SALEM – The Mt. Abram High School Class of 2003 took the final step toward receiving their high school diplomas Friday, as 68 seniors received graduation diplomas.

“It’s about time,” said class salutatorian Jenna Raden about the momentous occasion in her graduation speech. “It seems like we’ve been waiting for this day since we walked through the door.”

Raden said the class motto, “lackadaisical,” personified her peers.

“We’re a class of incredibly unique people,” she said. “We weren’t and aren’t interested in conforming.”

She said classmates always gave her something to laugh about and knew the true meaning of the word “fun.”

“We know how to have fun, and more importantly, how to make our own fun,” she said. “Over the years, there hasn’t been a time that I haven’t found something about my classmates to smile about.

“Celebrate your future and the new independent steps you will be taking,” Raden implored classmates.

One of the most emotional moments of the evening occurred when Principal Jeanne Tucker presented a diploma to Matthew John Thibeau, “a fine young man who has brought tremendous inspiration to us all.” Thibeau overcame myriad physical and mental challenges, earning his diploma through perseverance in the face of adversity.

Class valedictorian Raechell Luce captivated the enormous audience in the gym by quoting from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.” She noted how the individual in the poem was faced with a fork in the road similar to the choices that her class was about to face.

“Two roads that diverged in a wood,” quoted Luce. “I took the road less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.”

The qualities of the figure at the fork in the road, said Luce, were inherent in the Mt. Abram senior class. “Frost selected the one he says is less traveled,” she noted. “He is an individual, unique and courageous.”

She urged the class to make bold, innovative decisions in life and concluded by quoting from a speech given by her sister, who graduated from Mt. Abram in 1993. “And of all the maxims, never give up,” she said.

After the seniors received their diplomas from SAD 58 Superintendent Quenten Clark, and after a video presentation displaying the members of the class at various junctures of their lives, Jared and Adam Dyar provided a concluding speech that summed up their past, present and future experiences.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime occasion,” said Adam Dyar. He spoke of the need for enjoyment of one’s lifetime experiences.

“Don’t make these the best years of your life, or you’ll live to regret it,” he said.

Jared Dyar spoke of the many different directions that members of the class would be taking after they left the gym.

“Just because we’re doing different things does not make any one of us any more intelligent than the other,” he said. “It just means we have chosen different paths.”

The two exuberant seniors then quoted Dr. Martin Luther King: “Free at last! We are free at last!” as classmates roared.

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