LEWISTON – Some unexpected topics with surprisingly appropriate twists were presented by honor part speakers at Edward Little High School’s graduation exercises at the Colisee on Saturday evening.

The theme was bodily functions, and each speaker found a way to deliver a life lesson within the limits of that subject matter.

The large audience laughed and cheered heartily throughout the program and the presentation of diplomas to 276 graduates. A long list of awards announced by ELHS principal James H. Miller III also brought quick bursts of applause for each honor and scholarship recipient.

As Jennifer S. Lever, class president, said as she introduced the first speaker, “While many of you, no doubt, are cringing in your seats at the thought of high school students speaking about bodily functions, I ask you to sit back, relax and enjoy what these five students have to say.”

Though the talks sometimes included a little more detail than some would say they wanted to hear, each was tastefully done.

Kellie M. Parent, fifth honor part, told her classmates, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

She noted that perspiration represents hard work and is an admirable byproduct of honest labor.

She said, “We have been pushing for the past four years and although, at times, we may have felt we had reached our limits, the sweat of our hard work has led us all here today.”

Laughter was the natural human function chosen by Joanna E. H. Cogan, fourth honor part, for her talk.

“Our lives can be like our laughter,” she said. “It just bubbles up. Life can be unplanned, too.”

She told the graduates, “Our lives don’t have to be planned out for every minute of every day of every year. We need to allow spontaneity into our lives.”

She concluded that “finding what we want to do in life should not be something that is forced. It should happen as naturally as laughing and cause us just as much joy.”

The topic of the talk by Kathryn L. Speer, third honor part was urination, and she led the audience from a detailed biological discourse into a comparison of that universal and undeniable urge with similar inevitable urges that come upon people throughout life. She admonished her classmates to heed passions for causes and to follow their call or risk being consumed by regret.

“I’m not supporting a self-centered world,” she said. “Rather, I’m demanding that you recognize true passion.”

Peter M. K. Westcott, salutatorian, talked about his high school years as a kind of educational feast where he consumed all kinds of information, knowledge, insight and wisdom, along with a certain amount of worthless data. It led to his logical analogy of the digestive process in which nourishment is acquired and waste is eliminated.

“This analogy extends further than high school,” he said. “It encompasses life,” he said,” noting that many common sayings of life relate to food, such as “take it with a grain of salt” or “life is like a box of chocolates.”

Adam R. Platz, valedictorian, found relationships between flatulence and the need to “be yourself.”

As he spoke about “one of society’s no-nos,” he pointed out that many acceptable behaviors can be extremely disturbing. He quipped, “One could argue that country music makes an equally unpleasant tone.”

Platz used the bodily function metaphor to encourage his classmates to beware of ways in which society shapes the way people act. He said our culture must always discredit unnecessary proscription of our actions.

The backdrop for the ELHS graduation exercises was as unusual as the bodily functions theme. A 20-foot-tall Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle looked down on the speakers and graduates, but it was in the form of Leonardo DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man – arms and legs flung out. The pose, which DaVinci used to illustrate the concept that measurements of the human body are distributed by nature, was meant to be a reflect the graduation program’s theme.

Principal Miller told the members of the 2004 graduating class, “As you leave the confines of high school, it’s time to recognize that we are no longer your mother and father. We send you off with a bag of tools.”

He urged the graduates to use those tools, wear them out and replace them with new ideas.

“I caution you, though, if you sit and do nothing, nothing will get done.”

Diplomas were presented by Kathy S. Constantive, school board chairwoman, and Barbara J. Eretzian, Auburn superintendent of schools.


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