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13 days of back to school in Big Sky 

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Gus Hammond (bottom right) poses with his kindergarten class at Ophir School in 2010. PHOTO COURTESY OF GUS HAMMOND


There is always an adrenaline rush when walking back into the hallways on that very first day of school. Starting with kindergarten, I’ve had 12 first days of school in Big Sky, and on Aug. 29 I’ll have my 13th (and last) first day back when I step on campus as a senior year at Lone Peak High School. 

I’ve always liked to hear about the summer drama, or the “new kid,” or that cute new girl that just suddenly walked into the classroom. Each first day of school is different, but I can assure everyone that there is nothing like a first day of school in Big Sky. For example, at LPHS we kick off the year with a tradition where every high school class goes on a week-long adventure to explore the wild terrain that Montana has to offer. 

This tradition at LPHS is one like no other where students have the opportunity to explore and create a bond with classmates and teachers. Expeditions can look like everything from exploring the riveting campground of Red Cliff, to backpacking through the breathtaking Spanish Peaks; from studying the American Prairie Reserve in Central Montana, to learning about the Lewis and Clark Caverns. This is where the Big Sky School District demonstrates being at the “Peak of Excellence,” as its motto states. An experience like this gives the students of LPHS a smooth transition back to the normalcy of schooling.

Emotions are all over the place when re-entering the school. Some are good, while others are not. There is always stress that comes with returning to school; We all have to face the fact that the pressure has returned.

For me, I have never been more excited to return. This is my year of last times: my last day of school, last basketball season, last high school musical, and truly my last time to experience high school. When school is in session, it moves slowly, then you blink and realize the next chapter of your life is beginning. 

There is left a small portion of my class of 28 students that have been there since day one. Orrin Coleman is one of them. Coleman and I started school together back in 2010.

“This is a chance to regain responsibility and organization while being amongst the people I have known my entire life,” Coleman told me. 

There has always been a debate on whether or not students, of any grade, should come to school fully prepared for the year ahead. I know it may seem as if there is no debate–of course every student should return to school prepare. Well, maybe not. Everyone comes into school with a different mindset, but I think all it takes is a swift change of pace to get back on track.

Back to school in Big Sky, Montana. Not only do students get into a new groove, but our whole community gets back on track with the great extracurricular activities my school has to offer. Sports are up and running, there will be plays, there will be a homecoming parade, and so much more. 

Class is in session.

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