Gray-NG graduates told to 'keep your shine'

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PORTLAND — The Gray-New Gloucester High School Class of 2018 was called “the most inclusive” by its principal and told to discover their “personal revolution” by a classmate at graduation ceremonies Saturday.

Principal Theodore Finn, addressing 113 graduates at the Cross Insurance Arena, said they were the most inclusive he had seen in the past 24 years.

Salutatorian Emily Brewer told the class she had a personal revolution to discover herself.

“The fear of letting loved ones down motivated me to be the best possible student,” Brewer said. She said the expectations by others led to her decision to change her academic program goals for what turned out to be best for her.

“We only have one ticket for this ride in life and you are the person who knows better,” she said. “It’s up to you to discover your own personal revolution.” 

Valedictorian Hannah Dawkins talked about her life lessons ahead. She thanked her family and friends and her pets for “not lying.”

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“We are drastically unprepared for what is to come,” Dawkins said. “Transition is difficult … If you haven’t learned to do your own laundry, learn it now” she said to laughter. “Do whatever you want to do in life. I’ve always done things for other people. Now your happiness comes first. Keep your shine. It’s our time to do what you want to do. It’s our time to shine now, Class of 2018.”

Former SAD 15 superintendent, principal and teacher Bruce Beasley was selected by unanimous consent by the class to give the commencement address.

Beasley joined the district when the graduates were fourth-graders and retired when they entered their junior year.

He shared memories of his time with the students, pulling from his pocket a baseball signed by students in 2013 when he delivered the first pitch for a game.

“Graduates, I hope you can excuse your parents and myself, who did not understand you,” he said.

“Be a healthy user of social media and find a way to detox,” said Beasley, citing links of smartphones to depression, anxiety, lack of sleep and the addiction that is greater than cigarettes and alcohol.

“Go with your friend for a walk without your phone,” he said. “Never text and drive, and do great things and always be safe.”

Gray-New Gloucester High School Class President Matthew Cote delivers the farewell address at graduation Saturday. (Ellie Fellers Photo) 

Seniors sign the national anthem at the Gray-New Gloucester High School graduation ceremonies Saturday. (Ellie Fellers photo)

Wearing dark glasses, Gray-New Gloucester graduates leave to the class song, “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire. (Ellie Fellers photo)

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