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The Bozeman High School class of 2021 graduated Sunday in the sunshine after a rainy weekend and an unusual school year.

The 500 now-graduates — wearing everything from ribbon skirts to kilts and cowboy boots to Scooby-doo socks under their red and black caps and gowns — and their thousands of family members took over Bobcat Stadium for the roughly two-hour ceremony.

“You not only survived the challenges of navigating education during a pandemic, you have thrived,” said Casey Bertram, interim co-superintendent of Bozeman Public Schools, to both the graduates and the staff who taught them during their high school years. “Our community, our nation and our world are in good hands.”

Student speaker Trevor Foreman, a graduating senior, shared a story about his mental health struggles, a March 2020 suicide attempt and how his family, his friends and his relationship with God helped him through.

“Getting back on my feet was hard,” he said. “It wasn’t on my own strength, it was the strength of Christ.”

Foreman said that, no matter what someone believes, the selflessness of Jesus is something that all can model themselves after.

“Please seek for your worth in Christ, not yourselves and certainly not in others,” Foreman said. “I love you all, and congratulations friends.”

Foreman graduated with a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 and was selected for the Worthy Student Scholarship.

Christian Poole, the final student speaker of the ceremony, called his friends and those who helped him through the years out by name. Poole was born and raised in Bozeman and said that, if given the time, he could probably tell a story about every graduating senior.

“Even though this town has grown rapidly in the past few years, our community remains rather close altogether,” Poole said. “Especially the senior class of 2021. It’s almost like we made ourselves a little bit of a family over here, that’s roughly about 500 people, so it’s a little big but it still works.”

Poole opened his speech with a Mike Check — he asked every person in the audience named Michael to stand.

As Principal Dan Mills noted, this year is the final year that almost all seniors graduating in Bozeman will be graduating from the same school. Next year, the new Gallatin High School will be seeing its first year of senior graduates, though a handful of juniors graduated early from GHS in a Saturday ceremony.

Student body president Annie Battle and vice president Ava Rosenzweig did the morning announcements at BHS all year. The duo often opened the announcements with a “bad joke,” they said, but had a good one for the graduation ceremony: what faculty member was friends with all the students? The princi-pal.

Graduate Kylee Halpin said it felt unreal to be graduating after a long year-and-a-half of hybrid online and in-person classes, masks and social distancing.

“It’s surreal,” Halpin said. “The second semester was the most normal it’s been and I couldn’t have been more thankful.”

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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