December 2016 Around Town

Alta High Families Fill ‘Empty Bowls,’ Fight Hunger

Every fall, Anne Mallory looks at the students in her ceramics and sculpture classes at Alta High and tells them one heartbreaking fact: Of the eight people sitting at your table, two came to school hungry today.

Every day, one in five children in Utah don’t know where they will find their next meal, according to Feeding America, a charity that networks food banks across the country. Every year, Alta art students work to help the Utah Food Bank by creating pottery bowls in Mallory’s class. They sell the bowls, along with donated soup, at Alta’s parent-teacher conference, then donate the proceeds to the Food Bank.

“I just think it’s a fun and easy activity to fundraise and get everybody involved,” said senior Jeni Jolley, who is president of Alta’s art club. “I wish there were more ways as an art club that we could do that. This is a good way because it is so cohesive.”

When giving the Empty Bowls assignments to her students, Mallory simply tells them to make a beautiful bowl that they would want to buy.  The result is a collection of bowls of varying hues, sizes and shapes. Some are sculpted, some are thrown on a wheel—all of them are made with love.

“It’s a really fun way to incorporate ceramics while addressing cultural issues,” Mallory said at Monday’s parent-teacher conference. “They can see a direct impact with what they do.” The art club has sponsored the Empty Bowls event for the last nine years, donating about $500 to the Food Bank last year alone.

Parents and students visited the art club’s table and display of bowls, buying one of four kinds of soup donated by the Olive Garden. Great Harvest also donated bread for the occasion. For all of the things Jolley could have been doing on Monday evening, there was nowhere else she’d have rather been than warming up crock-pots of soup, making change, and recruiting more customers for their efforts. “It feels good,” Jolley said.

He’s Perfect! Charger Junior Earns 36 Composite on ACT

It took more than 120 hours of preparation time for Corner Canyon High student Aaron Jackson, but the hard work certainly has paid off. The junior recently received word he earned a perfect 36 composite score on the ACT, the most commonly accepted U.S. college entrance exam. This summer, as other students lounged by the pool or went boating at the lake, Jackson pulled out his books to bone up for his maiden attempt at the exam. He estimates he studied three hours a day for the English, math, reading and science sections of the rigorous test. “I wouldn’t say that I was 100 percent expecting” a perfect score, Jackson says, “but I was hoping. It was my goal.”

Since the news spread in the community, his cross-country team has given him high-fives, fellow students offered their congratulations—and, he says, his parents have been a little more lenient on time spent hanging out with his buddies. He doesn’t plan to take the test again—“I mean, I can’t get any higher,” he says—but he’s put into place a solid academic pathway that may lead him to one of the colleges of his choice. The schools on his short list: Harvard, Yale and Stanford.