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Harlem High School Releases Graduation Plans


May 13, 2020

Harlem High School

Earlier this month, in a letter mailed out to members of the Harlem High School Senior Class of 2020, Doug Komrosky, Principal, and Bonnie Nesslar, Assistant Principal, shared details about the initial planning for graduation ceremonies. The seniors' big day will be May 17, and the Commencement Ceremony will take place at Harlem High School (HHS) Gymnasium at 1:00 p.m.

Given the guidelines that schools must meet to remain in compliance with Governor Steve Bullock's Reopening Directive, Komrosky and Nesslar engaged in discussion with both Fort Belknap Tribal Health and Blaine County Health Departments as they formulated graduation plans.

Based on that collaboration and in cooperation with district and school administration, class advisors, and staff to ensure safety protocols are followed, Komrosky and Nesslar determined that the high school gym would meet the essential criteria. This venue location will enable school officials to broadcast the ceremony on the same online streaming system that HHS has used for its athletic events. The gym has a National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) camera, and for a small subscription fee, fans can watch all the district games, both home and away, as long as the opponents also have a camera.

Using the NFHS camera, HHS will broadcast graduation on the Internet for no fee to graduates or their families. A link will be provided on Sunday morning.

To preserve social distancing guidelines, high school staff will also be decorating the gym for graduation.

Each student will be allowed to invite two guests to the ceremony. These guests will receive tickets that they will use to enter the gym. The gym will be partitioned off so that each household will have its designated spot, and each household will be seated six feet apart.

While these guests will be arranged on the bleachers on the west side of the gym, the graduating seniors will be seated six feet apart on the east side in front of the bleachers. School officials are asking family members and guests to remain seated at all times while in the gym. A staff member will be taking pictures of the graduates, and these pictures will later be distributed to families.

In addition, HHS has hired Great Falls native Marty Severson, owner of Severson Productions, to project the commencement ceremony in a drive-in environment. Severson Productions is well-known in central Montana as a light, sound, and video production company that provides music and quality video on large LED screens for rodeos, concerts and other popular events.

On Sunday, Severson will set up a 36 x 12 foot screen in the high school parking lot, where additional guests will remain in their cars to watch the graduation ceremony live. Severson's screen will provide a quality picture, as well as technology that will transmit sound through a vehicle's FM radio. School personnel will be on hand in the parking lot to assist with parking.

Komrosky and Nesslar have also ordered banners to hang on the posts along Main Street in Harlem. These will feature a picture and the name of each senior. Additionally, totes setup outside the school will provide a drop-box for any gifts guests wish to give the seniors.

Another community member, Marty Dirden will be providing copies of the actual graduation ceremony on a flash drive for each graduating senior. This device will also include the photos taken during the ceremony.

The HHS administration reminds everyone that any family members coming from outside the state will need to self-quarantine for fourteen days, making advance event-planning essential.

Komrosky emphasized that this is an initial plan that may require some fine tuning as May 17 approaches. "Although this is not the way we wanted to end the school year, I want you all to know that, no matter the circumstances, we are all very proud of each and every one of our graduating seniors," he stated.


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