The (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) Award recognizes High School students who have made a dramatic change in attitude and/or performance in school, or have overcome a great physical or social obstacle. The ACE Award is a positive program designed to help encourage students to overcome problems and obstacles, while getting back on track towards a High School Diploma and beyond. The committee will coordinate with school counselors and honor up to three students with a special program and presentation of cash or merchandise awards.
2021 ACE Awards
March 18, 2021
Our guest today was A.C.E. award recipient, Addee from Helena High School. HHS School Teacher, Missy spoke about Addee’s achievements in the face of adversity. Addee was awarded $1,000 to use towards her tuition at Montana State University.
March 11, 2021
Our guest today was A.C.E. award recipient, Trace from Helena High School. HHS School Counselor, Jamie spoke about Trace’s strong will and determination to maintain good grades while overcoming life’s obstacles. Trace was awarded $1,000 to use towards his tuition at Helena College of Technology.
February 25, 2021
Our guest today was A.C.E. award recipient, Chase from Capital High School. CHS School Counselor, Anna Doran spoke about Chase’s work ethic and determination to maintain excellent grades while overcoming life’s obstacles. Chase was awarded $1,000 to use towards his tuition at Montana State University.
February 18, 2021
Our guest today was A.C.E. award recipient, Haileigh from Capital High School. CHS School Counselor, Gina Fuller spoke about Haileighs’s strong will and spirit to maintain excellent grades to overcomes life’s obstacles. Haileigh was awarded $1,000 to use towards her tuition at Highlands College in Butte.
2020 ACE Awards
ACE Award - Our ACE award recipient for the 2019/2020 school year was Jessica Nunez of CHS.
2019 ACE Awards
April 11, 2019
ACE Award - Our guest today was Leigh Anne Massengale, she was our ACE award recipient from CHS. Joining Leigh Anne was her sister, grandparents, counselors and teachers. Her counselor Jerry Robinson, got up and share a few things with us about Leigh Anne. Mr. Robinson noted that Leigh Anne did not have enough credits to graduate, however once she started working with teachers and counselors she was able to get caught up on the required credits during the X-mas break. Her grandma and sister got up and shared a few things as well. Leigh Anne is passionate about Music and Art, she plays the clarinet in the school band. Betsy presented her with an iPad, keyboard and gift certificate to Target.
April 4, 2019
Our guest today was Collin Zander, he was our ACE award recipient from PAL. Joining Collin was his dad Tom, Advisor Kathy Collin and Principal Dr. Randall. All 3 commented on how far Collin has come in the last year. Collin was the first student that came to mind for Ms. Collin and Dr. Randall. His dad commented that they have both struggled and is proud of Collin. Collin thanked his dad for not giving up on him. Betsy Rispens presented Collin with an Amplifier and a gift certificate to Piccolo’s Music. Collin loves music.
March 07, 2019
ACE Award - Our guest was Kaisha Gerhart, a student from Helena High School. Her mother, grandparents and sister were guests. Ashten Broadhead spoke about Kaisha and her accomplishments and why she was chosen for the Accepting the Challenge of Excellence award. The Club presented her with a laptop computer to help with her media arts college classes.
2018 ACE Awards
May 17, 2018
ACE Award - Our guest today was Gage Vermillion, our ACE Award winner from HHS. Gages’ guests were his parents and Chrissy Murgel, counselor at HHS. Chrissy spoke about Gage and what he has overcome this past school year. Gage was very close to 2 of the students that took their own life last year. Gage plans on being a teacher and Chrissy suggested he go one at get his Masters in School Counseling. Gage has been very helpful to other students in the counseling office while overcoming his own fears and obstacles.
2018 ACE Awards
May 10, 2018
ACE Award - Conner Romero was awarded our ACE Award. She was accompanied by her family and teachers. Good job Conner!
2018 ACE Awards
April 26, 2018
ACE Award - Our guest today was Harmony Parry from PAL to receive our ACE Award (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence). Harmony was joined by her mom, the school principal and her advisor. She plans to attend Montana Western and possibly pursue veterinarian school.
