PCHS Teacher Named ACT College & Career Readiness Champion

Melanie Moffat

Melanie Moffat, an English Language Learner and elective teacher at Park City High, has been selected as the 2017-18 ACT College & Career Readiness Champion for the K-12 professional category. She represents the Northwest Division which includes Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.

Moffat was recognized for her work to advance the condition of college and career readiness for all. Champions represent those across the country who support ACT’s mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success, and have the honor of being selected as the sole champion for their category, in their state.

“At Park City High School parents have high expectations for college readiness,” said Julie Hooker, a colleague of Moffat’s at PCHS who nominated her for the award. “A few years ago Melanie and Anna Williams identified a need for our English-Language Learners and first-generation learners. They noted that these students did not have the same access to ACT preparation courses, college application preparation and post-secondary opportunities so she  designed a program that includes ACT preparation, Content Link, and, most importantly, college tours for our most at-risk students.”

Moffat spends time teaching and mentoring first-generation students. “Melanie’s classroom is next to mine and is always filled with students — before school, after school and at lunch,” Hooker said.

She has designed a summer school program to encourage English Language Learners to enroll in Advanced Placement courses, manages a team of teachers each summer and hosts 30 (+) students. The demand for this program is increasing because it prepares students for the rigor of AP courses.  Park City High’s achievement gap has decreased and ELL students are taking and succeeding in AP courses.

“Everyone, at some point in their lives, has been inspired by an individual who is tenacious, positive, and dedicated to helping others achieve their life’s goals,” said Scott Montgomery, ACT senior vice president of Public Affairs. “This initiative provides a way to recognize those exemplary individuals whom we all know and love and want to ensure their stories are told to inspire the actions of others.”

PCHS Senior Selected for National Youth Science Camp

Editor’s Note: In the coming weeks leading up to graduation, we will highlight Park City High seniors and their outstanding accomplishments.

Photo by Tom Lebsack
Photo by Tom Lebsack

Tali Kottler, a senior at Park City High, has been selected as a delegate for the month-long National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia this summer. Kottler is considered one of the two most promising young scientific leaders in Utah’s 2018 high school graduating class. She plans to attend Carleton College in Minnesota next fall.

“I’m excited to get to know the other delegates who are as passionate about science as I am,” she said.

Established in 1963, as part of West Virginia’s Centennial Celebration, the National Youth Science Camp, is where two delegates from each state exchange ideas with leading scientists and other professionals from academic, government, and corporate worlds. Delegates are challenged to explore new areas in STEM, art, and music. Those attending also get to take advantage of the outdoors since the camp is located in Monongahela National Forest.

“This is a unique opportunity for these high achieving STEM-focused students to explore the sciences more broadly, while being challenged in ways they may never have been before,” said John Giroir, director.

Kottler has been actively involved PCHS’s first robotics club, the pit orchestra of the high school’s musicals the past three years, a math, chemistry, and physics tutor, and a member of the Summit County Library Teen Advisory Board and the Utah Women Tech Council SheTech Student Board.

Results from Elementary State Debate Competition

Twenty students from fifth- and sixth-grade competed Friday, April 27, at the Utah Elementary State Debate division 1 competition at Alta High School, winning multiple awards among the 60 teams participating.

They students contended in Public Forum style debating the resolution: “Be it resolved, in the United States, the benefits of government regulation of education outweigh the harms.”

The competition consisted of teams from Salt Lake, Granite, Jordan, Canyons, and Park City School Districts.

Here are the results from PCSD:

Parley’s Park Elementary: Coach DeEtte Earl

–Ella Wismer and Erin Donovan, AFF (affirmative), first place

–Maddie McHenry and Greta Bretts, AFF, second place

–Olivia Johnson and Elyse Engel, NEG (negative), fourth place

–Ben Butler (Outstanding Speaker) and Jack Revoy, NEG

Jeremy Ranch Elementary: Coach Paula Krueger

–Kelly Richardson and Amelia Grishom, NEG, first place

McPolin Elementary: Coach Kathleen Gibson

–Ben Sidlow and Sophia Mueller, AFF, fourth place

Trailside Elementary: Coach Marjean Johnston

–Annika Hunt and Adam Hilton, NEG

Ecker Hill Middle: Coach Gina Mason

–Leah Yeager and Sophie Goswick, AFF, fifth place

–Madison Coyne and Kardin Salem, AFF

–Natalie Southland and Colin Campbell, NEG, seventh place

Passion for Music Propels PCHS Senior to Top Honors

Editor’s Note: In the coming weeks leading up to graduation, we will highlight Park City High seniors and their outstanding accomplishments.

