Utah Valley State Of Success


Provo resident SHAROLYN GABBITAS appeared on American Idol in January in a flashy costume and performed a hammed-up duet with herself. The costume emphasized the Barbra Streisand/Neil Diamond cover, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” A native of Payson, Sharolyn has enjoyed singing her entire life, despite a bout with thyroid cancer when she was 20. Now 28, she plans to continue her dreams of becoming a local music star.

TYLER THOMSON of Spanish Fork has been animating storyboards for Hollywood’s Spiderman III, coming out in May 2007. Tyler was selected to work closely with the director, producer and actors of the film as an artist. He completed a two-week internship with Sony Pictures last summer. A UVSC graphic design alumnus, Tyler is currently studying graphic design at BYU through correspondence courses.

Lehi’s JERRY JOHNSON spearheaded the request for and received a $2.1 million grant for his BYU research team. The grant from the National Science Foundation allows Jerry and his colleagues to study biodiversity in Patagonia, the southern regions of Chile and Argentina. In addition to examining wildlife in the region, the five-year project also focuses on creating international scientific partnerships by uniting 100 scientists and students in Chile, Argentina, Canada and the United States.

WENDY DIMOND of Payson was presented the Service and Humanitarian Award by Mayor Burtis Bills in January. Wendy was recognized for her outstanding four-year involvement with Payson youth as the city youth advisor. She gives youth hands-on leadership experience in the community and the opportunity to learn about running a city. She also serves as the president of the Nebo South Council PTA. Wendy grew up in Idaho and moved to Orem to attend BYU. Upon returning from a church mission, she graduated with her associate’s degree from UVSC.

Timpview High School’s GEORGE BAYLES has been awarded the Principal of the Year Award for the state. George received this honor for outstanding work with his students, respect for academic achievement, genuine love for kids and their success, and implementation of several programs that have improved Timpview since he became principal in 2001. George earned his bachelor’s degree from California State College and his master’s degree and doctorate from BYU.

JEAN DIXON ELLIOTT, founder of the women’s senior dance group known as the Golden Girls, started the group eight years ago as an exercise group targeted to senior women, but quickly expanded into a national performance group with high-kicking, split-performing, show-stealing grannies. The Girls — who perform country western, tap and jazz routines — are signed up to perform at a March LA Clippers game. Jean lives in Provo.

KAISA GOODMAN of Springville just set a new school record of 137 words per minute at Springville Middle School. With nearly perfect accuracy, 12-year-old Kaisa broke last year’s record of 127 wpm, which was also set by herself. She began typing in kindergarten while living in Thailand. When her family moved to Springville while Kaisa was in the first grade, she continued with her hobby. Kaisa also enjoys sports, writing stories and being with her friends. She is the daughter of Tina and Michael Goodman.

Spencer Olsen of Provo was honored as one of the nation’s top 30 high school artists as part of the AP Studio Art competition for the 2004-05 school year. A Provo High School alumnus, Spencer’s masterpiece, “Grandfather’s Typewriter,” was chosen from the 24,000 entrants to be displayed in the traveling exhibition. Spencer is now a freshman at UVSC where he is studying art.

JANIECE SLOAN of Eagle Mountain has been recognized by several members of the city council for her dedicated service to the city. Working as a counselor with the Eagle Mountain Youth Council and involved with the city’s Pony Express Days celebration, Janiece has been an enthusiastic and devoted member of the community. Janiece has just been appointed to fill a vacancy on the city council.

Mapleton’s NICOLE RAMON took second place in the national standing long jump competition for girls ages 11-12, held in Hershey, Penn., by jumping 7’ 5.25”. She is the daughter of Anthony and Kellie Ramon and attends Springville Middle School.


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