Student and Educator Recognitions

December 2022

Helena High Students nominated to military academies

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.

Senator Tester’s news release:

(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.

November 2022


(Posted Nov. 11, 2022)

Bengals and Bruins earn high marks at “Queen City Rumble” speech & debate tournament

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!

Legislative Debate

HHS Layla Riggs – 2nd
CHS Kat Armstrong – 5th
CHS Zach Wakeland – 7th

Memorized Public Address

CHS- Fiona Kuntz – 3rd

Duo Interp

CHS Mason Whitney and Jordan Dalton – 1st
CHS Katie Steinhoff and Jules Davidson – 7th

Program Oral Interp

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.

The Crosstown Musical is Back! CHS and HHS Drama Departments present: "Annie." November 10-12 and November 17-19. All shows start at 6:30 p.m in the CHS Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for Adults and $8 for students and seniors Tickets are available at the door or online: Select “Event Tickets.”

(Posted Nov. 3, 2022)

Last Chance Pow Wow Poster Contest Winners

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.

Helena Education Foundation awards educator grants

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!

Spark Grants

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”

Great Ideas Grants

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”


October 2022

(Posted Oct. 17, 2022)

Helena High Students earn College Board National Recognition Award

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:

National Rural and Small Town Award

Nate Demmons
Gabby Radley
Robert Stimpson
Jeri Wilkerson
Cameron Wittrock

National Hispanic Recognition Award

Nate Demmons
Sofia Hernandez

(Posted 10/17/22)

CHS students recognized as National Merit Semi-finalists

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!


(Posted 10/13/22)

Bruin and Bengal musicians headed to All-State Band, Chorus and Orchestra Festival in Bozeman

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.

Capital High Band

Meika Arensmeyer
Connor Bushnell

Capital High Choir

Isabel Beasely
Leolaga Brown
Adrianna Helfrich
Zach Heller
Emily Reser

Capital High Orchestra

Lindsay Abelin
Keiran Boyle
Hollis Elliot
Maren Elliot
Mackenzie Grotbo
Luna Hernandez
Charlie Snellman
Adeline Walters

Helena High Choir

Lyla Ackerman
CJ Flugge
Aaron French

Helena High Orchestra

Aine Cleary
Freya Elias
Clara Harmon
Owen McDaniel


September 2022


(Posted 9/16/22)

HHS Principal Steve Thennis named AA Principal of the Year

Photo of HHS Principal Steve Thennis holding plaque for his 2022 AA Principal of the Year AwardCongratulations 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, Steve!








(Posted 9/12/2022)

HPS students selected to the College Board National Recognition Program

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.

Capital High

Brendan Miller
Brynn Jankowski
Madison Burda
Maren Elliott
Paul Mousel
Selah Frederickson
Zachary Heller

Helena High

Ryan Burke
Foster Smith
Robert Stimpson
Jeri Wilkerson



(Posted July 27, 2022)

Helena High Student earns prestigious award to study in Germany this school year

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!

Read more about Bethany in the Independent Record.



(Posted June 7, 2022)

HHS Class of 2017 grad and HPS Instructional Coach selected for Fulbright programs

Head shot of William SouthworthHelena 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.”

HPS Instructional Coach Kayla RyanHelena 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)

HHS grad Brooklynn Anderson receives “Jobs for Montana Graduates” Chairman’s Recognition award

Group photo of Brooklynn Anderson, center, and the other 9 Helena High School participants in the "Jobs for Montana Graduates" programCongratulations 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)

HHS Science students assemble emergency food packs

Helena High School Science Seminar and AP Environmental Studies students work around a table to assemble emergency food packs at Montana Food ShareThank 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)

Zentz named Montana Girls Track and Field Coach of the year

HHS Track and Field Coach Jesse ZentzCongratulations 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:

  • Logan Todorovich, girls 100 hurdles and girls long jump
  • Odessa Zentz, 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, boys shot put (second straight in this event)

Thank you, Coach Zentz, for your commitment to our students!


(Posted June 6, 2022)

CHS welding students, Tombstone Kiwanis Club make benches for Mt. Helena

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

PEAK students try their hand at roller coaster design

PEAK students construct a roller coaster model at the Silverwood Physics Day eventStudents 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)

Congratulations HHS Girls Track State Champs!

