October Students of the Month

The staff at Payson Junior High School has started a new program to honor spectacular students. The Student of the Month program will highlight students who excel in specific content areas and will be chosen by the teachers. The most challenging part is deciding which students to pick because so many incredible students attend Payson Junior!

The October Students of the Month are as follows: Language Arts-7th Megan Hall & Austin Mosher, 8th Perla Barreda & Eduardo Camba, and 9th   Miguel Vazquez & Chelsea Dayley. Math-7th Garrison Serynek, 8th Zack Potter, and 9th Tyrel Wilson. Science- 7th Jaden Villar, 8th Braxton Judd, and 9th  Jorie Horrocks. Social Studies- 7Th Gavin Deschamps, 8th Lupe Lopez, and  9th Amber Alvey. Fine Arts- 7th   Cambriell Fitzwater, 8th Austin Swenson, and 9th Jalon Watts. Boys Physical Education- 7th Devin Janssen, 8th Luis Garcia, and 9th Braden Norman. Girls Physical Education- 7th Emily Gomez, 8th Anne Kranenburg, and 9th Emma Spencer. Career & Tech- 7th Austin Hone, 8th Mikayla Yost, and 9th Brianda Castro. Library 7th Rachel Campbell, 8th Joshua Evans, and 9th Merilee Ford.

Congratulations students! Thank you for the hard work and dedication you show in the classroom!


Students Take a Stand Against Drugs

Students display their drug free banner during the 500 mile walk..jpg

On Tuesday, October 16, 2012, the students of Payson Junior High participated in a 500 mile walk to begin drug free week. Over 1,000 students each walked one half mile to take a physical stand against drugs. Each class also made a banner for the PTA's Banner Contest and proudly displayed those banners while participating in the walk. While the PTA gave several classes Honorable Mentions and loved all of the banners, the winner was Mike Farley's Science Class with their "Hugs Not Drugs" Chant.

 The walk ended on the soccer field with an outdoor concert put on by fellow grizzlies. 9th grader Jalon Watts sang, "Proud Mary, Rachel Holt (teacher) performed, "I'm Walkin' On Sunshine," Addie Elliot, 9th grader, sang "Don't Stop Believing," and finally SevenEves, a band from Salem High School, performed a few of their original songs for the students. Payson's Principal Carl Swenson wrapped up the assembly by talking about how running is his positive addiction.

 The assembly was put on to show students that we can all find positive, worthwhile things to do with our time rather than drugs. Whether it's music, athletics, or any other number of activities, join the students of Payson Junior and find a positive hobby! Be drug free!


Grizzlies Shine in School Talent Show

Justin Soceda, pictured above, performs his realistic robot dance..JPG

At Payson Junior High School, several students participated in a school talent show on Tuesday, October 22. The acts ranged from comedy, dancing, piano, singing, and much more! The audience had a wonderful time observing the show, and loved all of the acts.

Liz Olsen, a 9th grader at PJHS, said “My favorite act was Justin Soceda. He was a very realistic robot! He was awesome!”  Emily Petty, another 9th grade student, added, “I really liked the Rubik’s Cube girls! It takes bodacious skills to complete one of those so quickly! And it was cool because my sister Sabrina was one of the girls.”

 Tyler Higa, a teacher who organized the event, thanked his staff for helping and said,"The Student Council and Yearbook did such a great job at organizing the Talent Show and it was very tough to narrow down all the auditions we had. The school is just so talented I wish there was a way to give everyone a chance to perform. Both participants and those who organized it worked so hard and I believe it showed in their performance. It was so fun and I would sum up the hard work and effort of everyone in a quote by Tory Burch when she says, 'It's a talent to recognize talent in others and give them the forum to shine.' And the Grizzlies sure shined in the Talent Show this year.” 

Every act was filled with talent and personality. Congratulations to all of the students who mustered the courage to share their talents! 


Fun Run Results!

Several Fun Participants at the beginning of the race..JPG

On Friday, October 19, 2012, Payson Junior High held the annual fun run. Over 300 people participated in the event, including both students and faculty. The rest of the student body sat nearby in the bleachers enjoying the sunshine and cheering on the runners.

The race results are as follows:

The TOP 10 FINISHERS 9TH GIRLS 1. Leah Waite (14:46), 2. McKayla Menlove, 3.  Natalie Thomas, 4.  Monica Nelson, 5. Taylor Degroff, 6.  Brooklyn Jensen, 7.  Megan Hazelette, 8.  Lakyn Adams, 9.  Brittany Wayne, and 10. Addie Elliot. 

