19 seniors graduate from Wisdom High School

2 weeks ago

ST. AGATHA, Maine – Families and guests packed into the Wisdom Middle/High School gymnasium on a rainy Saturday morning for the Class of 2024 graduation ceremony, during which 19 seniors completed high school.

Wisdom Principal Cheryl Hallowell welcomed guests, and encouraged the graduating class to maintain their curiosity as they go out into the world, to step outside of their comfort zones, and to find kindred spirits. 

The ceremony featured four student speeches from graduates Colleen Thamsen, Brooke Franck, Tazz Pelletier, and Lilly Roy.

Thamsen said she was initially at a loss for words when beginning to write her speech, and began by thanking family, friends, and teachers and staff at the school for their help along the way. 

“This milestone is because of everyone here in this gym and the impact you made on our lives,” Thamsen said. “Even if you didn’t realize it.”

Thamsen emphasized the importance of the phrase “trust the process.”

“These three words helped improve me on the field,” she said, “but as the days crept closer to this very moment, the true meaning started to take its form. It’s a big world out there. There will be so many opportunities to seize, choices to make, and ladders to climb.”

When reflecting on high school in the future, Thamsen said it won’t be on the caps and gowns, but on the memories made along the way. 

Franck said the time leading up to graduation went by incredibly fast. She said she was excited to begin high school, even though that experience began amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

ST. AGATHA, Maine — June 8, 2024 — The Wisdom Class of 2024 is pictured here during their Saturday morning graduation ceremony. (Chris Bouchard | St. John Valley Times)

In addition to this challenge, Franck said she was diagnosed with severe spinal stenosis, which could lead to paralysis. But throughout this harrowing time, Franck said family, friends, and the community offered an incredible amount of support.

“After two surgeries, a whole lot of hardware placed into my spine, and both my parents and my surgeon Dr. Feldman losing some years of their lives, I was in recovery,” Franck said. “After missing school for a couple months, I had the amazing support of teachings helping me with school work and my classmates making it feel like I never left.”

Franck said that, even after subsequent surgeries, her peers and community were always supportive.

“I leave this school with many great laughs, cries, celebrations and confidence that despite any life challenges I can push through and make the best out of them,” Franck said.

Pelletier congratulated his fellow classmates on making it to graduation, a feat that he said requires time management and organizational skills as well as critical thinking skills.

Instead of bringing up positive memories, Pelletier shared some of their “lowest moments,” to examine the lessons learned from them. He shared one example of throwing cheese at the wall, making a teacher cry, and another example of someone accidentally breaking a pen and splattering it on someone else’s pants.

ST. AGATHA, Maine — June 8, 2024 — Wisdom senior Tazz Pelletier is pictured here speaking during the Class of 2024 graduation ceremony on Saturday morning. (Chris Bouchard | St. John Valley Times)

“Both of these experiences showed us that thinking past the current moment and into the future impacts of our actions is important,” he said.

Pelletier said these experiences ultimately taught them that life is not fair, and that he is grateful to have learned this lesson early in life. He concluded by telling his peers to continue persevering through victories and defeats in life.

“I honestly think that victory awaits every single one of us if we keep pushing forward,” he said.

Roy said that while everyone in class wanted to grow up, graduation day marks the first day of that wish becoming a reality.

“We grew up overcoming unforeseen difficulties,” she said. “We went through all sorts of ups and downs. We grew up with dreams and disappointments, difficulties and successes, tears and laughter. We grew up waiting for this day.”

She reflected on how quickly high school, and particularly senior year, passed.

“Years of waiting for this very moment turned into months, and then weeks, and then days,” Roy said. “And here we are.”

She said she is grateful for teachers and coaches for pushing her and helping her grow, to parents and grandparents for being role models and supportive, and to the class of 2024 for all of the memories.

“The best is yet to come for all of you,” she said.