HHS Girls Track Team on Fire Truck for Celebratory 2022 State Champs DriveWhat 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.

Individual Championships:

– 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!

Congratulations to our 2022 retirees and best wishes for this new chapter! Thank you for all you have given to our community.

Rossie Sampson
Lois McDaniel
Ed Hobson
Sheri Bruington
John Chart
Walt Chancy
Kelley Morand
Don Foucar
Douglas Dellwo
Ron Silvers
Scott Evans
Geoff Proctor
Sandra Clay
Sallie Melcher
Rick DeMato
Laura Curtis
Sharon Cox
Margaret O’Connor
Lisa Lowney
Johnine Waller
Joe Valvoda
Tim Garrett
Clair Estep
Michelle Hoerning
Romana Vasquez
Jan Moore
Malinda Stewart
Trev Thomas
Janice Glass
Tami Wadhams

Royal readers reach 1 million words

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!







Drees and Boyle selected as 2022-23 Student Reps to the Board of Trustees

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!

CHS biology students present air quality research projects

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!

HHS welders hold 17th Annual Metal Sculpting Show

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.





Davis and Racicot receive HEA Educator Awards

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.

















Smith Elementary’s Katy Wright receives National Education Association Award for Teaching Excellence

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.”

Broadwater’s Thea Seacrease named KMTX Teacher of the Month

Congratulations to Broadwater Elementary’s Thea Seacrease, who was named the KMTX Teacher of the Month for April!











Helena High Green Group earns fourth SMART Schools award

Helena High School Green Group group photo of four members with recognition certificate from Board of TrusteesThe 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.








CHS, HHS Business Professionals of America teams place high at National Leadership Conference in Dallas

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!







Helena students earn Superior and Excellent ratings at MHSA Music Festival

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!


CHS Band

Superior Rating – I
CHS Jazz Band

CHS Choir

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

CHS Orchestra

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



HHS Band

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

HHS Choir

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

HHS Orchestra

Superior Rating – I
Caili Lowney – Violin Solo

Excellent Rating – II
Clara Harmon – Cello Solo

Smith Elementary fifth-grader wins Montana’s National Missing Children’s Poster Contest

Mary Guzynski and Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen pictured with Mary's certificate for winning the National Missing Children's Poster Contest. Her winning poster is on an easel between them.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

Capital High School inducts 2022-23 National Honor Society members

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!


Kayla Almquist
Karter Arensmeyer
Lilyann Baker
Isabel Beasley
Walker Bennett
Abigail Bignell
Keiran Boyle
Jaden Brown
Madison Burda
Connor Bushnell
Ryleigh  Bushnell
Cole Christensen
Jada Clarkson
Evan Coble
Emma Compton
Clarice Cook
Jenna Cordes
Lucas Curtis
Jack Drynan
Jayden Dupler
Maren Elliott
Sydney Emmons
Ian Flynn
Carlee Foster
Selah Frederickson
Jadyn Gilliam
Tessa Gleason
John Goodwin
Mena Green
Henry Gross
Abigail Grotbo
Makenzie Grotbo
Hudsen Grovom
Astri Hahn
Mikayla Hall
Abigail Hansen
Cadence Hatten
Ashley Heinrich
Zachary Heller
Nyeala Herndon
Jordan Hewitt
Craig Hiltunen
Erin Hirschi
Lauren Hoxie
Brynn Jankowski
Morgan Kaufman
Joseph Lauerman
Henry Lay
Aidia Lehman
Alexis Levengood
Colton Lindgren
RaeAnn Loewen
David Marshall
Darby Martin
Aidan McCarthy
Kellan McCauley
Nicholas Michelotti
Brendan Miller
Tycen Mooney
Matthew Moreni
Paul Mousel
Campbell Neibauer
Paige O’Mara
Hayden Opitz
Jasmine Otteson
Olivia Otteson
Sydney Pullin
Lynsey Read
Katherine Rencher
Kate Rhodes
Natalya Routzahn
Shay Schroeder
Madelyn Sechrist
Henley  Sexton
Miranda Sheafor
Ashton Shipley
Ayden Smelko
Gabriel  Sova
Jacob Spangenberg
Payton Sprague
Megan Swanson
Dutch Teders
McKenzie Tordale
Matthias Tucker
Liam Vanluchene
Jonathan Wamsley
Olivia Wigton
Evan Wright
Carli Ziegler


Photo of Christina Sieminski with her familyCapital High’s Sieminski inducted into UM Western’s Education Hall of Fame

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.





