BHS Class of 2020 Graduation

The Bozeman High School class of 2020 celebrates commencement June 7, 2020, at Bobcat Stadium at Montana State University.

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The Bozeman High School class of 2021 will be able to invite an unlimited number of guests for the graduation ceremony at Montana State University’s Bobcat Stadium.

Graduation is scheduled for 11 a.m. on June 6, and it’s the last time the district will have one high school ceremony before Gallatin High School holds its first graduation next year.

Students were previously limited to six guests, but with local and national guidelines relaxing, the decision was made to allow unlimited guests, said Bozeman High School Principal Dan Mills.

“We’ve been in consistent communication with MSU throughout the spring,” Mills said.

The ceremony is typically held at MSUs Brick Breeden Fieldhouse but was moved to the larger-capacity Bobcat Stadium last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the six-guest limit, Mills said the graduation ceremony would have had a max of 3,000 people in attendance for the 500 or so students.

“Historically at our most crowded graduations, we’d have 4,500 guests. Using that as our logic, we thought we could go from 3,000 to 4,500 guests and allow families to invite who they want to invite,” Mills said.

Students will be asked to wear masks while they’re lining up on the MSU track and as they file into the stadium.

Mills said during the ceremony, with students spaced out on the field, they can enjoy the ceremony without their masks on.

Similar guidelines are in place for guests too, Mills said. They will be encouraged to wear masks when coming into the stadium since they could be close to someone who isn’t in their household. Once seated inside, they can remove their masks for the ceremony.

“The weather is the one contingency we can’t control,” Mills said. “… The plan with the weather is to work with it best we can.”

The 11 a.m. start time, earlier than most years, is a strategic move, he said. If there are afternoon thunderstorms on the horizon, the ceremony should be early enough to avoid them. If there’s bad weather in the morning, there’s enough time to push back the ceremony to later in the day.

Unless there’s extreme weather like lightning, the plan is to hold the event rain or shine.

Mills said students are still voting on a graduation speaker, so those details would be announced later.

“It should be a good day,” Mills said. “We’re looking forward to having students there to celebrate them.”

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Liz Weber can be reached at lweber@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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