Old Town High School honors graduates of historic 2021 class
OLD TOWN, Maine — In a near-normal ceremony, Old Town High School honored and graduated more than 100 students Friday night.
The ceremony, held in the school’s gymnasium, was almost like any other year’s graduation, except for facemasks being required for all 121 graduating seniors and their families. The majority of the class had some form of honors for their academic achievements.
Across the country, the Class of 2021 didn’t have it easy. Many marked the end of their junior year with the first round of remote education after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest graduation is at least the 134th, dating back to 1887 for the school, Principal Scott Gordon said.
In his opening remarks, Gordon said the class of 2021 has accumulated more than $2 million in college scholarships altogether as they look toward the start of their next chapters.
“This speaks directly to the caliber of student that this high school turns out today, and has for over a century,” Gordon said. “Tonight we proudly unleash the Class of 2021 into the world — a talented group of young people.”
Salutatorian Cassie Harris reflected, in her speech to the graduating class, how important it is to find something you love in life and do it.
“We all have different passions that will lead us in separate directions, and I’m excited to see where they lead us,” Harris said.
Class valedictorian Nicholas Higgins said to his class, they need to remember how special this time was, despite the challenges, but also acknowledge, this time is over.
“What makes high school so precious is that it doesn’t last forever. If it did it would not be special,” Higgins said.
Matthew Preble, the class’ choice speaker, said he doesn’t like to use the expression that life is like a book, instead, he looks at it more like a river — calm and peaceful, then suddenly wrapping around rapids and obstacles.
Preble used the analogy to reflect on the Class of 2021’s junior and senior years, marked by the global pandemic.
“When we expected junior year to be rough, we had no idea how big the waves would be,” he said. “When we left school Friday the 13 of March 2020, we expected to return the next week for classes. Riding in our boat, we hit the worst waves of them all and almost sank.”
Although his class faced dramatic changes and challenges imposed by COVID-19, the vast ocean of the future is in view, Preble said.
“While we quickly navigated the uncharted waters of our senior year, like all rivers, ours has finally reached the ocean,” he said.