November 2010

Fall Sports

Attributions: 
Curtis Burton
Pictured: PJHS Cross-country Team
Pictured: PJHS Freshman Football Team

Those that participated in the fall sports at Payson Junior High this year had great seasons.  The cross-country team, freshman football team, tennis team, high school soccer team members, and high school volleyball team members all experienced team-specific measures of success.  PJHS athletes from each team conducted themselves very well on the tracks, fields, and courts of competition.     

The cross-country team began with small numbers this season; however, Dakota Lange, a team captain and mentor to many on the team, was able to bring many runners to the team through recruitment.  The team’s numbers reached the largest they’ve been in years with 30 athletes on the team.  With increased numbers, the team finished 2nd place in most their races for both the boys and the girls.  At the district championship meet though, Payson Junior High finished 1st.  Dakota Lange said about the race and team, "We believed and we did it!"

The team had some great performers.  Notable performers from the team were, for the boys, Dakota Lange (eighth grade) 1st in district, Dallin Wyberg (ninth grade) 4th in district, and Dillon Boulton (eighth grade) 10th in district.  For the girls, Ally Chapa (ninth grade) 8th place in district, Cierra Lundberg (ninth grade) 9th place in district,
Chloe Williams (eighth grade) 10th place in district, and Maris Mortensen (seventh grade) 12th place in district all had great seasons for the team.

Turning to football, this year’s PJHS freshman team was made up of 36 players coming from 4 different city league teams the previous year and included 10 players who had never played football before.  The season started off a bit rocky as the team started 0-3. This start was a disappointment to the coaches and players and left them with almost no shot at the playoffs because in order to make the playoffs, the team would have to win their final 3 games.  Remarkably, they did, beating Timpview and Salem towards the end of the season to get into the playoffs and finish the season with a 3-4 record.

Colten Allred (the leading tackler on defense) said of the team, “Stepping onto the field with this team was one of the best things I have ever done.  I love these guys like they are my brothers.”

Connor Mitchell (QB/LB) spoke of the team’s character also, “This year in football I think if we took or learned only one thing it would have to be that nobody is better than anybody, but anybody is as good as everybody.” 

Jake Corbett, the freshman football coach, wanted to voice his thanks for parent and community support the team received this year.  He would also like to thank Shane Bluth, Dylan Clark, Mike Cole, and Andrew Greenhaulgh who helped coach the team this year.  Coach Corbett stated, “It was a privilege to coach some amazing young men this year, and I felt honored to get to be a small part of their lives.”

On the tennis courts, the PJHS team had some great moments.  One of the team’s coaches, Travis Hatch, said, “We had a great season this year. We had a lot of fun learning some of the basics of tennis and improving our game. The girls had a lot of fun at practice where we worked to improve our ground strokes and serves and our overall play.  The girls had a lot of fun together getting to know each other and learning to work as a team.  They were cheerleaders for their team members when they needed them.  We had some wins and some losses, but overall, we had a great time.”

Hopefully the winter sports teams can have as much success at PJHS as the fall sports teams had.

Reb Ribbon Week and Be a Buddy not a Bully Week

Attributions: 
Curtis Burton
Members of the Latinos in Action Club display the Red Ribbon Week Pledge Chain.

Red Ribbon Week and Anti-bully Week Help Students at PJHS Recommit to Social Integrity and Responsible Citizenship 

Payson Junior High’s Mission Statement states, “At Payson Junior High we are committed to academic excellence, social integrity, and responsible citizenship.” Students, faculty, and administrators at Payson Junior High certainly practiced what their mission statement states as they took the opportunity the last couple weeks to emphasize “social integrity” and “responsible citizenship” at the school.  Students recommitted themselves to being alcohol, tobacco, and drug free during the school’s annual Red Ribbon Week (10/25-29/10) and committed to put an end to bullying during their annual Be a Buddy not a Bully Week (11/8-12/10).

During Red Ribbon Week, the school’s students, faculty, and administration participated in a number of activities that promoted living a healthy lifestyle.  Students and faculty wore red wristbands showing their outward commitment to being alcohol, tobacco, and drug free with prizes given to those who were wearing their wristbands.  Members of Payson Junior High’s Latinos in Action Club created a red school chain that consisted of signed commitments to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs which was displayed near the school’s counseling center.  The school’s counseling department and administrative team scheduled two assemblies that helped students appreciate the Red Ribbon Week message.  The first assembly was given by BYU athletes who shared how they are able to do what they do athletically and have an athletic advantage due to avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.  The second assembly was given by Butch Scott who shared with PJHS students and faculty his family’s tragic story of the loss of their son and brother to a drug addiction.  Students really seemed to appreciate the significance and warnings of the messages that were shared.

