Sunday, May 31, 2015

School's Out for B7 Grads!

Congratulations to 19 members of the B7 Ward family who have recently graduated from a variety of high schools and universities.  These bright and talented young graduates will now move on to the next phase of their lives, whether it be more education, missions or employment – or a combination of all three.  Best of luck to all of the following:
Six of nineteen B7 graduates.  Bottom row from left:  Tanner Schall, Aspen Erskine, and Caroline Bown.
Top row, from left:  Mitchell Smith, Liz Larson and Vivian Fraser.
Liz Larson, oldest of Aaron and Rebecca Larson’s six kids, graduated from Desert Hills High School in evening ceremonies on May 20 at the Burns Arena.  This high energy overachiever was well on her way to a perfect academic record until “a math class ruined my 4.0 gpa,” she notes, but despite this teeny, tiny disappointment, Liz enjoyed her high school experience to the max.  In addition to her academic achievements, she also served as DHHS theater department’s head tech while developing her prowess in lighting design. Her plans for the future?  Funded by multiple scholarships, she will begin her college career in the fall at Utah State University in Logan where she will study toward a degree in Audiology.  She also plans to submit her papers soon to serve a mission.

Aspen Erskine, youngest daughter of Jerry and Lorraine Erskine, is now an alumni of Desert Hills High School, graduating as the youngest in her class of 354 students.  In high school Aspen played flute for four years in both the pep band and the concert band and played basketball for two years, all while keeping up her grades, earning her Young Womens Recognition Award and attending all four years of seminary.  Her future includes general studies at Dixie State University before serving a mission somewhere in the world.  Upon her return she will complete her education but at this time, is undecided as to her course of study.

Vivian Fraser, oldest daughter of Steve and Jill Fraser, is one of four B7 Young Women to graduate this year from Dixie High School.  Although most of her high school years were spent in Boise, Vivian has adjusted well to her new hometown.  In Boise, she was part of the cheer squad.  At DHS, she has enjoyed her involvement in theater and seminary; and, recently completed requirements for and received her Young Woman Recognition Award.  Her future educational goal, beginning in the fall, is to study early childhood development and speech therapy at Utah Valley University.

Caroline Bown, 3rd daughter of James and Paula Bown’s six children, graduated #1 in her class of 35 students - and as one of 7 Valedictorians - in Dixie High School’s Class of 2015 and with a cumulative ACT score of 27.  A runner-up Sterling Scholar in music, this bright young woman is on her way to BYU in the fall with the help of a Regent Scholarship to pay part of her expenses.  She is, at the moment, undecided as to what her major will be as she works toward a Bachelors degree, but is certain she will be taking time out of her studies to serve a mission in the future.

Mitchell Smith, 4th - and the youngest of three sons - of Eric and Karin Smith’s five children, recently donned his cap and gown for graduation from Dixie High School, where he ran track and cross country and maintained “straight A’s”, completed four years of seminary, earned his Eagle scout award, and still found time to work part time at Batteries Plus.  Now that the ceremonies are over, he plans to work as long as necessary to earn money for a mission.  Mitchell has a scholarship at Dixie State University, but his father hopes he will study engineering at MIT, while his mother wants him to study at BYU.  Mitchell will have two years in the mission field to decide what HE wants to do.

Tanner Schall, youngest son of Jason and Lori Schall’s eight children, has been homeschooled for all of his life by his mother and is pleased to now be a high school graduate.  But he is particularly excited to have completed four years of early morning seminary with his friends in the B7 Ward.  This happy young man’s future will now include traveling 300 miles each week to work with his father at the two assisted living facilities the Schall’s own in Lake Havasu.  

Summer Simkins, oldest daughter of Randy and Sharlan Simkins, is a new graduate of Dixie High School where she was named Softball Player of the Year; received an All-State honorable mention in Softball and made the All-State Team in softball.  She graduated with honors, was named a Utah Scholar and received a scholarship; and, a full tuition scholarship at Dixie State University.  Of her years as a Dixie Flyer, Summer says, “I absolutely loved high school where my favorite activities were big football or basketball games on Friday night and dances such as Homecoming, Sadies and Senior Ball on Saturday night – and they were always a blast!”

