Governor Gianforte visits Park High school CTE department


Jenny Stringer

Journalism student Reba Shandy interviews Governor Greg Gianforte after his tour of Park High’s CTE classrooms Feb. 17.

Reba Shandy , Geyser staff writer

Governor Gianforte visits the Life Skills classroom to learn about their Park High Woof Pack business, which program director Heidi Claar, left, spearheaded this fall. Looking on is Todd O’Hair, President and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce. The Life Skills class makes and sells dog biscuits. (Reid Lende)

Park High School is known for many things including impeccable sportsmanship, show stopping pep band performances, and out of this world student involvement in the community. Although the school takes great pride in these attributes, they also hold academics to a high standard, specifically the Career and Technical Education Department. This outstanding department has gained the attention of Montana Governor Greg Gianforte himself. February 17 Gianforte made a stop at Park High School to explore the CTE department.


The Montana Governor was met with a warm welcome from students of Business Professionals of America, Family, Consumer and Community Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America, Technology Student Association and their advisors, Reid Lende, Brittney Hampson, Cassidy Corrigan and Hunter James. Various school board members, school administrators and news reporters were also in attendance.


Gianforte declared February as Career and Technical Education month across the state of Montana. His goal is to create stronger CTE departments in schools across the state. “The purpose of a CTE program is to help every student reach their full potential. If we do not prepare them in our schools, they wouldn’t be ready for the real world,” Gianforte said.


The Governor made several stops in his visit of PHS including applied math, life skills, business, Family and Consumer Science, and both of the AG rooms. Along the way, Gianforte got to meet several students from each class to ask them questions about what CTE means to them in high school. “CTE classes prepare me for jobs out in the real world after I graduate. That is the reason that I signed up for this class,” senior Zarren Roniger said.


Gianforte applauded Park High School in their efforts in creating “educational diversity” throughout the school with the CTE program. “I came to Park High today because you guys are leaders in Career and Technical Education in our state. You set a good example of what other schools should be developing,” the Governor said. “For so long schools have tracked students to going to four-year college programs. We need carpenters, plumbers, farmers, ranchers, construction workers, chefs. Park High School has done a fantastic job adding this to their school,” Gianforte explained.


Gianforte gave some parting advice to Park High graduates who are planning their futures. “You know our quality of life here in Montana. The choice should not be if you should stay where you love, or to leave to get a better job. My purpose is to make better jobs in Montana, and it starts here in the classroom,” the Governor said.