Jordan High: a Tradition for Sandy Family
By Julie Slama
When Ammon Jones was entering high school last fall, he wasn’t as scared or apprehensive as some freshmen. Ammon had two cousins beginning high school with him; plus they were joining their six siblings at the school and were following a tradition of older siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and even their great-grandfather, who attended Jordan High School.
“It was cool to have the support of my family there and I always know someone at school,” Ammon said. “But if you do something stupid, your parents will find out for sure.”
Ammon, who was on the honor roll, said he didn’t have to worry about his parents finding out anything as usually he was biking with the school mountain biking team.
“It’s pretty fun and nobody else in the family really does it. I finished second in the beginner Corner Canyon (5-mile) race,” he said.
However, Ammon also goes to lots of football, tennis and girls basketball games to support his family. His older brother, Sam, played on the tennis team before graduating this past spring; his cousin Kjerstin Jones lettered in tennis, basketball and softball before graduating; his sister Sol played doubles in tennis with Kjerstin and played in the state tournament; and cousin Tabytha advanced to state in tennis, earned the outstanding offense award in basketball and was the most valuable player in softball.
“Sports keeps me busy and it’s fun to meet different girls and create friendships, but having family here at school means I always have a friend,” Tabytha said. “Whenever I see my younger cousins, I talk to them and always get a hug from my cousin Demetri. Most of our friends know we’re all cousins, but a few always ask, ‘How many cousins do you have?’”
While Jordan High administrators tell Tabytha’s aunt, Dyana Jones Whiteley, that they don’t keep official records, she knows the number of her family members attending the school at one time is impressive. During the 2013-14 school year, the Jones family had seven cousins. This past year, there were nine and they all live within five minutes of each other, getting together often for dinners and supporting each other at sporting and music events.
“They used to all come to my house after school when they attended Eastmont (Middle School) and tell me about all the things they were involved in,” said Whiteley, who is a 1993 graduate. “We’re really close with our nieces and nephews and we love it. When they were little kids, they would tell me, ‘I love you,’ and now they still do. In fact, Jonas (who already graduated from Jordan) flashed me the sign language sign for ‘I love you’ before every game.”
Whiteley, who said she wasn’t as involved in activities much as a high school student, supports her nieces and nephews, stepping up to be the softball and girls basketball team photographer. She also gives each of her nieces and nephews framed photographs and sewed a quilt for Kjerstin from her old Jordan uniforms and T-shirts.
But, having cousins and siblings can have its drawbacks, senior Sam Jones said.
“I got to be the designated driver and drive them to school and back,” he said, jokingly. “But it’s good that we’re close.”
Sam, who was a member of the croquet club and also the Link Crew (a leadership program to help freshmen) said he didn’t have to worry about tutoring his family with studies.
“I had two classes with Kjerstin, but all the cousins are smart so we didn’t have to help out with homework or anything like that,” he said.
Sam’s cousin, Rachael Jones, who graduated this spring as well, was on the honor roll, as were her brother O’Ryan and cousins Sam, Kjerstin, Sol, Tabytha, Ammon and Jessika. Rachael’s brother, Demetri, received the “great start award.”
Rounding out the Jones family talent is O’Ryan, who plays cello in the school orchestra, brother Demetri, who studies French, and cousin Jessika who participates in ballroom dance.
“It’s been great going to school with cousins,” Sam said. “I can watch over my family and help them when they need help.”