Our student athletes brought the spring sports season to a grand finale last weekend, clinching multiple state titles and a bundle of other top finishes.
The fleet-footed athletes of our Helena High Girls Track Team successfully defended their status as state champs at the AA Track Meet in Butte, and also clinched three individual state titles:
Hazel Bishop: 400 meter
Logan Todorovich: Long jump (all class record); 100 meter hurdles
Madi Todorovich: High jump, 300 meter hurdles
Meanwhile the Capital High Boys Track Team tied for the state title with Gallatin.
The Helena High Boys Track and Field Team also had two individual state titles, Aayden Simmons for High Jump and Colter Petre for Long Jump.
Congratulations to coaches Jesse Zentz (HHS Girls) and Lon Carter (CHS Boys), and to our Bengal Girls and Bruin Boys State Champs!
On the tennis court, we had two second-place finishers at the State AA Tournament in Kalispell. Helena High’s Qayl Kujala took second in girls singles and Capital High’s Ryan Ashley took second in boys singles. Congratulations Qayl, Ryan and Coaches Nicole Riebe (HHS Girls) and Ryan Swenson (CHS Boys)
And right here in Helena, the Helena High Women’s Softball Team finished an impressive season as runner up in the State Tournament. Congratulations to Coach Schulte and the Bengal Girls!
Behind each of these athletes is a team of assistant coaches, athletic trainers, parents and fans. Thank all who made these victories possible.
Our student musicians also delivered top finishes at the MHSA Western State Solo Ensemble Festival in Missoula.
Students competed at district music festivals earlier this year for the privilege to participate in the state solo ensemble festival, which brings together the state’s top student musicians. Bands. A total of 43 Helena Public Schools student earned superior ratings, the highest level possible, and 25 earned excellent ratings, the second-highest level.
Helena Public Schools is grateful to our talented student musicians for representing our district at the highest level. Congratulations to each of our student musicians and the directors who made these experiences possible!
Congratulations are once again in order for the dynamite Helena High School Mock Trial Team. In March the team clinched its fourth consecutive state title, qualifying to compete at the 2023 Mock Trial National Championship last month in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The team shone once again on the national stage. Robert Stimpson, Melaina Kloberdanz and Wyatt Gant received “Outstanding Witness” awards, while Mia Taylor, Kenzie Criswell, Melaina Kloberdanz and Robert Stimpson received “Outstanding Attorney” awards.
A huge thank you to Helena High Business Education Teacher Kacey Askin for providing this opportunity for our kids. Way to go Bengals!
In staff recognitions, the Helena Education Association (HEA) honored two outstanding individuals this week.
Central Elementary School Upper Montessori Teacher Tony Napoletano has been named HEA’s “Teacher of the Year.” One nominator described Mr. Napoletano’s classroom environment: “They are always doing some amazing art project, putting on Shakespeare plays, or working on a new grammar lesson (which his class likes to do for fun).”
Wrote another nominator: “He eats with the kids (I think he might know every child in the whole school), helps to solve school problems, thinks of new ideas (like therapy dogs) and is such an excellent communicator. He also has a huge heart and is an amazing citizen.”
Congratulations, Mr. Napoletano, and thank you for all you do for our students.
In addition to teachers, para professionals play an essential role in our classrooms. HEA’s “Para Educator of the Year” is Capital High School’s Kari Skadberg, whose nominators praised her as a leader who goes above and beyond every day.” Congratulations, Ms. Skadberg, and thank you for all of the ways you support our students and educators.
Capital High School students Kayle Andriolo and Kayleigh Starman won first place for their research poster presentations at the REACH Air Quality Symposium at the University of Montana in Missoula earlier this month. Kayle and Kayleigh were among 30 honors biology students who presented research projects on air quality.
The REACH Symposium is an opportunity for students to investigate air quality issues impacting their surroundings and to work through the scientific process – developing a research question and gathering background information, designing an experiment to test their hypothesis, analyzing experimental data to determine the validity of their hypothesis and presenting their finds in a formal, science symposium setting.
Well done, Kayle and Kayleigh! And thank you to CHS Science Teacher Sarah Urban for introducing students to the academic scientific research process.
Congratulations to Capital High School Counselor Jeramie Robinson, who was named runner-up for the 2023 Montana School Counselor of Year at the recent Montana School Counselor Association Conference here in Helena. We appreciate all that our excellent counselors do to help our students make the most of their education.
Jill Cook, executive director of the American School Counselors Association said it best: “Each year, the School Counselor of the Year program shows us what the research tells us – that school counselors have a significant impact on students’ academic achievement, social/emotional development and plans for life after graduation.”
Thank you, Jeramie, for representing your colleagues and your professional at the state level!
Congratulations to Helena High choir students and their director, Molly Kohoutek, who earned high marks at the MHSA Western State Solo and Ensemble Festival May 5-6 in Missoula. Results are as follows:
Milo Merrill/Seri Kron
Congratulations to Capital High band students and Director Duane Zehr, who earned high marks at the MHSA Western State Solo and Ensemble Festival May 5-6 in Missoula. Results are as follows:
Superior Rating (1)
Excellent Rating (2)
Capital High Photography Teacher Genevieve Anderson is the 2023 Expressions by Walgreens Art Challenge Teacher Champion for the Western United States! Teacher Champions are educators who go above and beyond to encourage students to express themselves through art. The award was connected to a project in which Ms. Anderson challenged her students to voice their views about student issues and concerns through their photography.
“It gives us great joy to offer this program every year. Expressions by Walgreens is designed to encourage youth to find their voice and express themselves through art,” says Alethia Jackson, senior vice president, ESG and Chief DEI Officer with the Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Expressions is a platform for teens to release what’s on their minds and in their hearts, recognizing that the high school years can often be filled with many pressures and distractions. With that in mind, we want to help participating teens harness the therapeutic benefits of self-expression through art by giving them a platform to do so.”
Congratulations, Ms. Anderson!
Capital High School band students recently went on tour to Broadwater, Bryant, Four Georgians, Kessler, Rossiter, Smith and Warren elementary schools to build interest in band programs.
Students planned the tour, including selecting and learning the songs, creating set lists and packing lists, assigning parts, and even drafting emails to principals and music teachers explaining the tour and asking for permission to come play. The musicians’ pop music selections were enthusiastically received by their young audiences. The “Modern Band” project was made possible by a Helena Education Foundation “Great Ideas Grant” awarded to CHS Choir Director Tom Baty and Band Director Zach Harris.
A big thank you to HEF, Mr. Baty and Mr. Harris for bringing this innovative outreach and mentoring opportunity to our students.
Erin Cleveland’s Peer Mentoring Class at Capital High School has served more than 200 individuals this school year. The elective course gives students the opportunity to build leadership skills through school-and community-based service projects and mentoring programs.
Among other partnerships, Ms. Cleveland collaborates with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program of Central Montana, which pairs her student mentors with kids at Rossiter, Kessler and Four Georgians elementary schools. Thank you to our CHS Peer Mentoring Class and Ms. Cleveland for being great Helena citizens! See a full list of Peer Mentoring students along with their comments and photos on our Student & Educator Recognitions page.
We asked students to share what they’ve learned of the course of the year. Their responses capture the essence of our district mission to empower students to be responsible citizens and life-long learners:
“Having the opportunity to help others in the community has been a rewarding experience that has allowed me to encourage other students and grow as a person.”
“Being a big has been very important to me because I see a lot of my younger self in my younger buddies, And watching our relationship grow has been very rewarding.”
“I love being someone my little can look up to.”
“Being a big means a lot to me because it makes me feel good that I can make a difference in a littles life and be someone they can look up to and trust!”
“To me being Big means being a friend and a support system. I love being an influence on younger people’s lives in hopes of a brighter future for them :)”
“Being a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to me means being there for those who need help or just need someone to talk to. This program has taught me a lot about selflessness and patience.”
“I love making a difference in my buddy’s lives and knowing that they look forward to seeing me each week as much as I do.”
“I love being an advocate for a smaller kiddo. It makes me happy to know I’m making a difference in my little buddy’s life.”
“I love being someone a little can look up to.”
“I like knowing I am a role model and someone by little looks up to.”
“I love being the one a little looks up to and seeing a smile grow on their face. Making a positive difference in their life and being the one to help is something very special.”
CHS 2023 Peer Mentoring Class: Adkins, Emily; Anderson, Jackson; Chandler, Riley; Fenton, Kyrra; Flemings, Samara; Hewitt, Jordan; Johnson, Logan; Mays, Ariana; Otteson, Jasmine; Otteson, Olivia; Prenatt, Brian; Riley, Nicholas; Robinson, AnnaBelle; Schneider, Zoe; Sprague, Payton; Tenney, Emmalyn; Vogl, Destiny; Williams, Pinelope
Congratulations to Capital High School’s National Honor Society Class of 2024, which was inducted in a ceremony May 9.
The National Honor Society invites students to apply in the spring of their junior year based on their cumulative GPA. Members participate in community service projects and other activities during their senior year. We can’t wait to see their projects! Way to go Bruins!
Thank you to our students, business sponsors, volunteers and parents who made the 99th Annual Vigilante Parade one to remember, with nearly 90 floats! And congratulations to the Senior Class, which won the A.J. Roberts Cup with 47 percent of students participating!
A.J. Roberts Cup
Arbor Day 1899: Maren Elliott, Keiran Boyle, Hollis Elliott, Makenzie Grotbo, Luna Hernandez, Grace Mattern, Mattingly Meldrum, Marybelle Osborn, Robert Rowland, and Hailey Cox.
Most Historically Accurate (Montana Historical Society)
High School on Wheels: Madison Burda, Brooklyn Brisko, Megan Carpenter, Kadin Creek, Kaiden Elliot. Zoie Jorgenson, Morgan Kaufman, Tizer Kazmierowski, Derrick LeRette, Sam Post, Lilly Rippingale, and Sophie Schulenberg.
Then and Now: 1908 L&C Carnival Powwow – 1998 1st Last Chance Community Powwow: Trenton Salway, Jessie Belcourt, Daytona Brenden, Neveah Briere-Ford, Ace Dolecheck, Deacon Eagleman, Dolores Ellis, Chey Harris, Lanie Russell, and Anthony Walking Child.
1.RB Drive In Helena Business:Jayden Dupler, Kayla Acuna, Olivia Anderson, Skylar Cyphers, June Forsythe, Abigail Hansen, Jacob Heinrich, Ashley Heinrich, Abigail Lewis, Matteo McRae, Keirya Schoebel, Victoria Summers, Aaron Heisel, and Amar Spreco.
2.Helena Herald Newspaper: Deloris Klar, Hana Honemann, and Amos Bowe.
3. Big Dorothy’s(Windbag Saloon): Hailey Cox, Micah Francis, Abi Grotbo, RaeAnn Loewen, and James Moore.
Leo Seltzer: The Man Behind Roller Derby: Abby Bignell,Sydney Pullin, Kayla Parriman, Payton Sprague, Sydney Emmons, Malore English, Lili Danzer, Ella Stoddard, and Madi Brown
Mining and Transportation
Last Chance Gulch during Gold Rush: Matthew Marcille, Sam Ark, Talus Arrigo, Brayden Beatty, Jackson Cosgrove, James Fox, Cole Flugge, Mathew Golemon, Ryan Grossmon, Benson LaForge, Carter Petr, and Kehler Woodland .
