JAY — Family and friends gathered Sunday afternoon for graduation exercises at Spruce Mountain High School.

Led into the gymnasium by Class Marshals Zoe Collins and Gunnar Higgins, the 83 seniors were welcomed by Principal Thomas Plourde.

“This is your day,” Plourde told the graduating class. “We commemorate the road you have traveled. It started with tentative steps but has taken you to remarkable heights.” 

Salutatorian Amber Delaney said, “We did not walk this journey alone.” She noted the little things she will remember: bus rides, long nights and juggling circles.

Delaney said high school is about growing up and beginning to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. You get out of it what you put into it, she said.

“We are ready to move on to the next leg of the journey. Do so with optimism and excitement because we are the future,” Delaney said.

Guest speaker Heather Ahern-Huish, chosen by the senior class, took a moment to recognize her mentor, Susan St. Pierre, who is retiring.

Ahern-Huish noted that this is the first fully integrated class to graduate from Spruce Mountain since Jay and Livermore Falls high schools consolidated.

“Our new high school’s spirit and cohesiveness is at an all-time high, and you have been the role models leading the way,” Ahern-Huish told the senior class.

No man is an island, she said. “All of us need our team of humans to help when we fall down. Phoenix, figure out who your team is made up of. Know yourself and trust yourself.” 

Valedictorian Liesel Krout said life is too short to waste.

“Don’t dwell on past mistakes, but really live and make the most of the time you have on this Earth. Above all else, love,” Krout said.

Class President Trevor Judd compared his class to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that fits together as a whole. “Rather than a Jay kid or a Livermore Falls kid, we were and are Spruce Mountain scholars,” he said.

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