A message from Superintendent Jeff Stephens:
While visiting Bonneville High School this past December, I happened to walk by the choir room. The sound coming from Mishy Kirby's Tapestry class was simply too inviting to pass up. I listened to remarkable young people rehearsing several songs for their upcoming holiday performances. The students even let me select a number and they performed it for me. Following that song, I stood beside this extraordinary teacher who has impacted so many students through the years and asked the class, "Do you know how lucky you are to be able to have this incredible woman as your teacher?" Their response was one of heart-felt warmth and gratitude. Then I said, "I am going to ask you to get together as a class for just a minute and select one song that you would like to sing that expresses just how you feel about her."
They quickly gathered into what looked like a friendly rugby scrum and within a matter of moments quickly dispersed to retrieve the sheet music in the back of the room. The song they selected—"For Good" from the hit Broadway musical Wicked. What followed is a moment I will forever cherish as these students, who deeply loved and admired their teacher, sang from the bottom of their hearts:
I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason;
Bringing something we must learn…. who help us most to grow if we let them,
And we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true,
But I know I'm who I am today because I knew you!
It was a memorable experience I shall never forget! And, for me it represented everything that's good about the relationship between a teacher and students. Students develop a trust, a respect and an appreciation for what a caring teacher does for them. Lives are changed for the better because kids know you!
I recognize that every adult who works in Weber School District has that same potential impact "for good" on students. While we may not have the opportunity to have our students sing to us expressing how they feel, I know that their gratitude is every bit as real. I appreciate each one of you for changing lives "for the better."
Weber School District and neighboring school district officials have been made aware of a troubling social media challenge geared to engage and cyberbully children and young adults – the "Momo Challenge." The challenge has been reported on local and national news stations, as well. Reports of the "Momo Challenge" directly targeting and/or impacting students in Weber School District have not yet been substantiated, but as a precaution, we are informing all parents/guardians of this current and potentially dangerous social media trend.
The purpose of the "Momo Challenge" is to utilize video games and social media platforms such as Minecraft, WhatsApp and Facebook to encourage children and young adults to commit dangerous and potentially violent acts towards others or even themselves. "Momo" is a ghoulish-looking avatar that threatens and cyber-bullies young people in the United States and around the world. The "Momo Challenge" has been linked to acts of self-harm and suicide. The challenge draws children in with a chat feature wherein they are asked to perform small tasks, but then escalates to more violent acts, even self-inflicted harm. The communicator requests photographs of the young person engaging in these serious acts as proof of follow-through. Even more troubling, if young people refuse to perform the tasks or acts (challenges), "Momo" threatens to leak personal information on the internet, leaves disturbing and threatening messages, and sends violent images to the viewer.
We strongly encourage parents/guardians to talk with their children about this dangerous challenge and closely monitor their online screen time and activities. Also, please be reminded that you/your child may utilize the SafeUT Tip Line/Crisis Line App or website, which allows users to submit a tip and/or speak directly with a crisis counselor at the University of Utah Neurological Institute (UNI). All schools in Weber District have promoted this valuable resource, and we encourage each and every parent/guardian to download the SafeUT App to your Smartphone and other digital devices.
The greatest deterrents to these dangerous challenges which circulate online with the intent to prey on children is open communication between parent and child and vigilant monitoring of your child's use of social media, the websites they've visited, and video gaming.
If you'd like to speak with someone about how to communicate with your children about the "Momo Challenge" or other cyber-bullying concerns, please contact your school's guidance counselor or the Weber School District Student Services Department (801-476-7800).
They worked so hard and were excited about how much money was raised for the club. After making 136 lbs, of fudge all of them are now masters at making fudge.
A message from Assistant Superintendent Lori Jo Rasmussen:
The new year is always a chance for new beginnings, setting goals, and looking ahead to the future. What an amazing opportunity we have this beautiful season!
Quite by accident, I started a tradition years ago. At the beginning of the year, I would clear out the clutter, go through closets, the toy box, etc. This was not an ambitious goal that I had set, but action spurred by pure necessity. Our house was small and with the addition of a few new Christmas toys, clothes, etc., it was necessary to make space. The feeling of accomplishment from this small task was always a bit of a pleasant surprise! Who would think that such a small task would provide clarity, organization, and focus.
I was talking with a friend about the upcoming decluttering of the house when she stated that she was going to declutter her life. Interested, I asked her to tell me more. She said she was going to declutter her home, much the way I had planned, but was also going to declutter her mind. She was going to let go of any negative thoughts or hurt that she had held onto over the years. It makes sense. . .when all your available space is filled with clutter there is no room for anything new to come into your life! You tend to look back rather than forward in your life.
As we look forward to the new year, let's take this opportunity to help our students declutter their desks, rooms, backpacks, and especially rid their minds of negative thoughts. These kinds of thoughts can take up precious time and energy.
Every day. . . let alone every year, is an opportunity to change one’s life. We have the power to say "this is not how my story ends." We have the power to rewrite our destiny. When you sit down to reflect on last year’s successes and shortcomings, and you are ready to set a goal for the new year, include the opportunity for growth and positivity in your life. Remember to "Live for each moment! Today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope!" I wish you all a hopeful, happy new year!