1950s Helena Drag Strip: Kaylee Sexton, Ethan Rankin, and Grayce Wilkens.
Helena High’s Software Engineering team – Kaden Price, Foster Smith, Titan Russell and Nolan Verrill – placed second nationwide in the Software Engineering Virtual Event! The multi-month competition required teams to create a video game concept and write the code to operate it. The team also earned 10th place nationwide for their presentation.
Bengals also placed high in multiple individual categories (link). Way to go, Bengals!
Meanwhile, Capital High’s Financial Analyst Team – Taylor Ferretti, Abi Grotbo and Brendan Miller – took ninth place nationwide. Bruin Brendan Miller earned the BPA Service Learning Award with the most volunteer hours of any national BPA member, as well as the BPA President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award. Ryleigh Bushnell and Abi Grotbo earned the Ambassador Torch Award. Capital High also received recognition for Quality Chapter Distinction, the Special Olympics Award and the Community Service Award.
Thank you to teachers Samantha Humphrey (HHS Business Education), Buffy Smith (HHS Computer Sciences) and Terri Norman (CHS Business Education) for helping these students build their futures through the BPA clubs.
Helena High School competitors also earned high marks individually in the following computer programming categories:
Kaden Price 2nd
Matthew Roberts 3rd
Foster Smith. 4th
Khalil Elias 13th
Nolan Verrill 5th
Kaden Price 8th
Titan Russell 11th
Foster Smith 14th
Congratulations to Capital Science Teachers Jean Placko, Helen Bosch and their team, who took first place in the Forestry Test category in the Montana Envirothon competition. Held by the Cascade County Conservation District, the event challenges teams to complete a written test and provide an oral presentation to solve a current issue in the areas of range management, soils, aquatics, wildlife or forestry.
The five-member team consists of of Grayce Wilkins, John Goodwin, Madelyn Holston, Paige Frumkes and Sage Moler. Way to go Bruins!
Congratulations to Helena High School scholars who were inducted into the National Honor Society in a ceremony Thursday evening. Guest presenters included Great Falls native and former NBA player Josh Huestis, who has established The Josh Huestis Foundation to create opportunities for Montana youth.
The National Honor Society invites students to apply in the spring of their junior year based on their cumulative GPA. Members participate in community service projects and other activities during their senior year. Huestis fittingly delivered a message about character and we’re sure these Bengals are up to the challenges ahead as they serve our community.
The Capital High NHS Induction Ceremony is coming up Tuesday, May 9.
Fourth and fifth graders from Central Elementary joined the City of Helena on April 28 to plant trees in the burn scar from the 2022 Mount Helena fire. The event paid homage to a similar tree planting that occurred on Arbor Day 1899.
With help from the Montana Historical Society, City of Helena staff re-created the historic day when Helena school children carried a tree seedling up Mount Helena – one of the first documented attempts to reforest it. The students were serenaded as they climbed by members of the Helena Symphony.
Fast forward, 124 years, and a violinist (Capital High student musician Keiran Boyle) played once again as students planted 140 tree seedlings and dispersed native grass seed to help restore the burn area.
Congratulations to our amazing student musicians, who gave virtuoso performances at the District Music Festival hosted here in Helena last weekend. Our Bengals and Bruins received high marks across the board.
Receiving Superior ratings – the highest level possible – were :
Beginning/Intermediate Orchestra, CHS Advanced Orchestra, CHS Symphonic Band, Freshman Band, Jazz Band and Jazz Ensemble
Helena High Symphonic Band, HHS Freshman Band
Bengal and Bruin soloists and small ensembles also earned Superior ratings, qualifying to participate in the State Music Festival May 6 in Missoula. See the full list of 2023 District Music Festival results here.
Way to go CHS and HHS musicians!
CHS Teacher Adam Clinch named to state math task force
Congratulations to Capital High Math Teacher Adam Clinch, who has been selected to the state’s Montana Math Standards Review Task Force. The task force is charged with shaping the state’s future math standards. Thank you, Mr. Clinch, for your work on behalf of all Montana students.
Attention sophomores and juniors!
Helena Public Schools is seeking two student representatives to sit with the Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees, one from each of the district’s two high schools. This is an exciting opportunity for students to represent their fellow students.
Student representatives serve a one-year term during their junior or senior year, with new electees seated at the June 13, 2023 regular Board of Trustees meeting.
Completed applications must be sent to Barb Ridgway at Lincoln Center no later than 4 p.m. on May 8, 2023. Interviews are scheduled for May 10 and 11. The Board Interview Committee will include Trustees, the Helena High and Capital High Principals, District Chief of Staff Barb Ridgway and outgoing student representatives Keiran Boyle (CHS) and Loreley Drees (HHS).
A tremendous thank you to Keiran and Loreley for their excellent work this year! We wish them all the best in their post-high school adventures!
Congratulations to Capital High Boys Track Coach Lon Carter, who is among four coaches statewide who will be inducted into the Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame in July.
With a coaching career that has spanned 62 years, Coach Lon Carter has served the student athletes of the Helena Public Schools for 54 years, 50 of those years at Capital High School. In fact, he started his career as the boys basketball coach at the brand new Capital High School in 1974. Coach Carter aided in one state football championship and 6 top 3 state finishes in track & field including 2 Class AA State Championships in 1998 and 1999.
Congratulations, Coach Carter, and thank you for more than half a century of service to our student athletes!
A total of 16 Capital High students medaled in a total of 23 events at the HOSA Future Health Professionals State Conference in Billings this week. Congratulations to our aspiring future health professionals!
1st place gold medals:
2nd place silver medals:
3rd place bronze medals:
So much that we do in our Helena Public Schools would not be possible without the support of our community partners. I was reminded of this recently when I attended a meeting of the Rotary Club of Helena. I was invited to share information on our upcoming school levy election. But first, the Rotarians had a surprise for the district, presenting us with boxes of brand-new rubber boots for students to keep their feet dry during spring showers. We had some of our students model the new galoshes. Now all we need is puddles!
The Rotarians do extraordinary work around the globe and we’re fortunate to have the strong presence of two Rotary Clubs in Helena. The Rotary Club of Helena Sunrise is a contributing sponsor of the Helena Education Foundation’s Fabulous Firsts program, which provides a new, hardcover book to every first-grader in the district every year.
Thank you, Rotarians, and to the hundreds of volunteers across our community who serve our schools in so many ways.
Congratulations Ms. Ziska, KMTX February Teacher of the Month! Ms. Ziska is a fifth-grade teacher at Rossiter Elementary. Thank you, Ms. Ziska for all you do for your students!
Helena Public Schools is proud to announce that five of our high school seniors have received Youth Serve Montana Scholarships for their hours of volunteer service to their communities. They are among 100 students statewide to receive the scholarships, which are awarded annually by the Governor’s Office of Community Service (ServeMontana), Reach Higher Montana, and Montana Campus Compact (MTCC).
This scholarship is offered in two awards, $1,000 for 50-99 hours of service and $1,500 for 100+ hours of service to attend a Montana Campus Compact member institution next fall.
The Youth Serve Montana Scholarship was created to promote volunteerism among high school students. Funds are available through support from Montana Campus Compact, a network of Montana campuses committed to community service; Reach Higher Montana, a nonprofit dedicated to helping students pursue and fund post-secondary education; and the Governor’s Office of Community Service, the state agency tasked with expanding and promoting community service in Montana. The Governor’s Office of Community Service administers the scholarship funds.
Congratulations to the following student volunteers!
$1,000 Youth Serve Montana Scholarship Recipient (served 50-99 hours)
Mikayla Hall, Capital High
$1,500 Youth Serve Montana Scholarship Recipient (served 100 or more hours)
RaeAnn Loewen, Capital High
Brendan Miller, Capital High
Kalley May, Helena High
Alexis Reed, Helena High
Each year, the Helena Education Foundation honors high school seniors who have made exemplary personal and academic accomplishments with its Distinguished Student awards. The students, in turn, nominate Distinguished Educators who have made a positive impact on their school careers.
We’re so proud of these students and teachers alike, who represent the growth, positive relationships and inspiration that are found within our classrooms every day. Congratulations to our Distinguished Educators and thank you to the Helena Education Foundation! You can find their stories on HEF’s Facebook page
Congratulations to Charlotte, Grand Champion of the “Sodexo Future Chef’s Challenge”! A cadre of student chef finalists faced off at the annual contest Saturday morning alongside professional Sodexo chefs in the Capital High School kitchen.
Charlotte took the top prize for her “Tortilla De Patatas,” a simple, flavorful dish featuring Yukon Gold potatoes.
The contest challenged elementary school students to reimagine their favorite fruit or vegetable by creating an original side dish. The contestants had an hour and a half to prepare and plate their culinary creations before a public tasting session.
Sodexo is Helena Public Schools’ food services contractor. Now in its 12th year, the Sodexo competition was created to get students thinking about healthy food choices while encouraging them to be active and creative in the kitchen.
Check out all of the finalist recipes at 2023 Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge Recipe Book
Two Helena High Mock Trial Teams – the HHS Baker Team and the HHS Shea Team – met in the state championship round last weekend to determine the new Montana Mock Trial 2022-23 State Champion, with the HHS Baker Team clinching the state championship by a slim margin. Helena High School has now captured the state title for a fourth year in a row!
The new state champs on the HHS Baker Team were Melaina Kloberdanz, Robert Stimpson, Wyatt Gant, Jadyn Ruttenbur, Grace Kantorowicz, Layla Riggs, Riley Walsh and Ethan Taylor.
The second-place Shea Team was comprised of Mia Taylor, Owen McDaniel, Kenzie Criswell, Caili Lowney, Aine Cleary, and Aysia Phattavong.
The HHS McGrath team also competitively represented Helena High with Lily Pierson, Glacia Luchetti, Seth Herrera, Camile Certain, Gabi LaVoie, Grey Gildroy, and Michael Leyva.
Individual awards went to:
Owen McDaniel, Jadyn Ruttenbur, Melaina Kloberdanz, Robert Stimpson : Outstanding Witness Award
Kenzie Criswell, Lily Pierson, Melaina Kloberdanz, Robert Stimpson: Outstanding Attorney Award
The winners will now go on to the 2023 Mock Trial National Championship in Little Rock, Arkansas – the first in-person national competition to be held since 2019.
A big thank you to volunteers Brian Miller, Jacob Linfesty and Sean Morrison, who served as attorney coaches and to the Montana Bar Association which sponsors the statewide program. And thank you to Helena High Business Education Teacher Kacey Askin for helping take the HHS team to the top!
Helena High Culinary II students gained hands-on catering experience earlier this month as they partnered with Chili O’Brien’s catering to make 2,000 mini desserts for the annual Mansfield Metcalf Dinner March 4 at the Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds. Students worked on the project for over two weeks, reports HHS Culinary Teacher Joan Leik. In addition to helping make and decorate the desserts, they worked as servers throughout the evening. Many thanks to Tim O’Brien for his support for the HHS Culinary Program!
