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Billings elementary school raises money for Denton community after devastating fires

Posted at 5:51 PM, Dec 20, 2021

BILLINGS — After one teacher’s childhood home was damaged by the fires in Denton, students at Arrowhead Elementary decided to raise money to help rebuild the Denton community.

For Jenna Appel, teaching kindergarten is her way of giving back to the community.

“It feels like home, you know,” said Appel.

Little did she know, her students would be giving back to her.

“She is nice,” said second-grader Will Klasic.

Appel grew up in the town of Denton. When she heard that her childhood home was damaged by the fires on Dec 1st, she was devastated.

“The fire burned through about 900 of our acres, fences, shelterbelts, burned a couple of our buildings, but the farm is okay and we are safe,” Appel said.

Her entire community has been torn apart.

“Your childhood friends who are like family, your neighbors, literally everyone you know was affected in some way,” Appel said.

When the news of the devastation reached Arrowhead Elementary, students immediately scrambled into action.

“I was a little sad about it, and then I heard that we were going to bring hats and raise money for them,” said second-grader Annee Testa.

Kids spent two consecutive Fridays raising money for the Denton community and raked in more than $1,000.

“The happy part is that we got to raise money for them,” said Klasic.

Students were asked to bring one dollar to school on these Fridays but some brought more.

“On the first day I brought three dollars and on the second I brought four,” Testa said.

Klasic and Testa’s class raised the most money out of all the classrooms at Arrowhead. They had a little help from some gracious parents.

“So my mom and my grammy came and they did a little tiny scavenger hunt in the music room to find some stuff for Ms. Appel,” Testa said.

The gesture left Appel awestruck.

“The support throughout the state, our communities has just been overwhelming,” Appel said.

A school going above and beyond to help one of their own.

“Yea, it was cool,” Klasic said.