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Katahdin Class of 2021 graduates, and hopes to move on from pandemic

STACYVILLE, Maine — Thirteen high school seniors turned their tassels to graduate officially from Katahdin Middle/High School on Saturday morning, June 5.

The graduation was held in the gymnasium of the school, with recent lifting of COVID-19 restrictions allowing families to gather indoors without worry of social distancing.

Hannah Boone, the class salutatorian, joked about the change of occasion, saying that the only disease students would have to worry about now was “senioritis.”

“It appears as if the only cure is to graduate,” Boone said. “So here we are, standing in solidarity, as we cure this condition once and for all.” 

Boone said that the new curriculum guidelines under COVID-19 were challenging, but that the class managed to overcome them in their final year of high school. 

“We wore masks, but we were never silenced,” she said. “We found creative ways to forge new paths as we learned new ways to cope, learn and succeed.” 

Riley DeTour walks outside after graduating from Katahdin Middle/High School as part of the Class of 2021. (Photo courtesy of Katahdin Middle/High School)

Randy Cyr, a physical therapist and a Katahdin alumnus, was the keynote speaker for the ceremony. He spoke to the students on the theme of how they can live in the present moment, paraphrasing a quote from the TV Show “The Office,” on how they can recognize the “good old days” while still living in them. 

“These four behaviors — perseverance, teamwork, mindfulness and gratitude,” said Cyr. “I tend to use them at different moments in my life, but one thing I’ve found is that they’re present in each of us. In moments I want to remember forever, I’ve learned to tune in to those feelings and recognize the amazing moment I might be in.”

From left, Danielle Libby, Emma McNally and Staci-Lea Anderson walk outside after graduating from Katahdin Middle/High School as part of the class of 2021. (Photo courtesy of Katahdin Middle/High School)

Emma McNally, the senior class vice-president, also spoke of overcoming COVID-19 as one of many memories her and her classmates shared together during their time in the Katahdin school system. 

“We all have a different take, and maybe different perspectives on many memories throughout the year, but I know it’s true that some [memories] we’ll never forget,” McNally said. “We will never forget the things that set us apart.”

McNally also encouraged her fellow students to use those memories as a continued motivational drive to succeed in all their future endeavors. 

“This is only the beginning, and I know that we all have the ability to do great things,” she said. “No matter what path the future takes you on, remember to do what you love and know yourself well enough to love what you’re doing.”

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