This week I had the pleasure of speaking in person with Churchill Principal Principal Trent Hendrick in his school office. Through the course of our conversation, Principal Hendrick choose his words carefully, was mindful of his position as a public figure and took great pains to not say anything controversial that might unnecessarily “stir the pot”- all very understandable and appropriate stances, in my opinion. Through the course of our conversation, it was also very clear to me this is a man who is very concerned with the well being of his school and the students inside it.

I began our conversation by first recounting the concerns of other adjacent Principals and the visions each had for their own school. Principal Hendrick listened carefully and at the conclusion of this introduction, he choose to instead steer the conversation towards the accomplishments of his own school. Principal Hendricks first touted the obvious academic successes of his students–achievements which every last resident of Holladay, Utah should be proud of. Churchill–without question–is one of the best preforming academic Junior High Schools –both private and public–in the entire State of Utah. After listing the school’s many accomplishments, Principal Hendricks also made a specific point of touting the school’s in house engineering program, which regularly participates in not only state wide competitions but also national competitions. The schools engineering program was of special importance to the Principal because it not only offers a pathway for academically minded students but also students who are more inclined to practical real world problems . After mentioning my own interest in understanding the needs of not only the most academically gifted students but also students whose needs are different then those on a direct college tract, the Principal’s eyes appeared to light up and he graciously took me on a tour of one of the engineering class rooms, where I was able to watch students at work, talk with the class room teacher and even ask questions of the principal as we toured.

Of special interest to me during the course of my conversation with the Principal, was his belief successful schools not only teach their students reading, writing, and math but also integrate them into the surrounding community. We are all at our best, the Principal noted, when we participate in and are part of greater whole tying all of us to each other. As I later reflected on the Principals world view–a view which matches much of my own–I inquired after our meeting had ended if I were fortunate enough to be elected, would the Principal consider a joint collaboration in which school students and seniors living in our district find ways of interacting with each other and lifting each other up. While the children are without question the future, the present successes of our community are also a direct outgrowth of the work of a prior generation, whose hard work turned Holladay Utah into the success story it currently is. It seemed fairly obvious–I proferred– that both our youth and our elderly have something to offer each other, and if properly envisioned, collaboration between these two groups could easily be “win-win.” The Principal responded Churchill Junior High already reaches out to the community’s elder population, and as a result, he is very open–at least in theory– to considering additional ways of connecting the Churchill Junior High youth with Holladay Utah, District 4’s elder population.

At the conclusion of our conversation, I asked the Principal Hendrick point blank, if elected to represent the citizens of Holladay Utah, District Four–how could I best assist him in fulfilling the school’s academic mission. Without skipping a beat, the Principal immediately responded the school’s most current pressing issue is the recruitment of out of boundary students to his school. Without these students, the Principal noted, Churchill Junior High would simply be unable to keep its doors open and as a result recruitment and community out reach is vital to the school’s long term mission and success. I let the Principal know in no uncertain terms that I am in, and if fortunate enough to be elected, I will do everything in my power to assist him with his recruitment efforts–and for that matter–anything else he believes his students or the community of Holladay, Utah can benefit from.