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Student uses savings to buy new pedestrian sign at Great Falls school

Posted at 4:58 PM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-09 17:59:59-05

GREAT FALLS — In October, MTN told you about someone driving along Central Avenue and crashing through the pedestrian crosswalk sign at Holy Spirit Catholic School.

The incident happened on September 21st and security cameras at the school captured video of the car shattering the sign.

“We had our pedestrian sign outside and a person came by and hit it,” said Sandi Welsh, the president of the school’s home and school association.

The driver didn’t stop, and minutes later another driver took half of the split sign that lay in the street.

The school called police and was able to get the City of Great Falls to temporarily put up an electronic sign showing drivers how fast they are going through the school zone.

With safety of kids in mind, concern among parents and staff grew.

It didn’t take long for an unlikely benefactor to step forward in the form of second-grade student Blake Carter.

Blake managed to come up with the more than $400 for a new sign by using savings from birthday and Christmas gifts and helping out at his dad’s auto body shop. “I wanted to keep my friends safe,” said Blake when asked why he bought the sign.

Not only does the new sign provide an element of safety, it also provides a financial break for the school’s home and school association which had bought the previous sign as well as one that had been hit a couple years earlier.

“These aren't supplied by the district or the state,” said Welsh. “Every school has to buy their own pedestrian sign. So this comes out of our own pocket.”

Blake’s father works at an auto body shop and Blake told MTN he helps his Dad to work on cars.

“Our community was definitely blown away first by the actions out there on the street, but then to hear that one of our own in our community would come out and pay for a new sign, which we have up today,” said Holy Spirit Principal Melissa Hallahan. “We're really excited and we're just thankful for Blake. He's a huge, integral part of our school community.”

The school teaches the values of helping others, and Blake has a couple of other good role models when it comes to compassion.

“Mom and Dad,” said Blake when asked who inspired him.

When the camera is rolling Blake may be a boy of few words, but his actions speak volumes.

Principal Hallahan is grateful for the gesture: “We just ask people to be aware of those crosswalks and that it was a sign this time. We just don't ever want it to be a kid.”

Blake’s mother told MTN she was grateful to the City of Great Falls for their assistance in putting up the temporary sign and also conducting a traffic study.