Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School graduates toss their mortarboards into the air during commencement exercises Saturday evening at the Donald Gouin Athletic Complex in Norway.

PARIS — “This class will be missed,” Deb Ladner, secretary at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School’s main office, said at Saturday night’s commencement for 235 graduates.

Principal Ted Moccia agreed, and said in his opening remarks that the Class of 2017 is kind, compassionate, and left the school a better place than they found it.

In his salutatorian speech, Nathaniel McNutt reminded classmates they are a product of their environment, and spoke fondly of the learning environment they had experienced, thanks to the staff of OHCHS.

Valedictorian Zane Dustin cited some influential advice given to the class on their first day as freshmen: take control of their education and make it their own. He urged his classmates to do the same thing with their futures: find their passion and make their own opportunities.

“Taking only chances that present themselves will only get you so far,” he said. “Create opportunities. Don’t wait for someone to tell you that you can.”

Commencement speaker Ryan Soutter echoed the sentiment, telling the graduates about his own rise to the top, and the numerous setbacks along the way.

“Success does not happen by accident,” he said. “You will start at the bottom. You’ll need to sacrifice your time and work hard.”

Soutter graduated from the school in 2000 and is head of sales engineering for Yahoo’s Advertising Creative Technology Organization in the Americas.

The OHCHS class of 2017 was given over $700,000 in scholarships for continuing their education, with graduates seeking higher learning in places like Japan, Brazil, Italy, and all over the U.S.

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Hannah Hartnett, center, reacts to comments by Valedictorian Zane Dustin during commencement exercises for Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School’s Class of 2017 on Saturday evening at the Donald Gouin Athletic Complex in Norway.

Ryan Soutter addresses graduates of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School at their commencement Saturday evening at the Donald Gouin Athletic Complex in Norway.

Graduate Meghan Doherty gestures to a friend in the audience at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School’s commencement exercises Saturday evening at the Donald Gouin Athletic Complex in Norway.

Fayd Karim displays on his mortarboard the path his life has taken since leaving Iraq as a refugee when he was a child. He was among the members of the Class of 2017 at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School who received their diplomas Saturday night at the Donald Gouin Athletic Complex in Norway. 

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School graduates toss their mortarboards into the air during commencement exercises Saturday evening at the Donald Gouin Athletic Complex in Norway.


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