Choteau High School will hold graduation ceremonies for the 20 members of the Class of 2018 on Sunday, May 27, at 2 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.
School Superintendent Chuck Gameon and CHS Principal Wendi Hammond along with guidance counselor Shelly Johnson will introduce class members and speakers. CHS School Board Chairman Lane Yeager will award diplomas.
This year’s commencement speaker will be retired Choteau High School Principal Neal Wedum, who served as the CHS assistant track coach this spring.
In 2015, Wedum received the Montana Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals’ prestigious Adrian Langstaff Award for his years of service as an educator and administrator.
Wedum grew up in Choteau and graduated from high school here. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Montana in 1966, a master’s degree in microbiology in 1974 and a master’s degree in education administration in 1987.
He worked as a junior high and high school science and biology teacher for 18 years before pursuing his administrative certificate and starting a 20-year career as a school principal. He also served as a coach at many of those schools.
In 1998, he came home to Choteau when he was hired as the grades seven through 12 principal for Choteau Public Schools, where he worked for the next 12 years leading up to his retirement.
He has also worked as a member of OPI’s Scholastic Review Teams and as a mentor for Montana Schools of Promise. He is also a familiar face in area schools, where he has served as both a short-term and long-term substitute teacher.
For many seasons while Neal was out of school during the summer months, he served as a Glacier National Park ranger serving as both a backcountry ranger in the Two Medicine area and a bear ranger. He still volunteers as a summer host at the Two Medicine Campground.
Neal is also involved in Trinity Lutheran Church in Choteau and is known for his assistance and support of nonprofit organizations such as Neighbors Helping Neighbors.
Other speakers at graduation will be the top students in the class, honored for their high cumulative grade-point averages. Watson Snyder, who has a 3.95 GPA on a 4.0 scale, will give this year’s valedictorian address. Faith, who has the second highest GPA in the class at 3.92, will deliver the salutatorian’s address.
Snyder, a senior, has been a member of FFA for all four years of high school and served as president his senior year. He was honored as the FFA District Greenhand as a freshman.
Also a musican, Snyder sings in the high school choir and has been juried into the North Central Montana Honor Choir. He played in the Great Falls Youth Symphony and in the youth orchestra for one year each on the violin.
A member of National Honor Society, he served as president of the club this year and is also the class president.
Outside of school, Snyder has been a member of the Spring Creek 4-H Club for 10 years, holding many offices within the club, and organizing and participating in the 4-H food drive for the Teton County Food Pantry for many years. He has also served as the president of the state 4-H Ambassadors program.
Watson attends Choteau Baptist Church and is active in its youth group. He has played his violin for the church, for the Choteau Christmas Stroll and even for some FFA and 4-H events.
A student athlete, Watson has been a member of the CHS wrestling squad for the past two seasons.
He loves to ride horses in the mountains and to hunt, fish and build and repair horse tack for his family. He also enjoys playing his violin with other musicians.
He is the son of R.T. and Susan Snyder of rural Choteau. He plans to attend Montana State University in Bozeman, where he will major in agricultural business.
Shepherd has served on the Student Council for three years and is the Student Body secretary/treasurer and the senior class vice president. She has been in Pep Band all four years and is an elementary teacher’s assistant.
Shepherd has been in National Honor Society for two years and is the current secretary/treasurer. She also volunteers at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Choteau, the Paige Shepherd-Spargur Daycare and for the Montana East-West Shrine Game.
Faith has been cheerleader all four years of high school for eight sports seasons including wrestling, football, volleyball and boys and girls basketball.
She works part-time at the Roxy Theater and Alpine Touch, has participated in the Principal’s Cup all four years and is a Close-up member.
Faith is the daughter of John and Julie Shepherd of Choteau. She plans to attend Great Falls College-Montana State University where she will major in English 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 other musical performances.
The CHS seniors are wrapping up their year this week with their senior trip to Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho on May 20-21 and a field trip to Helena on May 22. The high school academic awards assembly is May 23 at 1:30 p.m. Then on Thursday, May 24, the senior breakfast is scheduled, followed by graduation practice. The seniors’ last day of school is May 25, traditionally “senior skip day.”
School will end on May 30 for 24 eighth graders and for the rest of the pupils on June 1.