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Members of the Van Buren Class of 2018 express optimism for future

VAN BUREN, Maine — Parents and loved ones crowded in the Van Buren Secondary School gymnasium on June 8 to celebrate the Class of 2018’s graduation.

Superintendent Elaine Boulier and Principal Karen DuBois welcomed guests, and father David Cote gave an invocation before senior Lyndsey Lavoie sang the National Anthem.

Lavoie is among the top five in her class, along with Abby Soucy, Danika Deschaine, Kaila Roy, and Emma Lajoie. She also is a member of the National Honor Society, and was chosen as the honor essayist.

Her essay, titled “Carpe Diem,” was a poetic call to live in the present without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

“Time,” she read to the audience. “How fast the time goes. One day you are a child with scraped knees, swinging on the playground, playing in the turtle-shaped sandbox, letting the grains slip between your fingers in the same way that we sleep through life: quickly, but subtly.”

Members of the Van Buren Secondary School’s Class of 2018 sing “Roots” by the Zac Brown Band during their June 8 graduation in the school’s gymnasium. (Christopher Bouchard)

Lavoie told the crowd that time “is turbulent,” and that while no person can control its speed, they can choose to live in the present.

“Think of the present, more than you think of the past and future,” she said, concluding that, “the way you live now will ultimately determine what lays ahead of you. We cannot waste our young lives wishing we were older because one day we will spend our lives wishing we were younger. Live presently. Be thankful. Carpe Diem.”

Salutatorian Danika Deschaine promised to keep her speech short, and began by quoting novelist C.S. Lewis, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

“These words are too true to be left unsaid,” Deschaine said, encouraging her fellow classmates to approach future endeavors with love, to be sure “to love what you do,” and to “do everything only in love for other and yourself.”

She emphasized the importance of listening to “a restless heart,” and that if any graduates find themselves leading a life that has become stagnant, it is ultimately their decision to continue down a monotonous path.

She thanked faculty, teachers, and the class adviser for helping her realize her goals, and her parents for helping her “live my life for God,” adding that a life of faith “is so much more fulfilling — yet sometimes intimidating — than any other thing I can do.” She said that the journey of life is made better with “faith, knowledge, and trust.”

The salutatorian concluded with another C.S. Lewis quote: “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

Valedictorian Abby Soucy thanked teachers, faculty, family, and fellow graduates, and gave some advice about what lies ahead for the Class of 2018.

“On this journey of life,” she said, “be sure to laugh much and smile often, for just a sliver of optimism will always contribute to making the world a brighter and more pleasurable place. Give thanks to those who deserve it the most as a little gratitude will forever go a long way. Most of all, always make your time your own, for time is much too precious and delicate to let it slip away without a fight.”

The valedictorian told her classmates to “look forward” and embrace the successes to come. She concluded by reminding them “never forget to smile.”

Members of the class came together and sang “Roots” by the Zac Brown Band, after which the lights were turned off for a slide show featuring music and several photos, both formal and candid, of the graduating class.

Before handing out diplomas to the 10 graduates present, School Board member Becky Ouellette gave a special diploma to the parents of graduate Neil Morneault, who could not attend because he enlisted in the United States Air Force before his official graduation date.

Once the students received their diplomas, they threw their caps in the air as, “They Lived,” by One Republic played over the gymnasium loudspeakers during the recessional.

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