In the fall of 2015, Summer will continue pursuing her education at DSU where she will do General Studies while playing on the softball team.  After she completes her Associate Degree she hopes to earn a Bachelors Degree in writing and/or journalism.  Summer adds, “A mission is a possibility, too. I have lots of ideas and interests right now ...  just not sure which direction I’ll go yet.”

Braden Evans, second son of Eric and Shannon Evans, is now an alumni of Desert Hills High School but during his high school career he     won the 3A State title in doubles tennis as a senior against Snow Canyon High School.  He was the Academic All-state Nominee in boys tennis not only for his prowess on the court but also for a gpa above 3.8. Academic All Region (Region 9) for athletes who score above a 3.75 gpa over all 4 years of high school; received his Varsity letter in tennis; and Utah Scholars Initiative for students who take and excel in extra honors science and math.  Braden was offered scholarships at the University of Utah, Weber State and SUU but accepted the offer from Utah State University where he will join the business program right out of high school because of his gpa and ACT scores.  He will major in Business Administration with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship.

Patrick Swansborough, youngest son of Pat and Lauretta Swansborough, was one of 89 graduates of Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts where he was recognized as the Guitar Student of the Year.  Patrick loved THS and especially enjoyed studying guitar with Dave Anderson.  Patrick's future plans might include DSU, but for now he will be playing guitar and singing in as many evening gigs as he can arrange while also working during the day.  If he does go further in school, he will study more guitar, take other music classes and perhaps some business classes since he hopes to have a career playing music for a living.

Warner Brown, youngest of Vanda Lawson's 8 children, plans to spend his summer working and playing his guitar while considering his future now that he has graduated from Dixie High School.  Calling the high point of his days as a DHS Flyer as "the chance to meet and make real friends," Warner also states he graduated with passing grades and hopes to eventually find his way back to school at some point.  His first choice would be to attend UVU - and maybe serve a mission - but he is not ready to commit to any serious plans at the moment.

Ian Ford, second son of Scott and Sophia Ford and one of 352 recent graduates of Dixie High School, says he didn’t apply for scholarships because his father is on the faculty at Dixie State University so he will have free tuition while he studies his “generals.”  In high school, in addition to his impressive 3.8 gpa, he played percussion (actually, he's played since the 8th grade) and participated on the debate team during his junior year.  Not yet sure what his career goals are, Ian is keeping his options open for a transfer to another university when the time comes.  In the meantime, he is giving some thought to a mission.

Trevor Davies, second son of RaeLynn Davies, is one of 76 new graduates of Millcreek High School.  Trevor was also recently honored by the St. George Dixie Elks Lodge #1743 as one of 22 Students of the Year for accomplishments in academics, the arts, athletics and service.  For the next year, Trevor will be competing in boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in northern Utah, then hopes to complete a bachelor’s degree in business and entrepreneurship, starting his college studies first at Salt Lake Community College.  Calling himself "pretty picky" he has not yet made a decision as to his university of choice for his further studies.  

Lisa Carson, youngest daughter of Kendall and Mary Jean Carson, collected her Associate of Science degree from Dixie State University during ceremonies held in the Burns Arena on Thursday, May 8.  This most recent milestone comes only 8 months after returning home with honor from a fulltime mission in Nashville, TN.  Her next big adventure will be 10-months of massage therapy training in Bountiful.

Brianna Teddie Bair, oldest daughter of Mike and Lori Bair, graduated with a major in Communications and Public Relations in early April from BYU-Idaho in Rexburg. Her next adventure is a 3-week study abroad program in Europe where she will visit in London, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other points of interest.  From there she will begin the search for a “big girl job” which may mean she will be moving to northern Utah in the near future.

Sarah Bown, oldest daughter of James and Paula Bown, had a memorably, exciting springtime, graduating from BYU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in mid-April followed by her marriage in the St. George Temple and a reception in her parent’s backyard in mid-May.  The future for the new Mrs. Braden Myers will now include work toward a Masters Degree in Writing from BYU.

Ashley Wilkes, oldest of Rob and Chardell Wilkes five children, accepted her Associate of Science degree from Dixie State University in early May.  Her immediate future – at least for the summer months – will center on her full-time work at Beehive Homes and taking a few classes in anticipation of working toward a Bachelors degree in chemistry.  She hopes, one day, to study at NYU on the east coast, but for now, she plans to continue her studies at DSU.