2017 ACE Awards
April 20, 2017
ACE Award - Tamara Hayward from CHS was our ACE Award recipient. Tamara’s counselor Dana Meldrum got up and spoke about all the great things about Tamara. Tamara will be attending college in the fall. Tamara had her parents, sister and 2 friends in attendance as well. Betsy presented her with a gift card to Target to help get her dorm room stocked.
April 13, 2017
ACE Award - Austin Lee is the recipient of our ACE Award from PAL. Emily Peterson and Tim Garret both teachers of Austin got up and spoke about Austin overcoming his obstacles and now excelling. Austin wanted to quit school for quite some time. With the encouragement from the teachers at PAL Austin stuck it out and actually graduated a semester early. He will walk this June at graduation. Austin is working full time in the plumbing and heating business. Betsy presented him with a gift card to Lowe’s. Austin will be able to purchase his own tools with this.
March 23, 2017
ACE Award - Our guest today was Darian Anderson the recipient of our first ACE Award. Ellaina Staldine, Darian’s counselor, nominated and spoke about the obstacles and achievements that Darian has overcome and accomplished. Darian had her daughter, fiancé, grandpa and future in-laws as guests today. Darian plans on attending Helena College next year to study Nursing. Matt Maze presented her with a new lap top from the Club.
2016 ACE Awards
April 7, 2016
ACE Award - Whitney Lane from HHS was our recipient today. School Counselor Jason Mergel spoke about Whitney. Whitney’s foster family and brothers were in attendance. Whitney’s plans are to join the Air Force after graduation. The Club presented Whitney with an I-Watch.
March 24, 2016
Betsy Rispens presented Cody Boster from PAL with our second ACE award for the year. Teacher Jeri Rittel spoke about Cody. Cody's parents, grandparents and brother were in attendance. Cody plans to attend UM Western. The Club presented Cody with a new laptop.
March 17, 2016
ACE Award - Gabrielle (Gabby) Wheeler from CHS was our recipient today. Dana Meldrum, a school counselor spoke. There were 12 guests that included her Gabby’s foster family and staff from the group home. The Club presented her with a laptop to use as she continues to college to study social work.
2015 ACE Awards
April 9, 2015
Our guest today was Keith Bonde, our ACE Award winner from CHS, along with family and teachers. Keith’s Math teacher, Carl Anderberg, got up and talked about Keith’s commitment to wanting to graduate from high school this June. Keith was diagnosed with brain cancer early on in his junior year of high school and maintains a commitment to finishing his schooling. Needless to say Keith has missed a lot of school during his treatment process. His favorite subject is History. Keith’s mom, Trina Bonde also got up and shared her story of what Keith and his family have gone through the last 2 years. Keith thanked his parents and family for helping him get through this process. Keith and his family are to be admired for everything they have endured and continue to be optimistic even though there are so many unknowns for Keith’s future.
March 26, 2015
Our guest today was Kalli Lawrence, our ACE Award winner from P.A.L. Kalli was joined by her family, teachers and boyfriend. Greg Wald one of Kalli’s teachers got up and told the group about Kalli’s challenges and how she has turned herself around to become a 3.8 GPA student and ready to graduate in June. Kalli would like to go into drafting or architecture in college next year. Betsy Rispens presented Kalli our second ACE Award for the year.
March 19, 2015
Betsy Rispens presented Eric Hinkley from Helena High School with our first ACE Award for the year. “The ACE Award recognizes High School students who have made a dramatic change in attitude and/or performance in school, or have overcome a great physical or social obstacle. The ACE Award is a positive program designed to help encourage students to overcome problems and obstacles, while getting back on track towards a High School Diploma and beyond.” Joan Leik, Eric’s culinary arts teacher as well as counselor, Shane Dempsey spoke about Eric. Eric’s father Peter and Peter’s fiancé were also present. The Club presented Eric with a $100 Hastings gift card, a gift bag including a knife set to be used at culinary school as well as $140 toward school costs.
