Education dominated the 2014 election cycle, both locally and on the state level.
Locally, more Morgan residents threw their hat in the ring for an education position than any other government position on the ballot.
For the first time in Morgan County School District’s history, the board of education appointed two high school students to serve on the board. In the past, only one student has served as a student board member. Chandler Hipwell and Dietrich Streuber will serve as this school year’s student board members.
The Morgan County Board of Education is worried about exploding enrollment and expected population growth. While a separate task force has been studying issues related to growth and are months away from issuing their official report, the school board wanted a sneak peak at their discussions.
In spring of 2014, the State of Utah paid for all Morgan High School juniors to take the college admission ACT test. And they were not alone. After passage of a state bill in 2013, the legislature funded offering the test to all public school juniors for free.
Despite the unusually rainy August evening, over 200 runners showed up for the second-annual Color Us Bright Fun Run on Monday, Aug. 25.
This low-key 3K event starts everyone out with clean white T-shirts. Seasoned participants know that sunglasses are a must in a color run, but glasses were provided to those who were new to this. As the color packs containing colored corn starch were handed out to participants, it didn’t take long before many shirts were brightly colored.
Bright smiles were on the faces of youth ready to take the starting line. Throughout the short run, stations sponsored by community businesses splattered runners with even more color.
The Morgan Education Foundation, that puts on the event, is always grateful for local support and hopes more businesses will join in helping the four schools in our district.
Every so often you encounter a person with a truly generous and giving heart. If you know Susanne Skeen, then you know such a person. She has been blessing the lives of others in Morgan County for many years—In her family, her neighborhood, her work, her church, and in 4-H.
It is a privilege to honor Pat Porter Peterson as a distinguished employee of the month in the Morgan School District. She began her employment with the district in 1968 as possibly the first recognized teacher’s aide. During the past 47 years, Pat has been an administrative assistant, secretary, recess aide, teaching aide, study hall monitor, PE helper and lunchroom supervisor.
As a result of increased public pressure, the Morgan County School Board is contemplating the creation of a standards committee to keep an eye on state core standards and curriculum while allowing as much local input as possible.
The Morgan County School District is sharing results of a special Utah State Office of Education audit spurred by anonymous complaints regarding how construction of the Trojan Century Center was funded.
“Callers were telling the state office of education they felt there was some misappropriation of dollars in the creation of the Trojan center,” Superintendent Doug Jacobs said.
Over the course of its 30-year career, the Morgan High School marquee has deteriorated drastically. Students and staff have nursed the sign along using tape, white out and other remedies to keep it going, but they are finding these methods inadequate to keep this archaic sign up to date.
Because of this deterioration, the Morgan High School Student Body Officers have come up with a plan to replace the old sign with a new digital marquee.
This updated marquee would provide the school, as well as the rest of Morgan County, a better way to advertise ongoing events that take place in our town.
To make this happen, the officers need the help of the community. The cost of the new marquee is $30,000. To assist with that large figure, they have a plan that involves different donation tiers: bronze-$100; silver-$500; gold-$1,000; and platinum-$5,000.
In order to give full recognition to generous donors, bronze and silver level donors will have their name or company name engraved on a plate on the front of the marquee. Gold and platinum donors will have an entire brick to themselves on the base of the marquee to engrave their company name and logo. This will ensure that the entire school and community will be reminded of that generosity each time they approach the school.
In order for the new digital marquee to be in place by the time school starts this fall, donations need to be turned in by July 20, 2014. Please submit donations to Morgan High School, P.O. Box 917, Morgan, UT 84050.
Candidates for the District 2 and District 4 Morgan County School Board positions met for a debate June 12. Voting for the primary election involving Roland Haslam, Ted Taylor and Bruce A. Galbraith for District 2 will take place Tuesday, June 24.
Alan Vesper withdrew from the District 4 race, making a primary election with Anna Phelps and incumbent Mark Farmer unnecessary. Phelps and Farmer will proceed to the general election in November.
Haslam, Taylor, Phelps and Farmer were present for the debate sponsored by Morepac, a political action committee with the mission to “facilitate community awareness through public forums and provide accurate information on educational and economic issues.”
Farmer said the roles and responsibilities of a member of the board of education are three-fold including providing quality education that exceeds state requirements and prepares students for college, providing education consistent with the standards of the community, and handling the fiduciary responsibilities entrusted to the board.
Taylor said if elected, his responsibilities are to his constituents and representing them. This would include making sure students receive the best education available, allowing the public to approach the board, and ensuring sufficient funds are in the budget to pay for expenses.
Phelps said that there is more to ensuring a great education, including taking care of teachers, board members acting as facilitators, and board members attending all government council meetings. “Academics are the first priority of a board member,” she said.
Friday night the Morgan High School Trojan football team took on the Emery Spartans and conquered this year’s homecoming game. Unlike the historic story of the Trojans and Spartans, the Morgan Trojans had no problem taking apart the Spartan offense, winning the game 35-0.
In the first down, Morgan quickly lit up the board with 14 points. It was apparent the Spartans were going to have a tough time getting anything past this strong defense.
