Actors in Training

Written by Sarah Sullivan
Drama students experience the Shakespeare Festival.
Practicing their facial expressions for the stage!
Students take in a play at the festival.


On October 16, 2013 a group of PJHS students took a field trip for The Shakespeare Festival.  Mr. Aintablian, the school’s drama teacher, chaperoned the students to Cedar City.  He had remembered many great things, and enjoyed going with the students.  They got to stay over night, meet people who had made a name for themselves in the drama department, and participate in competitive activities.

It was one of the first chances students had to stay overnight, and get away from parents.  They got to get their own food,and stay in their own hotel rooms.  They were able to display responsibility, and learn what it is like to be on their own.

Attending the festival was not only the students, but performers who had been on broadway.  The students were given the opportunity to be coached, and watch professionals in action.  It was a great learning experience that allowed them to be around amazing, and successful participants in that field.

At one point 2,000 people danced to “What Does the Fox Say?”.  They also, got to act competitively.  They got to try their best at something, and there were possibilities for scholarships.  For actors in training, this was a big deal.  To say the least, it was one of the most fun, learning experiences available.



A Big Thank You

Written by Haven Johansen
Students show patriotism and gratitude at the annual Veteran's Day Concert.


“This is our way of celebrating those who have sacrificed to protect our country, “ was the first announcement made after welcoming the guests of Payson Junior High School’s Veteran’s Day concert. The entire auditorium was full of proud family members and  fellow students and staff. Soon the Payson High School was filled with the sounds of the band, orchestra, jazz band, and choir playing patriotic songs to honor the veterans.

The concert was peppered with videos of some of the school’s staff sharing experiences they had with the fantastic veterans who had not only devoted their time to protecting our country, but also being outstanding citizens and people afterwards. The audience was touched by the awe-inspiring memories they shared.

Shortly afterward, the halls were ringing with the sounds of the band, orchestra, and choir playing and singing patriotic and historic songs. Some of them were exhilarating and showcased the way swinging, trumpet-filled music affected the early war era. Other songs were saddening and reminded the crowd of  the harsh world of war. Some numbers included Stars and Stripes Forever, a quieting song about gunfire called “Barrage,” and a drum number done entirely on trash cans. All of the performers did a fantastic job portraying feelings and history through music, and at the end of the concert all veterans in the audience were given a token of thanks provided by Poor Boy’s BBQ. From Payson Junior High school, a big thank you to all who fight for our freedom.



Talent Avalanche 2013

Written by Haven Johansen


On November 1,  Payson Junior High revealed an avalanche of talent on stage- some unknown, some unusual, and all of it fantastic. Bringing together some of the school’s hobbies and interests, PJHS’ 2013 talent show exposed just a small portion of the hard work, capabilities and showmanship of our students.

After a round of sign up sheets, auditions, and a careful selection process done by the Student Council, the talent show was finally underway. Preparations involved dress rehearsals, lighting and music setup, costume design, and hours of practice. “I’m so excited! It’s going to be so much fun!” Kenji Heimuli, a member of a musical act, shared enthusiastically. Kenji is a bassist in  a musical group titled “The Sweater Vests,” who performed Seven Nation Army as the first act of the show. Kenji had a right to be excited- it was going to be a big success.

Adrenaline was high as the spotlight focused on the announcer for the first act, Liz Callahan, student council member. The curtains pulled away to reveal a great first act, and the stage continued to showcase 13 excellent talents and groups. They featured original musical compositions, piano ensembles, beautiful vocal performances, a dance number and even a slam poem. Audiences were stunned by the brilliant, and some previously hidden or unique, talent that students brought to the stage.

The performer’s nerves did surprisingly well. “The spotlight makes it so you can’t even see the people, so you don’t really care what you’re doing. I just pretend I’m playing for my grandma,” says Nic Nez, who played an original composition on electric guitar. The lighting, microphones and announcements went perfectly thanks to Payson Junior High’s Student Council.

After the first show, everyone involved set back up, got back in their places and did it all over again for the second assembly. Performers commented that they thought they did even better in the second show and that they felt even more confident. Everyone had a ton of fun, and did a great job! Here’s to an even better 2014 talent show!



A Night of Patriotism!

The Fine Arts Department at PJHS will be putting on its annual Patriotic Concert to honor Veterans. The concert will be held this Wednesday, November 13 at 7:00 pm at the Payson High School Auditorium.

The public is invited to enjoy this free event and to celebrate the veterans who have served our country! Veterans are especially encouraged to come enjoy this evening. Bring your family and come to the concert!



Grizzlies March Against Drugs

Photos by Blake Mortensen

The average American only takes 5,000 steps a day-but students were able to walk 500 miles as a school to take a stand against drugs.

On Monday, October 7th, the Payson Junior High Grizzlies showed their commitment to be drug free, bringing the end of Red Ribbon Week to a close. Over 1,000 students, faculty and staff completed a ½ mile walk, bringing our school total to 500 miles walked. Each homeroom class created a banner that showed their pledge to be drug free, and the PTA decided on 3 winners that were announced at the end of the assembly.

The end of the walk brought students to a mini-concert which showcased several performers. The program began with a group of students performing “Cups” (both singing and playing the cups!). The group included  8th graders: Kyrra Lundberg, Jolene Ballamis, Emily Miller, Megan Dixon, Mariah Webber, Rachel Holt (teacher), Shalice Bascom, Sabryne Kelly, Lily Wimmer, and Sarah Sullivan.

Next were two songs, “I Wanna Hold your Hand” and”Ho/Hey” were performed by a group of students. Haven Johansen,Owen Grimshaw, and Cody Carlisle were on vocals with Kenji Heimuli on guitar, and Austin Stevenson on drums.

