New Schools join the AA

Ryan Vosen

of The Flathead Arrow

 

Next year there are major changes coming to the “AA” division of the Montana High School Association.  Belgrade High School will be added to the current fourteen AA schools next year followed by an additional Bozeman school that will open in 2020.

            The changes will be felt throughout all sports, but the most notable for next year will be football.  The addition of Belgrade to the Eastern conference next year will move Butte High School back to the Western conference creating unequal numbers with 8 teams in the West and 7 in the East.  

The uneven conference schedules lead the AA athletic directors to change the format of next year’s playoffs.  Teams will only play seven conference games and two  on conference games for a total of nine.  The first round of the playoffs will be the tenth game and based only on conference schedule meaning the 1 seed in the West would play the 8, the two seed will play the seven and so on.  In the East with less teams the 1 seed will have a by against the second Bozeman school, which will not have opened in time for next year.

The 8 winning teams who advance will then be reseeded 1-8 using the current strength of schedule format used for the “AA” playoffs previously.

The new teams will also mean a change in competition for all AA schools including Flathead.

Athletic Director Bryce Wilson said, “It will be a sport by sport basis of how the new teams will be able to do”

He added that sports such as football will be a struggle for the teams new to the AA, but Belgrade's volleyball team is expected to be very competitive.

Belgrade’s a competitive “A” program and if they keep their numbers up they’ll be fine said, Flathead football team defensive coordinator Matt Upham.

The addition of the two teams from the Gallatin Valley will affect Bozeman High who seems to be perennially competitive across the “AA” in every sport.

“I’m just excited for more competition,” said junior basketball, volleyball and track athlete.

Sophmore football player and wrestler Zaybin Stewart added, “ Bozeman won’t be as successful in recent years because they will have to split talent between two schools”

 

Main office broke into

Jade Ware
Of The Flathead Arrow

   A man with a mask on broke into Flathead High School’s activities office around 3:00 a.m., on Tuesday Dec. 11. 
Teachers and staff found broken glass from the door windows of the activities office around 6:00 a.m., where police responded shortly after. A male figure was caught on tape outside of the school, wearing a mask. He stole money from the activities office safe. Luc

kily, the money stolen had no direct affect on any school activities, for it was just money the of

fice used to switch out change. However, police have stated this is an ongoing investigation, sin

ce it is unclear what the suspect actually looked like. There are no cameras by the activities office, including no alarms, which upset many students and parents.
    “School security is a myth to only make a rather defenseless population of students feel safe,” senior Issac Glace said. “I've walked into many classes unexpected, and 

walked through the hallways this year without getting stopped once. It’s not surprising the office got busted into.”
Senior Jasmine Morrison had her own theory on the subject.
    “I think it was an inside job or sorts, because the person came in through the construction area where the doors are locked at all times,” Morrison said. “So maybe a student and a construction worker were in on it together.”
While other students showed their sympathy towards to school.
    “I think it’s very disappointing to think someone would do this, especially to a high school,” senior Meghan Fisher said. “But I know this won't go unnoticed and whoever did this will surely get caught. This has made me very upset.”Junior Kennedy Kanter also explained how upset this break in made her.
    “When I had first heard about it, it worried me because what if that happened during the school day,” Kanter said. “The security of the school should be tighter and every entrance should be guarded.”
    Resource Officer Dennis Bain stated, that even if the school had gotten better footage of the robber, there would still be an unclear view of the male's face.
    “There is no camera in front of the activities office,” Bain said. “It’s not a secret, you can look up and see there are no cameras there. But with the footage we did get, it would still be hard to see the person even if we had a high quality video, because they are wearing a mask.”
    Aside from the office being broken into, there were two cases of theft reported from the locker room, and the dressing room. Teachers and staff push that students continue to use their assigned lockers so there are less cases of theft, and less problems in the locker and dressing rooms.

