JAY – Members of the class of 2009 were told to be proud of what they have done and to go forward and challenges themselves by stepping beyond their comfort zones.

“Our message is to never give up or take the easy way out,” Salutatorian Liz LeBlanc said.

The 43 seniors opened their commencement ceremony saluting the flag.

They wore blue ribbons in memory of a former classmates, Carley Pomerleau who died at age 15 after a long illness in 2005.

Pomerleau had myopathy, which caused weak muscles, and spurred scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, and she developed an unknown muscular dystrophy. She spent many of her nights in a portable lung as the illness worsened to help her expel poisonous carbon dioxide from her fragile body.

They remembered Pomerleau’s strength throughout it all and how she fought for life and that inspired them to do their best and never give up. Pomerleau always was thinking of others and with the help of her family, friends and others, she established “Gifts from the Heart” to help children with critical illnesses endure hospital stays.

LeBlanc spoke of setbacks seniors have had along their way and how they encouraged them to do better.

“These setbacks only pushed us to work harder each day,” LeBlanc said.

The graduating class sat beneath their class motto “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” by Lao-tzu, that hung on the gymnasium wall.

They took a major step forward Sunday as they said goodbye to their childhood years and hello to the rest of their lives

Graduating seniors Danielle Walsh and Megan Wolf sang “I’ll Always Be back” by Kayla Maurais with Wolf playing the piano.

Valedictorian Katie Hall wished her classmates good luck and thanked them, their teachers, parents and friends for helping them succeed.

Principal Joseph Moore recognized Jake Couture for never missing a day of school since he began in kindergarten, before he announced thousands of dollars in scholarships for graduates.

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