Also part of the B7 Ward family and high school graduates in the spring of 2015 are Rachel Landon, daughter of B7 Ward member Jim Landon and granddaughter of Keith and Ruth Landon (deceased) who recently graduated from Cedar City High School; Emily Robles, one of 342 graduates of Snow Canyon High School; and Natasha Carnell, daughter of Casey and Joy Carnell, now a Class of 2015 alumni of Tuacahn High School.

If you are aware of any graduate who was missed in this blog post or whose accomplishments were reported incorrectly, please e-mail

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Vivian Receives YW Recognition Award

Vivian Fraser has faithfully completed all the requirements necessary to receive the Young Womanhood Recognition - the equivalent of the Eagle Scout Award for young men - and was recognized for her accomplishment during a recent Sacrament meeting.

This award recognizes young women in the Bloomington 7th Ward and throughout the church for worthiness and for completing Personal Progress requirements. As a recipient of the award, Vivian has shown she honors her commitment to live the commandments and the standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an established pattern of progress in her life and as stated in For the Strength of Youth Through her Personal Progress, the daughter of Steve and Jill Fraser, has committed herself to keeping her baptismal covenants as she prepares to make sacred temple covenants, serve those in need by sharing her gifts and talents, and striving to strengthen her home and family.

Welcome Home, Elder Bown

Peter Bown, the only son of James and Paula Bown's six children, returned with honor in early May to his home and family after 2-years of full-time missionary service in the Texas Houston South Mission.  He noted, in his Sacrament meeting talk, "there is joy being a missionary which can't be found anywhere else.  It was a privilege to be a full-time disciple of Jesus Christ."

In a letter from his mission president, Elder Bown was described as "a wonderful missionary, an excellent teacher, a dynamic leader and an influence for good who blessed the lives of many in the Houston South Mission.  He will be missed!"

Peter's next step in life will be the continuation of his education at BYU where he is studying for a Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science, but he is leaving his options open for a career in medicine.

Welcome home to family and your friends in the B7 Ward!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Noah is B7's Newest Ward Member

Noah Wilkes, youngest of Rob and Chardell Wilkes five children, was baptized on Saturday, May 9 at the Bloomington Stake Center – the same day his big sister Ashley Chardell Wilkes graduated with an Associate of Arts and Science degree from Dixie State University, making this an unusually busy day for the family.  

Noah, a 2nd grade student at Bloomington Elementary School, turned 8 years old on April 20.  Says his mom about the baptismal experience for her youngest child, “Rob and I have been extremely busy lately and didn't do much prep with him spiritually.  Fortunately Noah is quite smart and though he seems like he's not paying attention in Primary, it all sinks in anyway.  Like a pro he was able to answer all the questions asked of him during the talks at his baptism.  He also provided some comedic relief while working his way down the font stairs.  I have to say it was the most entertaining baptism I've ever attended.”

The Bible Dictionary teaches, “baptism in water is the introductory ordinance of the gospel and is followed by baptism of the Spirit to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Baptism symbolizes death, burial and resurrection and can only be done by immersion with the authority of the priesthood.  Baptism is a reminder of our personal commitment to Jesus Christ.  Its symbolism is beautiful and its consequences ever so desirable." 

Noah's decision to be baptized makes him the newest member of the B7 Ward.

Til We Meet Again, Br. George Ringwood

Longtime B7 Ward member George Ringwood passed away peacefully on May 6, 2015 at the age of 88 and surrounded by his family.

Born in 1926 in Salt Lake City, George grew up in a happy home, then joined the U. S. Navy, where he served for 24 years and through three wars.  When he was honorably discharged, he took a job with the U. S. Postal Service.  In 1984, he and his wife Colleen Ballinger, whom he married in 1948 and was later sealed for eternity in the Los Angeles Temple, retired to St. George. Colleen passed away in 2011 but together they have a family legacy of four children, 20 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren.

In 2013, George met and married Helen Baker Howard.  George’s favorite hobbies were golfing, playing card games, yard sales, spending time on the family’s Bryce canyon property, eating out and being in the company of family and friends. George had a big love for life, a great sense of humor and a witty personality which endeared him to everyone he met.

Br. Ringwood, we did not know you well, but you will be missed among the membership of the B7 Ward.   Til we meet again ...