The Geyser The Student News Site of Park High School - MT Tue, 14 Dec 2021 20:09:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What effect has COVID had on housing? Tue, 14 Dec 2021 20:09:58 +0000 It has been easy to see that there has been a significant impact on the school system as well as child care options because of COVID-19, which in turn has had a great impact on parents. Many people had to leave their jobs because of COVID-19 in order to care for children. There have been many parents who have had to find other ways for their children to receive an education because of COVID-19 or COVID-19 related issues. It is undeniable that parents have been significantly affected by COVID-19.
Not only how COVID-19 has affected the parents’ availability to care for their children, it has affected the mental well-being of the parents and the children. The children’s parents were often their only source of socialization. Though with parents needing to do work, they are unable to give children the amount of socialization that they need. The inability to interact and get normal socialization in both the children and the parents lives, there is a negative effect on both the parents and children’s mental health.
Many people, including children, have experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression in the time of quarantine and into the present. There has been a lot of stress surrounding children who have not been to school in their lives, and will need to go into school at a much older age than normal. They are on average underdeveloped socially and have large amounts of anxiety surrounding the idea of being around many other people of their age.
This of course also causes stress for the children’s parents, and puts them into situations that they may be unsure of. They may be asking themselves questions surrounding how to make their child comfortable in large social situations or if their children will ever be able to interact normally in social situations. Though many parents may be concerned about their children’s social capabilities, they should also look at their own. Through the entirety of the pandemic, adults have also developed social anxiety and parents aren’t excluded. They most likely have begun to develop social anxiety without even knowing it. They have been so caught up in being caught up in the lives of their children that they may have not been able to reflect and see what they may need and are struggling with. Though in this time I think that everyone has fallen victim to being swept into the rush and have not been able to reflect on their lives.
Blane and Leanne Mortensen are parents of a high school student, Blane reflected on how keeping his kid safe during this time has been a concern, which parents of many different walks of life can most likely agree with. Leanne responded to the question by saying that it is important to be respectful of other people’s point of views when also trying to do what is best for both your child and the community.
Park High teacher Kelly Dick has an interesting point of view as both an educator and a parent of a fourth grader. He told me that being a model for his son in social situations has become a rare occasion due to their infrequency. Though he also felt that these times have been a good chance for both him and his son to have quality time together, even though they can tend to be at each others’ throats at times. He also mentioned how COVID has affected his relationships with both his students and their parents. He mentioned that quality communication with his students’ parents’ isn’t happening as it should. He mentioned that high school should be about the students becoming adults, but there should be more responsibility placed on the students rather than the parents and the admin. The students need to learn to take responsibility for their own actions , rather than parents learning about events that happened through a notification. He also told me about the struggle he has had as an educator when it comes to his students turning in their work. He mentioned how if the assignments for his students are not on Canvas , then they commonly will not do them, even if they mentioned the assignment in class. He also told me how he thought that Canvas was now the base of conversation, rather than simply talking to the students.

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Healthcare industry deals with COVID and worker shortage Tue, 14 Dec 2021 20:09:19 +0000 Staffing has been a problem in almost every service industry, and healthcare has been no different. In an interview with Dr. Scott Coleman, he said there have been problems all the way from the janitorial and kitchen staff to the doctor. There has been a need for employment, whether it is that they have people who left their jobs for other necessary things like childcare or the patient increase calling for more well trained employees. One of the biggest needs right now is having well trained nursing staff, which in reality is quite expensive. The hospital has resorted to hiring traveling nurses who are well trained, but need higher pay.
The kitchen staff has been highly impacted by COVID, with a higher need for staff, but they seemingly are unable to get the numbers that they need. At first they needed to change how they served food so that it was following COVID-19 protocol, now they need to feed more patients and cannot offer as many options as they once did. Despite the challenges that the hospital kitchen staff has faced, they have done their part to help our community in these times. They have started making meals for people to come pick up and take to their families for a reasonable price. With the inability to have as many options in the kitchen, they have resorted to making simpler, one option meals for the employees and hospital patients.
With these times, many of the hospital employees have experienced burnout, and the hospital is doing their part to try and help with this issue. They have done things like buying coffee for the staff, and the employees have also tried to boost morale among the staff. In addition to, the historical parties and celebrations that usually happen within Livingston healthcare, the employees have hosted their own celebrations for holidays, baby showers and any other chance they can get.
It isn’t only the hospital that is struggling at this time, the dental industry has also had some major difficulties during this time. In an interview that I had with Julie Marshall, she told me about the short staffing Livingston dental care has had. They are in a better spot than they were at the beginning of the pandemic, but are still in need of a dentist, two hygienists and a dental assistant. There is also a shortage of people going into dental hygienist school right now, so this shortage will most likely be a problem into the future. Hopefully with time these problems will diminish and the healthcare industry will be able to keep serving the community as it always has.

