Choteau High School will hold graduation ceremonies for the 33 members of the Class of 2017 on Sunday, May 28, at 2 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.
School Superintendent Chuck Gameon and CHS Principal David Jamison along with guidance counselor Shelly Johnson will introduce class members and speakers. CHS School Board Chairman Brodie Gollehon will award diplomas.
This year’s commencement speaker will be former CHS physical science teacher and coach Joel Christiaens, who taught for 25 years here, leaving the district at the end of the 2015-16 school year. Through the years here, Christiaens taught introduction to chemistry, chemistry, advanced physical science, physics and, as an elective course, electronics.
He has also coached high school football, girls basketball, boys basketball and track and junior high football and served as a class adviser for many different classes.
Christiaens graduated from Valier High School in 1980 and earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education/broadfield science in 1985 at Montana State University. He and his wife, Mary, have two grown sons, both of whom are graduates of CHS.
He is now on the faculty of Manhattan Public Schools.
Other speakers at graduation will be the top students in the class, honored for their high cumulative grade-point averages. Sophie King, who maintained a 4.00 GPA all four years of high school, will give this year’s valedictorian address. Molly Salmond, who has the second highest GPA in the class at 3.98, will deliver the salutatorian’s address.
King and Salmond were both members of National Honor Society.
King served this year as vice president of National Honor Society. She competed on the CHS Principal’s Cup team for all four years of high school.
She served as the junior class president and was active in FCA and Friends of Rachel. She has also been active in the Choteau Baptist Youth Group for six years and has served on mission trips in Seattle, Washington, every other summer.
A talented musician and vocalist, she has been in the CHS choir all four years of high school and has been chosen for honor choir for four years and for All-State Choir as a senior. She has competed in the district and state music festivals for all four years as well.
In addition to her academic and music accomplishments, Sophie has also played sports all four years at CHS. She played volleyball all four years, in the varsity libero position as a junior and senior, and was chosen for All-Conference as a senior. She also played tennis for one year.
Sophie is the daughter of Louie and Jessie King and the granddaughter of J.C. and Jenny Ellender of Choteau and Helen King of Flowery Branch, Georgia.
She plans to attend Montana State University at Bozeman next fall, majoring in pre-medicine.
Salmond is a member of reACT, the anti-tobacco use group and Letterman’s Club at CHS.
She has volunteered as an elementary school classroom aide and, during the summer, volunteers to put on the Got Grit?! obstacle course race in Choteau in July.
She has played high school volleyball and basketball and has competed in the Montana High School Rodeo Association all four years of high school.
In 2015 and 2016, she was the District 1B conference Most Valuable Player and an All State volleyball player. She is a National High School Rodeo qualifier and in 2016 was named the Choteau High School Wendy’s Heisman award winner. She also serves as Student Council secretary.
She is the daughter of Mark and Mary Salmond of rural Choteau and the granddaughter of Susan and Chuck Melaney of Wolf Creek and Frances and Jim Salmond of Choteau.
She plans to attend MSU next fall, majoring in elementary education.
The Choteau High School concert band, supplemented with junior high band members, will perform at graduation under the direction of music teacher Lorran Depner. The graduation program will feature a digital photo slide show and a group of seniors will also sing.
The CHS seniors are wrapping up their year this week with their senior trip to Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho on May 21-22 and a field trip to Helena on May 23. The high school academic awards assembly is May 24 at 1:30 p.m. Then on Thursday, May 25, the senior breakfast is scheduled, followed by graduation practice. The seniors’ last day of school is May 26, traditionally “senior skip day.”
School will end on May 31 for 30 eighth graders and for the rest of the pupils on June 2.