Very little of the game was actually played on the visitor side of the 50 yard line, as the clock ticked on.
At half-time, the score was 21-0 and it was time for the cheerleaders and the drill team to work their magic on the field for the packed stadium. Both gave performances worthy of the crowd’s applause.
As the 2014 Homecoming royalty approached the field, the stands roared with cheers for the adorable Maddie Francis and Josh Woitaszewski, this year’s queen and king. Francis was thrilled to be there, waving both hands at the crowd with Woitaszewski leading the way with a giant smile. Woitaszewski is the son of Mark and Melissa Powers and Francis is the daughter of Richard and Triscia Francis.
In the 2013-2014 school year, the Morgan County School Board collected $6,400 in fees for use of the Trojan Century Center. In the same time, the district paid $17,067 in utilities for the building, $6,300 for supervision of the building, $4,416 for custodians to clean the building, and another $2,300 for supplies and repairs, said District Business Manager D’Lynn Poll.
The facility is used by both students as well as community members. As such, it is difficult to compute what percentage of utilities was paid for community use vs. district use.
Board member Ken Durrant said heating and cooling of the building would be the same no matter who was using it. When students leave the building, the facility must still be heated and cooled, he said.
Poll said the biggest cash out of the district’s pocket that can be tied to community use was for supervision. However, the fees collected for use of the building was enough revenue to pay for that supervision, she said.
Almost half of the registered voters in Morgan County turned out to the polls Tuesday night to defeat the proposed Morgan County School District voted local levy.
About 30 people gathered at the county offices late Tuesday night to view the results: 64.41 percent (1,600 votes) against, 35.59 percent (884 votes) for. Of 5,495 registered voters, 45 percent visited the polls (2,485 voters).
Voter turnout was highest in the Croydon District, where 66 percent of registered voters cast their votes strictly by absentee ballot. Compared to the other six voting districts, the Croydon District also had the highest percentage (80.7 percent) of voters voting against the levy.
Voter turnout was lowest in the Mountain Green District at 38.8 percent.
The district with the highest percentage voting for the levy was North Morgan, where 43 percent cast ballots supporting the levy.
It was standing room only in the Morgan City offices for a town hall meeting with six resident panelists prepared to offer options to the voted local levy.
Jim Bledsoe, a four-year county resident who plans to vote against the levy, acted as moderator. The panelists included the following four residents, who are all planning to vote against the levy: Brent Anderson, local businessman; John Barber, who operated Barber Brothers Ford for 14 years; Kera Birkeland, small business owner; Joe McFarland, father of four children who have gone through Morgan schools.
Panelist Tina Cannon, a tax professional and mother of four, said she is undecided on how she will vote on June 25’s ballot. Panelist Jennie Earl, a 10-year resident with a master’s degree in elementary education, did not want to comment on if she was pro- or anti-levy.
Last Wednesday night the MHS Volleyball team sponsored its 3rd annual Pink Night. MHS & Skyline came together to play for cancer research. Both teams wore pink jerseys and even the officials wore pink. This year was extra special because the volleyball team recently lost one of its own to cancer, Sherie Wright. Sherie and her family were honored before the game and all proceeds of over $2900 will be donated in her name to cancer research.
Two weeks after voting to delay a property tax increase, the Morgan County School Board is reconsidering. They have set a July 12 date to hold a public meeting, where they may vote to move forward with raising taxes as early as this November in order to build a contingency fund into the district’s budget.
The Morgan County School Board voted to continue serving breakfast to Morgan Elementary Students in the 2012-2013 year. Morgan Elementary was the first school in the district to offer a breakfast program. After watching the program closely, board members and other district administrators said they may consider offering a similar program at Morgan Middle School.
District officials are considering a new tardy policy at Morgan Middle School.
The new policy is based on one already in place at Roosevelt Junior High, Morgan Middle School Principal Terry Allen said. In surveying his staff, 90 percent responded that they liked the new policy.
The Morgan High Troyettes are off to a fresh start this year. Their new coach is Kim Ball. She is a great new addition to the team!
The Troyettes just returned from camp where they received a spirit award, technique award, and an award for their performance!
At a ceremony just after the flag raising on the fourth of July, individuals from various branches of government in the county gathered to reaffirm their commitment to supporting the families who have individuals serving in the armed services. “We owe it to our veterans, we owe it to those who are serving our county and protecting us,” said Mayor Egbert.
The school district is in financial trouble, enough that two top administrators are doing something drastic to save costs.
Superintendent Ken Adams announced his retirement, effective April 16, 2013. The state retirement board has already approved the move, Adams said.
We all look back and think of teachers that have inspired us—those who teach us more than what can be captured within the confines of textbook. For the past 40 years, Morgan Middle School art teacher Steve Carrigan was one of those.
The Morgan School District is developing a new policy governing fund-raising and donations. Not only does it put restrictions on the type of fund-raising allowed in schools, it also protects local merchants and assigns guidelines for vendors and advertisers wishing to solicit students and district employees.
Even though summer is here for over 2,000 Morgan students, it only takes about two weeks before the kids start to ask, “What can I do today, mom?” As educators we hope you will take time with your children to continue the process of learning as the summer progresses.
