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Good choice

Healthy Choices Day offers alternatives for PMS students

Young watercolorists painted a clump of quaking aspens while other PMS students snowshoed through the pines and snow on Blacktail Mountain. 

These activities were just a couple of the fun things offered on Healthy Choices Day at Polson Middle School on March 5. 

According to PMS Counselor Kathy Fewlass, Healthy Choices Day gives kids a chance to explore alternatives to drugs and alcohol. 

Healthy Choices Day is a joint effort between the PMS Counseling Staff and the PMS Physical Education and Health Department and has been a PMS staple for about six years. Fewlass said the counselors and the P.E. teachers do some of the planning but “the teachers and staff pull it off. They really make it happen.” 

PMS students were encouraged to try something new. For instance, kids who ski or snowboard every weekend would choose another activity just as a student who painted might check out roller skating or boxing.   

Starting just after 8 a.m. a fleet of big yellow school buses ferried PMS students to Blacktail Mountain for skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Other kids and staff members went ice skating, swimming and roller skating in Kalispell and Missoula while one group branched off and went to the University of Montana to visit the student union and then to a museum. 

Other students chose mentoring younger children at Cherry Valley Elementary School. PMS student Jacob Asencio was paired with Colin McGillivray in Miss Billedeaux’s kindergarten class.

Jacob became interested in mentoring at his old school in Pablo where his class routinely helped younger children and said his favorite part of mentoring was the art room. 

During writing time in the kindergarten class, Colin drew a picture and then wrote about his picture. 

The room hummed with students making sounds and writing the letters that matched the sound.    

The thud of bowling balls and the clatter of falling pins were the sounds students who went bowling at the Sportspage Bowl in Polson and Lucky Strike Lanes in Ronan heard. Some students went bird watching with Miss Kelly or on a GPS treasure hunt.

Activities at PMS included watercolors in the library with painter Norma Walter and her helper Billie McCrea, boxing with Dennis Johnson, beading, scarf making and card making with Julie Duford, gun safety with Frank and Missy Bowen, chemical reactions and polymers with Charles Bertsch, tripoly with Miss Templer as well as the climbing wall in the gym and Wii karaoke.

Fewlass said there was a good variety of activities so kids who wanted to go someplace could go and students who wanted to stick around the school had plenty of options.  

Kids tried new activities and went home from school at the end of the day already wondering when Healthy choices Day will be scheduled next year.

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