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Schools impacted by labor shortage in multiple ways, from cleaning classrooms to sub shortages Tue, 14 Dec 2021 20:07:07 +0000
Administrative Assistant Donna Fairchild works at her desk in the main office, which is the hub for securing substitute teachers. This year, the pool of substitutes has been smaller than usual, requiring classroom teachers to cover absences during their prep periods. (Laine Sanders)
Alecia Jongeward’s Biology classes cleaned the C-Pod during class on Wednesday last week. Due to custodial shortages, some teachers have been enlisting help from their students to keep common areas clean. Deb Miller, head custodian at Park High, said they are only able to clean the pods every four days because they are short a custodian. (Ilana Patberg)

Due to COVID-19 and other factors, Park High School has faced staffing shortages in multiple areas. One of areas that has been hardest hit is the custodial department. The custodians have to work extra hard to keep our school clean. They still aren’t able to reach areas as often as they used to, with only two people working eight-hour shifts and one working five-hours.
Head custodian Debbie Miller is the only one working during the school day. She has been trying to hire another custodian, but nobody wants to work the night shift, she said. The current salary of $15 per hour is not enough for some applicants, she said.
The custodial staff cleans the McLeod field classroom and the Special Services building in addition to Park High. “We’ve got three buildings and got 2.5 people working, so it’s a lot of area to cover,” Miller said.
Miller and her crew have to rotate where they clean, so they clean the pods every four days. “We work our butts off,” she said. She added that students can help the custodians out by putting your water bottles and binders in your locker and picking up after yourself.
Some teachers have started asking their classes to help clean up common areas. Last week, Biology teacher Alecia Jongeward had her class clean the C-Pod. Spanish teacher Keaton Ramm offers students snacks if they help clean the floor in her classroom.
Another area around the school that is having staffing problems is in the classroom. Donna Fairchild, administrative assistant for Principal Dust, coordinates the substitutes in the building. Fairchild explains that staffing is really tight right now. “We really only have about two subs that are available to us,” she said, and they are working in other schools, too. “It’s been pretty hard to get anyone,” she said. Fairchild has been coming in early and staying late trying to make sure absences are covered.
Substitute teacher pay in the Livingston School District is $95 per day. Nearby Bozeman School District pays substitutes $114 per day, so as with other job openings in the district, the wages can’t compete with other options.  At the Dec. 14 Livingston School Board meeting, the board will vote whether or not to increase substitute pay to $115 per day, effective January 1, 2022.

Jenny Stringer, administrative assistant for Superintendent Scalia and human resources manager for the district, said “We don’t have many subs on our sub list this year. So, it’s very limited. We are always looking, and we have been picking up a few here and there. Since COVID hit in 2020, our sub list hasn’t been where it needs to be.”
Stringer said filling certified teaching positions at Park High has not been an issue this year, but the district is having trouble filling the P.E/ Music teacher opening at Washington school. With the increase in Park County housing prices, Stringer thinks it will be hard to keep people here. If the teachers who live in Bozeman get a better offer, it could result in having fewer teachers available for next school year, she said. This year, she said the district was able to fill all classified positions except those in food service.
In the cafeteria, staffing has been a challenge. Food services director Michelle Carter said that usually, they would have 16 staff members working, but they only have 10-11 staff members. She explains that they don’t have any cashiers or a dishwasher. They have been trying to recruit people, but people want more pay.
Because of the shortage of staff, the food service program isn’t able to offer everything they usually offer. In the fall, the middle school was only getting sack lunches instead of hot lunch. At the high school, there is no salad bar.

