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Davis Journal

Miracles happen at Mountain High

Oct 14, 2021 10:10AM ● By Becky Ginos

Assistant Superintendent John Zurbuchen congratulates a student at Mountain High’s fall graduation. Courtesy photo

KAYSVILLE—Graduation is a momentous occasion but for 14 students at Mountain High School it was more than that. It meant overcoming challenges most kids don’t have to face. The school held a fall graduation ceremony last week for students who completed the requirements to graduate with their class. 

“They face challenges coming into Mountain High,” said Jennifer Christensen, a social worker at the alternative school. “They work through the summer so they’re considered the class of 2021. We’ve really adopted as part of our mission, to give students growth opportunities. It’s important to leave with a plan to work toward becoming self-sufficient, contributing adults and be prepared for a bright future.”

Christensen works on school-based mental health. “They might have challenges at work, home or with housing,” she said. “Some are teen parents. There’s a wide variety of things our kids face day to day. We also do crisis intervention and onsite evaluation and treatment plans.”

Assistant Principal Wendy Marland met with the students to map out a plan of what they needed to do, Christensen said. “She provided encouragement all along the way and helped them with their mental health and how to manage their time and challenges.”

There were eight kids who walked, she said. “It was really good. I was so touched. It says something about you when kids come back two years later to sing with current students and faculty.”

It was neat to hear from the kids, Christensen said. “It was cute to see these eight boys all nudging each other to get up and speak and hearing how Mountain High changed their lives. I was touched by the gratitude they expressed to different members of our staff who have gone above and beyond.”

There was an overall feeling of “gosh we made it,” she said. “One boy Tyson I worked with him a lot. I’m really proud of him. He said, ‘I just want to thank you. I came to your office a lot but now I don’t need to as much because you helped me know what to do.’ They experience the healing they need. To see the growth in Tyson was amazing.”

Christensen has worked at the school for three years. “I love it there,” she said. “So many amazing things happen at Mountain High. That’s why it’s called Mountain High. It represents a Mountain climb. They can be game changers in their families and for future generations to come.” 

If other schools had that level of care there wouldn’t need to be an alternative school, said Christensen. “I wish every student wherever they go feels loved, supported and cared for. Miracles happen at Mountain High.”