ruth also makes a difference in her community. She teaches refugees English every Tuesday night. Ruth expressed how reading “opens your mind to all cultures, possibilities, and to every lifestyle.” She is passionate about helping young adults and about literature.
Growing up in Utah, Ruth has five sisters and three brothers, a full house of people she loves and is still extremely close to. She explained how her parents are the greatest people she has ever known and told a story of one Christmas, where all of her siblings and her pitched in money to buy their parents gifts. Ruth said that her parents never recieved anything for themselves. It is one of her most treasured memories.
After high school, Ruth attended Utah State University and then the University of Hawaii. There she found boogie boarding and Hawaii’s flavorful food as two of many reasons to stay for fourteen years. Ruth was brought back to Utah when her elderly Mom needed to be taken care of. She describes the greatest accomplishment of her life as having an extreme desire and ability to help people. This quarter’s choice for a teacher spotlight in the Valley High Liberator was no hard decision. Everyone immediately knew who we wanted to know more about. We found something very special about Ruth. She has shown kindness, patience, and loyalty throughout the stories she told. Valley is lucky to have another passionate faculty member who encourages students to read and learn.
By Kayla Savage
Tall and pretty, it’s hard to miss Marianna when she always has a camera in her hand. Marianna is an enigma, another one of Valley’s puzzles. Like all of us, Marianna is searching for independence. She doesn’t seem like she is trying too hard to impress anyone. She is the girl in the hall or class in the beanie, the one talking about discovering herself. She is approachable, and her smile says I know it all and nothing at the same time.
Ambitious, introspective, and talented are three words that describe Marianna Weber. Like many students, Marianna’s last resort was Valley High School, and also like several students, Marianna is graduating early. Being so dedicated to getting her education, Marianna took Trax for an hour each way just to get to school. She also spends extra time, out of class, working on the yearbook wtih other peers. When speaking with Marianna, she expressed her passion for photography and how she will be pursuing it after she graduates. Starting school in Utah and working full time, Marianna has plans to move out of state and to take pictures all over the globe, as she has already been to Spain, Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Not only does she have a passion for photography, but also for softball. While attending Brighton, her boundary school, Marianna was on the softball team her freshman year. And from photography to softball to traveling, another big interest is music. Describing herself as a “raver“ and how she loves all types of music. It is one of her biggest influences. Her passions impact her to get out of her comfort zone and to never take life too seriously. Marianna said she is most grateful for tragedies in her life because they force a person to realize how temporary the bad is. That statement really illuminates Marianna’s character. She is passionate about photography and is set on not limiting herself to one place because that would mean getting too comfortable. Pushing herself to do different things and move different places is one of her future goals. Change is hard for most people, but not for Marianna. I think she is one of the most accepting people in Valley High School and will go on to take amazing pictures all over the world.
Teens with Tots
By Kaitlyn Lynch
Here at Valley, there’s an on-site childcare center for student and, less frequently, staff parents.
Though teen pregnancy is an ever-decreasing issue, as education and accessibility to important assets improves. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website show that pregnancy rates are declining, and research suggests that it’s due to abstinence and increased birth control usage. It still happens, and without help, it could be nearly impossible for students to graduate high school while juggling overwhelming parental responsibilities.
Valley provides childcare for teen parents for $50 per quarter, and staff members who wish to bring their tots are charged $25 a day.Though schools like Granite Connections, another alternative school, do provide free childcare, Valley is a small school with one location and a small budget, but provides excellent childcare for its price.
If a student were to become pregnant during the school year, Valley also provides a “maternity release,” and the mother would be excused from class for a quarter following the birth. She brings the child home and spends time with him or her. According to our principal, Sharon Jensen, this is important for the mother and child to have time to form an emotional bond and, an important component in the development of the child’s life. It can be hard to maintain such an intimate relationship with your child while you’re still attending school, yet another reason the in-school daycare center is totally convenient. One of our very own staff members makes use of the childcare center. Mckinley Withers, a student counselor, said, “It (the daycare) takes away the worry and frustration of finding someone to take care of my son…” and mentioned that it’s convenient that he is able to keep an eye on him all day. His son loves the staff, especially Erika Hernandez, the daycare manager. Who is a sweet, maternal woman who cares about what she does.
The other adult members are Diana Diaz, Samantha Miller, and Lesley Parker. They care for the children, taking them on rides in their red buggy (which you may have seen being towed around the school on occasion). Erika Hernandez provided some insight on the day to day schedule: the staff tend to stick to a general routine and the children’s regular activities include snacking, naps, movies, and playing with toys. The adult aides often even watch the babies, and instruct the parent(s) on methods that can be used to calm the children.
There are opportunities to aide in the childcare center, should the idea of working with children interest you. There are a few alternative schools in Utah, and about 50% of them have on-site childcare centers, including Horizonte and Granite Connections. However, having a child as a teen can be stigmatizing, and that’s what makes Valley a great environment for a teen parent to bring a child into. The mellow atmosphere and plethora of open-minded and accepting students and staff makes for a comfortable, safe place. It’s a necessary resource to help student parents graduate, and convenient to have right in the school itself. The fact that Valley has its own childcare center, at such a convenient price and location, is very useful. It’s also helpful to those who would like experience working with children, and the staff are a delightful group of women who really care about the health and safety of the young ones. Even for those who don’t have kids, it’s worth the experience of working with others’ children and having the knowledge that such a resource is available for anyone who may require it.