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We lose more than just time when we are glued to our phones Tue, 14 Dec 2021 20:06:35 +0000 Cell phones have been a huge part of our generation, but the lasting negative effects are already in motion. Students are stressed out when it comes to academics and activities. However, one never considers the amount of time wasted on screens. My friend once asked me to take care of her streaks on Snapchat. During that time I was on my phone a lot more, kept getting notifications, and started to get annoyed with the constant snapping back, which took at least two minutes every time. Compared to her, I realized I was not on my phone nearly as much as my peers.
Although I’m not into social media as much as others, I use TikTok and Snapchat primarily because it’s short and fun to watch, and I can engage with my friends. All of this leads me to two conclusions. One, we waste a lot of precious time on our devices, and two, our attention spans are shortening by the day.
We complain we are busier than ever, never having time to finish homework, study for tests, or even get a part-time job, but one only needs to look as far as their screentime stats that all phones track. Take me, for example. I average 2 hours and 40 minutes per day, which is relatively low compared to many of my peers. However, when you see this number, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but look at it through a wider lens. With my daily average, that comes out to 18 hours and 40 minutes per week. If you consider a month, that comes out to 82 hours and 40 minutes (or about 3.5 days). In one year, that’s 41 days wasted. How depressing.
How could this time be better spent? How about with your family, studying, or doing homework? We stress out about finishing our homework or studying for a test, but if you spend 50% less time on your phone, you will magically have a lot of time back. Personally, I would like to spend more time with my family.
Cell phones also make it harder to sustain attention for longer periods largely because of the nature of these apps. Some teachers are starting to realize this and have to modify their lessons to match the short attention span of their students. Business teacher Reid Lende said if he shows videos that are longer than 10 minutes, his class begins to lose focus.
In addition, our phones are hindering our social skills. Instead of family or friends socializing at a restaurant, people are glued to their phones instead of interacting with one another.

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Highschoolers step in to help the workforce Tue, 14 Dec 2021 20:06:11 +0000 Having a job and keeping up with an education is no easy task. Since the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down, more businesses are going out of business or struggling to stay around due to the shortage of workers. As a result, highschoolers started to step in and help. Highschoolers are only able to do so much. Some students found it hard to keep interest in school, and some found it hard to study, because of the short amount of free time that they have. As a result, some students are falling in grades, where others are managing.
Sophomore James Melin has worked at the Empire Theater for two and a half months. “Work and school could be easier,” he said, explaining that he should probably spend more time on his school work to make the balance easier. He believes that if a student can manage a job as well as school, then they should be able to keep their job. Melin prefers to work as many hours as he can because it means there is more money in his pocket.
Sophomore Luke Hauser has worked at McDonalds for nine months. Hauser says he is doing all right for the most part on grades. Work and school are just very time consuming, but Hauser thinks that everyone should have a job. “It helps you become independent and learn about the world on your own.” His work schedule is balanced, but Hauser wished he could work more than once a week. He also prefers a more work-based schedule to have more money. Hauser says, “I can pay people with money, I can’t pay people with math homework.”
Junior James Eyster has worked at Taco Bell for 11 months. He works about 25-30 hours a week. He said his grades have decreased since getting a job. Eyster said that when he is late on one assignment, it starts to cause more assignments to be late. He says work is easier and less stressful than school.

