Flathead High Seniors Organize Community Give-Back Event

Following vandalism, senior class to host ‘give-back’ community barbecue showing school pride

By Dillon Tabish
Flathead High School. Beacon File Photo

Hoping to restore their class’s reputation following the recent vandalism incident, the seniors at Flathead High School are holding a barbecue for the community on Friday.

The event is being called a give-back event for the community and is May 20 from 4-6 p.m. at the senior square in front of the high school commons. The seniors will serve hot dogs and potluck items and entertainment is being planned along with games. The senior class is inviting community members to join them in celebrating Flathead. Other plans are in the works to conduct a neighborhood cleanup and gather donations for local service agencies.

“After the whole vandalism thing, we didn’t want to be remembered as the class that tore up our own school,” said Jessica Lyles, a senior who helped organize the event. “We take a lot of pride in Flathead. We wanted to do something to show the community that that’s not an accurate representation of our class.”

The give-back event is in response to the vandalism that involved 21 students who entered the high school in the early morning hours of May 10 and caused significant damage. A police investigation determined that the initial group of students intended to conduct a senior prank by throwing sawdust, toilet paper, silly string and cellophane throughout the halls. Authorities say the incident escalated with a few students damaging the school by ripping water fountains from the walls and breaking vending machines and two windows.

The extent of the damage is still being assessed but it is estimated to be “in the thousands” of dollars, according to school officials.

A majority of the students could face trespassing charges and school discipline while three students could face felony criminal mischief charges.

Following the incident, Wyatt Smith, a senior at Flathead, started a Facebook page hoping to gather ideas from his fellow students to regain the community’s faith in their class. The Facebook page grew into a class-wide discussion that led to this Friday’s event, Lyles said.

“The purpose of this is to show the Flathead Valley that we take pride in our school and we can be trusted,” Lyles said. “That incident is not representative of our class.”

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