Seven members of Helena High’s Green Group Student Club are visiting Japan through a special opportunity with the country’s Kakehashi, or “bridge,” cultural exchange program.
The Green Group is dedicated to finding solutions to local and global environmental concerns and is learning how Japan is addressing these issues in visits with local, regional and national government officials. The students’ itinerary includes everything from making a traditional Japanese lunch with host families to visiting the Imperial Palace and Mount Fuji.
The Kakehashi program aims to give participants an enhanced understanding of Japanese economics, society, history, culture, politics, and diplomatic policies. The exchange program is funded entirely by the Japanese federal government. The HHS Green Group is joined by students from Lebanon High School.
Congratulations to our 12 finalists in the “2023 Sodexo Future Chefs Challenge.”
The contest challenged elementary school students to reimagine their favorite fruit or vegetable by creating an original side dish. Tomorrow morning, the finalists will compete for the grand prize and other honors at a “Chefs Challenge” at Capital High School. The kids will have an hour and a half to prepare and plate their dishes alongside Sodexo cooks in the Capital High kitchen. The young chefs will then set up tables for the public tasting event from 11-11:30 a.m. Every guest will cast a vote for the “People’s Choice Award,” while the official judges will choose a grand prize winner.
Sodexo is Helena Public Schools’ food services contractor. Now in its 12th year, the Sodexo competition was created to get students thinking about healthy food choices while encouraging them to be active and creative in the kitchen.
Congratulations and best of luck to our finalists:
Jim Darcy: Payton Cole, Abigail Brown, Harmony Blackburn, Kennedy Alger
Rossiter: Irelyn Lamb, Anthony Hunt
Jefferson: Jackson Reed
Smith: Ryan McCullough
Four Georgians: Avery Harlow
Warren: Emma Allen
Hawthorne: Ben Brown
Central: Charlotte Kassler
When: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., Saturday, March 11 (awards ceremony begins at 11:40)
Where: Capital High School, 100 Valley Drive. Park near the tennis courts and use Entry #5
Admission is free
Congratulations to our Helena Public Schools educators who were awarded Spark Grants this week from the Helena Education Foundation. Spark Grants offer an additional opportunity for Helena’s Public School teachers to access funds to provide enrichment opportunities for students. Educators may apply for up to $500 per project and Spark Grants are offered in four cycles per school year.
Our newest recipients will use their awards to introduce students to new learning experiences ranging from “Opera Under the Big Sky,” a project by CR Anderson Middle School Orchestra Teacher Kevin Cleary that will take music students to Bozeman to participate in an interactive music program, to “Cheep, Cheep Chicks” by Warren Elementary Teachers Molly Moore and Wilma Tabaracci, who are are making hatching baby birds – chicks, ducks, and, rumor has it, even quails – a kindergarten rite of passage with their grant “Cheep, Cheep Chicks.”
Beyond the innovative work of the teachers who develop these projects and seek funding, Spark Grants are special because they create a bridge between classrooms and community members. Each Spark Grant is sponsored by a local individual or or business, and the sponsors are often present for the surprise award presentations to teachers.
We are deeply grateful for all of the community sponsors who support the Helena Education Foundation on behalf of our students. Thank you!
You know about crosstown football and basketball. But did you know there is crosstown competitive balsa-wood bridge building? Thanks to the efforts of community volunteer Russ Lay, with Morrison-Maierle engineers, the Bengals and Bruins went head-to-head earlier this month – or span-to-span in this case – to see who could design and construct a bridge with the highest efficiency rating. Lay, a bridge engineer, provided a custom-made bridge press to test the structural integrity of the students’ designs.
A total of 25 bridges were entered in the contest with first place going to Helena High Tech Math Class Student Ben Bingham, who’s structure had a ratio of 23.4 lbs to grams held. The ratio demonstrates the mass a bridge is able to support in relation to the mass of the bridge itself – a measure of the structure’s overall efficiency. Bingham’s bridge was able to support an impressive 725 lbs! Second place went to HHS physics students Jonathon Abel and Titan Russell, whose bridge could support 830 lbs with an efficiency ratio of 23.1 lbs to grams held. CHS Student Henry Lay took third place with a ratio of 21.3 pounds-to-grams held, supporting 660 pounds. Thank you to Russ Lay and HHS Math Teacher Jonathan Driggers for making this event possible!
A team of four Helena High students – Kaden Price, Titan Russell, Foster Smith and Nolan Verrill – are among the top 10 finalists in the National BPA Virtual Software Engineering Team Competition. The multi-month competition required teams to create a video game using C# and Unity documentation. The top 20 teams then gave a virtual presentation and answered questions about their video game. The top 10 chosen from the presentations are invited to the 2023 National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, where they will find out where they placed among the top 10. The teams will also present their game again in Anaheim to compete for Best in Show at BPAs annual National Showcase.
Congratulations Kaden, Titan, Foster and Nolan! And a big thank you to HHS Business Education Teacher Samantha Humphrey and HHS Computer Science Teacher Buffy Smith for your guidance.
Bravo to our high school symphonic bands who played at AA Band Festivals this week. The HHS musicians played at the AA Festival in Great Falls, while the CHS musicians played in Bozeman! Thank you for representing Helena Public Schools’ student musicians!
Helena Middle School Band traveled to Missoula this week to participate in the University of Montana Concert Band Festival. Student musicians had the opportunity to be coached by professionals who
have performed with the likes of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the New York City Opera, as well as for Broadway, film and television. Thank you to Instructional Coach Meghan Schulte for sharing these fun photos.
Please mark your calendars for the 8th-and 9th-grade Combined Orchestra Concert coming up Tuesday, March 14, at 6 pm, at the HMS Auditorium. This is one not to miss, with performances by student musicians from both of our high schools and middle schools. Admission is free.
Congratulations to Lili Bennum, a senior at the district’s Project for Alternative Learning High School (PAL), who was featured this week as the Independent Record Student of the Month. A wrestler and avid outdoorswoman, Bennum is thriving at PAL, which is part of our district’s mission to provide all students with the opportunity to reach their full potential. Way to go, Lili!
Shared traditions are what make our Helena Public Schools a community; and one of our most cherished annual events marked its 30th anniversary Monday evening at the Helena Civic Center.
Dozens of students took the stage in more than 20 acts for this year’s “Night to Shine” talent show, treating theater goers to an impressive cross section of talent, from Irish dancing, to Broadway, to classical vocal performances. History was even made as Helena High Junior McKennah Danielson dazzled the audience with her dog, Page, who is the first canine to perform in Night to Shine. Thank you to the Independent Record for capturing these stunning images of the evening.
In addition to the quality of the student performances, the show was impressively produced by the Helena and Capital High DECA clubs. For those aren’t familiar with DECA, it’s one of our district’s oldest student clubs with a focus on college and career preparedness. In April, Helena Public Schools will send an impressive 13 qualifiers to DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida.
These outstanding student efforts come as we mark National Public Schools week. I believe that opportunities like DECA reflect one the greatest strengths of our public schools – the ability to choose from a wide breadth of student enrichment activities, be it music, drama, athletics, speech and debate, or one of the many other extracurricular programs our schools offer. Thank you to our students who work hard to participate in these life-changing activities and to our staff and volunteers who sustain them from one generation to the next.
Thank you to our Helena High Girls and Boys Basketball teams for taking time out from their busy season to work on reading and math with students at Central and Bryant elementary schools. You represent the true spirit of sportsmanship!
Congratulations to Capital High students Olivia Dewey and Raelynn Staley, whose work earned first and second place overall in the Northwest College 2022-23 High School Photography Contest. Olivia took first place with her moving image “Generations,” while Raelynn took second with her stunning “American Welder.”
High School entries were judged by renowned wildlife photographer Meg Sommers and were required to be submitted in the categories of people, nature, sports, human interest and commercial (food or product).
Six additional CHS student photographers also placed as finalists or semifinalists:
Emma Allred, “Sweets and Sass”
J.D. Reighard, “Bokeh”
Matthew Silvonen, “The Oculus”
Emma Righetti, “Flower Power”
Chloe Alleman, “Cozy Fluff”
Morgan Hatling, “Cooper’s Gaze”
Visit the Northwest College website to view all finalist and semifinalist photos.
Capital High Freshman Taylor Lay became Helena’s first State Champion in Girls Wrestling, winning the 120-pound weight class at the State Tournament in Billings! Taylor is a true trailblazer and a role model for her peers across all areas of sports and academics. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of her high school wrestling career. Congratulations and thank you, Taylor, for going to the mat for the Bruins! Read her story in the Independent Record.
At the State Swim Meet in Great Falls last weekend, Helena High Junior Garrett Krattiger won the 500 Free and the 100 Backstroke, while fellow Bengal, Junior Devin Goetsch, was the state champ in the 200 IM. Well done, Garrett and Devin! Swim team is an intense commitment with a rigorous training regimen and your hard-won victories are appreciated.
Capital High Junior Trey Moseman has been named the Montana High School Boys’ Soccer Player of the year by the United Soccer Coaches. Founded in 1941 and based in Kansas City, Mo., United Soccer Coaches has grown into the world’s largest soccer coaches’ organization that serves members at every level of the game. Each year, the organization selects a player of the year in each state. Congratulations, Trey!
The following student musicians received honors at the Montana Association of Symphony Orchestra’s biannual Young Artist Competition, which recognizes some of Montana’s most talented young musicians:
Charlie Snellman, Capital High, First Place Senior Division
Elliot Cleary, Helena Middle School, Honorable Mention Junior Division
Hollis Elliott, Capital High, Honorable Mention Senior Division
Maren Elliot, Capital High, Runner Up Senior Division
While each of these young musicians is highly talented, their performances were the result of hours upon hours of practice – the hallmark of successful artists. Congratulations!
At the DECA State Career Development Conference at Fairmont Hot Springs last week, the following students took top titles and qualified for the DECA International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida, in April, where they will join more than 20,000 students and business professionals to develop college and career readiness skills.
First Place, Sales Project Event
CHS: Carlee Foster, Madi Hermes, Kevin Lachere
National Qualifiers, Integrated Marketing Campaign
CHS: Kate Berg, Addy Perschon, Vienna Teders
Individual Series in Accounting Applications, Sixth Place
CHS: Tycen Mooney
Community Awareness Project
HHS: Aysia Phattavong, National Qualifier
CHS: Kynz Belcher
HHS: Caitlyn Holgate, Luka Krivokapic
School-Based Enterprise Academy
HHS: Melaina Kloberdanz, Sandra Schuele
In addition, the Helena High Caddy Shack food bar once again achieved a Gold Certification! Thank you to DECA Advisors Jessica Frazier (HHS) and Levi Dawes (CHS) for helping our students lay the foundations for college and career success!
