From cross-town high school drama students to kindergartners at Warren Elementary, our students have been busy helping Helena Food Share put holiday meals with all the trimmings on tables next week.
I always feel proud and inspired at this time of year as students pour their hearts and souls into helping those in need with food drives, toy collections and more. In the more category, the Capital High HOSA club (health occupations) held its most successful blood drive ever in October, collecting 32 units. That’s enough blood to save 96 lives! This year also saw the highest number of first-time student donations, with a total of 20 rolling up their sleeves. Mark your calendar for HOSA’s next blood drive coming up March 8. Way to go, HOSA!
Our students begin contributing to our community long before they graduate and will continue to serve long after. Among them are two remarkable students who were recently profiled in the Independent Record.
Willa Bishop and Luna Hernandez are the student representatives to the Board of Trustees for Helena High and Capital High, respectively. Both of these 2024 grads-to-be are outstanding students, competitive athletes, hardworking employees and community volunteers on top of their responsibilities to represent student interests to Trustees. I hope you will take a few minutes to get to know these remarkable young women.
Please also join me in a big bravo for three Capital High School students who were selected for the All-Northwest Honor Choir out of hundreds of high school musicians from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Anna Drake, Hollis Elliott and Adrianna Helfrich will work with nationally and globally recognized choral directors at the All-Northwest Conference in Spokane in January, performing alongside the most dedicated and skilled student musicians from our multi-state region. Congratulations to Capital High Choir Director Thomas Baty and our All-Northwest musicians!
Meanwhile, the speech and debate season is underway, with great performances at this year’s first meet from our Capital High team:
Mason Whitney: First Place, Impromptu and Second Pace, Original Oratory
Caitlin King: Second Place, Lincoln Douglas Debate
Fiona Kuntz: Third Place, Memorized Public Address
Zaraj Carrucini: Fifth Place, Original Oratory
Katrina Steinhoff: Sixth Place, Dramatic Interpretation and Impromptu
Best of luck to all of our CHS and HHS speech and debate competitors and coaches this season!
We’re also incredibly proud of our educators, and today I would like to recognize several.
I’m excited to share that Capital High School Assistant Principal Kathy Kidder has been named the 2023 Montana Assistant Principal of the Year. Rob Watson, executive director of School Administrators of Montana, presented the award in a surprise ceremony at CHS Thursday morning.
A nomination letter from a colleague described Ms. Kidder as “a tireless advocate for school culture. She has played a key role in developing and implementing our multi-tier system of support (MTSS), which includes student mentoring, positive reinforcement, and academic supports. Kathy is also a strong supporter of our teachers, and she works tirelessly to enforce discipline and create a safe and supportive learning environment for all students.”
Congratulations, Ms. Kidder, and thank you for the positive impact you have on all of our students and staff.
I would also like to share some exciting news from district Food Services Director Robert Worthy. This week Mr. Worthy was awarded a $29,000 grant to incorporate Montana-raised bison, Flathead cherries and Montana-grown vegetables into the district’s school lunch program. Mr. Worthy plans to develop a menu of meal ideas and share them with district families to gather feedback on how they would like to see the locally produced food used. Watch for details to come soon.
We also learned this week that Mr. Worthy served the highest number of meals in Montana through the Free Summer Meals Program, at 63,178 meals. That’s a lot of kids who didn’t have to skip healthy meals last summer. Thank you, Mr. Worthy, for your passion for serving healthy food to Helena kids.
In Career and Technical Education news, students will have the opportunity to learn about architecture and engineering during a behind-the-scenes tour of the newly remodeled Helena Regional Airport at a special event Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 5-7 p.m. Engineers and architects will talk about how the remodel was completed and students will also have the opportunity to learn about career pathways in these fields from other local employers. Please register here for the Helena Wins Architecture & Engineering Night. The evening is a project of the Helena Wins program of the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce.
In elementary news, I’m pleased to announced that our School-Aged Child Care program (SACC) is adding morning hours at Broadwater Elementary. Beginning November 27, care will be available from 7 to 8:30 a.m. Available slots are expected to fill quickly. To apply, please contact Jamie Merrill at email@example.com.
Finally, don’t miss the cross-town drama production of “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” with final showings tonight and tomorrow evening. Performances start at 6 p.m. in the Capital High Auditorium. More than 30 drama students from both high schools will perform the 1939 George S. Kaufman classic, “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” Made famous by the 1942 film starring Bette Davis and Montey Woolley, this classic holiday comedy will bring a smile to your face. Tickets are available at the door or online.
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday next week with family and friends. Hold your loved ones close.
Rex M. Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools