BUCKFIELD – Passing showers may have soaked the chairs but couldn’t dampen the festive spirit on Saturday as the rains cleared the area about 15 minutes before Buckfield Junior-Senior High School is due to hold a graduation ceremony for the class of 2022.
As Principal George Reuter and other school staff worked quickly to wipe wet seatbacks and mop up puddles from folding chairs, several of the 32 graduating students bustled, talked, huddled in their arms and snapped photos with friends and family before it was time to join the march that would mark the end of their high school years.
Senior Jamie Richardson, a top 10 senior, gave the welcome speech for her class. Richardson said she could sum up her class’s years in school “in something very simple, like eight words. And these words: “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” She said her classmates’ families, friends and teachers “hugs us and held us tight” throughout their school years. “There has never been a time when we haven’t felt your unconditional love.”
Richardson also noted that her class hopes they “leave a permanent mark on our school community.”
Class salute Kayden Haylock remarked that “high school was filled with a lot of memories”. At school, students bonded with teachers, peers and each other, but “the best memories came when we were doing things together”. Haylock remembered the “deep care for each of us” expressed by several teachers at school, and she encouraged her classmates to take every opportunity presented to them to pursue the interests they are passionate about.
In her turn to speak on the podium, valedictorian Olivia Buswell explained how important sacrifice is in life. In a quote from writer Mitch Albom, she read, “Sacrifice is a part of life, it’s meant to be. It’s not something to regret. It is something to aspire to.
However, she says, there has to be a balance between making sacrifices, achieving goals and enjoying life. Everyone has a purpose, Buswell said, and they shouldn’t sacrifice themselves and who they are “supposed to be figuring it out.”
Guest speaker Peter Rinck, CEO of Rinck Advertising in Lewiston, told graduating students that their degree “is a step towards a new kind of learning. Today is a step towards a new type of learning. Learning is super important, because we can’t stop learning… and we never stop learning.
Rinck also told students it was important to “focus on what you’re good at.”
Dirigo High School has 35 graduates in Dixfield