Students and volunteers pick up a shovel in front of a tree about to be planted at Capital High SchoolStudent Volunteers and Growing Friends celebrate Arbor Day with tree plantings

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.”

HEF awards Spark and Great Ideas grants to educators

Helena Education Foundation LogoHelena 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


Project Name


Business/Community Sponsor

Lisa Waterman

Crazy for Kickball
(Great Ideas Grant)

Broadwater Elementary

Allegiance Benefit Plan Management

Brenna Stefanik

Hunting for Book Lovers (Spark Grant)

Jim Darcy Elementary

Capital Sports

Mike Burke & Ellie Fjeseth

CHS Unified PE Bowling:
For People Who Have Talent
to Spare (Spark Grant)

Capital HIgh School

Montana Broom & Brush

Kyla Uribe

Playful Kindergarten
(Great Ideas Grant)

Broadwater Elementary

Helena Abstract & Title

Tyler Anfinson

Adventure to the Rockies
(Great Ideas Grant)

CR Anderson 
Middle School

Mountain West Bank & Endowment

Kylie Pancich

Unplug and Socialize (Spark Grant)

CR Anderson
Middle School

Park Avenue Bakery

Cindy Galbavy

From Old to New
(GMAW) (Great Ideas Grant)

Helena High School

Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation

Jill Putnam

Summer Writing

Opportunity for Kindergarten

(Spark Grant)

Jefferson Elementary

Richard and Neva Porte

Matthieu Oppedahl

Matilda @Grandstreet Spring 2022

(Spark Grant)

Jefferson Elementary

John Mott & Elaine Spino

Anna Alger

Kindergarten: Play
Centers for Learn and a Home Away From Home (Great
Ideas Grant)

Rossiter Elementary

Helena Orthodontics

Jennifer Loomis

Disc Golf Newbies
(Great Ideas Grant)

Rossiter Elementary

Mike & Ginger Agee

Pamela Murnion

"We Thrive with 'I Survived'" novels
(Spark Grant)

Rossiter Elementary

In Memory of Jan Peccia


Angel Fund LogoAngel Fund announces 2022 Scholarship Recipients

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.

Youth Electrum Showcase features HPS artists

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!

Youth Electrum 2022

Helena High students among statewide Aspirations in Computing Contest winners

Laurel Maronick and Sierrah Paul, 2022 NCWIT winners, pose with educator mentor Buffy SmithCongratulations 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).








Capital High’s Walt Chancy earns MCEC Lifetime Achievement Award

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 inducts 2022-23 National Honor Society members

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

Adam Ryland-Davis
Aidan Maze
Aiko Goldsmith
Alex Bullock
Alexis Reed
Allison Christensen
Ally Jacobsen
Avery Schlosser
Betsaida Sanchez
Brooke Richardson
Cade Holland
Cael Murgel
Cameron Wittrock
Carson Anderson
Charles Fox
Colter Petre
Dempsey Ireland
Emma Stilson
Eva Cobb
Finn Anderson
Foster Smith
Gabriella Radley
Hailey Scott
Haylee Bieber
Jacob Terry
Jeri Wilkerson
Joseph Seliskar
Julia Thomson
Kalley May
Karson Stefaniak
Kendall Klemp
Keslie McGowan
Kimberly Feller
Lauren Cotton
Lauren Heuiser
Lexi Erdahl
Lindsay Snarr
Loreley Drees
Lucita Odegard
Macey Havens
Mackenna Spaulding
Melaina Kloberdanz
Mikayla Stafford
Morgan Hayes
Morin Blaise
Nathaniel Demmons
Paisley Karlin
Raegan Taylor
Robert Stimpson
Ryan Burke
Rylee Poepping
Sandra Schuele
Shannen O’Brien
Taryn Oser
Tess Lawlor
William Johnson


Helena students earn prestigious MUS Honor Scholarships

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


Erik Callery
Lucas Canty
Cassidy Carpenter
Emmi Highness
Olivia Huber
Mackenzie Lincy
Isaac Nehring
Zeta Phillips
Chloe Roberts
Natalie Seburn

Helena High School students earn Montana University System STEM/Healthcare Scholarships

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!