A reminder that DECA’s annual funding event “A Night to Shine” is Monday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m., at the Helena Civic Center. Students will showcase their talents in 20 different acts. All proceeds will help students attend state and national DECA events. Tickets for box seating and general admission can be purchased through the Helena Civic Center Box Office. Special student/staff general admission tickets are on sale at Capital High and Helena High during lunch next week for $10.
Helena High Sophomore Layla Riggs qualified for nationals in the Congressional Debate category at the Speech & Debate Qualifier in Missoula, while Capital High Head Speech and Debate Coach John “Dubbz” McClintic was named the Montana West National Speech and Debate Association “Coach of the Year.” Congratulations, Layla, and thank you, Coach McClintic, for making these tremendous opportunities possible for Layla and her peers!
A huge congratulations to our two top finishers in the Lewis & Clark Spelling Bee on Wednesday, both of Helena Middle School!
Eighth-grader Timothy Cline clinched first place with the correct spelling of “genealogical,” while seventh-grader Maizy Parrett took third place with “marionette.” Way to go Timothy and Maizy! Timothy will represent Lewis & Clark County at the Treasure State Spelling Bee at Montana State University on March 11 and Parrett will be an alternate. See highlights of the bee in the Independent Record.
Congratulations to CR Anderson Middle School Spelling Bee Champion Weston McNearney, who won with the word “urchins.” Way to go, Weston! He’ll be joined at the Lewis and Clark County Spelling Bee next month by six finalists including Sophia Allen, Zoie DeHennis, Olivia Hellwinkel, Eli Riddle and Matthew Wendt. Alternates are Audrey Snellman and Abbey Wall.
Congratulations to the following students, who are candidates for the prestigious Presidential Scholars Program:
– Connor Bushnell
– Selah Frederickson
– Miranda Sheafor
– Ryan Burke
– Paisley Karlin
– Robert Stimpson
– Jeri Wilkerson
These outstanding scholars are among 59 students statewide who were invited to be candidates for the prestigious program, and are now eligible to apply to be semifinalists. Congratulations to our candidates and thank you to the educators who played a role in this recognition.
Bravo to our Capital and Helena high drama students, who are in Missoula showcasing student-written and-directed works at the Montana Thespian Festival. The Capital High thespians will premiere “Opportunity: No Strings Attached,” written by Lou Sechrist and Meils Sigafoos and directed by Ashley Heinrich. The plot begins with “an innocent group of students trying to put on a puppet show … until the puppets have other ideas.”
Helena High will present “The Price of Plush,” a one-act play written by Gibson Grigg and directed by Vesper Bacon. The play chronicles the rise of Ty Warner, originator of the Beanie Babies, proving that “the truth is much stranger than fiction.”
Competition was intense at this year’s Helena Middle School Spelling Bee, leading up to a 22-minute spell down between the two final spellers – seventh-graders Erin McNeil and Kale Covey. Kale prevailed, correctly spelling the word “solidarity” to clinch first place.
Congratulations to Kale; Erin; Third Place Winner Maizy Parrett; and the other finalists Timothy Cline, Ollie Grotzke, Kumari Leland – who will compete in the Lewis & Clark Spelling Bee on February 15. Alternates are Jason Davidson, Will Kreissler and Cate Murray. The CR Anderson Spelling Bee is coming up this Tuesday, January 31.
Congratultions to our teachers who received “Spark Grants” from the Helena Education Foundation. Spark Grants offer an additional opportunity for educators to provide enrichment opportunities for students. Teachers can apply for up to $500 per project, and the grants are offered in four cycles per school year. Each grant is sponsored by an individual or business donor in our community.
Please join Helena Public Schools in congratulating our teachers who were awarded grants in January. Their winning grant proposals range from “Knitting it All Together,” a project by Broadwater Librarian Marla Unruh, to “Short Stories, Big Feelings,” by Warren Elementary Literacy Coach Ashley Komac. Chances are, you know or do business with one or more of the individual and business sponsors who made these projects possible. Please help us thank them next time you see them.
In December, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced that 21 teachers in Montana earned Board Certification. Of those, 17 teach in our Helena Public Schools. That brings the district’s total number of National Board-Certified teachers to 38, which is believed to be the highest number of any public school in Montana.
That matters for our students because National Board Certification is the gold standard of professional development for American teachers. The certification process is a rigorous one, with coursed taking up to three years for candidates to complete. Teachers must do on their own time on top of their regular teaching and family obligations. In other words, a lot of midnight oil is burned.
Recognizing the extraordinary commitment they have fulfilled, Helena Public Schools is honored to congratulate our 17 new National Board-Certified teachers, whose names are at this link. I’m grateful to each of them – both newly minted and veteran – for completing this intensive professional development work to better serve Helena’s children. Thank you.
Bruins defensive lineman Talon Marsh has been named the Gatorade Montana Football Player of the Year!
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field. The honorees are chosen by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages coaches, scouts, media and other experts to help evaluate the candidates in each sport.
In addition to performance on the field, the award recognizes academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, notes Gatorade’s press release:
“A standout wrestler as well, (Talon) Marsh has volunteered locally with the Florence Crittendon annual fundraiser and as a youth flag football coach. ‘I’d label him as one of the most dominant defensive players we’ve seen in a long time,” said Helena High School head coach Dane Broadhead. ‘You really had to game plan around him and whatever you did, he found a way to be productive. He takes over games.’”
Talon, who is a senior, plans to play football on scholarship at Montana State University this fall. He joins recent Gatorade Montana Football Players of the Year Taco Dowler (2021-22, Billings West High School), Dylan Rollins (2020-21, Sentinel High School), Tommy Mellott (2019-20, Butte High School), and Carson Rostad (2018-19, Hamilton High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.
As a state Player of the Year, Talon will receive a grant to give to one of Gatorade’s social impact partners through the brand’s “Play if Forward” initiative. Talon is also a finalist for the prestigious “Gatorade National Football Player of the Year” award, to be announced in January.
Helena High School’s Ryan Burk (senior, alto saxophone) and Carson Payne (sophomore, trumpet) have been accepted to the All-State Jazz Band! To be considered for the prestigious band, Ryan and Carson submitted audition recordings demonstrating their proficiency in a variety of musical styles as well as an improvisational section.
The student musicians will play with other top talent from across the state at the upcoming All-State Jazz Band festival in Missoula. Congratulations to Ryan, Carson and Helena High School Band Director Cody Hollow for representing Helena at this gathering of Montana’s best student jazz musicians!
Congratulations also go to High School Orchestra Director Zach Harris and four of his students who are headed to Bellevue, Washington, in February to play in the National Association for Music Education’s Northwest Division Conference.
Bruins Maren Elliott (CHS, violin 1), Charlie Snellman (CHS, cello) and Hollis Elliott (CHS, cello), along with Bengal Aine Cleary (HHS, cello), were among those chosen from more than 3,000 applicants to play in the Division Conference from across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
Bravo Maren, Charlie, Hollis and Aine!
Three Helena High School students have earned the nomination of U.S. Senator Jon Tester to be considered for one of our nation’s four prestigious military academies.
Charles Fox, Paisley Karlin and Joseph Saliskar are among 21 students statewide nominated by Tester. The nomination of a member of Congress is the first step in applying to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced he is nominating three Helena area students to the country’s four prestigious military service academies.
Tester selected a total of 21 students based on their academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and dedication to serving and leading in the United States military. A nomination from a member of Congress is a student’s first step in applying to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
“Montana has a long and proud history of producing some of our nation’s finest military men and women, and it’s a great honor to nominate our state’s best and brightest to continue this legacy at one of our military service academies,” said Senator Tester. “Their outstanding work ethic and dedication to serving our country prove they are exactly the kind of leaders we need in the military and I look forward to watching them continue to make our state and country proud.”
Montana students who are interested in applying to a military academy in the future can request a nomination from Tester HERE.
Tester’s Lewis and Clark County Military Service Academy nominees:
Charles Fox – U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Charles is student body president, Key Club president, and a member of the National Honors Society at Helena High School. He is also a member of the varsity football, wrestling, and track and field team, and competes in powerlifting. Last summer, he attended Boys State and was elected Governor for the 2022 session.
Paisley Karlin – U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy
Paisley is a student at Helena High School and a varsity cross country athlete who is an Academic All State recipient. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, science club, and Key Club.
Joseph Seliskar – U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
Joseph is the senior class representative for the student council and National Honor Society member at Helena High School. He is also a member of the varsity football, golf, and track and field team. He attended Boys State, where he was elected Secretary of State, and the Naval Academy Summer Seminar last summer.
(Posted Nov. 11, 2022)
Nearly 300 competitors from across Montana converged on Helena last weekend as CHS and HHS hosted the “Queen City Rumble” Speech and Debate Tournament. Congratulations to our Bengal and Bruin orators on top-notch performances!
HHS Layla Riggs – 2nd
CHS Kat Armstrong – 5th
CHS Zach Wakeland – 7th
CHS- Fiona Kuntz – 3rd
CHS Mason Whitney and Jordan Dalton – 1st
CHS Katie Steinhoff and Jules Davidson – 7th
HHS Loreley Drees – 4th
The Crosstown Musical production of “Annie” opens Thursday, Nov 11 at Capital High School. Don’t miss it! Buy tickets at the door or purchase tickets online.
(Posted Nov. 3, 2022)
Congratulations to our talented winners in the 2022 Last Chance Pow Wow Poster Contest. From kindergarten through high school, these young artists created images that embody Native Pride. Thank you to our artists for capturing the spirit of this year’s pow wow, which was themed “Honor the Children.” You can view their beautiful work here.
Congratulations to our 14 educators who received “Spark” and “Great Ideas” grants this week from the Helena Education Foundation. These awards put funds in the hands of educators to help them bring new and innovative ideas, projects, and experiences to their students. Thank you to the Helena Education Foundation and its generous supporters for making these projects possible!
Emily Currier, C.R. Anderson Middle School: “Cubs Connecting Through Art”
Sarah Dramstad, Four Georgians Elementary: “Accessible Music for All”
Kade Kimball, Capital High: “Survival Unit CHS Lifetime Sports”
Megan Krissovich, Four Georgians Elementary: “Game-Based Learning”
KC Richem, Broadwater Elementary: “Cubs’ Den”
Jennifer Schaefer, Jim Darcy Elementary: “Kindergarten is a Family”
Lori Smith, Helena Middle School: “‘Wheelie’ Great Middle School Pottery”
Jake Warner, Capital High: “CHS Racing Robotics”
Kellen Alger, Jefferson Elementary: “Exploring Montana’s Indigenous Cultures through Language”
Thomas Baty, Capital High: “Modern Band Educational Tours”
Coburn Currier, Ray Bjork Learning Center: “Stepping Back in Time: Recreating Montana’s Ghost Towns”
Tom Kain, Capital High: “Electrifying Interest in Electrical Careers”
Deborah McNay, Warren Elementary: “Educating through Flexible, Calming Spaces”
Jeanne Morigeau, Capital High: “Cozy Comfort Comic Corner”
(Posted Oct. 17, 2022)
Congratulations to our Helena High students who were recently honored with the College Board’s National Recognition Award. These young scholars were recognized for their academic achievements and outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and/or AP Exams. The following students accomplished these academic milestones during an immensely demanding period of their high school career:
Congratulations to our Capital High seniors who are National Merit Semi-finalists: Conner Bushnell, Selah Frederickson and Elisabeth Shockley! The semi-finalists based on their performance on the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test as juniors. Semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and include the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The semi-finalists are now eligible to apply to be finalists, which would allow them to compete for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship. In addition to submitting an application, the semi-finalists must continue to demonstrate high academic performance and earn high scores on the SAT or ACT tests.