Ian Wagman’s passion for music has propelled him to statewide competitions and opportunities many high school seniors will never experience.

Wagman, who will graduate from Park City High in June, knows the value of an arts education and has immersed himself in the music programs at the high school. He plays the piano, oboe, and English horn with the PCHS Wind Ensemble, and keyboard with the Varsity Jazz Ensemble.

Last summer the University of Utah had a piano concerto and solo performance competition. Wagman won first place in the concerto division among high school seniors and college freshmen. In January, Wagman performed “Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-Flat, Op. 10” by Prokofiev with the Salt Lake Symphony conducted by Matthew Mainella at Libby Hall on the University of Utah Campus. You can view his performance here.

Wagman’s accomplishments are many. This past summer he was one of the two drum majors of the Marching Band. This was especially unusual because both drum majors were oboists. In addition to performing at the high school, he also takes piano lessons from a professor at the U and oboe lessons from the principal oboist of the Utah Symphony.

He will be attending the University of Utah where he plans to study classical composition, conducting, piano, and oboe. After he completes his bachelor’s degree, he plans to attend a conservatory to get his master’s and doctorate degrees.

TMJH 9th Grader Named Utah Student of the Year

Jorge Luis Tlasmanteco Vasquez, a ninth-grade student at Treasure Mountain Junior High School, has been selected as Utah Student of the Year. The award , which comes with a $5,000 scholarship, will be presented  by Gov. Gary Herbert on May 2.

Vasquez, who was selected from hundreds of nominations statewide, is a member of the school’s Latinos in Action and plays on the Park City High soccer team.

He was selected for his leadership inside and outside the classroom, for making a measurable, meaningful improvements in the lives of others, for exhibiting a love of learning, for encouraging learning in his peers and classmates, and for exemplifying a culture of respect and learning.

Author, speaker and Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen will be the keynote speaker for the evening. In addition, to Vasquez’s award, an Educator of the Year, Administrator of the Year, and Partner in Education will also be announced.

The dinner will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Union Event Center, 235 N. 500 West, Salt Lake City. The award are sponsored by the Cicero Group as a statewide celebration of public education.

Kindergarten Online Registration Now Open for 2018-19 School Year

Online registration for students entering kindergarten for the 2018-19 school year is now available. State law requires students to be age 5 by Sept. 1. No new out-of-district students will be accepted for the 2018-19 school year.

New student registration is available online here:



The registration process includes providing the school secretary/registrar with the following required documents:

– Current immunizations
– Vision screening for kindergarten students
– Proof of Residency is required every year – Proof of Residency
guardianship papers
– Name/address/phone/fax or school last attended
– Copy of student’s birth certificate

Registration is not complete until the above information is provided to the school.

Once all information is received, your student will be entered into our database/scheduling system.

Park City High Wins Six Nominations for ‘The Addams Family’

Park City High School’s Theater Department has received six nominations for its musical, “The Addams Family,” performed earlier this fall. This is the second year in a row PCHS have best nominated for Best Musical.

Nominations include:

–Best Musical

–Best Supporting Actress: Tori Kenton (Pugsley Addams)

–Best Cameo: Katie Lobrot (Grandma Addams)

–Best Costume Design

–Best Lighting

–Best Orchestra

“To be nominated for Best Musical two years in a row is amazing,” said Rick  Kimball, drama teacher and director of the show. Last year PCHS was nominated for “Little Women.”

Performances from more than 70 schools from throughout Utah were judged by theater professionals who traveled across the state to adjudicate high school productions. Park City competed against some schools that are more than twice its size.

PCHS will perform “The Addams Family” at the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 12, as part of the Utah High School Musical Theater Awards. “These awards are like the Tony Awards for high school theater,” said Kimball.

All finalists will perform during the May 12 award ceremony. Best Actor and Best Actress will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York City  to compete at the national level. Scholarships will be awarded to the Best Supporting and Best Cameo winners.

11 Students Win at Regional Science & Engineering Fair

Congratulations to our students who placed in the top four spots at the recent University of Utah Science and Engineering Fair. Open to students in grades 5-12, the fair’s purpose is to ignite a love for STEM. Following individual school and the district science and engineering fairs, students advanced to the regional competition at the U of U.

Projects were evaluated by volunteer judges with professional expertise in the subject matter.

Park City High student Jaspar Ruegemer was awarded the NASA Earth System Science Award  for his project, “Earth Needs To Chill! How About Some Cool  Sunshades?”

