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Community briefs: Students can explore mechanics; Memory Café welcomes historical society speaker; Talking Saints extend streak; student news

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Students can explore mechanics, manufacturing careers

Are you interested in learning more about education and careers in the fields of manufacturing and mechanics? Join Helena College and Helena WINS on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Helena College airport campus, for our PROSPECTS career exploration event: Manufacturing and Mechanics Night.

This event will provide high school students and their parents an opportunity to explore the manufacturing and mechanics career fields by connecting with Helena College instructors and local industry leaders. Highlighted industries include: mechanics in the auto, aviation, and diesel fields, CNC & manual machining, and welding. Free pizza and drinks will be provided for attendees.

Send an email to with any questions regarding the event. 

Herbert Hoover topic of Memory Café 

In honor of Presidents Day this month, the Rocky Mountain Development Council's Memory Café welcomes Jeff Bartos from the Montana Historical Society to present on the 31st President of the United Sates, Herbert Hoover.

The presentation focuses on Hoover’s life before his political debut. This month’s Memory Café takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 9:30-11 a.m. in the Senior Center Card Room at the Helena Senior Center, 200 S. Cruse Ave. Memory Café is a place for those living with memory loss to gather and socialize along with their caregivers. All are welcome.

Talking Saints extend streak to 32 years

Unphased by having 11 students and two coaches in quarantine from positive COVID tests, the Talking Saints team earned its 32nd straight Northwest Forensics Conference regional title, shared this year with Boise State University and Lewis & Clark College.

Carroll students won 48 awards at the championship online tournament hosted by Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, Jan. 28-30. The team won gold medal recognition for the year, the region’s highest honor, and was named the top debate program in the Northwest. First-year Emma Peterson of Belgrade was named the top novice at the tournament.

“A really surreal weekend, with kids in designated quarantine rooms with their laptops,” said coach Brent Northup. “Some of the students were asymptomatic, or with light symptoms. Everybody chose to compete, even though they had the option to pull out. A few voices were raspy and they were tired, but their minds were sharp. Their spirit was inspiring.”

Leading the team was Vicente Gallardo, a junior from Butte, who, with partner Roisin O’Neill of Lake Oswego, Oregon, won open debate. Competing from a quarantine room in Guad, Gallardo also won open impromptu, and was named top speaker in the tournament.

“I am very happy with not only our own performance, but the performance of the team overall,” said Gallardo. “A full season of hard work and practice has really paid off.”

Both sophomore Melissa Jagelski of Ontario, Oregon, and first-year Anna Brown of Olympia, Washington, each won four awards. Jagelski and senior partner Ally Haegele of Helena followed their success in December with another exceptional tournament.

Sophomore Josie Howlett of Bigfork and junior Brady Clark of Madison, Wisconsin, competed in debate finals, and were among the four Carroll semifinal teams in open debate – half the field. Carroll’s first-year team of June LePage of Lewistown and Madi McDonald of Missoula finished second in junior, behind a team from Georgia Tech.

“Something like this was likely to happen at some point, but being quarantined during the most important tournament of the year was unprecedented,” said McDonald. “I am so grateful that I was able to quarantine with June and compete with her there. Her competitiveness and Sophia's humor are what allowed us to be hopeful and successful.”

Ten team members won three or more awards including first-years LePage, Brown, Peterson and Angelica Sutton of Wolf Point. Sutton won an Eagle award as the region’s third best novice competitor for the year.

Brady Clark won extemporaneous speaking for the second straight time this season, and reached finals of debate with partner Josie Howlett, who won three awards.

The conference’s Brent Northup Award was won by Simone Jericho of Whitworth University. The award, given to the region’s top competitor, was renamed for Carroll’s coach last year.

The team now turns the corner to season-ending championships. Four first-year debaters head to Novice Nationals, held online and hosted by at Cornell University, on Feb. 12-13. The upper class is aiming for an Alaska championship in April, which hopes to host in-person, if Omicron subsides.

“The struggles this weekend seemed to bring us together,” said Northup. “Two years ago at this same Pacific event, our bus was stuck in the mud, and we had to walk down a dirt road to get rescued by a Boise State bus. This year we got stuck in COVID mud. Hard times bring out the best in us. I can assure the Carroll family that these kids represented their school proudly. They simply refused to quit. They were aware of those alums that came before them, and that motivated them. I wondered if they’d survive, and they ended up having one of their best tournaments in years.”

HHS DECA recognized with gold certification 

The Catty Shack, the school-based enterprise at Helena High School, was among 461 school-based enterprises achieving gold certification for the 2021-2022 school year and will be recognized during DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Atlanta.

A school-based enterprise (SBE) is an entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods and services to meet the needs of the market.

SBEs are managed and operated by students as hands-on learning laboratories that integrate National Curriculum Standards in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

DECA advisers have utilized this effective educational tool for over four decades to provide their students with realistic and practical learning experiences that reinforce classroom instruction, enhance 21st century skill development, and prepare students for college and careers.

