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Abby Bock, above left, is the valedictorian for the Valier High School Class of 2020 and Hannah Christiaens, above right, is the class salutatorian. Abby and Hannah have been active in multiple activities and groups throughout their high school career and have maintained exceptional GPAs. This year’s commencement ceremony will be on Saturday, May 16.

Valier High School seniors will have a graduation celebration to remember. Students, staff, and parents are finding creative ways to combine tradition with the unprecedented challenges of social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The VHS 2020 graduation will take place on the football field directly east of the high school on Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m.,” announced VHS Counselor, Roni Habel.

According to Habel, the traditional Senior Slideshow will be played Friday, May 15, from 9-10 p.m. on the west side of the crow’s nest (press box) at the football field. Families and community members may drive up or walk through and view the slideshow as it plays on a loop for an hour after dark.

Prior to Saturday’s graduation ceremony, “they will have individual memory display tables set up along the east side of the high school on the lawn for people to view and leave gifts and cards. This display will be set up and open to the public at least an hour prior to graduation, but will not be available after graduation for viewing,” explained Ms. Habel.

The graduation is open to the public and precautions are being made to accommodate social distancing and public safety. There will be attendants to help with seating and maintaining social distancing during the event. Provided the field surrounding the seating area is not saturated there will be an option for viewing the graduation from personal vehicles.

Other creative efforts include purple porch lights at the homes of graduates, hay bales stacked and painted (Celeste Kovatch and Denae Peterson) to congratulate the class, and the opportunity to share the graduation with family and friends via a livestream through Facebook or YouTube. Details will be forthcoming. 

The following statement from Superintendent Julie Gaffney is posted on the school website:

 “The Graduating Class of 2020 has decided to hold its Commencement Ceremony, as originally scheduled, on May 16, 2020 at 2 p.m., on the Valier Panthers' Football Field, in compliance with the Pondera County Public Health Department Order. Having the ceremony on the field will allow for spectator viewing from on-field seating in chairs, vehicle parking on the east and south end of the field, and barring any technical problems, live streaming of the event. There are many details to work out, and the school is required to have a very structured plan that maintains social distancing and safe handling practices throughout the entire ceremony. Conducting a safe and healthy ceremony for all involved is very important to the senior families and school personnel. I look forward to sharing specific details about how you can join the Graduating Class of 2020 in celebration of this momentous occasion!”

All activities are pending approval from the Pondera County Public Health Department.

Visit the school website at www.valier.k12.mt.us for further updates regarding this exciting graduation event for Valier’s Class of 2020.

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