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2004 Graduate – Deena Peters

Deena PetersHelena, MT, is more or less in the middle of Montana, although it’s not the geographic center. Helena is about 80 miles to the Southwest of Great Falls and is about 80 miles to the Northeast of Butte.

Helena was inadvertently founded by 4 men, all from Georgia and known in the history books as the “Four Georgians”. These four men, rather desperate after searching throughout western Montana for gold and finding nothing, stumbled into the area that is now Helena. That night, on July 14th, 1864, the men decided to take one last chance in mining the nearby creek. As luck and fate would have it, the men found gold that evening. They named the stream they found the gold in, appropriately enough, Last Chance Gulch.
Word soon got out about the gold strike and, seemingly overnight, Helena became a boom town. In just a few short years, several hundred businesses had opened up shop in Helena and more than 3000 people called Helena home. Moreover, many of the previous mining strikes in Helena were beginning to play out. As such, many of the miners in these areas gravitated towards Helena.

The name Helena for the new town did not arrive overnight. Initially, the new town was called Crabtown, named after one of the four Georgians who found gold. Soon, though, other names were bounced around, including Pumpkinville and Squashtown. However, many of the miners were from Minnesota. These miners soon began to call the town after another town in Minnesota, called Saint Helena. This was soon shortened to Helena, which is the name today.

Montana became a territory of the United States in 1864. A territorial capitol was established in Virginia City, which was right next to Bannack. Bannack was the first major gold strike town in Montana, being established just a few years earlier in 1862.

In 1883, the Northern Pacific railroad arrived in Helena, further fueling the cities growth. Moreover, with the establishment of the territorial capitol in Helena, the city began a slow move away from a typical mining town – and prevented the collapse of the town when the gold ran out in Last Chance Gulch.

Yet, Helena had to fight to keep the capitol there. In 1894, the fight over the state capitol erupted between Helena and Anaconda (at the time, the Anaconda area was booming with the mining being done in nearby Butte). Helena won the fight, by popular vote, and has remained the state capitol of Montana ever since.

The “Four Georgians” could not have known what beautiful city Helena would become. They also could not have known what a beautiful spirit would be born in Ms. Deena Peters from East Helena. Deena graduated from Citizens’ High School last May with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She chose Citizens’ because of her unique learning style. Deena had attended private schools for her first two years of high school, but did not enjoy group paced instruction or several subjects a day. Deena likes to submerge herself in one subject and see it through to completion before moving on to the next topic. Citizens’ curriculum allowed her the freedom to do just that. Along with the freedom came responsibility. She demonstrated remarkable discipline and maturity. This evidenced by her GPA. Deena was able to complete over two academic years worth of subjects in less than 22 months.

Ms. Peters expressed to us that Citizens’ was the perfect match for her. She truly excelled at home study. She also was proud of earning a diploma not a G.E.D. as other home school programs offer. Now that Deena has a diploma, she was able to get a really good job working for a medical billing company. Her ultimate and most important goal is being a great mother to her children when the time comes.

We are exceedingly proud of Ms. Deena Peters and wish her continued success in all her future endeavors. Deena is Citizens’ High School Graduate of the Month for November 2004.

Deena Peters is Citizens’ High School
“Graduate of the Month” for November 2004.