A certain future in an uncertain time

Miriam Campan
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
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Hanna Matovich

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Kinsey Warner

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Rachael Stevenson

For 2020 Central Montana graduates-to-be, the end of senior year has presented unforeseen challenges. However, like the three seniors presented here, most have been able to persevere in the face of unknowns related to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Grass Range graduate Hanna Matovich
“It’s been very difficult for me,” said 2020 Grass Range Valedictorian Hanna Matovich.
She was referring to finishing her last weeks as a senior with on-line studies, and not being in close proximity to teachers, school peers and her large extended family.
Matovich hadn’t planned on being the 2020 graduating class valedictorian.
She said, “I really wasn’t trying to get valedictorian. I just put a lot of work into school and always turned in my homework.”
Getting in homework and keeping pace with the demands of online learning during the pandemic have been struggles for Matovich. Without cell service and up-to-date technology, problems present themselves for the visual learner.
“Well, I know it’s been very difficult for me because I am more of a hands-on learner, and having to do it all by myself is difficult,” Matovich said.
She added, “I kind of miss going to school. Not doing all the homework, but seeing all of my friends. I’m pretty close to my teachers. When school was in session you could typically find me in a classroom visiting with a teacher.”
 “Having teachers email or text is a lot harder than having teachers explain. I’m a visual and hands-on learner. I like to see what I am supposed to be learning. Math is mostly a challenge.”
Accommodating a very large family is also a task. Every Thanksgiving, Matovich’s large family of 70 or more relatives fills the Grass Range school cafeteria for the feast. For Hanna’s 2020 graduation the number will be greatly diminished.
“With graduation, it is going to be immediate family household only. My older sisters that live in other places will not be able to be here. It will be my parents and me celebrating.”
After the celebration, Matovich’s summer will be a time for self-reflection.
“I want to spend more time with my horses and dogs this summer. I’m actually leaning more towards not going to college,” she said.
In her role as valedictorian, the message she wishes to convey to all graduates is a simple one.
“Do not take anything for granted. I really came to that conclusion myself,” Matovich said.

Hobson school graduate Rachael Stevenson
“May 17 is when our graduation is supposed to be,” said Rachael Stevenson of Hobson School. “I was planning a ceremony. I was going to give a speech. My best friend and I were looking at having a reception, but I just don’t know now.”
Stevenson is planning on attending MSU Bozeman after graduation and majoring in political science and English.

She combines both passions by writing for the website “Lone Conservative,” which calls itself “ a home for young leaders to discuss politics, campus conservatism, and culture.”
Stevenson said, “I write a lot. A year ago I was looking online, was really into politics, and I wanted to get better at writing. I found the ‘Lone Conservative.’ It’s a website for college writers. I write an article for them about once a month. To remain a contributing author, writers must contribute once every three months. I’ve written  nine to 10 articles for them.”
Aside from politics and writing, Stevenson has added barrel racing to her list of interests and achievements.
“I always wanted to rodeo, so in junior high I bought my first barrel racing horse. It took a lot of hard work and dedication to get where I am today. I now compete in barrels, pole bending, breakaway, and team roping at the high school level, and will do barrels and breakaway in college. I hope to start barrel racing in professional rodeos within the next several years. Although it has been disappointing having events canceled during coronavirus, I am grateful that I will get to continue participating in rodeo in the future,” said Stevenson.
As to the prom and other festivities typically associated with high school graduation, Stevenson said, “I wasn’t planning on going to prom. It wasn’t the biggest thing for me. For me it has been sports. I do high school rodeo, and so far they have all been canceled. I’m hoping it will start back up in May.”
In preparation for college and other endeavors Stevenson still has some unfinished business.
She said, “It’s pretty challenging now, having the dedication to stay motivated when you are close to the end. I still have to get letters of recommendations and people to sign documents for college scholarships.”

Kinsey Warner, the only 2020 graduate from Judith Gap
“I’ve been the only one in my class for a while,” said Warner. “It’s not exactly fun. I may never be able to walk the stage.”
As her graduation approaches, her activities are focused on calving and what school to attend next.
“It’s definitely very crazy and very hectic because we are almost done with calving. That is time consuming, and then there is the school work,” said Warner.
She added, “I do miss being in school. I’m thinking about a graduation ceremony, to walk on the stage. When things are more settled down, my family will have a celebration, as many of my family members come from different states.”
During the upcoming summer Warner plans to work for her dad, prepare for college and make meals.
“I’m thinking about University of Montana, but Bozeman too. I checking out the professors and, of course, there is the tuition price also.”
During any scrounged free time, Warner can be found in the kitchen and would like a special graduation gift.
“I’d like cooking supplies and all that jazz, because I really like to cook. I’m pretty good at making things out of nothing.”

Commonalities among 2020 high school graduates
As is true for many of this year’s Central Montana seniors, all three accommodated virtual classrooms and isolation, and are taking in stride their unique graduation experiences. Through it all they have displayed perseverance, and the ability to look forward and make their own futures no matter what life throws at them.