When you have your last child leave your home, you realize that you are not an expert on anything related to raising children. Number six has just left the nest and graduated last week from Morgan High School.
On May 11 the kindergarten students joined the FFA students for a farm field trip at Morgan’s Diamond D Ranch. They learned about horses, cows, baby animals, crops, roping, barrel racing, and played keyhole and goat tying. They had lots of fun and learned much. The FFA students loved helping the kids learn about animals.
The fifth grade students from Mountain Green Elementary School spent the year learning about United States history and government. As a culminating activity to demonstrate what they had learned, they put on a “Great American” program for their parents and the MGES studentbody.
For the past two years the Morgan County School District has been investigating the possibility of creating a dual immersion program within the district. This educational program has a distinctive 50/50 curriculum in English and a second language that is integrated for academic content. It is aligned with the Utah State Core. It begins in first grade and adds an additional grade each year until the sixth grade. These second-language teachers generally come from outside the district and they usually replace a teacher within the school that is being transferred or replaced.
“Good people of Morgan Elementary School. We live in a great nation full of opportunity, full of optimism, full of hope”, begins JA Biztown mayor Nate Preslar. “ In recent months I believe that our freedoms and liberties have been slowly deteriorating. Unemployment is rising, the income gap is growing, and men and women march on Washington D.C. in protest. Yes, the Dow has dropped tremendously, and in Greece, Neo Nazis are gaining political power. The world and its future may appear bleak to you. Don’t give up. Coming to J.A. Biztown, you may see a town that is insignificant, that is just another fieldtrip. I on the other hand, see a town of hope, a town of prosperity, a town of promise, and a town of opportunity waiting for us. Students don’t believe the future is bleak, where others see disparity, I see opportunity. How do we harness this opportunity? We start today! I believe in America and the free market. I believe in competition and hard work, and I believe in you! Don’t give up, there is opportunity awaiting us in life and in this town. God bless you, and God bless America!”
Every year, Mountain Green Elementary fourth grade students visit the state’s capital and receive a tour where they explore the different rooms where each branch of government operates. This year, though, thanks to the efforts of Mountain Green resident and former Utah Representative Brad Winn, our fourth grade students received a special treat.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed by a bipartisan congress in late 2010. The Act recognized that foods and beverages sold in schools were generally of poor quality and changed the requirements for school meals and for the school environment in which the meals are served.
Wednesday, May 9, the Morgan FFA Chapter held its annual banquet where we honored many students for their outstanding accomplishments. We believe that congratulations are in order for all those who gained their Greenhand, Chapter, State, and American degree. Greenhand: Alex Eddington, Kennedy Gibson, Hanna Giles, Chase Grandpre, McKenna Hales, Annie Hodges, Linsday Mahan, Kailyn Nelson, Mariah Remund, Taylor Sherburn, Miranda Smith, Ty Stephens, and Taisha Vollmer. Chapter: Bryce Preece, Jessica Carter, Tabatha Carter, Isaac Cannon, Jake Cannon, Jessica Larsen, Marissa Morgan, Courtney Sanders, and Tyson Spens. State: Christina Andersen, Nate Buchanan, Garrett Eddington, Shawn Francis, and Megan Stapley. American: Ethan Porter. We would also like to honor Hanna Giles and Luke Larsen for being selected as our Star Greenhands.
The girls from Mountain Green Elementary School had a fun filled evening with their dads or grandpas at the PTSO sponsored Daddy Daughter Dance. This was an amazing night where the girls had the opportunity to get all dressed up for a special evening out with their dads. The girls and their dads got to fill out a “get to know your sheet” together as well as purchase jewelry keepsakes, get their pictures taken, eat lots of treats and have a wonderful time dancing. Thanks to the Mountain Green Elementary PTSO for their wonderful support and effort to make this an enjoyable evening for all those who came.
Megan Stapley, a 2012 graduate of Morgan High School FFA (Future Farmers of America), has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship by Barber Brothers Ford and Ford Motor Company. Stapley’s parents are Kurt Stapley and Maggee Stapley of Morgan. Stapley plans to study at Weber State University.
On March 8-10 the Morgan FFA Chapter went to the town of Richfield to their FFA State Convention. Several of them competed in competitions. The Parliamentary Procedures team consisted of six members. They competed by completing a 10 minute long demonstration of the procedures that are used to run an official meeting.
As the weather warms, my staff and I focus on the loose ends that still need to be tied to finish the school year successfully. Among those loose ends is the important and joyous responsibility we have of planning and carrying out graduation ceremonies. Just imagine the countless hours of preparation. If a student spent just one hour on homework each day from the time they were in kindergarten until graduation, he or she would have spent 2,340 hours. We know that many of our students have spent many more hours than that.
On April 24 and 25 members of our FFA chapter competed in the 2012 Career Development Experiences in Logan. There were eight teams that competed. One of those teams won the state title for this year in the Agricultural Sales contest. Those that were on the team were Luke Larsen, Jake Cannon, Katie Spens, and Megan Stapley.