BOULDER and TOWNSEND — As social distancing and remote learning continue across Montana, communities are finding new ways to honor high school seniors. Parents and staff in Boulder and Townsend are showing their support and recognition in a proud display.
“I actually got a call from my teacher, Mrs. Smartnick, and she was asking where in Clancy I lived. I gave her my address and asked her why, but she wouldn’t tell me even though I kept asking her,” said Jefferson senior Avery Stiles.
The answer? To display signs that read, “Home of a Jefferson High School senior, class of 2020,” in each senior’s yard. For Jefferson, that meant 71 stops.
“Tim Norbeck had the idea of doing the signs, I was just the navigation specialist, so I plugged in the addresses,” said Jefferson business education teacher and senior parent Dawn Smartnick. “We took off last Friday and 10 hours, 170 miles, lots of laughs, lots of missed turns, but it was a great day. To see the smiles on some of those faces, parents and students alike, that made it all worth it.”
“There are a lot of unknowns out there regarding them, but they are a special group, just like every group at Jefferson High School,” said Norbeck, the superintendent, “and my heart goes out to them and their families at this time knowing that it’s not easy. They’re great kids, a good class and we do miss them.”
Some 30 miles northeast in Townsend, the parents of Broadwater seniors were performing a similar plan.
“It was really fun. We put them out on Friday night and by Saturday morning, to actually see people out walking around, taking pictures, it really brought a sense of comfort I guess,” said senior parent Jeannie Steele, pointing at the banners displaying each of the 43 seniors.
“It was nice for the community to get involved and show their support,” added fellow parent Karen Noyes.
Word spread fast, but some seniors were left doing double takes.
“It was a surprise, honestly, for me to see it on Main Street. I was like, ‘That’s my face,’ so I drove past it twice and was like, ‘Yep, that’s me,’” laughed Leia Schritz.
“It’s just a reminder that even amidst all the chaos that our community and our parents, they’re still cheering for us,” added Taylor Noyes. “They’re just a reminder that we have so much support behind us and so much love pushing us. Even though this is crazy and there are so many unknowns, we still have that support behind us.”
Every little bit helps.