February has truly shown up in our community as the month of love. And a month of immense sadness. We lost four of our high schoolers — all with their own special light that will continue to shine bright in our community. While we are grieving the loss of our students from Senior High and West High, let us all continue to come together and support the families and friends who are healing. We are in awe of just how much love Billings has to share.
Billings All High School Graduation Celebrations is a parent-led group that has always been focused on providing safe and sober celebrations for seniors from Skyview, West and Senior the night of graduation. But, with the challenges of the pandemic the last two school years, working together has also become an important way for us to provide social connections for kids, for our families, and for our community. It has been really wonderful to be able to rely on these connections this month as we have had so many families and friends experience tragic losses.
As parents, we connect deeply with the pain that our families who have lost a child are feeling, and we want to be there to support all of our high school families, students, and staff during this difficult time. Accidents like these can happen to any of our kids… anyone we love. The older your kids get, the more you realize there are so many things you can’t protect them from. So, when we are able to make all of our kids’ lives a little safer, even just for a night… what an amazing thing to be able to come together as a community to do that.
Connecting is hard this year for many of us as adults — even with all our years of experience to draw on. Our kids are facing the same challenges, and often more, at a time when their lives should be so much more carefree. We know that social connections for kids, especially those in high school, are vital for their health and happiness.
Volunteering, sports, band, social and service clubs, activities, PTAs and booster clubs…. these things all connect us as a community, and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to rely on those connections when we are in need. If you are feeling disconnected, we encourage you to take advantage of all the ways our kids and our schools can help you connect to our community. We know connecting with kids can sometimes seem like a challenge in itself — especially once those kids are teens who can seem like they don’t need us as much. But, they do need us — all of us — maybe more than ever once they are older. And, they do appreciate your support more than you will ever know.
We hope you will honor those we have lost too soon in your lives in ways big and small. Show your friends and family how much you love them. Show the people who show up for you and yours that you appreciate them. And, keep showing all of the Billings community just how much love there is to share.