Yalecrest neighborhood has produced many accomplished graduates. With plentiful excellent public and private schools surrounding the neighborhood, there are more success and achievement stories than naught. One of the many accomplished Yalecrest graduates this year is Emma Glende, East High School’s 2018 Salutatorian.
Emma and her mother, Jody, have been an understated dynamic duo since Emma’s start at Uintah Elementary. Emma has long been known as a kind, involved and high-achieving student. Jody is well recognized at Uintah, Bonneville, Clayton, and East where she has run an organized and thoughtful Reflections program, Project Cornerstone, and is a frequent classroom volunteer. Jody calls Emma, “self reliant, thoughtful, detail oriented, responsible, inclusive and proactive.” Emma in turn touts her mother as, “organized, supportive, helpful, patient, conscientious of others.”
We interviewed Jody and Emma, who phoned in from a river trip, and asked them to share some of the highs and lows of Emma’s school career as well as some tips for college application and summer-learning. Here are their answers, as given by Jody.
Q. What are some highlights from your time at East High?
A. Emma ran with the Cross Country team all four years and was varsity captain her Senior year. She served as a student body officer, was named Social Sciences Sterling Scholar, Salutatorian for her Senior class, and received the Presidential Scholarship from the University of Utah. (Sidenote: Jody and Emma are too humble to list Emma’s multiple top-tier college acceptance letters.)
A. Emma was hit with a potent virus during both her Sophomore and Senior year that kept her out of school for weeks. Injuries and illnesses happen during high school. If absence from school is prolonged, make sure to talk with a school counselor and with every teacher to work out a plan for missed classwork and homework. I met with teachers every day after school to turn in schoolwork and had a notebook to record assignments and due dates for each class. When Emma was at her sickest, I would read her textbooks out loud to her to help her stay caught up.
Q. What would you do or not do again?
A. Emma took BC Calculus with Mr. Stanley her Junior year and loved it; she wished she could have taken it again. During her senior year, I thought Emma was quite engaged with her Sociology and AP Psychology classes with Mr. Bertot. She often came home bursting to tell me about some experiment they did in class and what she thought of it all.
Emma also wishes she took more AP classes her senior year. Although she did take three that year, she felt like after her very rigorous Junior year, she could have done more her senior year.
Q. Do you or Emma have any favorite teachers or programs you recommend?
A. Emma really enjoyed most of her East teachers. She also attended Uintah and Clayton. Thanks to Mr. Watson, her elementary school band teacher, she was introduced to the oboe and has played with the Utah Youth Symphony Orchestra during her high school years. Unique extracurricular activities/skills/talents are always great for applications.
Q. What tips or hints do you have for students about to start high school?
A. A great way to bridge the gap between middle and high school is to have your child participate in fall sports. Teams often start practicing in June. Emma was interested in running cross country in high school. At the end of her 8th grade year, I contacted the XC coach at East and let him know of her interest. He sent me their schedule for the summer and she began running the next week with the team. By the time she started 9th grade in the fall she had many friendly faces in the halls because she had been running daily with 40 boys and girls of all grades.
Also, start meeting with your school counselor and academic advisor about scholarships and college applications sooner rather than later. East High puts out a monthly newsletter with scholarship opportunities. We used the newsletter to highlight the scholarships that Emma qualified for and then had her complete the applications.
Q. What kind of college application surprises did you encounter?
A. College applications took a lot longer to fill out than we anticipated. Frequently the applications require writing an essay or multiple essays. Filling out scholarship and college applications almost consumed Emma’s entire senior year. She began in August (before her senior year even started) when many in-state college applications became available online and ended in the spring just before AP tests started. Be aware when making holiday travel plans, that many out-of-state colleges have application deadlines during that time. (See Jody’s College Application Checklist below.)
Also, pay attention to your inbox and respond promptly once your applications are in. For instance, Utah’s Regents’ Scholarship requires proof of college enrollment before July 2nd this year, but in order to enroll in classes at the University of Utah, Emma was required to complete a two-day in-person orientation. With orientation dates filling up quickly in June, we had some difficulty in scheduling Emma’s in-person orientation before the Regents’ Scholarship July 2 deadline.
Q. You still have a child in Elementary and Junior High, do you have any summer-learning recommendations?
A. My strategy for the summer is to hit the Foothill-Anderson library as often as possible and to read and then read some more. We are there 3-4 times a week. I have the June calendar of events and have highlighted the activities we don’t want to miss. There are great things going on most days–concerts, crafts, movies, etc. We always sign up for the summer reading challenge (me included!). This year when you sign up your family receives a coupon book with awesome discounts to places like Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum and The Leonardo. My kids and I are filling up our reading trackers, enjoying new books and experiences suggested by the library.
My kids and I also make up a list of local places we would like to visit during the summer. Some that we have already crossed off are visiting the zoo to see the red pandas, Red Butte Garden to see the amazing Lego exhibit, and the new Bricks and Minifigs store at Brickyard to create our own Lego mini-figures.
Every day the kids know that they need to practice music, read, move in the outdoors, and do assigned chores around the house. I create a simple chart to help them keep track of what needs to be done and let them relish their free time when the “work” of the day is done.
Service is also huge and we try to find small things we can do around the neighborhood during the summer. Whether it’s taking dinner to someone who just had surgery or visiting someone who is lonely. Once a month the kids perform music at the Sarah Daft home just north of East high, but in the summer I especially like my older children to dedicate a bit more time to service. There are so many great ways to serve in the community. Some of my favorites for my kids are babysitting for free for a mom of young kids, helping neighbors with their yard work, camp assistant at Red Butte garden (for 14+), or volunteering at the library.
We’d like to thank Jody and Emma for taking the time to talk to us during their busy (and exhausting) post-graduation week. Congratulations to Emma for her many successes; we wish you the best of luck next year at the University of Utah! And, Jody, you are a great reminder of the power of motherhood and living your life intentionally. It was a pleasure hearing from both of you!