Shish, boom, bah. It’s the time of year that high school seniors and staff, as well as family, friends, acquaintances and community members look forward to. However, this year is very different from the past due to the coronavirus COVID-19. As a result, graduation ceremonies have been altered to protect students and participants. Some of the alterations the schools have taken have been announced, and some remain a work in progress. What follows is the latest information available at press time Tuesday. New information will be published when available.
Two Eagle River School
The graduation ceremony is currently a work in progress. The TERS Board is working with the Tribal Council related to guidelines that should be implemented to ensure a safe environment for the students, staff and public.
Once the provisions are announced they will be published.
• For more information, call (406) 675-0292
Arlee High School
Specifics related to the graduation ceremony weren’t finalized at press time. They will be published when finalized.
Sunday, May 24, at 3 p.m.
• For more information, call (406) 726-3216
Charlo High School Graduation
The graduation ceremony will be Sunday, May 24, from 3 to 4 p.m. on the football field — rain or shine.
There is a five-person per student limitation for seating on the field. The seating groups will adhere to recommended social distancing (6-feet of separation).
Charlo High School principal Jon Gustafson said the seating is malleable upon guest attendance requests. For example, if a student has less than five seating requests, the remaining could be applied a student with more than five seating requests. The senior students must fill out a guest request form.
“We recommend people wear face masks,” Gustafson said. “Purple and white masks would be nice.”
Following the graduation ceremony there will be a homecoming-like parade.
The gradation-ceremony will be broadcast on the school FM radio station and on its Facebook page live.
Gustafson said coronavirus COVID-19 has put a hitch in the giddy up of normality. “K through 12 education wasn’t meant to be this way. It was a quick switch to adapt to remote teaching and learning,” he said, adding that Charlo wasn’t alone since all Montana schools got the shutdown mandate on a Friday and had to hit the ground running the following Monday. “It hasn’t been ideal but it’s been efficient. I think in the fall we have some make up lessons to do among the K through 6th grade students.”
• For more information, call (406) 644-2206.
Hot Springs High School
Sunday, May 24, at 4 p.m.
“We will be holding graduation out on the football field. The graduates will be separated while seated up on the bleachers. Each graduate is allowed to invite 10 immediate family members that will be seated in segregated areas on the football field,” said Hot Springs School District Superintendent Mike Perry. “The rest of the attendees will be allowed to park on the south side of the field and asked to remain in their vehicles. We will be broadcasting the ceremony on our local radio station so those in their cars will be able to hear everything. The ceremony broadcast will be recorded and shared on our website and a copy given to each graduate to share with friends and family.”
• For more information, call (406) 741-2962
Ronan High School
Sunday, May 31, at 2 p.m.
• To allow Seniors a ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments with family.
Where and When: (Shine or Rain)
RHS Football Field on Sunday, May 31st at 2 p.m.
Parents will park in the high school parking lot and enter the field from the south entrance.
Admittance will be by ticket only (4 tickets per student)
Students will meet at Career Center at 1 p.m. and enter the field from the South
Ceremony: (Will be video recorded and on Facebook live)
• Entrance of Graduates
• Honor Song and National Anthem
• Presentation of Valedictorian and Salutatorian
• Big G Award
• Presentation of the Graduates
• Graduates exit
• Chairs are for the Seniors, Board members and Elderly.
• Families may stand in pods around the track or sit in the stands. Maintain 6-feet distance with those outside your family.
• No Hugging or handshakes
Valedictorian and Salutatorian speeches will be recorded in the PAC on Friday May, 29 and available on YouTube and Ronan District No. 30 Facebook page.
• For more information, call (406) 676-3390, ext. 7501
St. Ignatius High School Graduation
Graduation will be conducted on the football field on Saturday, June 6, at 2 p.m.
Students and parents will be in one car, and they will park on the track by 1:45 p.m.
Other people that choose to attend must remain outside the track or within the designated family area.
Social distancing (6-feet of separation) is recommended and guests should stay as far apart as possible. For the safety of students please stay outside the track.
Graduation will begin at 2 p.m. with Superintendent Introduction; followed by Principal Words; Speeches of Valedictorian and Salutatorian; and then graduation certificates presented by board members.
Following certification of graduation, music will be played, a parade will follow the city streets following the fire truck and graduation attendee vehicles.
The community is encouraged to find places on the street where cards and proper salute can be given.
The school district will work with senior citizen for any requests and/or adjustments to this plan.
The school district will also be honoring our retirees at Graduation.
All other graduation components will be pre-recorded and available on the St. Ignatius school website.
• For more information, call (406) 396-7839
Polson High School
Sunday, June, 7, at 1 p.m.
Polson High School personnel is presently planning its graduation ceremony and celebration for the class of 2020 and their families.
An agenda and restrictions are constantly evolving due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 situation, the staff has not yet shared a finalized plan with the community as of May 6.
The high school has recently gathered additional input from its senior students, so that they can have a voice in what their special day will look like.
The main two options being considered are a drive-in style ceremony in the high school parking lot or a ceremony on the football field. State and local health guidelines will influence decision-making on either option.
Here is some definite information the high school is sharing at this time:
- * We will be ordering corrugated photo signs for all seniors to be displayed. Thank you to the iGraduate MT grant, Key Club, and senior parents for helping to make this happen.
- * The Graduation Ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 7, at 1 p.m. outside PHS.
- * There will be limited spectator attendance.
- * There will be no public restrooms available.
- * PHS is developing a plan to stream the event live over FM radio and/or on its website.
- * Students will wear their caps and gowns and will be given a purple mask keepsake.
- * Valedictorians and Salutatorians will have the opportunity to pre-record speeches.
- * Students will receive a diploma folder.
• For more information, call (406) 883-6351.