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Montana State University celebrates spring commencement

Posted at 8:39 AM, May 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-12 10:39:15-04

BOZEMAN — In 2020, most high school students graduated sitting six feet apart and wearing face masks. Luckily, four years later their college graduation looked much different.

“Definitely would say the college experience kinda had nowhere to go but up from the fall of 2020,” says Hans Skovlin.

Hans is from Missoula and graduated from Hellgate High School in 2020 when COVID was at its peak. I asked him how his high school graduation was.

“Well, we were all masked up and it was just, you know, people were pretty cautious still. I had friends that didn't go which was too bad,” says Hans.

Hans was one of the lucky COVID seniors who got any sort of graduation. Hayden Owen tells me at his high school graduation?

“We had some sort of a parade but it wasn't really a real graduation,” says Owens.

And Heidi Knebel tells me, “My high school graduation was outside, none of our families were there.”

Which was devastating to these students in 2020, but four years later has made their college graduation even more special.

“It’s just nice to be able to celebrate with family and have everyone come in and support us,” says Heidi.

These graduates tell me, the biggest difference between graduating during COVID and today’s ceremony is being able to wave to their families as they walk across the stage.

“It's a super cool experience to be here. All the friends, all the family. You know, it's something we didn’t really get in 2020,” says Owens.

And as for Hans Skovlin, who is a 3rd generation Bobcat and just graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in history, as well as commissioning as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force—I asked him what it means to have this graduation.

“It means the world. I can’t believe four years has flown by, but I feel like I've earned it and I think all of my peers have too,” says Hans.