Erick Callery
Lucas Canty
Cassidy Carpenter
Olivia Huber
Myles Jacobs
Lucy Lantz
Mackenzie Lynch
Emily MacQuarrie
Sydney Mattfeldt
Rachel Ostberg
Sierrah Paul
Zeta Phillips
Kasey Poepping
Chloe Roberts
Carly Ryan
Raelee Sampson
Natalie Seburn
Kyler Smith
Evan Stefaniak
Robin Triem

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 teams earn high marks at Science Olympiad

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 High

  • 1st Place Environmental Chemistry: Paul Reeves and Annika Nehring
  • 1st Place Remote Sensing: Sandra Schuele and Jeri Wilkerson
  • 1st Place Wright Stuff: Izzy Kosena and Jeri Wilkerson
  • 2nd Place Cell Biology: Mason Karlin and Paisley Karlin
  • 2nd Place Codebusters: Robert Stimpson, Sandra Schuele and Foster Smith
  • 2nd Place Dynamic Planet: Robert Stimpson and Kaylei Hinck

Capital High

  • 1st Place Cell Biology: Anna Gates
  • 2nd Place Remote Sensing: Isaac Urban and Connor Bushnell
  • 2nd Place: Ashton Shipley and Tyler Jost


CHS students take home gold from HOSA State Leadership Conference

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)


HHS students take firsts at Montana SkillsUSA Competition

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

CHS Team wins first place in Montana Personal Finance Challenge statewide competition

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: 

Paul Mousel
Ethan Hull
Evan Coble

Helena student musicians earn Superior Ratings at MHSA District Music Festival

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
HHS Ambiance

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

Capital High Students recognized as Harrison Writing Award recipients

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.

CHS Assistant Principal Walt Chancy to receive Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award

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!

Bryant Elementary’s Kaci Hauptman named KMTX Teacher of the Month

Congratulations to Kaci Hauptman, 2nd-Grade Teacher at Bryant Elementary, who is the KMTX Teacher of the Month for March!

Photo of Kaci Hauptman, 2nd-Grade Teacher at Bryant Elementary, holding a bouquet of flowers and plaque after KMTX Teacher of the Month for March award




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!







The Capital HIgh Business Professionals of America Chapter poses for a group photo outdoors at the State BPA Leadership Conference in BillingsCongratulations 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!



Group photo of five 2022 Capital High Science Bowl Team standing in school hallwayWay 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






Group Photo of Helena High School Business Professionals of America at the State Competition in BillingsCongratulations 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


HEF logo



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!

Helena High School Mock Trial Team_ 2022Congratulations 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.

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!!!

Students cheer at the Billings MetraPark after the CHS Boys win the State AA Basketball Championship

High school students work on construction of a model bridge made of balsa woodA 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!

Head shot of Speech and Debate National Qualifier Brennen Jensen with his award certificate

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.”

Congratulations, Timothy!

Finalists who will go with Timothy to the Lewis and Clark County Spelling Bee are: Kumari Leland (7th), Oli Grotzke (7th), Emilie Woods-Spurlock (6th), Cody Dixon (8th), and Brady Lay (8th).
Alternates for the County Spelling Bee are: 1st Alternate: Jakob Criswell (8th grade); 2nd Alternate: Cate Murray (7th grade); and 3rd alternate: Kelia Gomes (7th grade).

Well done, everyone!

Timothy Clince, Champion of the 2022 Helena Middle School Spelling Bee, stands in front of shelves of books in the school library

Timothy Cline, 7th Grade, Helena Middle School

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!

Theater Teacher Laura Brayko poses with her award plaque surrounded by her students

Laura Brayko, of Capital High, and her students


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!

Chris Nevinski, band teacher at C.R. Anderson Middle School, stands in front of a white board in his music classroom holding a plaque he was just presented as KMTX "Teacher of the Month"
DECA International Career Development Conference

December 2021

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