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Boom in tourism both harms and helps businesses Tue, 14 Dec 2021 16:56:02 +0000 Livingston is a place that often welcomes waves of tourists. The attraction of Yellowstone National Park, as well as the Yellowstone River, brings in many clients for local businesses. Businesses have had to adapt to the rush of visitors that returned after COVID-19 had settled. More people wanted to see the world, and what better place to see than Montana. In fact, Yellowstone National Park visitation numbers in July 2021 were at an all-time high, according to the National Park Service website.
With the increase in newcomers, it creates new challenges for local businesses. From staffing shortages and supply chain problems that have affected businesses all over the country, to irate customers who disagree with mask policies, the past year has been taxing for employers.
Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Company in downtown Livingston has had steady business. COVID did cause a decrease in employees for many businesses, but owner Dale Sexton said, “Our employees are a foundation.” Dan Bailey’s had little to no staff shortage problems, Sexton said.
With a team, work can be easier. Longtime Dan Bailey’s employee Rob Lahren said, “We weren’t hit as hard from COVID. It is slow right now, but we are expecting a big wave in December.” Sexton said Dan Bailey’s had a slight price increase due to inflation, but the business is doing well.
With the increased number of tourists comes a higher demand for a place to stay. The Fairfield Inn, Livingston’s newest hotel, has been able to accommodate them. General manager Kelly Baker said Fairfield maintained a 93% occupancy rate all through summer as well as the past few months. Hotels were one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic, but Montana businesses were not hit as hard.
As with many other businesses, the Fairfield has had to raise wages to stay competitive, Baker said. They have also struggled keeping dedicated workers. Openings are often in housekeeping which Baker said has a high turnover in employees.
Business is seasonal in many tourism-related fields, and the Fairfield is expecting a rush during the winter. During the slow times, however, workers may have fewer hours or shifts. “One of the things I value about my company is that we avoid cutting back hours if we can,” Baker said.

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Doors open at entertainment venues but challenges remain Mon, 13 Dec 2021 20:28:24 +0000 Although the world is starting to return to normal life, every industry is still struggling daily with unemployment and the continuation of COVID-19. The CDC says to social distance and lessen in-person contact; for the entertainment industry this has been their hardest curtain to close yet. Places like movie theaters, bowling alleys, and performing arts centers were shut down, unable to open to full capacity or at all. Now that we are all recovering from COVID, the entertainment businesses in Livingston have begun to journey back to business as usual.
The Shane Lalani Center for the Arts is a non-profit performing center that is beloved in Livingston. Through these past two challenging years, it has been able to stay open and keep its permanent staff on payroll due to the generosity of the Shane Center’s donors. They even raised enough money to be able to begin work on extending the building and its facilities.
Within the past two years, coming together as a community and interacting with one another has become a harder task due to COVID restrictions and social distancing. This has put The Shane Lalani Center through the wringer, with having to close their theatre, and not being able to offer full capacity seating, which costs them vital revenue.
According to the executive director, Erika Adams, “We have to rebuild the participation and active engagement in our community.” She believes that after being separated for so long we have become focused on our differences and what divides us, rather than the similarities that bring us together as good people. “Please remember everyone has their own challenges, their own cross to bear. Treat people with kindness and empathy,” suggests Adams.
Livingston’s only movie theatre, The Empire Twin, has struggled the most with COVID restrictions and nationwide employee shortages. They had to close for three months. This was a huge blow to the business because even on their busiest days they don’t make much, so it was a loss of a constant flow of revenue. When they were able to reopen, new movies were not coming out, which meant there was no incentive for people to come in, unless they wanted to see older movies.
When it comes to employees the theatre often hires teenagers, as it’s the perfect after-school job. Manager Kyle Ritterbush says that the job is relatively easy and isn’t a sustainable job for an adult shouldering regular expenses, so high-schoolers willing to work hard and go the extra mile are a nice sight. However, due to kids moving on after high school the theatre has been short on workers. Usually the theatre finds new employees through current employees by spreading the word to other kids. Ritterbush says the latest problem they’ve faced with hiring is getting people to even fill out an application.










