Mr. Clay Petersen – Bryant Middle School

Jan 17, 2008, 12:06 AM | Updated: Jan 15, 2021, 6:17 am

While driving me home from a date one evening, my soon-to-be husband suddenly pulled the car off to the side of the road and turned off the engine. Surprised, I turned to look at him. He told me that he needed to ask me an important question. His expression was serious as he then asked me a question that would change the course of my life forever. His question was this: Would I mind being poor for the rest of my life?

He then proceeded to tell me that he had a long-time dream of becoming a school teacher. When I asked him why he wanted to become a teacher, the answer was simple. During a particularly difficult time in his life a junior high teacher had reached out to him and helped him see his own personal potential. My husband wanted to return the favor and make a difference in the lives of other children.

Ten years later he is living his dream. I would like to nominate my husband Cip Petersen for KSL’s Teacher Feature. He currently teaches band/orchestra at Bryant Intermediate, Wasatch Elementary, and Ensign Elementary Schools. His love for music and teaching children are combined to make him an indispensable asset to the Salt Lake School District.

Cip has met with many challenges during his teaching career. His teaching style constantly changes throughout the day to meet the demands of various age groups; all the way from kindergarten to 8th grade. Some of his classroom sizes have consisted of 70 or more children, all of them making incredible noise on differing musical instruments. His charisma, dedication, humor, and professionalism keep these challenges in check.

Cip excels in blending good fun with a challenging curriculum. On many occasions his middle school students have performed high-school level pieces. His Jazz Band has been invited to perform in Kingsbury Hall this coming year. Also, last year Bryant’s concert band was selected to open for Fox 13 News “cool school” story. His goals for his students as well as for himself are set high. Not only does Cip dedicate himself to his teaching but he is also currently pursuing his PHD in Music Education at the University of Utah.

Cip is respected and loved by his supervisors and students. Also, many times at school concerts parents have approached me and mentioned how grateful they are for “Mr. Petersen” because he has made a difference in the life of their child- either by encouraging them or refining their musical talents. While doing laundry, I’ll often find “thank-you” notes from students in Cip’s pockets. Here’s a sample of what his students say:
“Thank-you for teaching me how to play the alto saxophone.”
“You rock”
“Thank-you for helping me fix my viola”
“I thank you because you helped me achieve my goals”
“You took the time to help me with the notes”
“I like how you do whatever it takes to make us the best of the best”

I’m proud to be a teacher’s wife. My husband works hard to support me and our three young children. But, he was wrong about one thing. We are not poor. We may not have a lot of money but we are rich! We are rich with the legacy that all teachers are privileged to share: molding and inspiring the youth of today.

True, he may come home tired at night but there is always a light of deep satisfaction and happiness in his eyes that cannot be bought with any amount of money. Yes, we are rich.

I sincerely hope KSL will consider Cip Petersen for KSL’s Teacher Feature.

Sincerely, Alisa Petersen

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Mr. Clay Petersen – Bryant Middle School