Winners rom Park City School District include:

–Max Ward-Nanney, Ecker Hill Middle: first place, electrical and computer science, “Aim, Click, Connect.”

–Tyler DeMarco and Joshua Cressman, Trailside Elementary: first place,  materials and biomedical, “Pencil Pal.”

–Sebastian Wrona, Trailside Elementary: third place, mechanical engineering, “Water Walking/Running Shoes.”

–Sean Merrill and Liam Foehl, Jeremy Ranch Elementary: third place, civil and environmental engineering, “Help. We Need Water.”

–Dylan Rifkin, Trailside Elementary: fourth place, civil and environmental engineering, “H2Woah.”

– Kian Mathew, McPolin Elementary: fourth place, chemical and physical, “Wi-Fi Cubed.”

-Greta Bretts, Parley’s Park Elementary: fourth place, biochemistry, “Who Can See What Isn’t There?”

–Elena Ruegemer, Ecker Hill Middle: third place, material and biomedical, “Thermal Mass to the Rescue! How Does Material Density Impact Solar Thermal Storage Capacity in Buildings to Minimize Diurnal Swing.”

Miners Take Top Spots at Design/Build Engineering Contest







This year Park City High students took top honors at Weber State University’s Design/Build Engineering Technology Competition. The competition challenges students to strengthen leadership and integrated STEM skills.

Keifer Maples, Hunter Mullen, Carl Prior, Ethan Routledge, Kenneth G Russel, and Parker Olson placed first in Architectural Design. PCHS architectural design teams made a tremendous effort this year and groups spent many hours after school in the class lab and in meetings with local architects and builders to prepare for this event.  Students had to convert two 40-foot shipping containers into a tiny house and showcase the entire design build process. The team developed a complete set of architectural plans and constructed a physical and computer-generated model to accurately depict their design.

Hunter Way, Graydon Russell, and Will Watkins placed second in Engineering Design. This year’s theme was to “engineer the tools for scientific discovery.” The team designed a portable testing chamber where objects could be placed inside the core so various environmental factors could be applied to the part in a controlled setting for data collection and non-destructive testing.

Russell also placed second in Music Production. The challenge was to create a piece of music for the Technology Student Association national conference event ceremony. He composed a complete musical masterpiece using a keyboard, online composition tools, and garage band software.  His piece, “The Eagle,” told the story of the Apollo 11 launch and journey, using the original launch countdown sequence from 1969 to open the composition.

Will Watkins placed third in the Future Technology Teacher competition.  He presented a home-aid lesson on 3D printing accompanied with handouts, manipulatives, guided notes, and other study tools. He was well prepared to teach and answer questions from his panel of judges pertaining to his lesson. Watkins has been a huge asset to the PCHS engineering program,

Mercedes Howard placed third in Photographic Technology. This year’s theme was, “The Battle Between Nature and Technology—Who Wins?” Howard created a portfolio of images and a resume to be entered into the semifinalist round. This was PCHS’s first year competing in this event where students demonstrate understanding and expertise in using photographic imaging technology processes to covey a message based on the theme.

“We are so proud of all our CTE students who competed.  This was a great experience and we are excited for future competitions,” said teacher Jordan Ulrich.

New Park City High School Principal Appointed

Park City School District Superintendent Ember Conley announced today, March 21, that Roger Arbabi, currently the high school principal at The Columbus School in Medellin, Colombia, has been appointed principal at Park City High School.

Mr. Arbabi brings 25 years of education experience to Park City High, having served as an assistant middle school principal at The Columbus School, and Granbury Independent School District in Texas. He is also a former high school AP physics and science teacher.

“Our family chose to come to Park City almost one year ago, not only for the quality of life, but also for the high quality of its schools,” he said. “I’m honored to be chosen to be a part of Miner community and to continue the amazing work that is already happening at the high school.”

Mr. Arbabi, who is fluent in English, Spanish, and Farsi, holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, and a Bachelor of Science/Biology. He was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador where he trained extensionists to go into the field and teach sound agroforestry techniques to local farmers. He also assisted single mothers to start small businesses to support their families, and developed and executed a seminar for two local high schools on the awareness of global and local environmental issues and the planting of more 1,000 trees in erosion areas.

He and his wife, Kathryn, will reside in Park City with their two children. His wife is an OB/GYN and will be volunteering at the People’s Health Clinic. Mr. Arbabi begins Aug. 1.

“Roger is a welcome addition to Park City High School, to the district, and to our administrative team,” said Tim McConnell, Associate Superintendent of Human Resources. “His background is unique and extraordinary. This is an excellent decision and we are so excited for him to arrive in Park City.”