Caribou High School graduates 102 students
CARIBOU, Maine — The Caribou Performing Arts Center parking lot was packed with vehicles as 102 students capped off their high school careers during the June 9 Caribou High School graduation.
With barely an empty seat in the auditorium, Class President Kyle Boucher welcomed friends and family to the ceremony. He also introduced valedictorian Friedrich Wilcox, who, using a quote from “Winnie-the-Pooh,” urged his fellow classmates to resist the urge to fall into complacent mediocrity.
“Winnie-the-Pooh gave us this great piece of wisdom,” Wilcox said, “‘When you are a bear of very little brain, and you think things, you find sometimes that a thing which seemed very thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.’”
He said that school is primarily designed to help students develop their thinking, not “to cram facts in your head,” adding that “thinking and learning are lifelong engagements.”
“What is now essential,” Wilcox said, “is to further expand your thinking abilities as you experience more of the world and to always guard against irrationality.”
One of the most difficult obstacles in obtaining this goal, according to the valedictorian, is to not give in to common, mainstream assertions and comfortably assimilate into mediocrity.
“Just because someone asserts an idea as the truth doesn’t mean it is so,” he said. “As Einstein said, ‘The important thing is to not stop questioning.’ Sometimes in response to your well-intentioned inquiry, you’ll get that incredulous look of disgust from the person on the other end. But really, I think that odd look of disgust is better than living in partial ignorance. Be unabashedly unafraid to be your own thinker and therefore, your own person.”
He concluded by telling his fellow graduates to follow the words of Pooh and “Think it over, think it under” when confronted with “life in general” or any particular challenges.
“That’s not bad advice for graduating seniors from a bear of very little brain,” Wilcox said.
Guests were then entertained by Caribou High School Senior Chorus, led by Vicki King and accompanied by Amy Hunter, who performed “Only Hope” by Jonathan Foreman.
Following the music, Salutatorian Emily Michaud spoke about the inevitably of change and how to deal with the stress it often brings.
Two years ago, Michaud came to Caribou High School from Limestone after grades 9-12 were discontinued at the facility.
“Going from a class of 12 to 100,” she said of the experience, “CHS felt like a vast ocean, and I was Nemo. But I quickly realized what a great community this was to be a part of.”
Throughout her two years in Caribou, Michaud said she worked hard to maintain good grades while “making friends and memories along the way.”
“Alan Alda once said, ‘You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself,” Michaud said, quoting the actor.
She stressed that while change may be inevitable, the way it’s dealt with is not. Her speech ended with a reminder to her fellow classmates that, at some point, they will all miss their high school days and look back on the experience fondly.
“Whether it was winning winter carnival with our ‘magic points,’ experiencing the win of a state championship, or just a memorable night with friends, this is how we will measure our high school years,” she said. “We will remember it by the friendships we made and the times we shared together. So to all of my classmates, I encourage you to embrace change, be the change, take the world by storm, and be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”