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Graduations run through the COVID-19 pandemic


Last updated 5/18/2020 at 11:28am

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

A senior watches the end-of-the-year slide show Sunday in Chinook during Chinook High School's graduation ceremony at the Blaine County Fairgrounds.

Despite the pandemic, it was a busy weekend for graduations including Chinook High School.

Sunday night, 21 seniors graduated from Chinook High School . With social distancing still in effect, everyone attending the ceremony was asked to do so from their own cars.

Chinook High School Principal Matt Molyneaux said the ceremony wouldn't have happened without the "time and effort from a lot of people in our community."

Chinook High School got help from the Blaine County Cruisers with the audio and visual equipment and approval from the Blaine County Fair Board to use the space where they held it. 

The seniors started off their graduation ceremony by cruising through the streets of Chinook, finishing by pulling into the Blaine County Fairgrounds parking lot and doing a big loop around their family's cars.

Instead of taking a car Wylee Brown, a graduate who intends to work on her family's farm, trotted up to graduation on her horse, Jose, with her dad in tow.

Brown said that she "figured that this was already a unique ceremony, might as well make it even more special and ride in with my dad." Brown said she is most excited about graduating because "I don't have to go to school." 

Another graduate and class vice president, Jase Pursely, is taking a completely different route from Brown and joining the U.S. Air Force. Pursely said there was "a lot of hype leading up to this" and he is "glad it turned out the way it did, given the circumstances." 

He is glad that he made the most out of his time at the school participating in speech and drama, track and field, cheer and Future Farmers of America. 

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

A senior is silhouetted by the setting sun Sunday in Chinook as he walks on to the stage to pick up his diploma during Chinook High School's graduation ceremony at the Blaine County Fairgrounds.

Before the fireworks lit up the night, Doug Hayes, a graduate of Chinook High School provided the commencement speech, summing it up by saying that "life is what you make of it, you can choose how to make yourself feel."

A string of schools held their ceremonies, all basically working on some variation of social distance over the weekend with more on the way.

Hays-Lodge Pole High School, Turner High School and North Star High School in all held ceremonies Saturday, with Chester-Joplin-Inverness High School in Chester, Harlem High School and Big Sandy High School all celebrating graduation Sunday along with Chinook.

Box Elder High School and Havre High School have ceremonies set for the coming Sunday, May 24, while Rocky Boy High School has scheduled its gradation for Wednesday, May 27.


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