From the Principal’s Desk


From the Principal’s desk…
Follow all the Principal’s student news and announcements here



March 20, 2023

My apologies, but I inadvertently left a couple of our HEF distinguished students off the list last week. They are Charles Fox, Melaina Kloberdanz, Lexi Erdahl, Eren Olson and CJ Flugge.

Congratulations to Helena High BPA for having 7 members (4 in multiple events) qualify to compete at nationals in Anaheim in April. The top 10 received medals with the top 5 advancing to nationals.

Foster Smith: 1st Java Programming, 1st Python Programming & 1st C++ Programming
Titan Russell: 1st Network Administration using Cisco, 2nd Computer Network Technology & 9th Device Configuration and Troubleshooting
Kaden Price: 1st C# Programming & 5th Java Programming
Cooper Cross: 2nd C++ Programming, 4th Python Programming & 4th Java Programming
Matthew Roberts: 2nd Java Programming, 9th Python Programming
Nolan Verrill: 2nd C# Programming
Khalil Ellis: 3rd Java Programming
Kai Moser: 7th Java Programming
Sofia Hernandez: 8th Fundamental Accounting
Kaden Price, Foster Smith, Nolan Verrill & Titan Russell: placed in the top 10, nationally, in Software Engineer Virtual Event and will learn of the placing at the National Conference.

Montana BPA submitted Buffy Smith to be chosen as National Emerging Advisor of the Year.

Helena High BPA received the Silver Star of Professionalism award for the 10th year in a row.  The Montana Association Silver Star Award for Chapter Development is designed to award those Business Professionals of America chapters who actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization.

Thanks to Samantha Humphrey and Buffy Smith for leading this group.

March 13, 2023
Shout out to our Culinary II students as they participated in the Mansfield – Metcalf dinner. Great work by our students, Halsey deMontigny, Jordan Andresen, Kyrie McKnight, Sivanna Ledesma and Rickey Robbins. Thankful for Joan Leik’s guidance.

Congratulations to HHS Student Robert Stimpson. Robert presented his research on Learning Bias at Montana Tech Regional Science Fair, on Thursday, March 2nd. Robert was awarded a Blue Ribbon, and advanced to the second round of judging. He received a silver medal and was then awarded the American Psychological Association Award for his research.  Well done, Robert!

HHS band students performed the AA Band Festival recently.

Congratulations to our students that were selected for Helena Education Foundation’s Distinguished Students. Qualifying students are Collin Hurlburt, Gabriella Radley, Karson Stefaniak, Loreley Drees, Morin Blaise, Izzy Kosena, Riley Walsh, Cael Murgel, Foster Smith, Halsey deMontigny, Autumn Chandler and Robert Stimpson.

The following HHS educators were selected as Distinguished Educators: Kacey Askin, Ryan Schulte, Hilary Potuzak, Jamie O’Malley, Bob Poelking, Shannin Preshinger, Brandon Day, Buffy Smith, Sheila Orzechowski, and Victor Daniel.

Congratulations to all the recipients.

Congratulations to Kalley May and Alexis Reed who received $1500.00 Scholarships from Youth Serve Montana Scholarships. The scholarship is designed to promote community volunteerism among youth, to encourage young leaders to further their learning, and to provide tuition assistance for Montana students to attend college in state. Kalley and Alexis received their scholarships for 100+ hours of service.

Please join me in congratulating this year’s HHS Science Olympiad team on their success in Bozeman at the State Science Olympiad competition last Wednesday, March 8th.

Helena High School placed 4th overall and Gold Medals were won by the following teams:

Forestry: Robert Stimpson and Paul Reeves

Rocks and Minerals: Annika Nehring and Emily McAnally

Anatomy: Paisely Karlin and Wyatt Gant

The Varsity Team and their events:

Alma Cline: Chem Lab and Experimental Design

Annika Nehring: Astronomy and Rocks and Minerals

Emily McAnally: Cell Biology and Rocks and Minerals

Foster Smith: Codebusters, Detector Building, and Trajectory

Grey Gildroy: Detector Building

Isabella Kosena: Scrambler and Bridge

Jeri Wilkerson: Fermi and Scrambler

Glacia Luccetti: Experimental Design and Write it Do it

Malcom Soller: Codebusters

Mya Helvik: Experimental Design and Write it Do it

Paisley Karlin: Astronomy and Cell Biology

Paul Reeves: Astronomy and Forestry

Robert Stimpson: Codebusters, Forestry and Trajectory

Sandra Schuele: Chem Lab and Fermi

Wyatt Gant: Anatomy

JV Team and their events:

Alec Henderson: Astronomy and Chem Lab

Melaina Kloberdanz: Fermi and Forestry

Thanks to the teacher team of McKim, Thennis, Pichette, Ladd, O’Malley, Hollow

March 6, 2023

Last Friday HHS hosted a cross-town balsa-wood bridge competition with a total of 25 bridges from both Capital and Helena High.  The first place bridge was built by Ben Bingham from Helena High’s Tech Math class with a ratio of 23.4 lbs. to grams held, holding 725 lbs.  The second place bridge was built by Jonathon Abel and Titan Russell from Helena High’s Physics class and it held an impressive 830 lbs. with a ratio of 23.1 lbs. to grams.  The first place winner won $500, the second place winner won $200. Thanks to Jonathan Driggers for coordinating this event.

