Caitlyn Cyr, center, and Jennifer Violette, left, listen to class speakers in the gym at Lisbon High School during their graduation ceremonies Sunday morning.

LISBON — “This is the final day we’re required to be in this school,” Lisbon High School Class of 2017 President Michael Schlotterbeck said to a round of applause.

“Yeah, it’s okay,” he said in response. “We can clap for that.”

Ninety-one students graduated Sunday from Lisbon High School at an emotional ceremony — which also had a surprise in store. 

Lisbon High School art teacher Jennifer Fox, the keynote speaker, shared a deep, heartfelt story and lesson with her students about her experiences with self esteem and anorexia, and her “critical inner voice.”

She eventually learned that what was holding her back was fear.

Everyone has that voice, and it’s our job to overcome it, she told the students. When it says, “You are not good enough,” you turn around and tell it that you are. 

“We have this critical inner voice, but we are not born with it,” Fox said. “We are born beautifully and wonderfully made and this voice builds up over time.”

When Fox realized it was fear that was driving her negativity, she said it was a huge relief. 

“I hope that when you … hear that critical voice inside, you can listen with the understanding that it is not me, but the fear talking,” she said. “That you can say … ‘I am beautifully and wonderfully made.’ That is my hope for you.”

OneRepublic’s “I Lived” began to play during the end of Fox’s speech. At first, Fox looked confused — then she started dancing to the music, along with another teacher. The graduates all started dancing, one by one, in a graduation flash mob. 

The song lyrics projected Fox’s message to the students:

Hope when you take that jump, you don’t feel the fall … I swear I lived … I did it all.

Class speaker Kipri Steele told her classmates that they’re ready to move on to their next chapter, to “see bigger and better things.”

She thanked her parents and family for their support in getting her to this point, and encouraging her to be “the best person I could be.”

Each graduate then gave a rose to their parents or a close family member to thank them and show their appreciation. 

Class speaker Hayley Wheeler said to the graduates that it is now time to “live for ourselves.”

“As young adults being sent off into the ‘real world,’ I don’t want any of us feeling as if we have already ‘done’ what we need to do to be successful,” Wheeler said. “Much of what we have done here in high school has been determined by others’ wishes for us. We will have to make our own decisions and take responsibility for the consequences.

All I ask of you,” she concluded, “is that you make sure high school isn’t ‘the best years of your life.’ Because we are not done — we have only just begun.” 

Lisbon High School senior Tyler Halls peers over the shoulder of his classmate, Nick Lerette as he twirls his SADD cord while they patiently wait to march into the school’s gym for Sunday’s commencement exercises. SADD stands for Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Students line up for the Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

A student shows off a decorated mortarboard at the Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

A graduate shows off a decorated mortarboard at the Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

Caitlyn Cyr, center, and Jennifer Violette, left, listen to class speakers in the gym at Lisbon High School during their graduation ceremonies Sunday morning. 

Graduates listen to class speakers at the Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

Lisbon High School graduaton ceremonies at the high school Sunday morning.

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