Pertussis bacteria reaches Flathead
Daniel Edelen
of The Flathead Arrow

    Last year a Tuberculosis outbreak hit the Flathead Valley and most notably, the school district. While Tuberculosis doesn’t seem to be making a comeback another bacteria known as Pertussis is taking its place.
    Pertussis, more commonly referred to as Whooping Cough, is a bacterial infection that affects the throat and nose. This infection causes its carrier to let out a loud “whoop” sound when they attempt to return air to their lungs after a large and violent cough. This is how it gets its name.
    Pertussis is still live and it should not be disregarded. Some symptoms include; sneezing, runny nose, a low fever at around 102 degrees Fahrenheit, and coughing of course. Doctor Kevin Keeton, a local pulmonologist, shed some light on what Pertussis is and why this outbreak should not be taken lightly. In the Flathead Valley alone, we’ve had 38 cases since last Friday (November 30)… In the Thanksgiving week there were 13 cases for the Flathead County alone,” in terms of the bacteria itself, he added, “It (Pertussis) can spread through the air. You don’t actually have to touch something or someone to get it… The cough is hard to get rid of. There’s not much medicine can do. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.”
    In regards to the prevention of Pertussis to other people once you’ve been infected, Dr. Keeton said, “If they’ve taken their 5 days of antibiotics (Zithromax specifically) then they are safe to return to school.”
    Zithromax is an antibiotic that specifically treats diseases like Bronchitis, which has had a minor effect at Flathead compared to Whooping Cough, Pneumonia, various ear and skin infections, and of course Whooping Cough. It is to be noted that Zithromax can be used for other diseases as well that will not be listed.
    As stated by Dr. Keeton, it’s a minimum of five days before students are safe to return to school. This means that students will still be missing a maximum of five days to prevent the spread. Senior Hannah O’Dell, who has been affected by Pertussis for upwards of two weeks, said, “It has me stressed out due to missing school.”
    Junior AJ Apple was also affected by Pertussis, “The cough is very painful and it lasts for a very long time…[I had it] for three weeks,” he also agreed that one of the more severe cases of the year as of Thanksgiving break. “I had it for so long before I started taking medication…so I definitely think it was one of the worst cases.”
    Bronchitis also affected Flathead during the year, while it has not been nearly as prominent. “It affects mostly your nose and your lungs,” Sophomore Parker Stocklin, a victim of Bronchitis, said “The biggest thing about it though is that it clogs up your lungs with mucus…With what I had, I couldn’t really breathe.” While Pertussis has been the main contender of the outbreaks this year, Bronchitis is still a big deal and is potentially life threatening.
    “I missed like five days [of school]. My grades have dropped,” Parker added. When asked if he’d attempted to get them resolved because of the attendance policy, he said, “Yes, we’ve tried going to a counselor and they need to send our doctor notes to the principal. It’s been two weeks.”

4 FHS teachers win $5,000
Ashley Miller
of The Flathead Arrow

    Four Flathead High School teachers won nearly $5,000 on Tuesday, Nov. 13, from the Kalispell Education Foundation at its grant awards ceremony at Bonjour Bakery & Bistro to enhancing the education of students.
    Almost $20,000 was awarded to 13 different teachers and organizations in six schools from District 5. High school students will benefit from things like technology advancements in theatre, to introducing a support group for mental health.
    The four FHS teachers that won grants were Mr. Michael Sherman, Mrs. Marti Paugh, Mrs. Wendy Putzler, and Mr. Mike Kelley. Mr Sherman won $1,000 for Students Assisting Students Support Groups. Mrs. Paugh received $2,000 to set up Southside Coffee. Mrs. Putzler was awarded $856 for the theatre department. And Mr. Kelley was granted $1,109 for a Pursuing the Trades project.
    Kalispell Education Foundation, or KEF, is a non-profit that has been dedicated to support the efforts of the Kalispell Schools by enhancing the education of students, as it has continued to do over the past 12 years.
    “I plan to pay two counselors from Bigfork schools, Mary Ahnert and Jennifer Wood, to teach a support group facilitator training course for teachers, counselors and other school staff,” said Mr. Sherman, an FHS conselor. “This seminar will run for eight weekly-after-school sessions starting in March and finishing at the end of April. Participants who complete this course will be ready to facilitate weekly support groups for students of any age. Currently, the four Flathead High School Counselors have previously completed this training and conduct two eight-week support groups each semester. Having a pool of other FHS staff trained to facilitate support groups will allow us to offer more groups, therefore including a greater number of students.”
    Mr. Sherman’s support group will foster trust building, and give students an opportunity to give and receive support at school to enhance student academic performance.
    “Students who participate in this eight-week support group learn to express themselves in a healthy, positive manner, along with receiving and giving support to other group members,” he said. “Students are taught to deeply listen to others without injecting, prying with questions or trying to ‘fix’ other people's issues.”
    Mrs. Putzler is excited for the grant in support of the theatre program.
    “With the awarded grant money, we plan to purchase two iPads for our theater,” she said. “The iPads will work as remote consoles for our lighting and sound boards. Students and directors will be able to design lights and sounds from the theater, allowing for more creative and innovative design work.”
    Students will be able "try out" or design light and sound plots without being confined to the booth. This would allow all students the chance to design lights.
    “There are so many possibilities and ideas that come with being awarded this grant and we are so appreciative and thankful for this amazing award,” Mrs. Putzler said. “It is such a blessing to be supported by such a generous community.”



