Thanks to a donation from an anonymous donor, the Mustangs of Great Falls Central Catholic High School will soon be able to take driver’s education classes in the comfort of their own building.
The donor gave a late-model vehicle for the school to use, which was the push the school needed to start their own program.
"We’ve been working on bringing driver’s education, there’s a lot of moving parts to it, but we were working on getting a driver, a certified teacher who has to be a licensed teacher in the state of Montana, and have this special designation, this traffic education designation,” said GFCC Principal Angel Turoski. “That’s almost impossible to find. That’s the rare unicorn teacher, and then you have to have the car, and to be able to bring them both together is nearly impossible.”
Students will be able to sign up for the class, just like they would a normal Math or English class, starting in the Fall of 2020. Turoski says that the need for this program was high for a number of reasons.
“Driver’s education in our area is very difficult to get into,” she explained. “All of the schools that surround us, Driver’s Education is an extra added-on component. It’s only offered by schools. The state of Montana mandates that the Office of Public Instruction runs driver’s education, and driver’s education is offered through GFPS only before and after school or in the summer, and a lot of our students aren’t able to get into it because the GFPS students have priority. Many of our students find themselves going out to Belt, and that’s a long drive for parents. They have to attend the classes for six weeks, they can’t have absences, and it’s a lot of driving for parents to get them back and forth to those classes, and then to the driving portion of that.”
The program will be free to all GFCC students, and the rest of the public in Cascade County will have the opportunity to sign up for any remaining spots for a minimal charge, according to Turoski.
Driving in Montana is a unique adventure for a number of reasons, including the severe driving conditions often brought on by long winters, and the general lack of public transportation. Couple that with the fact that Turoski says her students stay busy with sports, jobs, and other activities outside of school.