Thank you to the educators who have had an influence on these students’ success!
Congratulations to our Bengal and Bruin musicians who will head to Bozeman next week to perform at the All-State Band, Chorus and Orchestra Festival. The music students auditioned for the festival last spring and will have the opportunity to practice and perform with Montana’s top high school talent and work under collegiate-level guest conductors.
Congratulations to Helena High School Principal Steve Thennis, who was recently named Montana AA Principal of the Year by the AA Principals of Montana organization.
“The school culture comes through loud and clear,” said Flathead High School Principal Michele Paine, outgoing president of the principals’ organization, as she announced the award. “(Helena High School) is a place where people care about each other, and the leader is going to do the right thing and always act in the best interest of students.”
Congratulations to the following Helena Public Schools high school students who have been selected to the College Board National Recognition Program. These students earned this recognition because of their academic achievements in school and outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT®, PSAT™ 10, and/or AP® Exams.
(Posted July 27, 2022)
HHS student Bethany Young will spend the 2022-23 school year in Germany as one of 250 American high school students to earn the CBYX scholarship co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the German parliament. Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Bethany!
(Posted June 7, 2022)
Helena High Bengal William Southworth, class of 2017, is among two Concordia College graduates (’21) to be selected by the U.S. Department of State to teach abroad through its Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
The Fulbright Student program, as opposed to the Fulbright Scholar program, enables graduating college seniors and graduate students to study, teach, or conduct research. It is one of highest academic achievements for those holding a bachelor’s degree in the United States.
Southworth, who will spend his Fulbright experience teaching English in Germany, encourages students to seize the opportunity to study abroad. At HHS he was involved in Track and Field and was honored as a Distinguished Student by the Helena Education Foundation.
“I owe all my best experiences to my tendency to throw myself in places I don’t quite belong,” Southworth said in an interview for Concordia College. “That tendency landed me interviews with Cuban prisoners of state and British politicians, put me in parliament and international trade conferences, and made me friends all over the world.”
Helena Public Schools Teacher Kayla Ryan, who is an instructional coach at Bryant and Central elementaries, also is headed to Germany this summer with the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms program. Ms. Ryan completed a year of project work with the program and will spend two weeks in Germany, where activities will include teaching in a primary school.
The program is designed to help teachers develop students into global learners. “It’s about trying to get out beyond ourselves and our borders,” said Ms. Ryan. “Being from Montana, we don’t necessarily have the opportunity to go out and experience different cultures with our students so we’re learning to bring culture to them.”
Ms. Ryan also traveled to Thailand with the Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad program in 2017.
Congratulations and auf Wiedersehen Mr. Southworth and Ms. Ryan!
(Posted June 7, 2022)
Congratulations to Helena High Senior Brooklynn Anderson, who received the “2022 Jobs for Montana Graduates Chairman’s Recognition” award. The Chairman’s Recognition Award recognizes students who have shown significant growth in personal and career development due in part to their participation in the Helena High School’s Jobs for Montana’s Graduates (JMG) program and the Montana Career Association.
Brooklynn, the JMG Chapter President, was recognized at the JMG Ignite Montana Conference. Other HHS students honored were Brooke Sedlock, 3rd place in Meme design-12th grade; Kaden Martello, 3rd in Meme design-11th grade; and Ava Strainer, 2nd in Chapter Web Page.
The Jobs for Montana Graduates (JMG) program prepares middle and high school students for the workforce by connecting students with local employers and teaching them workplace professional skills, leadership skills, and career readiness. Taught by Business Education Teacher Samantha Humphrey, the JMG class at Helena High is open to juniors and seniors. In addition to hosting an annual career fair, the class holds an annual blood drive for the Red Cross and conducts fundraisers for Toys for Tots, Special Olympics, NAMI, and other local and national organizations.
(Posted June 6, 2022)
Thank you to the Helena High Science Seminar and AP Environmental Studies Classes who volunteered their time to build more than 400 emergency food packs for families at Helena Food Share. Way to go Bengals and thank you to Teachers Claire Pichette and Missy Sampson for helping our students experience the gift of giving!
(Posted June 6, 2022)
Congratulations to Helena High’s Jesse Zentz, who was selected by the Montana Coaches Association as the AA Girls Track and Field Coach of the year!
The Helena High Girls Track Team won the 2022 Montana state championship with the following individual state champion titles:
Thank you, Coach Zentz, for your commitment to our students!
(Posted June 6, 2022)
Thank you to our Capital High Welding 1 students and the Tombstone Kiwanis Club for giving Mount Helena climbers a place to rest and enjoy our town’s spectacular scenery.
Welding Teacher Tom Kain’s students built two steel park benches that will be installed along Ambrose Trail later this month: One near the junction with Mike Cormier Trail and the other at the junction with Daisy Hill Trail.
The Tombstone Kiwanis Club provided $1,600 in funding for the project.
Read more about the Mt. Helena trail bench project in the Independent Record
Students from the middle school and high school PEAK Program recently competed in the annual Silverwood Physics Day event at the Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho. A high school team earned Second Place in the Roller Coaster Design Contest (CHS students Adam Grasmick, Paedyn McArthur, Carter Slead), and a middle school team took Third Place in the Math/Physics Measurement Contest (CRA students Madison Clement, Sophia d’Ambrosio, Keely Lewis, and Weston McNearney). Way to go team PEAK!
(Posted May 31, 2022)
What a weekend for our Bengal and Bruin student athletes!
– Helena High Girls Track won the team state championship in Butte.
– Capital High girls took third at the state softball tournament in Missoula.
– Capital boys took third in the state tennis tournament in Missoula.
– Ryan Ashley, CHS, state champion, boys tennis singles.
– Tom Carter, CHS, state champion, boys 200 meter.
– Alex Brisko, CHS, state champion, boys pole vault.
– Logan Todorovich, HHS, state champion, girls 100 hurdles and girls long jump.
– Odessa Zentz, HHS, state champion, girls 400 meter run (third straight state championship in this event), and girls 800 meter run (again third straight state championship in this event).
– Sydney Mattfeldt, HHS, state champion, girls shot put.
– Josh Goleman, HHS, state champion, boys shot put (second straight in this event).
Congratulations to our 2022 retirees and best wishes for this new chapter! Thank you for all you have given to our community.
Congratulations to Ms. Herbolich’s fourth grade class at Rossiter Elementary, which took up their teacher’s challenge to read 1 million words each this school year. Seven determined bookworms hit the mark and were honored with an elegant Millionaires Luncheon in the Rossiter gym. Way to go, Royals!
Congratulations to Loreley Drees, of Helena High, and Keiran Boyle, of Capital High, who have been selected as the 2022-23 Student Representatives to the HPS Board of Trustees.
Loreley is captain of the HHS Speech and Debate Team and a member of Mock Trial, Science Olympiad/Bowl, Key Club, National Honor Society, and Girls Thrive. She participated in a two-week Montana Conservation Corp work event in Yellowstone Park last summer and has earned more than 150 volunteer hours at the Lewis and Clark Public Library. She will volunteer at ExplorationWorks this summer, and also teaches, performs, and volunteers for Grandstreet Theatre.
Keiran is president of the CHS HOSA (Future Health Professionals) Chapter, Vice-President of the Junior Class, Secretary of the CHS Key Club, a past member of the Montana Youth Action Board, and a member of the Math Club. He competes in track, plays the violin in Advanced Orchestra, and is an advocate for the arts.
Welcome Loreley and Keiran, and thank you for taking on this important leadership role on behalf of your peers!
Kudos to the 40 Capital High Honors Biology 1 students who traveled to the University of Montana to present air quality research projects. Eleven schools with 220 students from around the state attended the REACH Symposium in Missoula, where students either presented a PowerPoint or a Poster. CHS Freshman Jordan McRae took second place for her poster and received a $75 cash award. Way to go Jordan and student scientists!
Congratulations to Helena High welding teachers Cindy Galbavy and Jake Spearson and their students on hosting their 17th Annual Metal Sculpting Show this week. Their work is topflight, combining stunning artistry with competitive career skills. The HHS welding shop, which was transformed into an art gallery for the evening, is home to a new, state-of-the art plasma cutting table, purchased with a Great Ideas Grant from the Helena Education Foundation as well as funding from other grant sources and community supporters.
Chelsey Davis, librarian at Four Georgians Elementary, and Ben Racicot, para educator at Jim Darcy, are the recipients of the Helena Education Association Educator and Para Educator of the Year awards
The recognition comes with a $500 award to each school to purchase items recommended by the winners.
Ms. Davis and Mr. Racicot were selected by HEA membership, and their nominations say it all. Ms. Davis is described by her colleagues as “always going above and beyond” and a “true treasure.” Mr. Racicot was praised as a “reliable and insightful” leader and team player who puts “kids first in everything he does.”
Chelsey received a standing ovation from her colleagues at Four Georgians during a morning staff meeting May 20, and the crowd went wild for Ben at an all-school assembly at Jim Darcy. HEA President, Jane Shawn, was accompanied by Superintendent Rex Weltz, Pre-K Assistant Superintendent Brian Cummings, and Principals Sean Morrison, and Jill Nyman at the presentations.
In all, 34 educators and 29 para educators were nominated for this distinction, with the winners reflecting the excellence and commitment of all. Congratulations Ms. Davis and Mr. Racicot, and thank you for the incredible work you do for our students every day.
Meanwhile, Smith Elementary Montessori Teacher Katy Wright was in Washington D.C. over the weekend to receive her award as Montana’s nominee for the 2021 National Education Association Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. Ms. Wright was nominated by the Montana Federation of Public Employees (MFPE) in May 2021, however the awards ceremony was postponed due to COVID.
“Katy Wright embodies the exceptionalism of MFPE member educators,” said MFPE President Amanda Curtis. “Wright has piloted several lessons for the Office of Public Instruction and serves on both the Montessori Task Force and the Digital Promise Practitioner Advisory Board. She is also a liaison for Indian Education for All. She is the recipient of several awards including the Helena Education Foundation Distinguished Educator Award in 2018 and the Let’s Talk About Great Teachers Award in 2011.”
Congratulations to Broadwater Elementary’s Thea Seacrease, who was named the KMTX Teacher of the Month for April!
The Helena High Green Group earned its fourth SMART Schools award from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, which comes with a $2,000 award. The student volunteers created “Grant Guide” documents, which were shared with schools across the state to assist with the application process for grants to install solar panels. A special shout-out to sophomores Nate Fang and Nick DeWald and senior Neal Bovington, who carried the project through the last two years.