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Teenagers are hypocrites Mon, 13 Dec 2021 20:28:08 +0000 Let me tell you why… we’re all guilty of it, guilty of going against our own moral standards and judgements. Well, I think teenagers go against their beliefs on mental health. Their view on changing the stigma behind it. Time after time and generation after generation, problems arise and bubble, no worse or better. Teenagers presently, including myself, struggle a lot behind the scenes, whether it be at home, school, or elsewhere.
Mental health has become a huge topic of discussion but is somehow kept in hushed tones. We advocate for others but not for ourselves. We tell our friends to speak up, to get help, but avoid doing it personally. Teenagers will tell the whole world they need therapy before getting it themselves.
Growing up with social media and having technology to obsess over has greatly affected the way we, as teenagers, think and behave. According to ABC News, we spend about 7 hours a day on our phones; that’s 49 hours a week. Doesn’t that seem like a complete waste? Our entire lives have become enveloped in the world we see online, leading us down the never-ending rabbit hole of comparing ourselves to anyone and everyone. We take on an entire world of issues that we cannot begin to fathom. We spend hours of our precious time wasted on things like Instagram and TikTok, and although we excuse it as a sole source of laughter and distraction, we all know that that is not true. Post after post there are things like pretty girls and boys that you tell yourself are better than you, poems that expose your innermost thoughts, and influencers that claim to help. What should we be doing instead?
As teenagers, know we want to change for the better and start showing the world who we are and what we’re going to do. But first we must make a conscious effort to do so, to stop hating ourselves as well as and to each other. Our goal should be to learn how to treat others as we would like to be treated.


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Park athletes balance time on and off the field Mon, 13 Dec 2021 20:24:00 +0000 Balancing the time for work and sports can be exceedingly difficult for people. Nate Parseghian, the athletic director at Park High, says that “When in season, it is very difficult to balance your time. You only have so many hours in a day and when you are in school for eight hours and then in your sport for three hours. That is 11 hours right there and then you need time for yourself and to spend with your family.”
There are just not enough hours in a day to balance all of them, but Mr. Par does say that when you are not in season, a job is important. “It helps kids understand how to balance their time and helps build time management skills.” Parseghian says.
Two students from Park High school know just the way to get both activities done. Junior Mikayia Wood is the goalkeeper for the girls soccer team. “When I’m not on the field playing, I’m in Murdoch’s working” , she says. With games on the weekdays and practices after school, she spends her time working one to two days a week.
So, one of the questions was how do you keep up with all your homework, sports events and practices with a part-time job? She said, “All I do is make sure I have no missing or late assignments and when a new assignment is made, I get it done on time.”
Another student is senior Simon Bishop. He plays for the boys’ soccer team and works for Dan Bailey’s Outdoor Company. One question was, how does he balance the two? He said, “I just am on top of all my assignments and get them all done on time. So, that when my free times come around, I can go in and help work or just take a break and rest up from all of the activities that are going on.”
These two students have found the way to balance their time and energy with all of the activities that they have to get accomplished throughout the week. This skill may take a long time to mastered but when you do figure it out it is very helpful in your everyday life for everyday activities.

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Busy outfitters search for guides fit for the job Mon, 13 Dec 2021 20:23:15 +0000 From the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses have been in need for more employees. The guiding field is no exception. From the demand of being out in the wilderness being extremely high and staffing being extremely low, there must be a way to make it work.
Local outfitting company, Rockin HK, has run into these problems. Heidi Saile ,co-owner, says, “I just don’t have the staff to make it through a full season. A couple of years ago I would get so many applications it was overwhelming, but now there is about six or seven applications and I had to decide if these people can even do this job.”
When asked if she thought that this was because of COVID and she said, “I believe that people are not applying for jobs because they are able to be on unemployment and it’s easier to just collect checks and not work. Or people have just found a way to make money from home and stimulus checks and they can get through from just that.”
Another outfitter was Brad Hanzel,who said “I just can’t find anyone. I’ve only had four guides for the entire year. The people that I’ve been able to find are friends of mine that have been guiding with me for the last 20 years. I’ve had to send workers from one camp to go work my other camp in Lewistown.”
Kipp Saile, co-owner of Rockin HK and longtime guide for Brad Hanzel, says that “COVID has just made our job way busier, but it is hard to find the people to work because not that many people want to work 20-hour days.” For the hunting camp, he says that “it’s always been like this where the same people come back to work because they’re hard core and want to work and go out hunting.”
From the demand of all outdoor activities being so high, these companies have found a way to find workers that are right for the job and can get the job done no matter what

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