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Midvale Journal

Midvalley STARRS making own mark

May 02, 2019 02:07PM ● By Julie Slama

After speaking to Midvalley fifth-grade students as part of the school’s new STARRS program, Midvale Mayor Robert Hale shook their hands. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Utah has a connection to the name “stars” – starting with the former Utah Stars, the first and only Utah professional basketball team to win a championship title; the Utah Starzz – one of the WNBA first franchise teams that played here; and the Salt Lake City Stars – the Utah Jazz development team. 

When Midvalley Elementary students are talking stars teams, they have their own.

The Midvalley STARRS team represents fifth-grade Students That Are Responsible, Respectful and Successful, School Counselor Gina Lloyd said.

“We want the kids to learn how to be successful,” she said. “We want them to learn how to be of service in the community, be kind, be respectful, have empathy, work as a team and prepare themselves to be successful in secondary school and afterward.”

This year, Midvalley introduced the new program to help these students develop leadership after administrators noticed fifth-graders were struggling.

“They need to show that they are important at this time and place. They’re preparing for middle schools, but at the same time, they are needing to be leaders here. They are learning how to be successful at this time and place, but learning responsibility and respect and looking toward their future,” she said.

Midvalley administrators, along with Midvale Youth Ambassador Kosha Hansen, who helps at the school and also speaks to youth about goal setting, established the program. The key components of the program include service – tying fleece blankets for The Road Home shelter; looking to their future – writing letters to their future selves and placing their handprints on a poster committing to excellence; etiquette – including a formal luncheon with a surprise guest speaker later this month; kindness and teamwork – creating a paper chain of kind acts performed that wrapped around the entire school; and learning about respect and responsibility from Midvale Mayor Robert Hale, who recently visited the school.

“Be a leader,” Hale encouraged the attentive students. “Be respectful; you will have many more friends. When you are, you can help other people and you will become more successful in life. Reach out, share, take responsibility. These will take you far.”

Hale told students about when he attended the first Liberty Elementary in Murray, a two-story school where in fifth grade, he struggled in math.

“It challenged me,” he said. “But I kept working, trying to understand the principles, trying to do the best I could. Today, I have a mind for math and that started in fifth grade. But I also learned, if I kept trying, testing myself again and again, I could do hard things and be successful.”

Hale said that it was about that time when he was playing at recess and a younger student came up to him, asking for help with his basketball shot.

“When you demonstrate maturity, love and respect, people look to you as a leader, as friend. It doesn’t matter if it’s football or math, you can help someone and they will give you their respect and friendship,” he said. 

Students posed questions to Hale — from train safety to those who have impacted him (amongst those he named were his family and his sixth-grade teacher who served as a World War II soldier and taught them about respect for the flag, country and those who serve). 

Hale said as mayor, he appreciates the culture in Midvale and hopes they appreciate their classmates at Midvalley.

“All of us look different. We have different hairstyles, different clothes. And all of us are unique and wonderful and that’s a blessing,” Hale said. “If we looked all the same, then how would your teacher tell the difference of each of us and how valuable we each are? We all can bring our strengths and share them. That is what will make you promising great leaders and make our community better.”