2014 ACE Awards
April 17, 2014
Betsy Rispens presented Cody Grandy from HHS our third ACE Award for the year. Welding Teacher Cindy Galbavy spoke about Cody’s accomplishments. He is going to pursue a career as a lineman, iron worker or policeman. The Club presented Cody with welding glasses, gloves, coat, grinder and a $250 gift certificate to Capital Sports and Western.
April 3, 2014
Betsy Rispens presented Victoria (Tori) Davenport from PAL was our second ACE Award for the year. Sarah Alling spoke about Tori’s accomplishments and stated she will graduate and go to college next year to pursue a teaching career. The Club presented Tori with an I Pad Air to use for school.
March 20, 2014
Marshall Price present Alexis Ricks from Capital High School our first ACE Award for the year. Erika Wimmer from the Dept. of Family Services spoke about how Alexis has overcome many challenges but will graduate and go to college next year. The Club presented Alexis a $500 Amazon card to use for school expenses.
2013 ACE Awards
April 25, 2013
Shawn Shaw was our last ACE Award winner for the year. He is a student at PAL and will graduate in June. Teacher, Jeri Rittle, spoke about Shawn and his kindness to other students and staff. Shawn’s mother, Heather and step-dad Jack were with him as guests as well as Principal Frank Jobe. The Club presented him with an i-pad.
April 18, 2013
Corlin Reed was our second ACE Award winner for the year. He is a student at Helena High School and will graduate in June. English teacher, Geoff Proctor and counselor, Linda Safty Unsworth spoke of Corlin and his many talents. He has dealt with a medical condition but is the “Real Deal”. Corlin had his Dad and friends with him as guests. The Club presented him with an i-phone and gift cards to purchase i-tunes and apps.
March 28, 2013
Teacher Jaydee Sullivan introduced Lizzy Allen, our first ACE Award winner for the year. She is a student at Capital High School and will graduate in June. She plans to attend the College of Technology. She has dealt with medical conditions and 23 surgeries and is resilient, hard working and strong. The Club presented Lizzy with a laptop computer.
2012 ACE Awards
March 15, 2012
Betsy introduced Alyssa Dombrovski from Helena High School, our third ACE Award winner for the year. Alyssa had family members, teachers, counselors and assistant principal Oliveira as her guests. The Club presented her with a stethoscope and a kindle.
March 8, 2012
Betsy introduced Steve Frankino, who is a friend of the nominated Jacob Smith from Capital High Scholl our second ACE Award winner for the year. Jacob's father Kirk Smith was also in attendance. The Club presented Dustin with a gift card to Costco to help purchase a laptop computer.
Our ACE (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) Award winner from PAL was Braxton KuKay. Several family members were in attendance as well as Principal Craig Crawford and teacher Marie Rauch. The ACE Award recognizes High School students who have made a dramatic change in attitude and/or performance in school, or have overcome a great physical or social obstacle. The ACE Award is a positive program designed to help encourage students to overcome problems and obstacles, while getting back on track towards a High School Diploma and beyond. The Club awarded Braxton with a new guitar.
2011 ACE Awards
Our ACE award winner was Emma Volesky. She has suffered from mental illness for more than 8 years and was terrified of large groups of people, including attending school. After some hospitalization when she was a freshman and getting the correct medication she is now attending school and will be graduating with honors this spring. She now is an advocate for others with mental illness and has done several public speaking engagements about the topic. She will be competing in a Speech competition in May in Billings where her speech will include the topic of mental illness. She was joined at lunch by her parents, Doug Volesky and Jonie Volesky, her two sisters, her niece, and her grandmother. As well as 3 representatives from the school and her good friend, Stephanie Waddington. Mary Anderson, formerly of Helena High School and now at CRAnderson spoke on Emma's behalf. We encouraged Emma to fill out an application for the District ACE Award.