By Emma Bowen
On Oct. 3, Bozeman High School had the honor of hosting Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean and a small group of adults and students in a discussion and tour of the renovated Mandeville Creek in the front of the high school.
The creek was originally started by the class of 1969, a group of about 20 boys got together and had the idea of creating a park with a stream, a gift of sorts for the school. In just one afternoon they managed to carry in enough rock to make a bank for the stream, accomplishing work all the way down to the original bridge. Students from the class of 1969 Steve White and Bill Simpkins attended the event on Friday.
“I think it is great. It never really got maintained,” said White. “To see someone pick up the work we started and finish it is great.”
The creek is far from finished though. Mrs. Hompesch, a biology teacher in the high school and the head of the Mandeville Creek Restoration said Friday that they did what they could for the time being, but the next steps are already in planning, just lacking the funds to complete at the moment. These future plans include the addition of three outdoor classrooms, one accessible for the students attending Bridger Alternative, and an extension of the restoration of the creek all the way to Durston.
“The grand vision was to go to Durston and to see that being planned is great,” says Simpkins with a smile.
A stop on the tour of the creek was in front of the memorial dedicated to thanking the class of 1969 for their tremendous efforts on the creek. White and Simpkins agreed that is was an honor to be memorialized in such a way and said they “can’t appreciate enough what you guys have done.”
The creek restoration was a part of a movement within the high school to promote sustainability, and many clubs participated including student council, rotary interact club, and sustainability club. Each club had their members involved in the restoration of the creek and helped restore 830 feet of creek and altered the class of 1969’s work in order to prevent flooding and removed the culvert which had since caved in. These changes will not only impact the people near the creek everyday but also the things living inside the creek. A habitat is now able to be used by fish and what was once low water quality will soon hopefully improve with help from the city’s filter system.
Sophomore class president Allison Reinhardt says, “When we connect through projects we connect the clubs and school.”
“We wanted to be a part of the Mandeville Creek project and raise awareness throughout the school,” adds Sam Steele, sophomore class vice president, when asked about student council’s involvement in the creek restoration and promoting sustainability throughout the student body
“I have goosebumps, seeing student enthusiasm is very powerful,” said the lieutenant governor. She continued to praise both classes for their efforts in the creek and the promotion in sustainability and pointed out that the class of ‘69 had a vision and through partnerships, collaboration and concern the current high schoolers involved in the project have put forth “efforts that are going to be here long after graduation.”
Mrs. Hompesch was radiating gratitude and pride while speaking to the group about the creek and all the work that the dedicated students, parent and community members have given to making the creek the best it could be.
“I want to do things people say are impossible, they say you can’t do that, and I want to prove them wrong by doing just that,” said student body president Evan Pierson. “Mrs. Hompesch showed that even if it’s hard to do, you can achieve your dream.”
“She is so passionate,” added Rosalyn Kutsch, president of the Rotary Interact Club.
Student clubs have been doing even more than restoring the creek to participate in the movement towards greener, more sustainable schools. Sustainability Club, led by senior Hannah Lang, has been working on projects to increase recycling, looking into solar energy for the school, and installing a couple of bike repair stands, which is a resource for if you blow a tire or break your chain on your bike. It allows you to hang your bike up and tools will be provided so you can fix whatever issue you are experiencing, with the goal to promote a more biker friendly environment. The Sustainability Club is also looking to promote ways to be sustainable in school without even being in the club, things like reducing the amount of plastic bottles being wasted at the high school. The rotary interact club has been responsible for the water bottle filling station outside of Deca, a machine that has saved the school from using thousands of plastic water bottles. Kutsch has said the club is looking to install more in the school since it has such a positive impact on the students and the environment.
“Your lesson is a great one, you taught me that sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and tackle jobs that people say you can’t do,” said the lieutenant governor with a tone of pride. “Never doubt that a group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. You guys are an example of advocacy, you gave a voice to the voiceless.”