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Midvale Journal

Former Midvalley students come full circle, return to alma mater to speak to elementary pupils

Jul 03, 2023 10:14AM ● By Julie Slama

Shortly before Hillcrest High graduate Jessica Ynda turned the tassel on her commencement mortarboard, she and several other seniors paraded the halls of their elementary school alma mater, Midvalley Elementary.

There, they gave elementary students a thumbs up and high-fives as many youngsters clapped for them. Then, the high school seniors spent time in their classrooms, sharing their education pathways and answering questions about middle and high school.

Ynda, who was a member of the dance company this year and the football team’s equipment manager, talked with two fifth-grade classes.

“I got to tell them a little bit about high school; I told them it’s important to be involved and to find a place to belong,” she said. “In middle school, I tried theater and concert choir for a couple years, and they will hold a special place. In high school, I did drill then dance company. I was asked a lot of questions, like if everyone has a boyfriend or girlfriend in high school. I said there are quite a few couples, but I told them that it’s really good to have a good group of friends to hang out with and support you too.”

She also got asked about her favorite middle and high school classes and teachers as well as the best places to eat lunch “because the student already knew a lot of students go off-campus to eat.”

Ynda, who aspires to be a teacher and will study at the University of Utah in the fall, said interacting with the students was a great opportunity for her.

“The kids were all excited and wanted to know everything, so it was a good opportunity for me to be in front of the class and share with them what I knew and help inspire them,” she said.

The visit from graduating Hillcrest High seniors is a tradition that Ynda remembers when she was an older elementary student after a time off for the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the hallways weren’t familiar, she appreciated the chance to visit the home of the Junior Huskies.

“It was not the original school, but it was still really cool to see some of the teachers and office staff I knew there,” she said.

The new school was built and opened in the fall of 2020, so even though it was not the same one that the Hillcrest class of 2023 attended, there were a couple staff and faculty members who remembered them from their younger days.

It also gave Ynda a chance to reconnect with some of her former friends and classmates.

“It was great to see some of my old friends again; it was awesome,” she said. “At Hillcrest, we’re all doing our own things, or hanging out with different groups, clubs and teams, so we didn’t really see each other all that much. It was fun to be all in one big group again like we were in elementary school. This was a highlight for us as it was for the Midvalley students.”

This wasn’t the only school in Canyons School District where high school seniors returned to their schools before graduation. In Sandy, members of a former first-grade class met with their retired teacher as well as a retired second-grade teacher at Peruvian Park Elementary and members of a former fifth-grade class met with their retired teacher at Sunrise Elementary. λ