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CHS prepares students for dramatically different paths

From the Saluting the class of 2021 series
Capital High Seniors

Capital High School seniors Sarah Heller, left, and Wes Bruski are set to graduate this week. 

Capital High School offers many different paths for students, and graduating seniors Sarah Heller and Wes Bruski have demonstrated that. 

Both students will graduate with the class of 2021 Saturday. Additionally, both students enjoyed and participated in choir during their time at CHS.

Beyond that, there are few similarities between their experiences at CHS. 

Heller is a math and science club student at CHS. Additionally she is a valedictorian, recipient of the Bear Award, a National Merit Scholar, a two-time recipient of the National Center for women in Information Technology's Aspirations in Computing Award and a presidential scholar at Montana State University. 

Bruski dedicated more of his time to shop class. He is an all-state choir and all-northwest choir participant, a former Bruins football player, a lettered member of the school's theater program, an international thespian, a Bear Award recipient and state president of SkillsUSA, and he has achieved gold in CNC machining and will go on to compete at the national level.

The ambitions of these two students couldn't be further apart, but they both represent CHS in their own ways.

For Heller, it was the science department and faculty that made the biggest impact during her time at CHS. She said they are amazing and she couldn't have asked for better science teachers. Heller was also glad that so many of the teachers in the science department were women. She cited their ability to take material that can be very dry and make it fun and engaging. 

"Physics is a very male-dominated field," Heller said. "It has been really nice having teachers like Ms. (Delacy) Humbert around. Their enthusiasm is infectious."

For Bruski, it was his machining and welding classes that had the most profound impact on his education. 

"The trades are the most understated classes here," Bruski said. "There are so many good-paying jobs out there for skilled laborers that are going unfilled."

Bruski said he not only learned great technical skills, but he also learned about having good work ethic and what it means to be a good employee. He said Mr. Jim Weber had a big impact on him as well. Bruski said Weber got him involved in charity work, and it's something he now hopes to continue on his own. 

When asked about her most memorable moment during her time at CHS, Heller rewound the clock all the way to freshman year. When she and her mom came in to meet with her counselor about taking more advanced classes, the meeting fell on her summer camp's "Wacky Wednesday."

"I had rainbow hair. I had a backwards inside-out shirt," Heller said. "I looked like a crazy person." 

Unbeknownst to Heller, her counselor, Dana Meldrum, had children who attended the same summer camp. As Heller walked through the door, Meldrum looked up at her and said "Wacky Wednesday?" 

"At that was the start of my relationship with Ms. Meldrum," Heller said. 

For Bruski, it was a quieter moment. He recalled the last Friday of the normal school year before the COVID-19 lockdown. The CHS drama club had hosted a movie night. Bruski was supposed to be in Washington state for a choir meet, but it was canceled at the last minute. He had come to school the following day, unsure of the ever-changing situation, and he wound up at the drama club's movie night where they watched the Robin Williams comedy "Mrs. Doubtfire." 

"And it snowed a ton while we were in there, five inches or more. When we came outside we saw it, so we got out our brushes and cleaned off everyone's cars," Bruski said. "That was the last time we had a true get-together free of fear. It was a nice moment." 

After the two walk across the stage Saturday, they will set out on very different paths.

Heller will be attending Montana State University to study mathematics and physics.

Bruski will attend Flathead Community College where he will work on his two-year associate's degree in machining. He also has a job offer to work with Defiance Machine while he pursues that degree. He said he hopes to keep up with choir while there and eventually wants to be a machining teacher like Mr. Weber.

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