Hodgdon grads bid farewell

HODGDON, Maine — It was a time for smiles, cheers and a few tears as Hodgdon Middle-High School officials bestowed diplomas to the graduates of the Class of 2021.

Unlike last year, which featured an outdoor graduation ceremony, Friday night’s event was close to a normal commencement exercise. The 28 seniors proudly marched into the Hawk’s Nest one last time, as a limited number of family and friends gathered for the event.

Students and their guests were required to wear masks for the ceremony to comply with existing Maine Department of Education protocols.

Superintendent/Principal Stephen Fitzpartick welcomed those in attendance and announced the recipients of the “All-Around Student” awards — Jeremiah Goff and Allison Winship.

“Here, folks, exists our collective future,” Fitzpatrick said. “They are bright lights, one and all. Each in their individual manner comprised talent, character, preserving attitudes and graciousness under stress.

Class Marshall Erin Peters, who was also valedictorian, leads the Hodgdon Class of 2021 into the school’s gym for Friday evening’s commencement. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

Salutatorian Mikyla Howland said that although the senior year was not what they had envisioned growing up, the class made the most of it.

“I remember watching last year’s graduation and thinking ‘I can’t imagine my senior year being like this’ yet, here we are,” Howland said. “There were no more lollipops being handed out in the commons. No more fans cheering at the basketball games. I can confidently say, on behalf of my class, that this wasn’t the senior year we all had hoped for, but we made it through.”

She added the class has the distinction of noting they graduated during a global pandemic, which is something only this year and last year’s classes can say.

First Honor Essayist Emma Drew echoed those sentiments in her speech.

“After witnessing the adaptability of my classmates, and myself over the past year, it is evident that there is nothing that we cannot accomplish,” she said. “It is today that we realize the Class of 2021 can overcome anything. I have no doubt that our class will continue to succeed after graduation, whether it be going off to college, or heading straight into the workforce. We all have very bright futures ahead of us.”

Celebrating the conclusion of their graduation are Hodgdon graduates, from left, Emma Drew, Mikyla Howland and Erin Peters. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

In her valedictorian address, Erin Peters encouraged her peers to be hopeful for what the future has in store.

“Today marks the start of something new for all of us up here,” Peters said. “We are now off into the great unknown of adulthood. But I look with hope to the uncertainty of what lies ahead. I guess I look at our futures with a sense of hope.”

Fitzpatrick was supposed to address the students as the guest speaker, but instead turned the microphone over to his assistant high school principal Tyler Putnam. Earlier in the week, it was revealed that Putnam, an alum of Hodgdon, was leaving the district to become principal at Lewiston High School.

Putnam took the opportunity to thank the student body for making his year memorable and gave an account of how he will recall each member of the senior class, going one by one through the class with a humorous memory.

Earlier in the day, seniors, family and friends embarked on a 1.5-hour motorcade throughout the district, featuring stops in Haynesville and Linneus and New Limerick fire departments.

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