$500 of the award will go to the first high school to receive a grant as a result of the Green Group’s work. The rest will support the group’s ongoing educational activities. And kudos to teachers Jill Van Alstyne and Claire Pichette and Career Center Resource Assistant Abby Rausch for supporting our students’ great work.
Congratulations to the Bengal and Bruin Business Professionals of America competitors, who earned high placements at the recent BPA National Leadership Conference in Dallas! The CHS Presentation Management Team – Abi Grotbo, Ryleigh Bushnell and Madelyn Holston – took 8th place nationwide, while Helena High had two individual medalists with Foster Smith taking 5th place in Java Programming and Kaden Price taking 10th place in C# programming.
Foster Smith: 5th place, Java Programming
Kaden Price: 10th place, C# Programming
Nolan Verrill: 12th place, C# Programming
Kyler Smith and Cameron Wittrock: Top 20 finishers in Java Programming
Foster Smith: Top 20 in Python Programming
Titan Russell: Top 20 in Device Configuration
Ryan Fuller: 22nd place, Server Administration Using Microsoft
HHS students also took exams to earn 29 industry certifications that will make them more competitive for computer science jobs.
The CHS and HHS BPA chapters were recognized with “Quality Chapter Distinction” awards, and the HHS Chapter was awarded the Membership Explosion and Community Service chapter awards.
Thank you to CHS Business Education Teacher Terri Norman, HHS Computer Sciences Teacher Buffy Smith, and HHS Business Education Teacher Samantha Humphrey, as well as all who generously supported their teams for helping our students get a head start on their careers!
Some of Montana’s most talented young musicians gathered in Helena May 6-7 for the western division of the MHSA State Solo and Ensemble Music Festival at Helena High and Helena Middle School. Congratulations to our Bengal and Bruin musicians, who came away with a long list of Superior and Excellent ratings!
Superior Rating – I
CHS Jazz Band
Superior Rating – I
Erica Foot – Vocal Solo
Gabriel Beckman – Vocal Solo
Isabel Beasley – Vocal Solo
Jazz Choir – Vocal Ensemble
Excellent Rating – II
Abigail Vilhauer – Vocal Solo
Leolaga Brown – Vocal Solo
Abigail Hansen – Vocal Duet
Jayden Dupler – Vocal Duet
Superior Rating – I
CHS Chamber Orchestra
Jenalyn Slead – Violin Solo
Keiran Boyle – Violin Solo & Violin Duet
Braelyn Germaine – Viola Solo
Luna Hernandez – Violin Solo & Violin Trio
Maren Elliott – Violin Solo & Violin Trio
Makenzie Grotbo – Violin Solo
Rebecca Smillie – Violin Solo & Violin Trio
Fox Rowland – Cello Solo
Hollis Elliott – Cello Solo & Cello Duet
Charlie Snellman – Cello Solo & Cello Duet
Excellent Rating – II
Slayden Rasmussen – Bass Solo & Violin/Bass Duet
Jenaly Slead – Violin/Bass Duet
Kylie Heit – Cello Solo
Superior Rating – 1
HHS Jazz Band: Ryan Burke, Clare Strode, Jude Conner, Anna Pierson, Lukas Olson, Aiden Johnson, Jessica Snow, Meghan Rake, Lindsay Snarr, Josh Velasquez, Audrey Rogge, Jeri Wilkerson, Sam Geary
HHS Jazz Combo – Ryan Burke, Aiden Johnson, Jessica Snow, Audrey Rogge, Josh Velasquez, Sam Geary
HHS Flute Trio – Ben Pargot, Harper Pierson, Jeri Wilkerson
HHS Saxophone Quartet – Sam Geary, Ryan Burke, Jude Conner, Clare Strode
Clare Strode – clarinet solo
Sam Geary – classical guitar solo
Meghan Rake – marimba solo
Avery Sanders – piano solo
Jeri Wilkerson – piano solo
Excellent Rating – II
Josh Velasquez – Snare Solo
Superior Rating – I
Annabelle Heun – Vocal Solo
Haily Tolman – Vocal Solo
Ashley Nelson – Vocal Solo
Brogan and McCoy Vranka – Vocal Duet
Lyla Ackerman – Vocal Solo
Lucy Lantz – Vocal Solo
Sam Geary – Vocal Solo
Chloe Roberts – Vocal Solo
Excellent Rating – II
Al Randall – Vocal Solo
Superior Rating – I
Caili Lowney – Violin Solo
Excellent Rating – II
Clara Harmon – Cello Solo
Congratulations to Smith Elementary Fifth-Grader Mary Guzynski, who is the state winner in the National Missing Children’s Poster Contest! Fifth-graders across Montana were challenged to create an original poster to raise awareness of the issue, with the words “Bringing our Missing Children Home.” Students also were required to submit essays, which were judged on clarity, comprehension, and grammar. Mary’s poster will now be entered in the national contest, with the chance to win a trip to Washington D.C. In addition to a $100 cash prize, Mary earned her fellow Smith fifth-graders a pizza party on Thursday, May 11, at the Montana Historical Society for the award presentation. Way to go, Mary!
The Montana Missing Children’s poster contest is sponsored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen and Attorney General Austin Knudsen. In Montana, 69 children have been located through 51 AMBER Alerts since 2003. The Montana Department of Justice issues AMBER Alerts through CodeRed. To view the current list of missing Montanans and for more information on AMBER Alerts and Montana’s Missing Persons programs visit https://dojmt.gov/missing-persons/.
Capital High School inducted 89 exemplary students into its National Honor Society (NHS) May 3 at a ceremony in the Capital High School Auditorium. NHS students are invited to apply for NHS in the spring of their junior year based on their cumulative GPA. Students who apply and are accepted spend their senior year participating in community service projects and other activities. Congratulations our NHS inductees!
Congratulations to Capital High Science Teacher Christina Sieminski, who was among five alumni of the University of Montana Western to be inducted into the university’s Education Hall of Fame at its “Night of Stars” event April 23. The University chose inductees for their phenomenal dedication to education. We wholeheartedly agree with their choice! Here is a summary of Ms. Sieminski’s remarkable career from the awards ceremony:
Christina (David) Sieminski, from Clancy, Montana, graduated with high honors from the University of Montana Western in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education (Biology and Earth Science).
Since completing her degree at UMW, Sieminski has served as a science teacher at Capital High School in Helena, Montana. She furthered her education by earning her Master’s Degree in Education in 2010.
She has been a member of the Safety Committee, Response to Intervention and Differentiated Instruction teams, and served as an advisor for the Key and Science Travel Clubs, the founder of the Niceness is Priceless program for the Helena School District, Department Coordinator, and a class sponsor. Sieminski also coached Track and Field and Volleyball for Capital High School and middle school basketball.
Sieminski has had the honor of presenting at the National Conference on Differentiated Instruction and has earned the Helena Education Foundation’s 2018 Great Conversations Educator Award and the 2009 and 2017 Distinguished Educator Award and was recently nominated as Helena Educator of the Year.
Thank you to our student volunteers who partnered with “Growing Friends of Helena” to plant 16 shade trees at Helena High and Capital High in celebration of Arbor Day.
The plantings will replace green ash trees that have died or are expected to succumb to the emerald ash borer beetle, which is responsible for the destruction of millions of urban trees across the United States. “The emerald ash beetle has an almost 100 percent fatality rate and 50 percent of our publicly owned trees (in Helena) are green ash, so it’s important that we prepare before it gets here,” said Helena Parks Urban Forestry Supervisor Chris Daly, who is providing support for the project.
Daly said the city is grateful for community partnerships with Growing Friends of Helena, which has planted more than 3,000 trees across Helena since its founding in 1990, including trees at Bryant, Central, Hawthorne, and Jim Darcy elementary schools over the past three years.
“These large shade trees can reduce the heat island effect, which is particularly important at locations next to parking lots,” said Daly. “They also reduce erosion and runoff, filter the air and provide oxygen for people to breath.”
Helena Public Schools is deeply grateful for the long-standing support of the Helena Education Foundation, which engages our community in so many ways to support and celebrate our students and teachers. This week the Foundation and its community and business sponsors made surprise visits to our classrooms to award Spark and Great Ideas grants to teachers (link). These financial awards will support classroom projects ranging from “Disc Golf Newbies” to a “We Thrive With ‘I Survived’” project focused on the popular children’s novel series.
Thank you to HEF and its sponsors for making a difference in our classrooms throughout the year! See fun photos of the award presentations on HEF’s Facebook page.
HEF Grant Recipients Accessible PDF
Crazy for Kickball
Allegiance Benefit Plan Management
Hunting for Book Lovers (Spark Grant)
Jim Darcy Elementary
Mike Burke & Ellie Fjeseth
CHS Unified PE Bowling:
Capital HIgh School
Montana Broom & Brush
Helena Abstract & Title
Adventure to the Rockies
Mountain West Bank & Endowment
Unplug and Socialize (Spark Grant)
Park Avenue Bakery
From Old to New
Helena High School
Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation
Opportunity for Kindergarten
Richard and Neva Porte
Matilda @Grandstreet Spring 2022
John Mott & Elaine Spino
Disc Golf Newbies
Mike & Ginger Agee
"We Thrive with 'I Survived'" novels
In Memory of Jan Peccia
The Angel Fund, which has supported Helena Public Schools children for 31 years, has announced its 2022 scholarships recipients. The $4,000 awards were given to nine deserving HPS seniors to defray freshman year tuition expenses at Montana colleges and universities. In addition to academic achievement, the award criteria include a commitment to give back to the community.
Congratulations to our 2022 Angel Fund scholars:
Helena High: Brenna Holgate, Alyvia Blotkamp, Maedyn Bogy, Hunter Pandis, Raelee Sampson
Capital High: Chloe Nelson, Slayden Rasmussen, Angel Jimenez, Ryan Yeske
And thank you to the Angel Fund and its donors for more than three decades of helping our students achieve their dreams.
Congratulations to Helena Public Schools students of all ages whose artwork is displayed in the Annual Youth Electrum Showcase at the Holter Museum. Running through May 29, the showcase is truly a feast for the eyes and soul. The exhibit gives students ages K-12 the opportunity to exhibit their work alongside their peers in a museum environment. Well worth a weekend outing downtown!
Congratulations to Helena High Seniors Sierrah Paul and Laurel Maronick, who were among seven student winners statewide in the Montana National Center for Women and Information Technology Aspirations in Computing Contest. Hosted by Northwestern Energy and Carroll College, the event encourages young women to pursue careers in technology. Sierrah and Laurel both plan to pursue degrees in computer science next year. The statewide winners were selected by a national committee following a rigorous application process that challenged students to describe how they would fix a problem using technology.
In addition, the application process required an educator mentor – in this case HHS Computer Science Teacher Buffy Smith. Way to go, Sierrah (left), Ms. Smith (center) and Laurel (right).
Congratulations to Capital High Assistant Principal Walt Chancy on earning the Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montana Council for Exceptional Children. Walt is retiring at the end of the school year after 46 years with the district as both a teacher and an administrator. One could write volumes about Mr. Chancy’s remarkable career, but we encourage you to watch this video from MCEC, which speaks from the heart. Thank you, Mr. Chancy, for making a difference in the lives of so many.
