By Melissa Huber, I-O Reporter
The highlight of the recent school board meeting on Feb. 18 came from Principal Ken Larson during his CHS report when he revealed that Rebecca Brown recently won an essay contest entitled Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development through Trout Unlimited.
Brad Powell, Senior Policy Director of the Sportsmen Conservation Project for Trout Unlimited said, “Your essay demonstrated your love for public lands and their importance to hunters and anglers across the country.”
Brown will travel to Washington, D.C. with her mother on an all-expense paid trip to meet with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and while there, she will also meet with leaders of the National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
The school board meeting got underway with Janie McFarland introducing CHS’s student of the month, Brett Peters. Peters is in BPA, NHS, and several advanced courses, including AP English, AP Math, and Advanced Science. Intelligence and personality were, understandably, mentioned as his two best attributes. Teachers mentioned that he is “Upbeat and friendly,” and upon graduating he would like to attend MSU-Bozeman where he would like to major in Ag Business.
Lori Wetendorf next presented eighth grader Brittney Bennett, one of the two students being recognized by Utterback Middle School (UMS). Willy Mello said Bennett was a “Strong, silent leader,” and that she was “truly an exemplary student.” Several others mentioned that she was polite and respectful. Tammy Jones said she was a “voracious reader”. Bennett’s favorite class is Language Arts. She is also a member of National Junior Honor Society
Colt Parocai, a seventh grader, was the second student to be acknowledged from UMS. He excels both in and out of the classroom, and it was mentioned that he sometimes has an impishness or mischievous nature. However, Mello said, “his character sets him above others. He is honest and is the first to stand up for others.” His favorite class is math, and he likes to lift weights. He enjoys football and someday he would like to be in the NFL.
Kennedy Hampton was Prairie View’s Student of the Month and was introduced by Diana Agre. Agre said that Hampton was very mature and makes smart choices, and that she was “little, but mighty.” Hampton said her favorite animal is the kangaroo, and that she likes LeBron James. Naturally, Hampton also enjoys basketball, and recently was a winner in the Knights of Columbus Free-throw contest at her school. She said someday she would like to be an architect.
Kamie Barnhill introduced Meadowlark’s Student of the Month, which was Sinda Gange. Barnhill said Gange was a “sweet young lady” and that she was careful and neat with her assignments. She has a can-do attitude, she said, and has an enthusiasm for learning. “She is a joy to teach,” said Barnhill.
Morgan Vandyke was on hand to give the CHS report, which was short and sweet. CHS was preparing for tournaments that would take place over the weekend, and they were gearing up with Spirit Week. There are also plans to hold an Eric Norby fundraiser sometime in the near future.
Gerald McDermott and Lyndsey Green presented further information about their prospective summer program for “at risk” kids. They received good initial feedback and feel confident that they can fill most, if not all, slots with some adjustments. The motion was approved, and Green and McDermott hope to make it a year-to-year program if the amount of interest can support it.
The recent severe cold did a number on the buses, but they are on the mend. A radio issue seems more problematic at the moment, and Jim Carroll and others are working on a solution. Until more is known about what is causing the issue, it is not clear whether or not the bus radios will have to be replaced.
UMS’s AAA winners for the month of February are Katie Murak for academics, Kyle Vandenacre for athletics, and Leah Pridemore for arts. The Buckaroo PRIDE+ winner is Brook Mycke. On Feb. 14, the eighth graders went to Showdown for their annual ski trip. Though there was a snow storm, it didn’t last long, and everyone was able to enjoy themselves. UMS is also gearing up for the Pondera County Spelling Bee that will be on March 4 at 7 p.m. in the CHS auditorium. Students must attend seven of the 10 practices to be able to participate. Regional and State Science Fairs are approaching. Regional competition will be on March 12, and State will be March 16-18.
PV and ML celebrated their 100th day of school with special activities. Principal Greg Jensen mentioned that iPad labs in both schools are now up and running and all staff has been trained. February’s Oral Health month was celebrated with a trip to Sunset Dental. However, due to weather, Prairie View was unable to make it for their scheduled trip. The people from Sunset Dental, instead, came to them. All students received a new toothbrush and toothpaste.
The fifth graders, as part of their outdoor classroom project, went ice fishing at Bynum and snowshoeing in East Glacier. Fourth graders enjoyed Valentine’s Day at the Horizon Lodge where they decorated cookies and danced with residents.
The National Guard took up most of the high school gymnasium on Feb. 4 with their obstacle course, which was enjoyed by all.
In other business, the hiring of Mick Morris as the head softball coach for the upcoming season was approved, and Scott Mycke, Bjorn Swanson, and Shane Broesder were approved as assistant high school football coaches for the fall of 2014.
The 2014-2015 school year calendar was approved, as was a transfer of Jennifer Schlepp from fourth to fifth grade teacher. She expressed a wish to be in a position to better help prepare students for junior high. The matter of ML and PV’s principal for next year was discussed, the biggest decision for the moment being whether or not to keep the job a joint venture or hire two part-time principals for both buildings. Principal Jensen, when asked, strongly suggested the board consider putting a principal in each school as it would make all parties involved more at ease. He felt business ran more smoothly when there was someone there throughout the entire day.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be March 11 at 7 pm. in the Russell Building board room.
Editor’s note: For those interested in reading Brown’s winning essay, go to Trout Unlimited’s website at http://www.tu.org/blog-posts/youth-essay-contest-spotlight-rebecca-brown .