WEST JORDAN — Students at Terra Linda Elementary love playing soccer during recess. But because the school didn't have the proper equipment, students had to use their jackets to form makeshift soccer goals — something that led to arguments on the playground.
With the donation of new goals, Principal Karen Gorringe said discipline issues have significantly decreased — there have only been a handful of problems the entire school year, whereas it used to be a handful on a weekly basis.
"The kids work as teams better," she said.
The goals were bought with money donated to Jordan School District from Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen. As a thank-you, the school held an assembly Tuesday honoring Hansen.
"I have a real belief that the greatness of our states rests, really with you," Hansen told students at the event. "You're the leaders and we need to give you every resource we possibly can so you become everything you can possibly be."
"I truly believe that Utah can't tax their citizens enough to give kids the education they deserve," Hansen said.
"Recess is lots better isn't it?" Gorringe asked students in the audience.
The answer was a resounding "yes."
During the assembly, the school honored and thanked Hansen for his continued commitment to education. He was made an "honorary Tiger," the school's mascot, and given a pair of Terra Linda Tiger socks — which he changed into onstage.
A video was shown at the event explaining how Hansen's donations have impacted students. Teachers expressed their gratitude for the grant and displayed the new tools it funded, including laptops, a 3D printer and books.
"After seeing that video, I cannot wait to donate more dollars to go to great teachers to do the wonderful things they've done," Hansen said.
Toward the end of the assembly, Mary Van Minde, executive director of the RSL Foundation, announced the new program "Scoring for Schools."
"We believe that teachers need great equipment and great classroom resources to really engage these young learners in this day and age," she said.
Teachers in the Jordan, Canyons and Alpine school districts will receive a $250 grant as part of the project.
"Dell Loy trusts the teachers that they know what they need in the classrooms," Van Minde said.
Students at the school are grateful for the gift.
"I was very happy because my teacher can get whatever she needs for the class," said Ashtynn Christopherson, fifth-grader at the school.
Students, teachers and administrators will also receive tickets to a Real Monarchs game — something students are already looking forward to.
"I've never been to a game before," said Aspen Fordham, fifth-grader at Terra Linda. "I think it's pretty cool."
RSL's Leo the Lion also brought out new soccer balls during the assembly, which he signed.
"He's really funny and sometimes a troublemaker," Fordham said. "Some of our soccer balls are kind of old and someday they will pop and then we'll have these other ones."Comment on this story
Steven Hall, executive director of the Jordan Education Foundation, said the school district is grateful for Hansen's generosity.
"Dell Loy Hansen was able to see a need for our district, see a need for our teachers, see a need for our kids, and respond," Hall said.
He said a lot of what the district has accomplished wouldn't be possible without donations.
"The additional funds that come to us because of him have exponentially helped our teachers and schools throughout," Hansen said. "We couldn't do all the things that we do without those types of donations. We just can't thank him enough."