Thursday, November 9, the Bitterroot Valley's premiere after-school program, the MAPS Media Institute, won the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

The award was presented in Washington, D.C., and honors the Hamilton media arts classes, chosen with 11 other youth programs from 285 nominations nationwide. The institute, which offers free after-school instruction in everything from videos to websites to audio, will receive a $10,000 award, according to Executive Director Clare Ann Harff.

In 2014 and 2016, MAPS was recognized by the NAHYP as one of the top 50 youth programs in the nation, Harff said. The award this year is through a partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

MAPS (Media Arts in the Public Schools) started as a Corvallis High School class in 2004, when retired Hollywood producer Peter Rosten decided to teach Montana's rural 8th through 12th graders skills that would prepare them for the 21st century media challenges.

He and his wife Susan made the transition to a valleywide institute, and moved to the current Bitterroot College building. It then moved to its present location on South 6th Street, near the Hamilton Middle School. The institute serves all of Ravalli County and is on three Montana Indian Reservations.

Peter passed away in April, but left a well-established program to continue to mentor students into the future.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock said, "While this award is for everyone, without Peter Rosten, there would be no MAPS. Peter was always willing to share his talents and make the world around him a better place."

Susan Rosten said, "Peter was enamored at the honesty and sincerity of the people here, especially teenagers. MAPS is his proudest business accomplishment."