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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Sandy City Youth Council honors outstanding Brighton coach

Jun 28, 2018 09:28AM ● By Julie Slama

Area teachers were honored by Sandy City Youth Council students for making an impact on their lives. (Photo courtesy of Jessica Arnett)

By Julie Slama | [email protected] 

When Brighton High sophomore Tyler Sunde was at her swim team practice, another swimmer dove in and collided with her, leaving her with a pretty serious concussion. 

“I was in the hospital for a while and it was hard to understand how serious it was,” she said. “My head always hurt. I had daily headaches.” 

That collision ended her swim season, but not the support she received from first-year Brighton assistant coach Jordan Fletcher. 

“He cares more about the swimmers than the sport. He knows how well we can swim, our performance, but he also knows us, the athletes, as people. He is just amazing. He knows if something is off and can help us. He asked me about school and how I was emotionally (dealing with the concussion). I knew I could talk to him,” she said. 

For his support, Sunde honored him as one of Sandy City Youth Council’s outstanding teachers. 

“I like to recognize teachers who have done big things in my life and am genuinely thankful for their impact,” she said. 

Fletcher was the only Cottonwood Heights honoree recognized with a plaque at the council’s 24th annual Teacher Appreciation Dinner.

The event was coordinated by volunteer youth council teacher appreciation dinner coordinator Marsha Millet. 

“It’s a special night where teachers are being honored by their students,” she said. “For many of these teachers, they have never been honored in years of teaching and if they have, few have ever been selected by their students who have been directly impacted by their teaching.” 

The evening’s events included remarks by Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, who recalled how teachers impacted him, she said. 

“He spoke about the importance of honest and good characters and how that is also learned from teachers,” Millet said. 

The event, which honored 11 teachers and coaches, was supported by four city council members: Steve Fairbanks, Linda Martinez-Saville, Chris McCandless and Zach Robinson.

Council co-mayor Megan Okumura welcomed teachers and members Alex Cheng, on piano, and Abby Murri, on violin with her mother accompanying her, provided entertainment. 

Other area teachers who were recognized included Hillcrest High’s Katie Bullock, Kenneth Herlin and Austin Hilla; Jordan High’s Brandon Cressall, Carrie Earl, Rachel Hardy and David Morrill; Alta High’s Chad VanOrden; Park Lane Elementary’s Susan Homer; and American Preparatory Academy’s Amanda Larsen.

Okumura said it’s important to honor teachers. 

“As a future educator myself, I find teachers to be very under appreciated yet very needed,” she said. “I can thank every teacher I’ve ever had for shaping a part of who I am today because they have such an impact on our lives. It’s important that teachers are recognized not just by their students, but by the city as well to show that all the hard work they’re doing does not go unrecognized or unappreciated. Without teachers, our world would be a lot darker place.”