30 pints of Blood Donated
JANET KIGILYUK
of Flathead Arrow

Thirty students of Flathead High school donated a pint of blood to the Red Cross Blood Drive on Thursday, Oct. 6, in the Social Studies Resource Center.
    With 30 students donating a pint apiece, the total of 30 pints was the most from an FHS blood drive compared to previous years. The collection from last year’s fall blood drive had to be thrown away because of the infestation of bugs in the old gym. According to the 2016 newspaper of the Flathead Arrow, there was 24 pints of blood collected. All together it made this year's blood drive a success.
    “There was a steady flow of people who would come in and donate their blood, but by the time they were going to start finishing the blood drive, a whole bunch of people came in and some were rejected,” senior student council president Riley Jochim said
    There were a variety of goals for students who donated in the blood drive. For some students, it was the acknowledgement of saving a life by donating their blood. For others, skipping a class in the day was enough inspiration. And for some, to be able to have free food at the end of the draw was enough to get them to donate.
    “I’m always pumped to give blood; I love it,” senior Hannah Mriss, who has donated blood every time, said.
Junior Collin Dallen said that he thinks he will donate more of his blood in the future. Also, he liked the fact that they gave people free food.

 

Wood shop catches fire
Kaden Corbett
of The Flathead Arrow 

    Homecoming Friday for Flathead High School this year had a little extra spark to it.Students in Mr. Richard Peters’s fourth period woods class were forced to evacuate on Friday, Oct. 5, when a fire started and smoke billowed out of the ventilation system and slowly filled the classroom.The fire alarm did not go off and ceiling sprinklers did not activate. But the Kalispell Fire Department was notified and quickly responded with a truck. “We got some embers off of a machine that got sucked into the vacuum system,” Mr. Peters said. 

    Mr. Peters immediately turned off the ventilation system. If the vacuum had not been turned off, the fire would have spread throughout the entire duct system and been much more threatening. Senior Matthew Johnson was using a sander in the woodshop when he noticed smoke billowing out of the vacuum system. 

    “I used the sander, but I guess I had taken off too much wood, which slowed the sander down, which caused something in the sander to heat up and create a spark,” Johnson said. Students were calm and collected while exiting the building and were patient as they waited for it to be safe to return to class. The fire department used saws to cut into the ventilation duct to get the embers out. Mr. Peters said that this scenario has happened before in his second year of teaching, but it wasn’t as bad as this one. “I called the fire department because we do not have a fire alarm out here,” Mr. Peters said. “The fire department only took about three minutes to respond". No one was harmed in the fire, and it was extinguished before very much damage was caused to the shop.

 

Counts shatters rushing record

TAYLOR HENLEY
of The Flathead Arrow

           

    The Flathead High School football team has a new single-season rushing record.

            With two games left in the regular season, senior running back Blake Counts surpassed 2003 graduate Lex Hilliard's single-season rushing record by running for 217 yards against Great Falls CMR on Oct. 12 at Great Falls's Memorial Stadium.

            It was his fifth 200-yard rushing game of the season. Now, after two more games to finish the regular season, he posted another 200-yard game and currently has 1,859 yards with 18 rushing touchdowns... with the playoffs looming for the fourth-ranked 7-3 Braves heading into a home playoff game against Billing Senior on Friday.   

"It felt great; it's a huge accomplishment, not only for me but for the entire Braves team of 2019," Counts said.

            The 6-foot, 205-pounder has 2,088 yards from scrimmage and 23 total touchdowns so far this year. He has been nominated for Gatorade Player of the Year.

            Flathead head football coach Kyle Samson said Counts understands blocking schemes and reads players and alignments really well, but "his No. 1 thing that makes him a great runner is his vision and the ability to break tackles," said Coach Samson.

            Counts gives a lot of the credit to his offensive line. Flathead's offensive line is one of the largest in the state, with all of them being around 6-foot-3 and weighing an average of 252 pounds.

"The offensive line is the reason Blake has his success," running backs coach Travis Dean said. "Without the big guys up front, he can’t do his job."

