Central Aroostook High School sends off 30 graduates

2 weeks ago

MARS HILL, Maine — Thirty members of the Central Aroostook High School Class of 2024 received their diplomas during graduation ceremonies Friday night, June 7.

School representatives, family and friends packed the school’s gym for the event, which featured “Pomp and Circumstance” by Wendy Grass on the piano and a musical selection from the Central Aroostook Rock Stars, members of the school band. 

Salutatorian Skylynn Tilley and Valedictorian Kassidy Blackstone congratulated classmates and thanked their families and school staff for their support. 

Though the class couldn’t wait to graduate, now many find themselves shedding tears, Tilley said.

“I hope we don’t forget all the memories we made,” she said. “Secretly, we’re terrified. The world is our playground.”

Blackstone thanked the class for memories shared, and told them they can do anything they set their minds to. What’s really important is to live their own authentic life.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Central Aroostook High School Valedictorian Kassidy Blackstone speaks during graduation on June 7. (Paula Brewer | The Star-Herald)

“As Winnie-the-Pooh said, how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?” she said.

Principal Kay York said the Class of 2024 holds a special place in her heart, as it was the last class she worked with as a first-grade teacher at the Fort Street School. In fact, one student from that class gave her the gift of a turtle, she said.

Since she is retiring at the end of this school year, she is giving him back the turtle, she said, drawing laughter as she presented the creature in its box to Wyatt Allen.

York told the class that success doesn’t always come quickly, but is won with perseverance and resilience.

“All life has to offer will wait for you. Just slow down and enjoy the journey,” she said.

The class received $267,850 in scholarship awards. Most were given on class night but several local presenters delivered the awards during the ceremony.

SAD 42 Superintendent Elaine Boulier asked the class how they had measured their time at Central Aroostook High School. While many might say they measured it by days or weeks, experiences and friendships are the best measures, she said.

The abilities to accept that mistakes happen, to bounce back and to meet challenges will serve them well into the future.

“Life is full of beginnings and endings,” she said. “This is a new chapter as you transition into a new beginning outside of your comfort zone.” 

York, Boulier and school board member Darcy Haines presented diplomas. 

Students had a surprise of their own. As each came up to shake York’s hand, they gave her a small rubber duckie. She lined them up on the podium, quipping afterward that she now had all her ducks in a row.

After the class turned their tassels, the stage erupted in a celebratory shower of confetti as students departed.