 TOP 10 FINISHERS 9TH BOYS 1. Stephen VanMoos (11:39), 2. Dennis Judd, 3. Matt Makin, 4. Makay Hooley, 5. Nathan Staheli, 6. Kolfen Mortenson 7. Ryan Dustin, 8. Jacob Pray, 9. Ben Rowley, and 10 Daniel Wolf. 

TOP 10 FINISHERS 8TH GIRLS 1. Allison Pray (12:01), 2. Tiana Arglye, 3. Haley Dixon, 4. Sierra Boulton, 5. Lucy Hales, 6. Stephanie Scott, 7. Amanda Rowley, 8. Neica Torres, 9. Tyler Baker and 10. Loryn Sumner. 

TOP 10 FINISHERS 8th BOYS 1. Tyler Manokin (11:22), 2. Ivan Webber, 3. Kellis Johnson, 4. Grant Pullan, 5. Dylan Siggard, 6. Franscissco Ugarte, 7. Matt Christensen, 8. Carson Ward, 9. Wesley Terry and 10. Dylan Credaroli.

TOP 10 FINISHERS 7TH GIRLS 1. Abby Jensen (16:09), 2. Emily Rowley, 3. Clarie Rowley, 4. Myranda Goodworth, 5. Kobey Evans, 6. Megan Hall, 7. Haleigh Ruston, 8. Kaisley Theobold, 9. Mariah Webber and 10.Joselynn Fonseca.

TOP 10 FINISHERS 7th BOYS 1. Joshua Pray (12:15), 2.  Matthew Vanmoos, 3.  Bryce Mecham, 4.  Chase Carter, 5.  Jaden Villar, 6.  Garrett Benson, 7.  Levi John, 8.  Jordan Villar, 9.  Ryden Anderson and 10. Payton Healey.

 Jo Braithwaite, teacher at Payson who organizes the run each year, said, "The Fun Run has been running for over 15 years.  It started as an activity during red ribbon week to encourage a healthy alternative to any of the bad choices addressed during the red ribbon month.  It first started as just over one mile and has come to be the currant 2 mile course for the past few years.  Generally 300 students participate, 

Great job to all of the runners for participating and making healthy choices!


Faculty Hike in Payson Canyon

On Monday, September 24, 2012, several members of the Payson Junior High faculty went on a hike in Payson Canyon. All teachers and staff were invited to go view the natural beauty of the fall colors, and get to know their colleagues a little better!

 When asked why he organized this event, Vice Principal, Jesse Sorensen explained, "Payson Canyon offers great views and excellent opportunities for fitness. As a faculty we decided we would take advantage of both and check out the autumn leaves.  It was also a great opportunity to get to know each other outside of the building and the regular work day."

Jim Howell, a teacher who attended the hike added, "The hike was great. Jesse's knowledge of Payson Canyon is amazing as he described happenings like a "Indigenous Historian". The leaves were brilliantly beautiful. The fresh air and hike were exhilarating and the company was pleasant."

We are very proud of those who took advantage of this opportunity and look forward to more chances to be fit and friendly!

Payson Junior High Holds Third Annual Poetry Slam Competition

Curtis Burton Pictures by Savanna Gillies
Josie Horrocks and Hunter Penrod finished second in this year's Poetry Slam.
Mako Watkins finished third in this year's Poetry Slam.

On Thursday, May 3, seventh, eighth, and ninth-grade students participated in Payson Junior High’s Third Annual Poetry Slam. The event has become an eagerly anticipated event which allows students at Payson Junior High (PJHS) to showcase their poetic prowess and talents. This year 83 students participated in the Slam.  Many contestants wrote and recited original poems for the contest while others chose to participate by reciting poems written by their favorite poets. The performance of the poems was excellent, and the entertainment value for those in attendance was high.

The Poetry Slam was organized by the Payson Junior High English Department with Leanne Hoffman and Susan Frandsen (both English teachers at PJHS) taking care of most of the preparation for the event. The Poetry Slam was judged by Wanda Jones, the school’s media specialist, Kay Smith, a UVU professor who has worked closely with the English department, and Ann Laemmlen Lewis, a local author and editor. Ten finalists were selected and awarded with Poetry Slam T-shirts, a current popular novel, and reading pillow. First, second, and third place finishers also received awards for their performances; the first place finisher received a Nook electronic reader, with second and third place receiving ipod shuffles. The finalists were certainly excited about their awards.

The following students were the Poetry Slam winners: Ammon Warnick (1st place) who presented and original poem titled, “People”; Jorie Horrocks and Hunter Penrod (2nd place) who presented and original poem titled, “Change”; Mako Watkins (3rd place) who presented and original poem titled, “I Hate Poetry”. The remainder of the top ten consisted of Brian Hedilious (4th), Jenna Wright (5th), Talyr Mortensen (6th), Michael Wood (7th), Korbin Quinn (8th), Natalie Schulse (9th), and Jacob Broadhead (10th).  

