Tag Archives: Wasatch Academy

Wasatch Academy Student, Sonita Alizadah’s Life Story Is Premiering At The Sundance Film Festival

January 24, 2016

KSL Reporter, Ray Boone

MT. PLEASANT, Sanpete County —

Utah student nearly sold for $9K subject of Sundance documentary Sonita story

Geometry is a language many of us have trouble understanding, but imagine trying to comprehend it when you can’t understand a word the teacher’s speaking.

It was about a year ago that Sonita Alizadah first set foot in America, and began learning the language, mainly though pictures. She likens her experience to being deaf.

“You know, what do you call them?” she asked with a smile. “They speak with their hands.”

wasatch academy picSonita attends Wasatch Academy, a small school in the small town of Mt. Pleasant in central Utah.

Sonita at desk











“I love it!” she said. “Especially Wasatch, because Wasatch is the first real school for me. I have never been in a real school before.”

Sonita came here from Iran, but that country isn’t her home. Her family fled there from Afghanistan when she was a child.

“I don’t have any happy story, except shooting in the night, and a picture of Taliban in my mind,” she said.

Sonita had a cleaning job in Iran, which she likens to child labor.

“Life wasn’t easy because I was a refugee who didn’t have any papers or ID,” she said.

Sundance documentary

Her life in Iran is the subject of a documentary showing at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film bears her name, “Sonita.” One of its central events is when she receives a visit from her mother, who still lives in Afghanistan.

“My family decided to sell me,” Sonita said.

In Afghanistan, forced marriage is common. Sonita says it’s a tradition. Her mother wanted to sell her for $9,000, planning to use the money to buy a bride for Sonita’s brother.

“Forced marriage is like going to death for me,” she said.

Sonita isn’t your typical girl from Afghanistan. In fact, she’s not your typical girl from Iran, either. She’s gained quite a bit of notoriety all on her own through her music. Sonita’s a rapper — she first learned of rap music when she saw Eminem on television.

“I couldn’t understand him, what he was saying, but I realized I can tell something like him,” she said. “I can say my story like him, very fast.”

Canadian Astronaut Visits Sanpete County, Chris Hadfield to meet students, attend ‘Star Party’


This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Canadian Astronaut Visits Sanpete County,
Chris Hadfield to meet students, attend ‘Star Party’

The first Canadian astronaut to float freely in space will visit Sanpete County Oct. 11 and 12. Col. Chris Hadfield, an former space shuttle astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency, will meet with elementary and secondary students, along with the general public, and take part in a “star party.”

Hadfield will be in Utah for The Association of Space Explorer’s 19th Annual Planetary Congress, which is being held Oct. 9-15 in Salt Lake City. The Association is made up of more than 300 astronauts and cosmonauts from 29 nations who meet annually to discuss space flight experiences, technical information concerning space operations, scientific research and training. It’s the first time 10 years that the annual gathering has been held in the United States.

As part of the 19th Congress, astronauts are making visits to various Utah school districts to promote the importance of space research and travel. The group is also meeting with the state’s space industry and government officials.

Mt. Pleasant’s Wasatch Academy is hosting a private dinner for Hadfield Oct. 11, followed by an 8 p.m. “Star Party” at the Garden Bed and Breakfast in Spring City. The star party is open to the general public.

There will also be a space presentation at North Sanpete High School for students in grade six, seven and eight that will include a solid fuel model rocket demonstration, bottle water rocket launching, paper rocket building, paper airplane contests, and other space demonstrations. Students will also get to experience a sack lunch including “Zero-G” astronaut food.

Hadfield, who was raised on a corn farm in southern Ontario, Canada, became interested in flying from a young age. As an Air Cadet, he won a glider pilot scholarship at age 15 and a powered pilot scholarship at age 16. He became the first Canadian to ever leave a spacecraft and float freely in space while serving as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 2001. He also served as mission specialist on NASA’s second space shuttle mission to rendezvous with the Russian Space Station Mir.

For more information on his visit, contact Dave Fullmer at (435) 462-3620.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

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