Junior center Max Anderson and senior guard Sebastian Koch are the captains of the offensive line. Junior Cole Dalager is the other guard with seniors Patrick Hammond and Andrew Siderius anchoring the tackle positions. But they understand how special Counts is.

"As an O lineman, it’s really important to get our blocks, but if you miss one, it’s not that big of a deal because Blake will break the tackles," Anderson said.

With quarterback Jaden MacNeil accounting for 993 rushing yards as well, the Braves have a total of 3,021 rushing yards this season as a team thanks to the linemen.

 "We're just coming together as a family in the huddle," Koch said. "The O line has his back and he’s got our back and we can count on each other to get the job done."

            Hilliard, a former Montana Grizzly and NFL running back, held the record for the past 18 years with 1,384 yards during his sophomore season in 2000. In 2016, Josh McCracken came close to the record during his senior season.

            Counts is close to the Class AA state record for rushing yards in a season, which is held by C.M. Russell's Andrew Grinde with 2,180 yards in 2014. The Braves potentially have three more games left in the season, with Friday's first-round game against defending state champion Billing Senior. A first-round victory will probably pit the Braves against No. 2 Billings West in the semifinals on Nov. 9. The state championship will be played on Nov. 16.


Flathead’s new attendance policy has students split 

DANIEL EDELEN, AMBER MILLER, & JANET KIGILYUK
of the Flathead Arrow


         A new attendance policy took Flathead High School students by storm to start the academic year.

Simply put, attendance is now worth 10 percent of a student’s semester grade. After five absences in a class, the grade begins dropping by two percent for every absence after that, up until a cap of 10 percent total.

One incentive for students with less than three absences includes being excused from the semester final. Another incentive involves eligibility to go to school dances. In that regard, the FHS Student-Parent Handbook reads “students must have 80 percent or better attendance in the two weeks prior to a school dance to be eligible to attend.”

As expected, students have had mixed opinions about it.

“I think it’s a good thing because, like last year, nobody came to school ever,” senior Aaris Hill said. “I’d have some people in my class that would be there like once a week.”

The incentive comes off as more of a double-edged sword in the eyes of many students. One of the arguments against the policy claims students who could be extremely sick would still come to school in fear of either losing their incentive or losing a percentage of their grades. Nearly all students interviewed agreed that the possibility of an outbreak is just that, a possibility.

“I, personally, would still come to school if I was sick just because I don’t want to miss days,” junior John Shelton said. “That might be a problem.”

Others agreed.

            “I am sick right now and am probably spreading whatever I have to other students,” sophomore Griffin Cox said. “But I have to take a planned trip and will miss two days of school, so I can’t miss any more days.”

Whether students like or dislike the new policy, one thing is evident during the first couple months of school: The policy is working.

“The average attendance last year week per week was around 88 percent,” senior student council member Riley Jochim said. “Now it is, for the first 5 weeks of school, up to 95 percent. That’s a 7 percent difference and that accounts for a lot of kids coming to school.”

One of the issues at stake at FHS was that 60 percent of freshmen last year earned at least one F on their report cards.

“People were always skipping class last year,” sophomore Ethan Vandenbosch said. “I thought it (the attendance policy) was kind of stupid and I really hated it, but I realized it actually helps my grades. It helps me push myself and get up and go to school.”

Still, others disagree with the policy because of doctor and dentist appointments.

“It’s really inflexible,” sophomore Charlie Hinchey said. “Even if you had something like a dentist appointment, you could still have to take the final because of the appointment.”

Hinchey also expressed frustration as a hockey player. Sports like hockey and baseball are not school-sanctioned sports, so some students were under the impression that their non-school-related activity would hurt their grades. But that is not the case. Community activities like hockey and baseball count as community sponsored absences (as long as you get your absences approved by administration before the events), which do not count against students’ attendance.

An observation from School Counselor Mr. Michael Sherman gave further insight on the limitations of the policy and the general emotional feedback students told him.

“A lot of students are worried about their grade because they’ll suffer the 10% penalty if they miss the 10 absences,” Sherman said. However, he does agree that it is beneficial to students and the school in the long run.


Construction Leads to Crowded Halls 

RYAN VOSEN
of The Flathead Arrow

 

             The construction that began last spring after the half floors were torn down has continued throughout the summer and into the current school year.

“It began to take shape in Aug with the pouring of concrete and steel (frames) going up,” said Flathead Vice Principal Mr. Lincoln.

The construction was most noticeable to students and staff earlier in the year before the new boilers were installed.  At that point the school had no heat, which made for some chilly fall mornings inside Flathead High School.

