After two Billings schools lost four teenagers in two separate car crashes that left two young survivors within the past month, their rival school is urging the whole community to rally in support.
This week, students at Billings Skyview High School are asking the entire community to don the school colors of Billings Senior and Billings West as a show of support for students, teachers, staff, family, friends trying to cope.
On Thursday, Skyview students are urging the community to wear orange and black to honor Senior. Then, on Friday, it's black and gold for West.
“Monday was really rough,” said Heather Bergeson, who has students at West High, “especially Monday morning walking into that school. As the day went along it was better, and yesterday was a little better, but it’s hard. They’re young and they’re trying to wrap their brains around it.”
On Feb. 19, three West students- junior Thomas Christopher Lindsay, junior Conner Hunter Devere, and senior Kylie Rae Larsen- died in a rollover crash west of Billings. A fourth student, Zac Malcolm, suffered serious injuries. Seventeen days earlier, Billings Senior student Christine Croft was killed in a two-car crash on Rimrock Road, and her 14-year-old passenger was injured.
Now, parent volunteers organizing the three schools' graduation parties have these tragedies in mind.
The Billings All Schools Graduation Ceremonies is raising money in an effort to try to ensure a safe night for senior graduates on May 30, 2021.
Brenda Barman, the Skyview lead, was inspired by the Skyview students for stepping up.
“It makes you kind of look at your kids, and their friends, and understand that life can change at any minute,” she said.
Perrin Grubbs is the Senior High lead, and said the inspiration from Skyview brought forth an extra effort to get graduating seniors to their all-night celebrations.
"I think moments like these, you realize an accident like this can happen to anyone you love at any moment and how important it is to be connected to each other,” Grubbs said. “Especially for our kids. Especially for high school kids. That social connection means so much."
All three public high schools will hold separate graduation ceremonies at MetraPark.
Their overnight celebrations: Senior High Rad Grad, Billings West Bear Bash, and Skyview Falcon Finale will follow that evening.
If you would like to donate, sponsor a senior to attend, or offer prizes you can do that here:
You can request to donate to all three of the schools, or to a specific school.
Here's the group's Facebook page.