Before the 2021 Challis homecoming parade began last Thursday, sophomore Cameron Peterson explained how his PVC-pipe mortar was a safe way to deliver candy from a parade entry.

“I built this during COVID for Halloween last year,” Peterson said of the 2-inch diameter mortar capable of pushing 210 pounds per square inch. “We launched candy to trick or treaters from a safe distance.” Pieces of candy can zip as far as 100 feet while limes can reach 500 feet after emerging from his device.

Once the parade started rolling down Main, Peterson joined other students giving out candy to eager children. Whereas others tossed the candy, Peterson loaded his device and sprayed sweets toward people and a few unfortunate autos parked along the parade route.

While she was waiting for king RJ Philps and their carriage before the parade got underway, homecoming queen Kelli Ann Strand said the week leading up to the parade was nothing but fun. “The whole school gets involved,” she said, “and really gets into the competitions.”

Challis High School students spent homecoming week playing games, practicing skits, holding pep assemblies and searching for a hidden spirit stick. Student council members also devised ways to get the community homecoming spirit up. Student council members organized a community pep rally and bonfire, Strand said. They wanted community members to get more excited about homecoming this year, she said. That way, they would be more likely to come out and support student athletes during the varsity volleyball game against the Grace Grizzles and the football game against the Rockland Bulldogs, the queen said.

The Viking girls lost to the Grizzlies 3-0 and the boys fell to the Bulldogs 68-30.

While waiting for the parade to begin atop the Challis Elementary School student council entry, President John Hutchison said making the banner for the entry was more fun than he thought it would be. The sixth-grader looks forward to participating in future homecoming parades, since they are a fun way to engage the community.

Elementary School Counselor Ed Gregory, who rode with the student council, said it’s encouraging to see kids like Hutchison get involved in student government and help with the parade. The more Hutchison and his classmates participate in student council and in community events like the parade, the more likely they are to do it in high school and beyond, Gregory said.

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