“That was terrible I would come in dreading to sit in this seat.  I am very thankful that the heat is semi functioning in my class,” said Senior Austin Thomas talking about his second period yearbook class.

Junior Abe Otto said everyone in his second period class with Mr. Eversol knew at the beginning of the year if you didn’t bring a jacket you would be cold.

Fortunately the boilers were installed in the beginning of October and few days later the heat started working throughout the building.

In addition to the cold the smaller hallways and fewer classrooms have taken their toll on the space throughout the high school.

Mr. Lincoln described the situation saying we have lost the middle stairways in what used to be the half-floors and senior hall has been shrunk down to accommodate the new construction.

This has made getting around the school difficult for some students and the reasons behind it have become disputed among different students.  

“The commons in the morning as well as senior hall is really obnoxious to try to walk around in,” said Senior Nick Haas, “Sometimes you just gotta throw elbows.”

Senior Kayla Martin said, “I think the hallways are very crowded because the freshman like to stand in huge groups in senior hall and I think they should stay in their own hallway”



Students vote for mock election 
JADE WARE
of The Flathead Arrow

            Of the six major ballot issues in the local 2018 election, Flathead High School students’ mock election results lined up with only half of the state of Montana’s real results from Nov. 6.

Of FHS’s 1,407 students, 582 participated in the mock election on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in the Social Studies Resource Center. The students voted for all of the Republican candidates, as well as passed all of the initiatives.

“I thought it was cool because when I was little I had always wanted to vote, because kids should get a say in what the future has for them,” freshman Isabel James said. ¨It’s also really cool to see the actual results outside of the mock elections, because kids usually go off what their parents say.”

FHS students were not in line with the statewide Senate race results, nor two ballot measures. They did vote similar to the rest of the state in the House of Representative race and two other ballot measures.

In probably the biggest ballot race -- the Senate race between Matt Rosendale, R, and Jon Tester, D -- 52.4 percent of FHS students voted for Rosendale. However, Tester won the real statewide vote 50.1 percent to 47.0 percent.

“I’m really happy John Tester won because he was obviously the best candidate,” junior Abby Diaddezio said.

While other students were very upset with the results.

“I’m disappointed that John Tester won because I believed Matt Rosendale was so much better,” junior Ayden Glencross said.

The 2018 midterm election was very important to the nation because of President Donald Trump’s agenda. The Republicans maintained their Senate majority by holding 51 seats, as of Friday at 11:44 a.m. There were still three races across the nation that were too close to call.

In the House of Representative race between Greg Gianforte, R, and Kathleen Wiliams, D, FHS students voted along the same lines as the rest of the state, placing Gianforte into office. He secured 63.8 percent of the students’ votes while across the state, 51.1 percent voted for him, according to the New York Times website.

 “I’m happy Greg Gianforte won because he’s done great so far, and I’m sure he’ll do great things in office,” senior Dominic Stobie said

The closest ballot measure in the statewide election turned out to be the I-185, to increase taxes on tobacco products to offset the costs of Medicaid. FHS voted to pass the initiative with 59.8 percent vote. However, the state did not pass it, with only 47.1 percent of the population wanting it. 

            “At first I was really shocked that the ballot measure didn’t pass, but then I realized how obvious it was that it wouldn’t have passed anyway,” senior Melissa Gullien said.

Ballot measure I-186, which limited new hard rock mining, did not pass with the population only voting for 56 percent. This contradicted the FHS students vote for the ballot measure, with 59.8 percent for it. 

“I was actually pleasantly surprised that this ballot measure didn’t pass because I also didn’t vote for it,” junior Brielle Hammer.

Students lined up to vote either on their own time or during assigned class periods, depending on their last name. This created a real-life experience for young voters, which many students appreciated. However, other students found it very disappointing compared to last years set up.

“I believe the mock elections were a lot more unprofessional this year because last year they were very organized, and actually looked like an election ballot,” senior Colter Goss said.

Students voted based on many different factors. Some voted based on their parents political opinion, while others voted based on research they had done prior to the elections.

“I just voted for the people that I did based on their views, and what they are doing,” freshman Alyssa Johnson said. “I had done research prior by looking at ads on YouTube.”

Overall mock elections were a success at FHS, leaving students with a similar real-lie experience when it comes for their time to actually vote.

“I thought that it was a very cool thing for us to do because as a high school we’re not allowed to vote,” freshman Hannah Klassi said. “It was interesting to see the result for our school compared to the real-life results.”