Helena High School inducted 56 exemplary students into its National Honor Society (NHS) April 21 at a ceremony in the Helena Middle School Auditorium. NHS students are invited to apply for NHS in the spring of their junior year based on their cumulative GPA. Students who apply and are accepted spend their senior year participating in community service projects and other activities. Congratulations our NHS inductees! I admire your commitment to grow as individuals and serve our community.
2022-2023 Helena High School NHS Inductees
One of our state’s most prestigious academic awards, Montana University System Honor Scholarships provide a four-year tuition waiver at any of our state university system campuses. The scholarships are awarded through a ranking system based on GPAs and ACT or SAT scores.
We commend each of our MUS Honor Scholarship recipients for their dedication to academic excellence!
Daniel John Burgoyne
Dylan Joseph Cunningham
Jacob Joseph Curry
Calvin Minh Dinh
Jacob Daniel Garcia
Jesse Tyler Hruska
Reid Michael Jankowski
Aiden Thomas Kelly
Rhett Patrick Quinn
Slayden Kole Rasmussen
Sean William Swingley
The Montana University System STEM/Healthcare Scholarships provide $6,000 over 4 years to students pursuing careers in healthcare. Congratulations to our HPS scholarship recipients, who are striving to serve our communities in the healthcare sector!
Casey Rose Bradford
Daniel John Burgoyne
Taylor Ann Cornwell
Dylan Joseph Cunningham
Jacob Joseph Curry
Calvin Minh Dinh
Jadyn Rae Gilliam
Jenna Nicole Green
Molly Jeanne Harmon
Jesse Tyler Hruska
Alexis Kay Jacobs
Ainsley Nicole Keintz
Aiden Thomas Kelly
Molly Elaine McGree
Joshua William Petersen
Rhett Patrick Quinn
Lucy Hongyu Stiffler Sing Schneider
Scott Richard Swingley
Sean William Swingley
Isabella Rose Wirtz
HPS competitors placed first in multiple categories at the Montana Science Olympiad at MSU-Bozeman earlier this month. Capital High and CR Anderson Middle School both took second place overall for their age groups. Helena High took fourth place and Helena Middle School took eighth overall. Congratulations to all who represented Helena in this rigorous event!
Props also are in order for Coaches DeLacy Humbert (CHS), Claire Pichette (HHS), Sara Grotbo (HMS), Megan Lane (CRA), and Leslie Hagengruber (CRA), as well as Mr. Driggers (HHS math) and both high school science departments for making this growth opportunity possible for students.
Helena Public School’s Career and Technical Education Programs (CTE) include pathways to good-paying and rewarding careers in healthcare. A total of 20 CHS students medaled at the recent HOSA Future Health Professionals State Leadership Conference, with some placing among the top three in multiple categories.
The conference consisted of competitive events, workshops/symposia, and networking with students from across Montana. Pharmacology, Medical Math, Family Medicine and Surgery Tech are just a few of the categories in which CHS students placed. Way to go CHS HOSA competitors!
HOSA Gold Medalists
RaeAnnLowen, Behavioral Health
Karter Arensmeyer- Gold (Pharmacy Science), Silver (Pharmacology)
Ella Simpson- Gold (Surgery Tech), Silver (Behavioral Health)
HOSA Silver and Bronze Medalists
Keiran Boyle- Silver (Medical Spelling), Bronze (Cultural Diversity/Disparity)
Carli Ziegler- Bronze (Medical Law)
Jacob Curry- Silver (Medical Math)
Evelyn Dachs- Silver (Medical Reading)
Ellie Mercer- Silver (Nutrition)
Charlie Snellman- Bronze (Family Medicine)
Brandy Carlson- Bronze (Sports Medicine)
Lyric Lanes-Silver (Surgery Tech)
Paedyn McArthur- Bronze (Surgery Tech)
Katie Steinhoff- Bronze (Pharmacy), Bronze (Epidemiology), Bronze (Persuasive Writing/Speaking)
Izzy Linder, Ella Simpson, Ellie Mercer- Bronze (Creative Problem Solving)
Kenzie Grotbo and Charlie Snellman- Bronze (Career Health Display)
Keiran Boyle and RaeAnn Lowen- Silver (Forensics)
Congratulations to Helena High School’s First Place finishers at the Montana SkillsUSA Competition. Tithen FitzGerald placed first in the Intermediate Drafting Job Skill Demo categories and Maddox Schuller placed first in Small Engines. Both are eligible to compete at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in June.
Helena is now home to the annual Montana SkillsUSA competition, which was hosted earlier this month by Helena College. The event drew more than 300 students from across Montana who competed in CTE events ranging from auto mechanics to business development. In addition to testing their skills against their peers statewide, students had the opportunity to earn scholarships and apprenticeship opportunities.
We appreciate our Career and Technical Education teacher teams at HHS and CHS, who prepare our students for fulfilling careers.
And congratulations to our other top finishers:
Byren Stoner, 2nd in Extemporaneous Speech
Audrey Rogge, 3rd in Power Equipment
Sabrina Braden, 3rd in Basic Welding
Ben Barker, 3rd in Basic Woods
Bryson Barbero, 2nd in Diesel Technology
Tristian Kelly, 3rd in Technical Drafting
4th Place Quiz Bowl Team: Tristan Kelly, Brody Romano, Henry Lay, Alex Dullum
Congratulations to Capital High School’s First Place Team in the Montana Personal Finance Challenge state competition! Sponsored by the Montana Council for Economic Education (MCEE), the competition drew more than 380 students from across Montana. The mission is to empower students to take ownership of their financial futures, as personal finance brings personal success.
MCEE shares the words of Nobel Laureate in Economics James Tobin: “High school graduates will be making economic choices all their lives, as breadwinners and consumers, and as citizens and voters. A wide range of people will bombard them with economic information and misinformation for their entire lives. They will need some capacity for critical judgment.”
Indeed! The state champion CHS team will now compete against winners from other states in an online test. After a semi-finals round, the top teams will compete in person in New York City in June.
We appreciate Coach Guy Almquist and Mr. Reyant for making this opportunity possible!
Montana Personal Finance Challenge CHS Team:
HPS high school student musicians put in long hours of rehearsal time to deliver great performances at the MHSA District Music Festival last week. We also appreciate the staff members who supported students and managed logistics at venues in Helena and Bozeman.
HPS was represented by bands, orchestras, choir groups, and soloists with a number of them earning Superior Ratings.
Large ensemble Superior Ratings:
CHS Combined Concert and Symphonic Bands
CHS Saturday’s Children Choir
CHS Jazz Choir
CHS Advanced Orchestra
HHS Combined Freshman and Concert Band
HHS Wind Symphony
HHS Starlighters Choir
HHS Treble Choir
Small ensemble/soloist Superior Ratings: The following groups and students qualified compete in the MHSA State Music Festival May 6-7:
CHS Jazz Band
CHS Jazz Choir
CHS Chamber Orchestra
CHS Vocal Soloists: Isabel Beasley (Vocal Solo); Gabriel Beckman (Vocal Solo); Leolaga Brown (Vocal Solo); Erika Foot (Vocal Solo); Abigail Vilhauer (Vocal Solo); Jayden Dupler & Abigail Hansen (Vocal Duet)
CHS String Soloists: Keiran Boyle (Violin Solo); Hollis Elliott (Cello Solo); Maren Elliott (Violin Solo); Braelyn Germaine (Viola Solo); Makenzie Grotbo (Violin Solo); Kylie Heit (Cello Solo); Luna Hernandez (Violin Solo); Slayden Rasmussen (Bass Solo); Fox Rowland (Cello Solo); Jenalyn Slead (Violin Solo); Rebecca Smillie (Violin Solo); Charlie Snellman (Cello Solo)
CHS String Duets and Trios: Kieran Boyle & Makenzie Grotbo (Violin Duet); Hollis Elliott & Charlie Snellman (Cello Duet); Slayden Rasmussen & Jenalyn Slead (Bass/Violin Duet); Maren Elliott, Luna Hernandez, Rebecca Smillie (Violin Trio)
HHS Jazz Band
HHS Jazz Combo
HHS Jazz Saxophone Quartet
HHS Symphonic Flute Trio
HHS Band Soloists: Meghan Rake (marimba); Clare Strode (clarinet); Josh Velasquez (snare drum); Sam Geary (classical guitar); Avery Sanders (piano); Jeri Wilkerson (piano)
HHS String Soloists: Clara Harmon (Cello Solo); Caili Lowney (Violin Solo)
HHS Vocal Soloists: Annabelle Heun, Ashley Nelson, Sam Geary, Lucy Lantz, Lyla Ackerman, Al Randall, Brogan Vranka, McCoy Vranka, Aaron French, Chloe Roberts, and Haily Tolman
Congratulations to Capital High Students Ella Shropshire and Rebecca Smilie, who were recently recognized as Harrison Writing Award recipients. Sponsored by the Helena Education Foundation, the Harrison Writing Awards include up to four $350 recognitions given annually in the categories of either expository or creative writing. Dr. Lee Harrison endowed these awards in memory of her mother Ethel Harrison. Professional writers in the community review submissions and select the winning pieces. The prose and poetry of Harrison award winners are featured in the annual Pen & Ink magazine.
Congratulations to Capital High Assistant Principal Walt Chancy, who will receive the Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montana Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) during the MCEC conference later this month!
Congratulations to Kaci Hauptman, 2nd-Grade Teacher at Bryant Elementary, who is the KMTX Teacher of the Month for March!
We are proud to announce that Helena High Seniors Lucy Lantz and Erik Callery have been named National Merit Finalists! Lucy and Erik, who were recognized as semi-finalists last fall, are now eligible to compete for prestigious National Merit Scholarships to be announced later this spring. Representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, National Merit Finalists are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Thank you, Lucy and Erik, for representing Helena in this esteemed group of scholars!
Congratulations to Mckenzy Heppner, of Capital High, who placed first in the Business Law & Ethics competition at the state Business Professionals of America Leadership Conference in Billings. The Bruins BPA Chapter placed in multiple events alongside the Bengal’s BPA team, whose results I shared last week. Five of the Bruin’s competitors qualified to travel to Dallas, Texas, in May for the BPA National Leadership Conference, where they will join nine qualifiers from Helena High. Both CHS and HHS earned Silver Star Awards for outstanding implementation of the mission and strategies of BPA. We’re so proud of these future business leaders, who are getting a head start on college and career in areas such as business law and ethics, computer programming, digital communication, and banking and finance!
Way to go Capital High Science Bowl Team! These sharp competitors claimed Second Place at the state tournament March 12. Science Bowl is a Jeopardy-style competition in which students answer timed questions in the fields of chemistry, physics, math, earth sciences, space sciences, biology, and energy. Under Coach DeLacey Humphrey, who teaches physics and earth science at CHS, the Bruins Science Bowl Team has earned the first- or-second place title at the state competition each of the past six years. Thank you Science Bowl Team competitors and Coach Humphrey for representing Helena!
