The Wolfpack Legacy Begins

By Beacon Staff

These are the leaders of the pack.

They are aspiring college students, all-state athletes, 4.0 students, young adults and future leaders. But most of all, they are wide-eyed and eager teenagers, fully aware of the big world they face and the special title they hold: Glacier High School’s first senior class.

They intend to leave a legacy.

“We’re going to set the bar high,” said Martha Obermiller, a student council member. “The first best class.”

Glacier High, in its second year of existence, is already creating an identity for itself beyond its state-of-the-art school facilities and distinctive Wolfpack logo. The kids have no intentions of living in the shadow of Flathead High School, their cross-town counterpart. Cam Clark, senior class president, said the school is ready to make a name for itself and his grade will lead the way. Years from now, he believes students will look back at the class of 2009.

“I think it’s awesome we can be the Wolfpack and be the leaders instead of just following the traditions of Flathead,” Clark said.

But before time allows their legacy to unfold, these teenagers have their senior year to enjoy: the final year of their athletic careers, the last chance to take a vacation with certain friends and the daily joys of hallway chit-chat. Not to mention, they have college to think about, so schoolwork is as high of a priority as ever, or higher.

Eli Calhoun, left, and Kayla Lowitz compare class schedules after picking them up during the student jamboree at Glacier High School. Calhoun and Lowitz will be a part of the first graduating class of the new high school.

They have a pretty nice work environment.

Glacier High School, by nearly all accounts, is the finest secondary education facility in the state. Completed last summer, the nearly $40-million building has exquisitely modern architecture; an energy-efficient biomass boiler; a food commons area that resembles the concessions at a professional athletic arena; and an innovative cluster-style classroom environment. The auditorium and gymnasium aren’t too shabby either.

Obermiller said the students don’t take their surroundings for granted. After years in the cramped hallways of Flathead, Glacier provides welcomed breathing room.

“We’re really going to enjoy the new school,” Obermiller said.

For a school that had no seniors last year, Glacier’s athletic programs surprised many. Much of that success was due to a strong junior class that is back for its senior year. Larry Iverson III became the school’s first state champion when he took the Class AA boys golf title last fall. Ben Cutler was elected all-state in basketball, while Philip Rempe placed in the top five in two events at the state swimming meet. A variety of others also garnered regional and state accolades.

Tessa Heck, a standout swimmer, said it wasn’t easy competing at the AA level without the power in numbers that athletes previously had at Flathead High.

“We’re half of what we once were and we still thrived,” Heck said.

The senior council can’t divulge all of its plans for the year. Namely, their senior pranks must remain “top secret,” though Obermiller did say they will be superior to Flathead’s. But the student leaders talk openly of a few plans, such as senior T-shirts, a cruise at the end of the year and a few new academic additions, such as the Freshman Mentor Program, in which seniors take four freshmen under their wing for the year.

John Hammett said planning for the year and beyond is bittersweet.

“It’s been fun just growing up with everybody and seeing them grow with you,” he said. “It’s going to be sad seeing them go.”

College is around the corner and with it comes a host of new responsibilities. Hammet has nailed down plans to attend Montana State University to study earth science, but others are less sure, Clark and Overmiller among them. They know they have another full year and they plan on utilizing it.

“It’s kind of nerve-racking,” Obermiller said. “We have to think about our future and we’ll have to pay for our own food.”

But until then, they plan to enjoy their reign as Glacier’s first seniors.

“It’s cool to be the senior class,” Heck said. “We have the world in our hands.”