Said Wanda Jones, one of the judges of the event, “I was very impressed with the quality of the performances, the number of poems written by the students themselves and how organized the whole event was.  Sometimes I would get so caught up in the performance and almost forget to rate it.  I only regret that we weren't able to recognize more of the students for their excellent work.”


PJHS Students Honored at the 2012 Great Kid Awards

Curtis Burton
Pictured: Brett Nielsen, winner of the Great Kid Award.
Pictured: Kaitlin Oberg, winner of the Great Kid Award.

Payson Junior High seventh graders Brett Nielsen and Kaitlin Oberg were honored at the 18th Annual 2012 Great Kid Awards on April 25 at the Tahitian Noni building in Provo, Utah. The event was presented by the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce and honored student achievements from around the valley. In addition to receiving their Great Kid Awards, honorees were treated to an inspirational message from Clint Pulver.

Brett was recognized and awarded for being an exceptional student. Some of the things he was nominated for include his willingness to help in class whenever needed, submitting excellent work, and for being a student that uplifts his classmates and helps them achieve their best. Another thing that qualified Brett for the award was his love of and drive for success, whether in school or sports (basketball).

Kaitlin Oberg was nominated for the award because of her willingness to help her teachers (her English teacher in particular). Other qualities that warranted her nomination include being a friend to those who need a friend, helping others be successful in class, and her overall compassion for others. Kaitlin’s English teacher used one word to describe her, “fabulous!”

Congratulations to Brett and Kaitlin!

Dakota Lange Performs Well in Foot Locker West Regional Race

Curtis Burton
Pictured: Dakota Lange displays his finishing medal after running in the Foot Locker West Regional 5K.

Dakota Lange, a ninth-grade student at Payson Junior High, finished 14 out of 75 elite freshman and sophomore cross country runners in the Foot Locker West Regional Cross Country Championship. The event was held at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California on December 3 and featured elite runners from all over the western United States. Dakota completed the 5 kilometer course with a time of 17:25, averaging 5-minute and 36-second miles.

Commenting about the day, Dakota said, “I did a lot better than I thought I would especially since this course has some major hills. I ran this course last year and started off way too fast, so this year I kind of hung back and moved up on the hills; I think this strategy worked very well. I was really pleased with the way the race went.”

Dakota also commented on how well fellow runners from Utah performed in the race. “My favorite part of the day was seeing all the Utah runners doing so well. It was awesome!” said Dakota.




Pictured: Dakota Lange displays his finishing medal after running in the Foot Locker West Regional 5K.


Roah Kelly Wins Power Lifting Competition

Curtis Burton
Pictured: Roah Kelly, the winner of the Mt. Nebo Power Lifting Invitational.

On December 6, Roah Kelly, a ninth-grade student from Payson Junior High, won the local junior high power lifting competition. The event was held at Mt. Nebo Junior High, and students from Diamond Fork Junior High, Mt. Nebo Junior High, Payson Junior High, and Spanish Fork Junior High participated in the competition. Students competed by completing requirements in bench press, military press, pull-ups, push-ups, and the shuttle run. Preston Little, also a student from Payson Junior High, placed second in the competition.

Said Kelly about the competition, “The weights I lifted were what I normally do when I lift, so I was ready for the competition.”


Payson Junior High Students Pledge to be Buddies, not Bullies

Curtis Burton
Pictured: Mr. Curtis Burton’s third period class’s anti-bully themed door.

Payson Junior High students, under the direction of the school’s counselors, committed and entire week in November to focusing on being buddies and not bullies in their school. The counselors, with help from the school’s Peer Leaders, visited the school’s classes to kickoff the anti-bully week, delivering a powerful anti-bullying message to classmates. Homeroom classes participated in a door decorating contest, with classes focusing on anti-bullying themed doors; the competition was won by Lynette Ethridge’s third-period Biology class. The school’s counselors sponsored a Mix-it-up Lunch, which rewarded students with various prizes for getting to know classmates they didn’t know so well. And the week culminated with an assembly which featured Miss Utah, Danika Olsen, who provided an uplifting message for students about peer acceptance and other issues relevant to the lives of teens. 

Karanda Heimuli, a ninth-grade student at Payson Junior High, said of the week, “It’s good to point out how damaging bullying can be so we can focus on stopping it.” 

Savanah Gillies, also a ninth-grade student stated, “Bullying is an abomination that needs to stop!”

The students at Payson Junior high, collectively, seem to share these students sentiments as many committed to be bully-free into the future.