Interim school Superintendent Michael Roy kicked off the Bonny Eagle High School graduation ceremony last week with an up-tempo anecdote. As former principal of the middle school, he recalled when the class of 2016, then eighth-graders, had dance parties in the gym during school assemblies.
“With this image in mind,” he told the 241 graduates gathered at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on June 3, “it’s your time to enter the dance of life, which I hope you embrace for all of its opportunities.”
U.S. Sen. Angus King addressed the students in a warm, humorous speech he prefaced as “10 pieces of advice I wish someone had told me when I graduated high school.”
Some of King’s advice was met with applause, but none more so than this: “Don’t type anything into cyberspace you don’t want your grandmother to read on the front page of the Portland Press Herald.”
“It’s a digital tattoo,” King said, that can make or break a job or college application.
Referencing the final track on the Beatles’ album, “Abbey Road,” King told graduates, “The love you get is equal to the love you give.”
So, King concluded, “value your friends and family, and never let them down.”
Class president Lexi Galdo chose a more contemporary musician to quote. In a speech peppered with lyrics by hip-hop artist Drake, Galdo recounted the trials and tribulations of her high school experience and those of her classmates.
“Every day was a new, exciting adventure,” she said of her time at the school, “and I will never forget the special taste acquired from our school water fountains, (or) the words of encouragement scribbled on the bathroom wall.”
Even if the graduates of 2016 leave town and “never speak again,” Galdo said, “you will always have a home. Because home is not a place, but rather a person, or a group of people, such as a class of 2016.”
Valedictorian Desiree Wright broke the mold in more ways than one: she didn’t reference a musician in her speech, and she will not be attending college in the fall.
In her speech, Wright told the story of how she decided to pursue Christian mission work next fall instead of heading straight to college.
Traveling on a missions trip to Guatemala, Wright said, she met a group of young girls whose dedication, passion and hope inspired her.
The trip was “a defining moment in my life,” she said, “a moment I realized I wanted to change these girls’ futures.”
During the course of the evening, the Bonny Eagle Jazz Band played “Chicks Dig It,” and senior Samantha Avery sang “For Good” from the musical Wicked.
Having finally collected their diplomas and turned their tassels, the newest alumni of Bonny Eagle marched out of the arena to a less-traditional, funk-inspired version of “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Bonny Eagle High School seniors gathered at Cross Insurance Arena for graduation ceremonies June 3.
U.S. Sen. Angus King offers advice for Bonny Eagle High School’s class of 2016.
Class Marshall Anthony Cushman offers a high five to a fellow graduate as the Bonny Eagle Class of 2016 recess from their graduation ceremony.
Valedictorian Desiree Wright listens as Representatives of the 127th Maine Legislature read a sentiment honoring her accomplishments. In her speech to the Class of 2016, Wright said “whether you further your education or not, just remember you never stop learning.”
After earning their diplomas, Class of 2016 graduates “turned to their neighbor” to pin the Bonny Eagle alumni pin on their robes.