Kassandra Allsop, a ninth-grade student at PJHS said, “I liked the drug assembly because I have a family member that is struggling with drugs, and I can see how it is affecting him and how sad it is for the family.  I learned how one bad choice can ruin your whole life.  I know lots of students who thought the story of Butch Scott’s son was so sad.  It was very powerful.”

The Be a Buddy not a Bully Week was introduced by the counseling department a few years ago to make students at PJHS aware of the dangers of bullying.  Students made anti-bullying videos, the winner of which was Kris Anderson, a ninth-grade student at PJHS; they participated in a door decorating contest; students signed pledge notes to not bully; they sent buddy notes to classmates; and students participated in a Mix-It-Up Lunch where students sat with and got to know classmates that they didn’t know before the lunch, and prizes were given to the students who got to know as many new classmates as they could (Andrew Putt won the grand prize: an MP3 player).  Christina Lowe, Miss Utah, delivered an anti-bullying message focusing on compassion and respect in an assembly that the students participated in.  

Nicole Kearl, a ninth-grade student at PJHS, said about the week’s message, “We’ve got to rise above the influence of bullying.”

From all appearances, Payson Junior High is doing its best to do just that and really live with “social integrity” and “responsible citizenship.”

Payson Junior High's Annual Fun Run

Attributions: 
Curtis Burton
Pictured: Faculty and students running in the annual Fun Run.

Students at Payson Junior High had a great time participating in the school’s annual Fun Run on October 19.  The Fun Run, which has been organized annually by Jennifer Braithwaite, helps promote fitness and living a healthy lifestyle.  True to tradition, this year’s run had a huge number of student and faculty participants. This year 287 students and faculty participated which is up significantly from last year’s number of 184 students and faculty members who participated. The two-mile course annually begins and ends at the Payson High School track which makes it fun for the spectators and runners to cheer the racers as they begin and finish the race.

This year’s overall winner was Dakota Lange an eighth grader at PJHS. Top finishers for the girls in each grade were Maris Mortenson (seventh grade), Sydney Thomas (eighth grade), and Calli Jensen (ninth grade).  The boys top finishers were Dylan Armstrong (seventh grade), Dakota Lange (eighth grade and overall winner), and Dylan Wyberg (ninth grade).  The top faculty finisher was Mr. Bird (the cross country coach). The top ten finishers in each the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades qualified to run in the Principal’s Challenge which was held on November 2.

 “This is one of the best activities we do all year,” said Jesse Sorenson, an administrative assistant at Payson Junior High. Sorenson went on to say, “There aren’t many other activities that get as many of our students involved like the Fun Run does.”

Jennifer Braithwaite added, “The students ran a great race. The weather was great, the conditions were great, and the race went smoothly. We’d like to see even more students out next year.”

PJHS Principal's Reading Marathon Challenge

Attributions: 
Curtis Burton
Winners of the Principal's Reading Marathon Challenge

Last month students at Payson Junior High enthusiastically took up their principal’s challenge to read at least 26 minutes a day for 26 days as part of Payson Junior High’s Second Annual Principal’s Reading Marathon Challenge.  Mr. Swenson, the principal at Payson Junior High and an avid runner and finisher of several marathons, challenged the students at PJHS to read 26 minutes a day for 26 days prior to this year’s St. George Marathon which he and Mr. Burton, an English teacher at PJHS, ran.  The students that took up the challenge by reading for 26 minutes a day and documenting their reading were entered into the Principal’s Reading Marathon Challenge drawing, and they were also allowed the opportunity to guess the finishing time for Mr. Swenson’s and Mr. Burton’s marathon.  

Said Mr. Swenson regarding the challenge, “It is always exciting to see so many students work hard on an academic goal and a healthy lifestyle goal.  Reading is a very important lifelong skill, and it is also important to learn good healthy lifestyle habits as well.” He went on to add, “The Principal's Reading Challenge goes hand in hand with the English department's encouragement to read every day.   Students will do better in school and increase their academic success if they read each day.”

Hundreds of students participated in the challenge, and over twenty students won prizes through the Principal’s Reading Marathon Challenge drawing.  Several students commented that reading 26 minutes a day was not too challenging because they read that much and more everyday for their reading requirements at the school.  Many students are also participating in the school’s 40-book Club, which is a challenge to read 40 books by the end of the school year, so they were eager to add to their page totals by participating.  Mr. Swenson and Mr. Burton were very pleased with the amount of enthusiasm and participation that came from the students, so to keep the tradition going for a third year, Mr. Swenson and Mr. Burton are contemplating running another marathon next year.