School trip competes with Close Up

26_eagle-4433READY TO FLY  — Steve Lilligard, sculptorist, stands behind two of his beautiful bronze pieces titled "Fishing on the River", while visiting with Jack Judisch during the CCEF Evening of Art held at Norley Hall on Saturday evening. I-O Photo by Pat Lee


By Deanna Wakkinen, I-O Reporter

Conrad High School parent Pam Wittmeier came before the school board on Oct. 11 to present her concerns for a new junior class trip.

Wittmeier presented the Explore America trip which she has been planning since the last school year. Her daughter and other juniors would like to participate and would like the trip to be considered school sponsored. A school trip allows for students to have an excused absence and school policies would have to be followed.

Wittmeier commented that she had presented the brochure to Ken Larson, CHS principal, back in May and that the answer had been no. She felt she wasn’t told of her options to approach the board. She also felt that she hit “barrier after barrier.”

Wittmeier has scheduled the Explore America trip for the same date as the junior class’s Close Up trip which has been participated in by CHS for 20 years.


Craig Barringer, superintendent of schools, commented that “going forward-we would have a hard time doing both.” He suggested looking into both programs and others available and seeing if there is something better than the current program.


Another parent, Art Pearson, commented that “opening up to both sounds like a good idea.” Joe Russell, board chairman, stated “we can’t have both of them and make them fit.”

Board member Jill Johnson suggested the students choose which one they wanted to go on.

It was brought up that the junior class’s curriculum was best suited to the Close Up trip and U.S. Government teacher Gavin Grammar said, “they’re totally different (the two programs).” He continued by adding, “this is the best program for my curriculum.” The current situation and comparing the two, he felt, is “pulling in two different directions.”

Another point brought up by Grammar is that “one is going to suffer or die” if you offer both programs to the junior class.

Russell settled the issue by objecting to comparing the two. The board will look into the issue more after the first of the year.

The high school is requesting a new bell system as the current system includes four different systems that are trying to work as one. The bells are ringing frequently throughout the day during class. Two companies have been contacted and the solution was made that the old systems need to be completely replaced. The oldest system is from the 1950’s.

Sound Ideas out of Billings gave a bid of $25,000 for the bell system and $12,000 for an intercom system. They are the same company that has updated other schools in the district and they have provided substantial customer service and would install all the equipment. The other bid was from a company out of Illinois called Visiplex for $23,000. The custodians would have to be paid to install the system. Visiplex has done work the school district and their service was not highly recommended.

The Board and School Policies are now viewable online at

Jeremiah Pearson has been hired as the CHS assistant boys’ basketball coach.

Jill Swanson gave the technology report and presented that another $19,000 in equipment has been purchased through SLATE grant funds. So far, the SLATE grant has provided $57,000 to the district plus has provided some paid education to teachers who completed their volunteer training.

Some of the latest equipment purchased includes IPADs, Smartboards, laptops and desktops as well as document cameras.

SonicWALL currently provides internet security to the school district’s technology department for $10,000 a year. Swanson is looking into another program that is used within the medical profession for a $500 start up fee with little continuing cost.

Conrad currently is not enrolled in MREA which allows better representation of rural school districts in government. The cost is $2,000 a year and joining membership will be considered at the next board meeting.

Meagan Breding was presented as CHS’s student of the month for October. Steve Lockyer, a CHS science teacher, commented that she is an “incredibly special individual” who is “respected by everyone.” Breding is the school body president, a member of Science Club, Pep Band, BPA, Project Pals and participates in basketball among other things. Other teachers commented that Breding is a “creative thinker” and
“The Student of the Year.” She is the daughter of Everett and Karla Breding.

Kyleigh Salois and Clark Judisch were recognized as the UMS students of the month.

Teachers commented that Salois is “respectful and responsible” and that “every school needs a Kyleigh.” She is the daughter of Tim and Amy Salois.

Teachers noted that Judisch’s “humble nature makes him a friend to everyone. He works hard to achieve knowledge.” He participates in football, baseball, basketball and track. He is the son of Kip and Wendy Judisch.

Prairie View’s student of the month is Haleigh Ferguson. Diana Agre commented that she shows “exceptional acts of kindness” and has “easy going compassion.” Ferguson comments that her favorite sport is watching football and her loving and caring family inspires her. She is the daughter of Jeff and Brooke Ferguson.

Meadowlark’s student of the month is Brae Eneboe. She is a second grader with a “creative side” who has a “caring attitude”. She “works hard, doesn’t give up.” She is the daughter of Erik and Stacy Eneboe.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Russell Building conference room. For more information, contact the personnel office at 278-5521.