Bigfork Named Top 100 Community for Youth

By Beacon Staff

BIGFORK – They may have been told to get excited for the announcement, but the students in the Bigfork High School gym didn’t need any help with enthusiasm when their village was named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People last week.

Students of all ages cheered as the award was announced on Oct. 12 during a live broadcast from Knight Studio at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Their reaction was one of four to be aired during the broadcast, with Bigfork representing the West.

America’s Promise Alliance 100 Best Communities for Young People award, presented by ING, honors towns across the country for improving and supporting the lives of the resident youth and reducing high school dropout rates.

Bigfork was the only town in Montana to win this year, and will receive a $2,500 grant, signage identifying its new designation and access to community development resources.

The bleachers shook as the students responded to the win, waving signs with such messages as “Bigfork, Big Fun” and “Bigfork Rocks.” High school teacher and coach Charlie Appleby pumped up the crowd with letters praising Bigfork that were sent in with the application for the award.

Letter writers described the educational mentoring program LEAP and the opportunities at the Bigfork Playhouse Children’s Theatre as positive foundations for the local youth. There was also a letter about the high school football team’s 2010 state championship.

In an interview during the broadcast, high school principal Matt Porrovecchio said winning the award was “huge.”

Second grader George Brown cheers with fellow Bigfork students during an assembly announcing Bigfork being named one of 100 Best Communities for Young People through the America’s Promise Alliance.

“We have a lot of people who believe in our youth,” Porrovecchio said, adding that Bigfork’s goal would be to “continue the work that we’re already doing.”

Cathy Gaiser, who filled out the Bigfork’s application for the award, told the excited crowd that they had plenty to cheer about.

“We’re the best you guys, that’s all I can say,” Gaiser said. “So be proud.”

For more information on the award and the complete list of winners, visit www.americaspromise.org/100best.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.