The Helena High School DECA member who contributed to the certification was Christine Anderson with the assistance of her DECA chapter adviser, Jessica Frazier. The SBE at The Catty Shack has operated for 17 years.

DECA’s School-based Enterprise Certification Program provides recognition for outstanding achievement by school-based enterprises and to motivate SBEs to strive for excellence and growth. SBEs can be certified at three levels: bronze, silver or gold.

Students received top honors at conference

Helena High School DECA students recently competed at the Montana DECA Career Development Conference in Fairmont Hot Springs. More than 350 students from around Montana competed at the state conference. The following Helena High School students took top honors at the conference.

  • 1st place in Sports and Entertainment Operations Research Team Event – Christine Anderson, Bella Brewer, and Zoe Taylor.
  • 2nd place in Restaurant Food Services Management – Melaina Kloberdanz
  • 4th place in Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making – Corbin Luce and Eva Santos
  • 4th place in Quick Serve Restaurant Management – Melaina Kloberdanz
  • 5th place in Marketing Communications – Hunter Pandis
  • 5th place in Quick Serve Restaurant Management – Hunter Pandis
  • 6th Place in Professional Selling Event – Melaina Kloberdanz
  • 6th place in Integrated Marketing Campaign Team Event – Christine Anderson, Bella Brewer, and Zoe Taylor.

These students will be representing Helena High School DECA at the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta in April.

Nominations sought for top history teacher

Nominations are being accepted for seventh- through twelfth-grade teachers who have done an exemplary job teaching Montana history during the 2021-2022 school year.

The winner will receive the 33rd Montana Statehood Centennial Bell Award, which honors the Montana History Teacher of the Year. The winner and his or her class will be honored at a ceremony in the state Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Prizes include a plaque and a $4,500 cash award to be used for classroom materials, field trips, speakers, and anything else that enhances learning in their classroom.

In even numbered years the award is given to a teacher at the seventh- through twelfth-grade level. In odd numbered years it is given to a teacher at the fourth- through sixth-grade level.

Email nominations to Norma Ashby Smith, award coordinator, at The nominations often come from principals, superintendents, fellow teachers, or librarians from public and private schools. The nominations should include the nominator’s name, school, address, phone number and email, as well as the teacher’s name, grade, school, address, phone number and email. The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2022.

Nominated teachers will be asked to submit two letters of support. One can be from their principal, superintendent, fellow teacher, or librarian, and one from a student. Nominated teachers also should submit a one-page letter detailing why they enjoy teaching Montana history, including how they adapted teaching Montana history during the COVID-19 lockdowns; how they engage their students in learning; how their Montana history course recognizes cultural diversity; and anything else they’d like to share about their class or methods.

Nominees will receive instructions on how to submit this material, with a deadline of May 1, 2022.

This program is sponsored by the Montana Television Network, the Montana History Foundation, and the Sons & Daughters of Montana Pioneers in cooperation with the Montana Historical Society and the 1889 Coffee House in Helena. A gift of $100 in gold Sacajawea dollars is given to the student who writes the letter of support for the winning teacher from Judy Wohlfrom of Woodland, California. In addition, one gold Sacajawea dollar is given to each student who accompanies the winning teacher to the Nov. 9 ceremony from Mike Collins, president of the Sons & Daughters of Montana Pioneers and his wife Connie of Helena.

Contact Norma Ashby Smith with any questions about the award or the nomination process at 406-453-7078 or at

Red Cross seeks blood donations

The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to help end the ongoing critical need for blood with a blood donation. The Red Cross needs donors of all blood types to give now and help ensure lifesaving transfusions are on the sidelines for those who rely on them.

Appointments can be made by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Nar-Anon family group meeting

The Helena Nar-Anon Family Group, a 12-step program for families and friends of addicts, meets Mondays and Thursdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Library of St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 512 Logan.

The library is located on the lower level of the main church building. Please enter using the Cruise Avenue entrance. The group observes COVID-19 protocols required by the church.

Student News

Grace Johnson, of Helena, was named to the dean's list for the fall 2021 semester at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. To earn dean's list honors at Wheaton, an undergraduate student must carry 12 or more credit hours and achieve a semester grade point average of 3.5 or higher on the 4.0 scale.


Lauren Hanson, of Helena, has been named to the dean's list for the fall semester of the 2021-22 academic year at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The dean's list recognizes full-time students who have a minimum of 12 credit hours with grade-point averages at 3.5 or above.


Piper Davidson and Libby Linder, both of Helena, have been named to the fall 2021 dean's list at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.  whose major is listed as Design Foundations BS and Pre Architectural Studies BS


Jackson Keller, of Helena, was named to the fall 2021 semester dean's list at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Traditional undergraduate students must earn a 3.5 grade point average or above on 12 or more hours of graded work to earn a spot on the dean's list.


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