Congratulations to our national BPA qualifiers. The team consisting of Kaden Price, Titan Russell, Foster Smith, and Nolan Verrill is among the Top Ten (10) finalists in the National BPA Virtual Software Engineering Team Competition. This was a multiple month competition in which they created a video game using C# and Unity and documentation for it. The top 20 teams then gave a virtual presentation and answered questions about their video game. The top 10 finalists are invited to the 2023 National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, where they will be recognized on stage and find out which place they earned. In Anaheim, they will present their game in the 2023 National Showcase and compete for another award called Best in Show. Thanks to Samantha Humphrey and Buffy Smith for their guidance.

Congratulations to Merren Marks as she was recognized by Montana Radio Company’s Teacher of the Month promotion. Students from Merren’s class nominated her.

Here are some graduation pictures from our Sister School, Tamana High School in Kumamoto, Japan.

Congratulations to our HHS teachers that were recipients of the recent round of grants from HEF.

Bengal Closet
HHS teacher Lauren Gustafson received funding for her Bengal Closet project which offers FREE  clothing to all HHS students. The Bengal Closet offers a range of clean apparel in a wide range of styles and sizes, including Bengal gear! Enrolled students are welcome to shop for themselves as well as family members. The Spark Grant will support purchase of organizers, hangers, laundry detergent and more.

Living on the Land: The Blackfoot Challenge and Rural Cottage Industry
This Great Ideas Grant will help AP Environmental Science students learn in the outdoor beauty of Montana by funding a trip to the Mannix Ranch near Helmville, the Blackfoot Challenge in Ovando, and the Rich Ranch in the Seeley-Swan area. They will learn about community and watershed level conservation, public lands, natural resource management, and how to make sustainable small business in our rural economy.

Reeling in Neatness
Air Hoses are the most used frequently used equipment in a welding shop.(And the messiest). Hoses help run half of the equipment the students use in the HHS shop and will use in the industry and home as DIYers. New air hoses and reels will help these Bengal students “clean up.”

HHS Mock Trial Teams take 1st and 2nd at State

The HHS Baker team and the HHS Shea team met in the state championship round on Saturday to determine the new Montana state champion in Mock Trial for the ’22-’23 season. The HHS Baker team came out on top by a slim margin.  Helena High School has now captured the state title for a fourth year in a row.

Members of the HHS Baker Team and the new Montana state champions include:   Melaina Kloberdanz, Robert Stimpson, Wyatt Gant, Jadyn Ruttenbur, Grace Kantorowicz, Layla Riggs, Riley Walsh, and Ethan Taylor

Members of the Montana State Mock Trial second place squad include:   Mia Taylor, Owen McDaniel, Kenzie Criswell, Caili Lowney, Aine Cleary, and Aysia Phattavong.

HHS McGrath team also competitively represented Helena High.  That team included:  Lily Pierson, Glacia Luchetti, Seth Herrera, Camile Certain, Gabi LaVoie, Grey Gildroy, and Michael Leyva.

Individual Awards

Outstanding Witness Awards went to Owen McDaniel and Jadyn Ruttenbur.
Outstanding Attorney Awards went to Kenzie Criswell and Lily Pierson.

Earning both Outstanding Witness and Attorney Awards were Melaina Kloberdanz and Robert Stimpson.

Nationals will be held in Little Rock, AR in May.

February 20, 2023

Congratulations to our National Merit Semi-finalists that are now all Finalists! Congratulations to Jeri Wilkerson, Robert Stimpson, Foster Smith and Ryan Burke.

Congratulations to the HHS DECA Chapter for their recent performances. Aysia Phattavong captured 3rd Place in her Community Awareness Project and qualified to attend nationals in Orlando, FL.

Matt Velasquez captured 6th Place in Automotive Services Marketing.

The Helena High Catty Shack school-based enterprise was awarded Gold re-certification. Helena High was one of 631 schools across the nation to be certified or re-certified gold. We were one of 3 in Montana to reach this achievement. With this achievement, we can send up to 3 students to nationals in Orlando, FL for the school-based enterprise academies.

Helena High School will be sending the following Helena High students to DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Orlando, FL April 21-26, 2023.

Aysia Phattavong (Freshman) – Qualified in the Community Awareness Project

Melaina Kloberdanz (Senior) – SBE Academy attendee

Sandra Schuele (Senior) – SBE Academy attendee

Luka Krivokapic (Junior) – Ignite Academy attendee

Caitlyn Holgate (Sophomore) – Ignite Academy attendee

Congrats to our HHS DECA advisor, Jessica Frazier.


