AUBURN – With a toss of their mortarboards and a standing ovation from faculty and parents, the St. Dominic Regional High School class of 2004 became graduates Friday night.

Seventy-five students crossed the school’s stage to accept their diplomas amid applause and cheers from hundreds of audience members. Held in the high school’s gym, it was the 60th commencement for the Catholic school.

The hour-and-a-half ceremony was filled with jokes and shared bittersweet memories of the class of 2004.

“Could this class, notorious for goofing off, have imagined the growth it would have achieved?” asked graduate Joseph Bissonnette in his valedictory speech.

As has become tradition, Principal Michael Welch paid his own emotional tribute to each of the school’s graduating seniors, providing small insights into each teenager and commenting on the special talents of each – from Mike Goulet’s courage to Meghan O’Neill’s powerful athletic ability and commitment to others. But Welch also honored the class of 2004 as a whole, remarking on the group’s mission to Mississippi, its fund raising for a children’s hospital and the hours the class spent in service to others.

“Memories of you will remain with me for the rest of my life,” he said.

Although it was the 60th commencement for the school, the Friday night ceremony marked the first Maine graduation officiated by Bishop Richard Malone, who took over for retired Bishop Joseph Gerry in March. In his short address, Malone said he was confident the new graduates already knew the most important things in life.

“You’ve learned them here,” he said. “You’ve lived them, and you will take them with you wherever you go.”

St. Dominic Board of Directors Chairman John Emerson also spoke at the commencement, wishing the new graduates health and happiness.

“Come back and visit often,” he said. “At St. Dom’s, you’re always family.”

Rachel Hudson gave the salutatory address and graduate Ramisi Dilley delivered the invocation. The Rev. Paul Labree delivered the benediction.

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