Easton High School graduates say goodbye to start new adventures
EASTON, Maine — The 18 graduates of the Easton High School Class of 2021 made one final promenade together on Friday night. Marching the traditional step and stop “Pomp and Circumstance” beat into the school gymnasium, the high school seniors marked the end of a shared educational journey.
“After tonight many of us will be starting new journeys and stories of everything that happened here will be memories,” First Honor Essayist Rachel Wipperman said. “Years from now we will watch our own children go through what we went through. The constant cycle of both pain and joy, grief and happiness.”
In a ceremony attended by family, friends and others at home who were live streaming the event, the graduates were given tidbits of advice, “Be wise in your decisions, be brave, be responsible with your choices, there is always a brighter future even when the present might seem dark.”
There were thank you messages to teachers, fellow classmates and family. And most speakers talked about surviving senior year during the pandemic.
“It’s been a tough year full of masks and quarantines and social distancing and yet here we are. We made it through and it’s been a fun ride full of good times and memories that will be cherished forever,” Senior Class President Paul Bonner said to open the graduation ceremony. “We can make it through this, we can do anything.”
A big part of the graduation ceremony included a host of student awards and a lengthy list of scholarship awards, surpassing $100,000 for some students.
Senior class valedictorian Kaitlyn Hurley was awarded hundreds of thousands in college scholarships, including one scholarship alone for $65,770 renewable for four years, totaling $263,080. Many other graduates also received substantial scholarships including Savannah Guess, with more than $100,000, Paul Bonner, more than $55,000 and several topping $25,000.
During the event, Hurley shared with classmates that it’s important to take time to appreciate the people in each person’s life.
Hurley, a member of the National Honor Society for two years and the current NHS vice president, has maintained honor roll status throughout high school. Hurley plans to attend Colby College where she will study psychology.
Because she likes to read, Hurley organized her speech as if it were a book. And in each chapter, she shared her thoughts on life.
“Be kind to others and to yourself, it’s OK to be afraid, but don’t let fear hold you back, whatever it is you set out to do, know that you don’t have to face it alone,” she said.
Following graduation, Easton High School seniors will travel different paths, some off to college, some ready to enter the military, some will attend trade school and others are ready to enter the workforce.
“Tonight is the first night of the rest of our lives, your life is not defined by grades you got in high school or the homework you didn’t decide to do, or your extracurriculars, ” Salutatorian Mitchell Flewelling said. “Your life is defined by you and what you want it to be. Don’t let the times of high school be the last times you have, get out there and make the most out of life because you only have one.
“Like a book, this story must come to an end. However, rather than being sad for what is over, I encourage everyone to look to the future,” he continued. “The end of this story doesn’t mean it’s time to stop reading. It just means that it is time to open a new book.”