February 13, 2023

Congratulations to Mr. Rob Holter. Rob was recognized at last week’s Thespian Festival in Missoula with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his 42 years of work with Montana Thespians. In addition, Carsten Straub was awarded a scholarship in technical theater to the University of Montana.

Congratulations to our state champion swimmers, crowned this past weekend in Great Falls. Garrett Krattiger is the State Champ in the 500 Free and the 100 IM. Congratulations to Devin Goetsch who captured the State Championship in the 200 IM.

Congratulations to our National Speech and Debate Qualifier, Layla Riggs. Layla qualified for the national tournament in Congressional Debate.

February 6, 2023

Congratulations to our 4 candidates for the US Presidential Scholars program! They are Paisley Karlin, Jeri Wilkerson, Robert Stimpson and Ryan Burke. These students are recognized for their accomplishments as some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors. Thanks to all the educators that played a role in this recognition!

December 12, 2022

Released from Senator John Tester’s Office: Congratulations to the following HHS students that have been nominated for military academy appointments!

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.

Congratulations to the Helena High School students accepted into this year’s All-State Jazz Band. They are Ryan Burke and Carson Payne. Congratulations to Mr. Hollow!

November 21, 2022

Congratulations to Aine Cleary as she was selected to participate in the 2023 All-Northwest Honor Ensemble. In February she will travel to Bellevue, WA, to participate in a festival with over 1000 other students under the leadership of world-renowned conductors. Congratulations Zach.

Thank you to each one of you that has played such a significant role in the lives of our students. I hope you all have plenty of time over the break to find joy and relax with family and friends. Safe travel to any of you that are headed out of town for the break.

November 7, 2022

This week marks National School Psych week. We are blessed to have a standout with Margaret Montgomery. She is such an asset to our school, and I am grateful for the significant contributions she makes to our school. Be sure to thank her for her work!

Congratulations to our Western Divisional Volleyball Champions. The team secured the championship this weekend in Missoula. Next stop, the state tournament in Bozeman. Go Bengals!

Congratulations to Colter Petre as he was recognized by the Heisman High School Scholarship committee for excellence in athletics, academics, and community service.

Thank you to Samantha Humphrey and the HHS student council, JMG and BPA for their annual Halloween activities. They had over 300 people and collected donations for Food Share. The Science Club, DECA, SkillsUSA, NHS, Key Club and Art Club helped with this great community event.

October 31, 2022

Congratulations to Buffy Smith for being recognized by Helena Education Foundation’s, “Let’s Talk about Great Teachers”. Buffy will be recognized at their annual Great Conversations dinner.

October 24, 2022

Congratulations to our Boys and Girls Cross Country Teams as they performed in the State meet this past Saturday in Missoula. The Boys team, led by Henry Sund’s All-State performance (14th), finished in 5th place. The team consisted of Henry Ballinger, Elliot Stimpson, Jake Matthews, Trey Schlepp, Ian Rasmann and Taylor Parisot. The women’s team finished in 10th place. Team members are Alivia Thunstrom, Ella Irey, Hadyn Garza, Bria Plant, Solveig Mohr, Margaret McDonald and Caoimhe Gallagher. Congrats to Coach Gilbert, Coach Zentz and their coaching staff.

October 17, 2022

Helena High School recently had several students recognized by the College Board’s National Recognition Award. These students earned this recognition because of their academic achievements in school and outstanding performance of the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and/or AP Exams. They have accomplished these academic milestones during an immensely demanding period of their high school career. The students are:

  • Cameron Wittrock (NRSTA), Gabby Radley (NRSTA), Jeri Wilkerson (NRSTA), Nate Demmons (NRSTA, NHRA), Robert Stimpson (NRSTA), and Sofia Hernandez (NHRA)
    • (NRSTA = National Rural and Small Town Award. NHRA = National Hispanic Recognition Award)

Thanks to all of the educators that have had an impact on these students’ success!

Congratulations to our very talented high school musicians. The following have been selected as All-State Orchestra members: Aine Cleary, Freya Elias, Clara Harmon, and Owen McDaniel. They will be participating in this week’s all-state music festival. Thanks to Zach Harris and his work with these students.

October 3, 2022
Congratulations to literal “Rock Stars”. Lyla Ackerman, CJ Flugge, and Aaron French were selected for the 2022 All-State Honor Choir. Congratulations to these very talented kids and thanks to Molly Steele for her dedication with these talented musicians.

September 19, 2022

Congratulations once again to our 4 National Merit Semifinalists. They are Foster Smith, Jeri Wilkerson, Robert Stimpson and Ryan Burke. These students represent the top 1% of students in the country. Thanks to all of you that had an impact on their educational journey!