CHS Science Bowl Team from left to right: Lynsey Read, Killian Humbert, Connor Bushnell, Tyler Jost, Rhett Quinn
Congratulations to the Helena High Business Professionals of America Chapter, which won five Computer Science events and placed in 18 others at the BPA State Leadership Conference, with nine members qualifying to compete in the BPA National Leadership Conference in May in Dallas, Texas.
Six of the Bengal’s qualifiers made nationals in two or more events, which is rare. Under the leadership of Helena High Teachers Buffy Smith and Samantha Humphrey, the Chapter earned the Silver Start Chapter Award for Chapter Development.
Business Professionals of America is a career readiness organization that prepares students to serve as global professionals through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic, and technical skills. Way to go Bengals BPA!
Helena High BPA State Leadership Conference Results:
Foster Smith -1st place in Python and Cisco and placed 2nd in Java; Kyler Smith – 1st Java; 4th in Python and 4th in Cisco
Titan Russell – 1st in Computer Network Technology and 5th in Device Configuration
Kaden Price 1st in C#
Rachel Ostberg -2nd in Computer Network Technology
Nolan Verrill – 2nd in C#
John Lane – 2nd in Cisco
Schuyler Kron -2nd in SQL Database; 6th in Java and 8th in Python
Cooper Cross – 3rd in C++ and 9th in Java
Cameron Wittrock placed 4th in Java programming
Lucas Canty – 8th in Java
Erik Callery -10th in Python and 7th in Java
Matthew Roberts -10th in Java
This week a special group of high school seniors took the opportunity to say thank you to teachers who supported and inspired them, with help from the Helena Education Foundation. These outstanding teens were recently named “Distinguished Students” by the Helena Education Foundation for significant accomplishments in a particular area – leadership, excellence in a field of study, or triumph over adversity.
The Distinguished Students were in turn asked to nominate public school educators who made the most significant impact on their experiences as students. Nominees include current and retired teachers at all levels, as well as counselors and coaches.
“These educators teach elementary, middle and high school—subjects ranging from Welding, to AP Chemistry, to 1st grade. They include counselors, middle school teachers in several subject areas, coaches, elementary teachers, retired teachers and an administrator, an array reflecting the breadth of services and opportunities our public school educators offer the more than 7,000 students in Helena’s public schools every day,” said Lisa Cordingley, Executive Director of the Helena Education Foundation. It is our privilege to be able to honor these Distinguished Educators and the graduating seniors who seized this opportunity to say, ‘Thank you!’”
Please visit our website to see the full list of HEF Distinguished Educators & Students
The 2022 Distinguished Teachers and Students will be recognized at the Helena Education Foundation’s Celebration of Excellence May 9.
Congratulations to Kylee Hauck, of Kessler Elementary, on being named the KMTX Teacher of the Month for February!
Congratulations to the Helena High Mock Trial team for winning a 3-peat state championship on Saturday, defeating Flathead! The state champs, all seniors at HHS, will now compete at the National High School Mock Trial Championship to be held in May via Zoom. https://www.nationalmocktrial.org/
Team members include Seniors Emmi Highness, Isaac Nehring, Andrew Stanfel, Brooke Sedlock, Meghan Rake, Naomi Sweeney, and Caitlin Matthews.
We know these students worked incredibly hard. And we know that behind great student opportunities are great teachers and community members! Thank you to John Mudd, Director of the Montana Bar Association, who helped start the statewide program in Montana, and a big shout out to local volunteer attorney coaches Brian Miller, Rylee Sommers-Flanagan, Sean Morrison and Jacob Linfesty, who helped the students prepare for their mock trial.
And props to Helena High Business Teacher Kacey Askin, who made it all happen!
Way to go Capital High Boys on their first-ever Western AA Divisional Tournament Title!!!
A big shout out to Morrison Maierle for sponsoring last week’s bridge-building contest for students from both Capital and Helena High. Russell Lay, a bridge engineer for Morrison Maierle, got the idea for the event while reminiscing about one of his best memories from college – an annual balsa wood bridge-building competition.
Lay pitched the idea to Capital High Science Teacher Delacy Humbert and Helena High Math Teacher Jonathan Driggers. “They were wonderful to work with,” said Lay. “We reached out to them, and they grabbed the idea with both hands and ran with it.”
Lay, who hopes to make the contest an annual event, got to work welding a custom-made bridge press designed to test the structural integrity of the students’ designs. The contest was held Friday, during National Engineers Week.
Thank you to Lay and to Morrison Maierle, which donated prize money to the winners!
The First-Place prize of a $500 scholarship went to the one-person team of Henry Lay, a sophomore/junior at Capital High. The Second-Place team, winning $200, was comprised of CHS Seniors Alex Brisko, Eliza Lay and Tyler Jost. Third Place went to Helena High Senior Lakoda Marcum, who earned a $100 scholarship.
Props to Morrison Maierle for building bridges for our students to explore the engineering world!
Project for Alternative Learning (PAL) Teacher Ryan Cooney has been named the “2022 GlobalEducator of the Year” by the Montana World Affairs Council. Mr. Cooney will receive $500 for classroom supplies and will receive his award Feb. 28 at the Academic WorldQuest (AWQ) event at the University of Montana. AWQ is a three-day global education conference that ends in a 100-question global trivia competition. The winning team will represent Montana at the national competition in Washington DC.
Congratulations, Mr. Cooney, and best of luck at the AWQ competition!
Helena High School Senior Dakotah Hurley was named the 2022 Children’s Miracle Network Champion by Shodair Children’s Hospital at a ceremony at the hospital on Feb. 22. Hurley, who is among Champions from each state representing 170 hospitals around the nation, will travel to communities across Montana to share his story and raise awareness around adolescent mental health treatment.
Did you hear the buzz? 🐝Helena Middle School’s super spellers swept the Lewis & Clark Spelling Bee this week! Timothy Cline took first place in the online competition, followed by Kumari Leland in second place and Oliver Grotzke in third. Timothy and Kumari will compete at the Montana State Spelling Bee in Bozeman March 12 and Oliver will join them as an alternate. Congratulations Timothy, Kumari and Oliver!
Capital High School Senior Jesse Hruska is the Montana winner of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge. An official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, the contest encourages middle-and high-school students to learn to code and pursue computer science careers.
Jesse designed an app to educate young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale selected Montana’s winning app and invited Jesse to present his work to
House members at the annual #HouseofCode festival in April via Zoom. Watch Jesse’s video on his award-winning app, or give it a try at An Evening Drive Safety App.
Congratulations to Jesse and CHS Computer Science Teacher Jamie Toivonen!
Capital High School Art Teacher Genevieve Anderson captured this stunning photo at 17,000 feet on a trek to explore the landscapes of Vinicunca Mountain in the Andes Range in Peru. Titled“Scenic Route Home,” the image was among entries from around the globe selected for inclusion in the March 2022 international exhibition Moments of Color at the B.W. Gallery located in the Attica region of Greece. The B.W. Gallery showcases inspiring photographers, both emerging and established internationally. Bringing together artists from all over the world, they provide audiences with new trends, innovations, and unique perspectives through visual literacy. Congratulations, Ms. Anderson!
Congratulations to Capital High’s Talon Marsh 285, who earned the State Champion title Feb. 12 at the state wrestling meet in Billings!
Congratulations and thank you to Project for Alternative Learning teacher Ryan Cooney who was named the 2022 Global Educator of the Year by the Montana World Affairs Council. Mr. Cooney will receive a $500 scholarship to purchase school materials, thanks to a sponsorship by Drs. Ed and Janet House. Mr. Cooney will receive his award on February 28 during Academic WorldQuest, a 3-day global education conference which ends in a 100-question global trivia competition. The winning team will get a paid trip to represent Montana in the national competition in Washington DC. Academic WorldQuest guest speakers will be Ambassador Michael Mckinley, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan; Ambassador Ted Osius, former US Ambassador to Vietnam; and German Consul General Oliver Schramm.
Capital High Senior Brennan Jensen has qualified for the 2022 National Speech & Debate Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, June 12-17. Well done Brennan and Capital Speech and Debate Coach John McClintic!
Way to go, Bengal Swimmers! Two state champions emerged at the state championship swim meet in Great Falls Feb. 12. Freshman Teagan Boysen won the 200-yard IM and Sophomore Garrett Krattiger won the 500-yeard Freestyle. In addition, Garrett was runner up in the 100-yard backstroke; Devin Goetsch was third in the 200-yard IM; and Eva Hicks took third in the 100-yard butterfly. The girls team ended up in 8th place and the boys in 10th. Congrats to Coach Shannon!
Congratulations to the Helena High School students who were recognized at the State Theater Festival hosted by the University of Montana Drama and Dance school last week. Brenna Holgate won an $800 University of Montana Drama Dance Scholarship and Kaylee deMontigny won a Montana State Thespian Merit Scholarship worth $500, as well as an $800 University of Montana Drama Scholarship.
Z-I-G-G-U-R-A-T was the winning word for 7th-grader Timothy Cline, champion of the 2022 Helena Middle School Spelling Bee. In case you didn’t know, Merriam Webster defines a Ziggurat as an “ancient Mesopotamian temple tower consisting of a lofty pyramidal structure built in successive stages with outside staircases and a shrine at the top.”
Well done, everyone!
Congratulations to Capital High School’s Laura Brayko, who was named “Montana Theater Teacher of the Year” at the Montana Thespian Festival Feb. 5&6 in Missoula. Well deserved! Thank you, Ms. Brayko, for your dedication to our students and the arts!
Props to our Helena Public Schools DECA students who qualified at the recent state conference for DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, this spring. Representing Helena High are Christine Anderson, Bella Brewer, Zoe Taylor, Melaina Kloberdanz, Corbin Luce, Eva Santos, and Hunter Pandis.
Representing Capital High are Kayton Belzer, Catherine Burbidge, Rylee Cummings, John Settle, and Brandon Soule.
And congrats to Helena High’s Catty Shack food bar, which was among 461 school-based enterprises achieving Gold Certification for the 21-22 school year! Way to go Catty Shack team!!! Thank you to DECA Advisors Jessica Frazier (HHS) and Levi Dawes CHS) for opening these career development opportunities for our students!👍 ✨ DECA International Career Development Conference
Congratulations to Christopher Nevinski, C.R. Anderson Middle School Band Teacher, who was named the January Teacher of the Month by KMTX radio!
DECA International Career Development Conference
The holiday spirit is alive and well at Capitol High School! Thank you to Christina Sieminski, Sara Berg, and the Niceness is Priceless Club for adopting a family from each school in the district for Christmas. Likewise, due to the support of our CHIS families, Counselor Jamie Bawden was able to collect enough money via Revtrack to fund 50 Van’s gift cards worth $50 each for families that will be selected by the CHS Counseling Department.
Congratulations and thank you to Eagle Scout and Capital High junior Zach Heller for his work to serve veterans and our community by creating a memorial garden at Resurrection Cemetery to honor those who died 80 years ago at Pearl Harbor. Read more
Congratulations to Smith Elementary Teacher Katy Wright, who was named Montana’s nominee for the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence