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High school students graduate in Missoula

Big Sky Gradutaion
Big Sky Graduation
Posted at 2:15 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 13:08:10-04

MISSOULA — There were only a few drops of rain as the storm grazed the valley to the north.

A delay lasted less than 30 minutes -- and the ceremony started late, a seemingly ironic culmination to an already tumultuous year for the Class of '21.

The 245 graduates of Big Sky High School eventually crossed the stage to receive their hard-earned diplomas.

One happy graduate told us that while this school year was really difficult, she had plenty of support to help get her to this milestone.

"It was just the community, to be honest. I had a lot of friends and they supported me and pushed me to do my best and doing extracurricular activities helped me as well."

Big Sky High School also requested 37 seconds of silence during the ceremony, in honor of late former grizzly football player Jesse Sims.

Almost 300 Hellgate High School students also received their diplomas at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The students had several speeches and a virtual performance by the Hellgate Choir to commemorate the event.

One by one, they walked up to the stage to get their hard-earned diploma making them official graduates of Hellgate High School. We spoke to one parent about what this day means to him.

"I have a son named Antonio Rodriguez, and he's graduating this year. He played football, lacrosse, and he played for the Mavericks baseball team, so I see a big future ahead of him," Orlando Rodriguez said.

And, of course, not to be outdone were the 295 graduates of Sentinel High School. They walked crossed the stage just after 3 p.m. Friday. The Spartan class of 2021 is the largest for Missoula County Public Schools.

Their hard work and flexibility during a difficult year with the pandemic paid off for them as they move beyond their high school careers. It didn't go unnoticed by school officials either.

"These young adults have just been absolutely awesome this year, so it's great to see them be able to celebrate what has been a crazy year, not just for single for everybody," said Sentinel High School principal Ryan Rettig.

"So it's nice to see here, see I'm here with smiles and excited. And it's nice to know that they can have eight more family members this year than last year," he added.

The final 2021 graduating class for Missoula County Public Schools is Seeley-Swan High School -- graduated Sunday.