17 years ago

   WASHBURN, Maine – Graduates at Washburn District High School turned to one of their own for inspiration in the year leading up to their June 8 graduation festivities.
Graduation is a momentous occasion for most students, with years of class work and activities filling the days, months and years prior to the big day. For Amber Palmer, the past year has also included time spent in doctors’ offices and hospitals and hours of treatment for cancer. The senior didn’t let that get in her way of taking part in class trips, sporting events and daily school life. And because of that, she was recognized by classmates during commencement exercises at the school.

The evening began with Kristen Goupille, the class marshal, leading the Class of 2007 to their seats on stage. Next, Senior Class President Adam Thompson spoke to his friends and classmates.
“We’ve had some wonderful and unexpected times. We have no idea where each of our lives are headed. I hope we all can keep in touch and see each other at reunions,” said Thompson.
Ben Goupille and Jackie Abar took the stage next, presenting appreciation gifts and offering teacher recognition to those who’ve made a difference over the years.
Margo McIntosh, second honor essayist, was thankful for the class trip taken to Scotland and the opportunity to see the land of her ancestors. She also expressed gratitude to a classmate – Palmer – for being a good example and someone to look up to.
“To Amber, the best friend a person could ever have. She showed us how to be the best and see the best, regardless of what life offered. We all learned to appreciate more in the last year,” by following Amber’s example, said McIntosh, fighting back tears as she spoke.
First Honor Essayist Sally Reed spoke of the fear everyone faces at some point in their lives and how to deal with it.
“Whether you like it or not, fear has been with us all since the beginning. And deal with it we must, though the future may be frightful. But fear can be overcome. We’re all pros at having new experiences, embrace the fear,” said Reed.
The salutatorian address was given by Sara Davis. She too recognized Amber as a role model.
“Success is something everyone wants to achieve – something decided by the individual and not society,” said Davis. “Determination describes Amber. Amber continues to fight cancer. Yet no matter how sick she became from chemotherapy, she kept up. She’s the most determined person I know.”
Davis concluded here presentation speaking on the qualities of compassion, leadership and honesty.
Valedictorian Steven Pesut rounded out the speeches, noting how teachers played an important role for him from the beginning, challenging him every step of the way. Because of those challenges, he now prepares to enter college with a semester’s worth of credits already achieved.
This year academic and scholarship awards totaled approximately $91,150 spanning a four-year period.
During a special guest recognition, Drs. Nick and Andrea Pesut, of Crouseville, were joined by Chris Hallett in presenting gifts to the parents and grandmother of Caio Holland, an exchange student from Brazil who also graduated June 8.
Parents were recognized this year by their graduating children, with parents being presented with a flower from their respective child.
Diplomas were presented by Superintendent David Lyon and Principal Robert Doar. Once diplomas were presented, students returned to their seats and were instructed to switch their tassels, signifying they were now graduates. A recessional concluded the evening, with each graduate receiving a small flashlight. With lights turned off in the gym, the Class of 2007 made their way through the facility using their flashlights to see as they made their way to meet loved ones.