LEWISTON — An even 100 members of Lisbon High School’s Class of 2014 heard words of advice from fellow students, from a favorite teacher and from the governor of Maine during graduation ceremonies Friday evening at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Jennifer-Lynn Clifford, one of five Lisbon High School seniors who graduated with magna cum laude honors, told classmates, “Grit distinguishes the special people.”

In an address titled, “The Universality of Circumstance,” she said, “We are a group of unique individuals.”

With emphasis on each person’s inability to change the life into which they are born, she said, “We can control what we do with it.”

Shantel MacWhinnie, one of the 12 cum laude graduates, said, “Small moments define us. We have all discovered how much we can push ourselves to reaching our goals.”

MacWhinnie advised her classmates to “do the simple things, treat people with respect and never take criticism lightly.”

The two class speakers were chosen by their fellow cum laude graduates.

Class President Jennifer Smith, a cum laude graduate, urged classmates to “take time to remember, follow your heart, be honest and hardworking.”

The commencement speakers were Judy Roy, a popular Lisbon High School French teacher, and Gov. Paul LePage. They were chosen by vote of the seniors.

Roy and LePage used a similar idea expressed in somewhat different ways.

Roy told graduates they should “never settle for mediocrity,” and Gov. LePage said, “Do not be average. Aim for the top.”

Roy told the students she asked other teachers what they would remember most about the Class of 2014.

Among the answers were friendliness, artistic and creative personalities, sense of humor and ability to embrace larger issues.

“I think of you as adults in training,” Roy said, and admonished them to “challenge yourselves to keep doors open for the future.” She added that they should always learn from their mistakes.

“When you know better, do better,” she said. “The road to success is filled with parking spaces. Choose not to take them.”

LePage told of his efforts to overcome rejections from colleges he applied to, with his ultimate acceptance at Husson College. He urged the graduates to “carve out your dreams, set your goals and go get it. Get your piece of the American dream.”


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