Lyons tells SACS grads not to limit themselves

Barat Qualey, Special to the Pioneer Times, Special to The County
16 years ago
    DYER BROOK, Maine — “Education changes the world” was the message Southern Aroostook Community School’s guest speaker, Susan Lyons delivered at their 2008 graduation ceremony. “This, graduation, it’s not the end; it’s the beginning. This is about your journey ahead,” she added.
With nostalgia in the air on Friday night, June 6, the SACS Class of 2008 took their next step into the future. Surrounded by laughter and light-heartedness, the most commonly heard word that evening was “excited.”
“Graduating is awesome. High school was the time of our lives!” said graduate, Kayla Porter.
Though most graduations have a feeling of sadness, it was plain to see that these students were filled with more than sadness; they were filled with anticipation.
“[Graduation] is awesome, but it’s also awkward, life-changing and scary. It’s weird to know that we’re about to step into the real world.” said classmate Robert Toothaker.
And indeed they are. Taking their final steps through their familiar gymnasium, the graduates sat through commencement, listening to words of encouragement from their principal, Jon Porter, and their fellow graduates. But perhaps the most resonating advice came from their chosen guest speaker, Lyons.
“Congratulations to those of you who excelled academically,” said Lyons, “but to those of you who coasted, remember: our time to impact the world is brief. Don’t waste time. Today, in this room, everyone is equal … Any limits in your mind as to what you can accomplish are just that; limits in your mind. Think big, invest yourself … Your choices now will affect the rest of your life, so always challenge yourself. And keep moving forward because mistakes are the best teachers.”
And the ceremony itself wasn’t without a few trips and mistakes. During the presentations of scholarships, a few graduates stumbled over the stairs, causing fellow graduate, Meghan Ireland, to worry about receiving her diploma first.
“I’m already going to check to make sure the diploma is signed. Now I have to worry about falling or shaking the wrong person’s hand,” she said.
Lighter matters aside, the graduates raised more than $140,000 for themselves in scholarships to further their education; money greatly needed with the cost of college rising. However, whether they’re headed to college, the workforce, or the military, the graduates were instructed by Lyons to “always remember where they came from.”
Now, with their diplomas in hand, the graduating Class of 2008 of Southern Aroostook Community School is ready to take the world by storm.
Also addressing their class were Valedictorian Kimberly Lyons; Salutatorian and Class President Kylie Kennedy; First Honor Essayist Melanie Forest; Second Honor Essayist Kelly Grant and Superintendent Terry Comeau.
Other graduates were Joshua Branscombe, Dennis Casey, Colby Clark, Tawnie Corneil, Daniel Cottle, Samantha Emery, Nick Goodness, Kimberly Grant, Kimberly Heath, Sammantha Hudson, Corey Levesque, Jeremy McNally, Desirae Miclette, David Phillips, Lloyd Phillips Jr., Andrew Sholler, Dylan Stubbs, Alexander Tenore, Garth Townsend and Amy Watson.
Class Marshals were Brittany Charette and Dillion Boulier. Usherettes were Elizabeth Bergan, Jennifer Bustard and Emma Watson, and the Ushers were Darin Flewelling, Stephen Grant and Tyler Robinson. Principal Porter and School Board Chair Gregory Ryan presented diplomas.