LEWISTON — “Now is the time to make your wishes known,” Leavitt Area High School valedictorian and class president Shelby Cronkhite told her classmates at Sunday’s graduation exercises at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée.

The 131 graduates of Leavitt Area High School, which represents the towns of Greene, Leeds and Turner, wore graduation gowns of green and white. While temperatures reached 90-plus degrees outside, the Colisée was a comfortable venue for the large crowd of friends and family members.

Crockhite’s valedictory address emphasized the importance of passion. She urged the Class of 2017 to focus on what is happening in the present and to “use your open mind.”

She commented on the enthusiasm for a future in teaching that she has seen in her friend and fellow graduate, Emily Thibodeau. She also noted that classmate Joseph Bussiere has discovered a passion for leadership in his Boy Scouts of America membership and its associated contributions to community.

“I could have chosen to speak about any one of you,” she told her fellow graduates.

She emphasized that it’s important for each of them to discover and follow their own passions.

Crockhite recalled that, in the fourth grade, she had declared a passion for helping people. She has held onto that goal, she said, and is about to enter medical school.

“I am ready to start the marathon that is my career,” the valedictorian said.

Among honors given to Crockhite are a language award for Spanish, the Principal’s Award, the Austin S. Kibbee Science Award, and the Leavitt Trustees Social Studies Award, also given to graduate Averi Varney.

In his opening remarks, Leavitt Area High School Principal Eben H. Shaw said this high school graduation should be seen by the young men and women as “a specific point in a longer journey,” which is “one of life’s most important landmarks.”

“You will be going from what is comfortable and familiar to the new and unknown,” he said.

Class Salutatorian Allie Nutting echoed some of the principal’s themes.

“This graduation is the beginning of your story,” she said, adding that the experiences leading to this day have helped them learn that “we can take what life throws at us.”

Nutting, recipient of the Leavitt Trustees English Department Award, also described the high school years as being similar to a rehearsal for a performance.

“You have the rest of your life to have a great show,” she said.

Brooke Laliberte, delivering the honor essay, said some of the high school experience has seemed like “controlled chaos,” but it has all been “incredibly rewarding.”

“We survived,” Molly McCormick told her classmates in her honor oration. “And more importantly, we thrived.”

She told the graduates that they are now at a point that’s “filled with endless opportunities.”

McCormick said she is confident that the competitive spirit of Leavitt’s Class of 2017 will serve them well.

The Leavitt Concert Band played “Drums of the Saamis” by Samuel R. Hazo, as well as the processional and recessional music.

The Leavitt Choir and Hornets in Harmony performed the National Anthem, as well as “100 Years” by Five for Fighting.

Shaw presented numerous scholarships and other awards to Leavitt graduates. The graduation program also included a long list of awards that were presented at the recent Class Night.

The diplomas were presented by School Administrative District 52 Superintendent Kimberly Brandt.


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