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Students take over as tour guides of McKinley Elementary School in Billings

Posted at 3:35 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 17:35:27-05

It’s the oldest continually operating school in Billings and perhaps its most unique.

Two fourth-grade students, Mary Murphy and Lauren Newby, are gaining experience by serving as leadership tour guides at McKinley Elementary School.

“I like sharing knowledge about what I learned about this school,” Lauren says.

They know the school inside and out.

“I think it is pretty fun and I liked learning more about the artwork,” said Mary.

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The artwork is one of the things that makes the old school so unique. Friezes line the halls of the old school—replicas of those from some of the most famous museums in the world.

Another favorite feature is the fire slide, which students sometimes get to slide down as a reward.

There are also several busts in the halls—including one of President William McKinley, who the school was named after.

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Both girls say they had to spend some time studying to learn enough about their school to be able to give tours, but it’s not just a history lesson for them.

“They just get that practice of what is it like to present to adults. People we don’t know, strangers, can be really challenging, so we are lucky that they are willing to practice and learn to give tours too,” says school counselor, Caitlin Hrabin.

Hrabin says the students gain great experience and will serve as mentors next year for other students to continually give tours and speak to the amazing history of the school.

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