Wasatch High Creates Innovative Homecoming Dance 2020

Wasatch High School students of 2020 have missed out on many of the usual high school experiences. Prom, graduation, spring sports, and so much more was modified or cancelled completely. Homecoming was also on the chopping block. But the school district, the school board, the high school, Wasatch County Health Department, and some students, came up with an ingenious plan to save it. Thanks to them, Wasatch High School’s Homecoming Dance 2020 will be held this Saturday.

Assistant Principal Ryan Bishop recalled, “Back in June and July, I started reaching out to see what other schools were doing.” He found that most schools were not going to have a dance. “At that point, I went to our district office and our school board, and they gave us an approval to try to work with the health department.” Bishop was hoping to come up with something for Homecoming that the Wasatch Health Department would approve. He continued, “Obviously we knew it would look different. So, I sat down with our student government kids, and we just brainstormed a hundred different things.” Sometime in the middle of august, students came up with the final idea.

“What I really like about it is we had a lot of kids get involved. . . . It was really student-centered; the adults were just there to help them along the way,” said Bishop. Students took drone shots of the football field, and it was divided into 20 sections. Each section will be color-coded, along with assigned parking, entrance gates, wristbands, and a chaperone. 700-800 students are expected to attend, but there will only be 25-30 students in each 40×10-yard section. Digital tickets were pre-purchased over an app, to minimize contact. The dance time will be earlier than usual, 7-9pm, and masks will be distributed at the gates.

“It’s amazing when there’s trust,” Bishop explained. “We’ve had a great deal of trust between our school district personnel, our administration at the high school, our school board, and the County Health Department.”

Although many normal Homecoming activities were cancelled, some remained. Street painting was changed to “Chalk the Block,” and the front patio of the school was decorated by various school groups. Wasatch beat Spanish Fork 26-17 in a Homecoming football game Friday night. And a virtual Homecoming Royalty vote was held. The results were Sydney Brooksby as Queen, Kate Henderson as 1st Attendant, and Mary Santiago as 2nd Attendant.

“We’re going to create a safe environment, and wear masks, and do everything that our health department’s asking us to do. But, we sure want to give our students some fun high school experiences too,” said Bishop. “We want to show them some sense of normalcy.”

Parents seem to agree. According to Randy and Jen Larsen, “As parents of a Senior, we sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Wasatch School District, Wasatch High School administration & teachers, and the Wasatch County Health Department to be creative and implement guidelines that allow for some normalcy. Creating an environment that encourages social distancing and providing masks to each participant will give WHS students the opportunity for a unique, but real and memorable homecoming experience in 2020!”

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.