The Latinos in Action club participated in a dance led by Justin Socetta performing his robotic dance moves for the crowd.

Jesse Sorenson, Vice Principal at PJHS, gave a principal’s message with the emphasis being make good choices and get involved in positive hobbies rather than doing drugs.

The program ended with two former PJHS students sharing their talents. Addy Elliot, now a Sophomore at Payson High,sang and played the piano to Rihanna’s “Stay” and “Carry On” by Fun. Finally, Heather Bolz performed “God Bless America,” an original piece, and “Ho/Hey” with crowd involvement.

Before walking inside, the winners of the Drug Free Banner contest were announced. Third place went to McKenzie Fairclough’s 7th grade English class, second place to Vanessa Gillie’s 8th grade English class, and first place went to Rachel Holt’s 7th grade English class. The grand prize included a treat from the PTA and the coveted Grizzly Spirit banner.

The whole Red Ribbon week was a great success, and the 500 mile walk was a hit as well! This is the second year that the walk has taken place and is the beginning of a wonderful tradition at our school. Way to be drug free, Grizzlies!


Toughest Competition of the Year



A fierce competition occurred after school as students and staff played in one of Payson Junior’s toughest, most popular events: a badminton tournament.

On September 20, 2013, 70 students competed in Payson Junior High’s first badminton tournament of the year.  Eric Archer, teacher at Payson who organized the event, explained, “There were a lot of close games and it was a 'smashing' good time.”  

Tanner Killpack & Luis Garcia took 1st Place, Jose Sandoval & Jr. Castrellon placed 2nd, and 3rd Place went to Bryce Mecham & Josh Steele.

Congratulations to all the winners.  There are several tournaments throughout the year so keep playing and getting ready for the next one!



Stellar September Students


Each month, teachers vote on which students excelled and really stood out in each of their content areas: Students of the Month. The excellent students for September are as follows:

Science- 7th: Weston Amos, 8th: Mollie Brown, and 9th: Abby Ellsworth. Language Arts- 7th: Wendy Camba, 8th: Bailey Ekins, and 9th: Hagen Thomas. Boys PE- 7th Kaden Mecham, 8th Austin Bailey, and 9th Justin Sauceda. Girls PE- 7th: Ruby Baird, 8th Whitlee Monroe, and 9th: Ashley Jensen.

Math- 7th: Gavin Hoffman, 8th: Brock Elmer, and 9th: Alyssa Behrend. Social Studies- 7th: Hernan Cisneros, 8th: Micah Ashton, and 9th: Tyler Jones. Fine Arts- 7th: Corbin Tharp, 8th: Rhett Meek, and 9th: Chantelle Wilkinson. Library- 7th: Lors Burton, 8th: Kaitlyn Ohman, and 9th: Tambi Clark. Career and Tech- 7th: Ty Petty, 8th: Megan Hall, and 9th: Jared Hanks.

The following students were chosen as overall students of the month from their entire grade: 7th: Ruby Baird, 8th: Brock Elmer, and 9th Justin Sauceda.

Congratulations to all of these students for their hard work and dedication in the classroom!



Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events: Picture Retakes Monday Sept. 23rd. Bring your picture packet if there is a reason to exchange, or money if you want to purchase a packet. Be sure to have your photo taken for the Student ID card and yearbook if you were absent before.

Upcoming Events: Friday, Sept. 20, the PTA has scheduled a Drive-In Movie at the PHS parking lot. This was a huge success last year, so plan to bring your family again this time around.

PJHS Girl's Tennis team is scheduled for two matches this week--Sept. 17 & 19th. Good luck, girls!

Upcoming Events: Parent Teacher Conferences will be held from 3:30 - 8:00 Thursday, Sept. 19 in the cafeteria at PJHS. This is a great chance for parents to meet their child's teacher and discuss the student's progress before the end of the first term.

Upcoming Events: Wednesday, Sept. 18th: Students will be excused at 11:15 for a special Early Out Day, while teachers remain in the building for training. Parents need to be aware that their children will be home earlier than usual that day.

Jazz Band Concert and Big Band Dance

The Fine Arts Department of PJHS proudly announces their final band concert “Concerto Concert” to be held Wednesday, May 8, 2013. The concert will be held at Payson Junior and begins at 7 pm.

Following the concert, they are putting on a special jazz band dance from 8:30-9:30 pm! This event has become a favorite and all are invited to come. The jazz band will play the best big band tunes from the 1940’s and will be dressed up in period uniforms. There is no cost, so bring the family and come cut a rug!


Students Slam It!

PJHS Poetry Slam Winners.jpg

On Thursday, May 2, 2013, students from Payson Junior High School participated in a school wide Poetry Slam Competition. The students who advanced to this level were chosen by their peers and teachers to represent individual English classes-they “won” their class slam to compete in the school slam.

With over 70 students participating, the competition was fierce! The majority of students read original poems that were packed with creativity and emotion. The event was very entertaining for all who attended. Because of all the incredible performances and well-written poems, the judges had a difficult time deciding the winners-but they made the decision.

The Top 15 winners who will advance to the Nebo School District Slam are as follows (in no particular order & pictured above): Tyler Haroldsen, Taylor Olsen, Emma Spencer, Perla Barreda, Caili Bogan, Grace Wilson, Savannah Smith, Bryan Hedelius, Andrew Bean, Isabelle Malloy, Katelyn Orcutt (not pictured), Danielle Corbett, Natalie Schulze, Sarah Deeb, and Amy Pouliot.

The District Slam will be held at the Salem Hills High School auditorium on Tuesday, May 7 at 7:00 pm. Good luck to all students who will represent our school and congratulations to all students who participated!