LEWISTON — Isho Mohamed and a dozen of her classmates danced in the aisles, their white gowns whipping every which way.

On the other side of the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, the boys were whooping, hollering and throwing high-fives.

There were even celebrations outside the building as a line for the event snaked into the parking lot. There were times when the Lewiston High School 2018 graduation felt more like a rock concert than an academic affair.

And who could blame them? For those donning caps and gowns Friday night, this was the moment they had been waiting for.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Carian Carney. “It feels great. I can’t wait to finally have my high school diploma.”

At 20, Carney had a couple of years on most of his classmates. That’s because he had originally been set to graduate in 2016 after moving to Lewiston from Florida.

“The transition was a little hard,” Carney said. “I decided to drop out and work full-time so I could afford my apartment. I always knew I’d come back for my diploma, though.”

When Kaitlyn Reny was a freshman, the school was going through changes in the way credits are handed out. At the time, it seemed like graduation was a long way off.

“I’ve been waiting for this a long time,” Reny said Friday night, minutes before marching with her classmates.

Now that she had made it, Reny said, she had plans. Lots of plans. First, a summertime gig as a camp counselor in Limestone. After that, she’s off to the Maine Maritime Academy to study marine biology.

When the LHS graduated its 2018 class, 235 young men and women were handed diplomas. Of them, nearly 200 said they planned to pursue higher education while only 30 reported that they had not yet decided how to live their lives.

The graduates celebrated the moment Friday night, for sure, but most also had the uncertain future on their minds.

“For those of you who think you don’t have it figured out, you are wrong,” Class President Matthew Hird advised them. “You do. You live your life exactly how you want to. You live your life to the fullest in every moment. Follow your dreams. No matter how big or how small your dreams are, you follow them.”

“Each and every one of us is moving on to a chapter in our lives where there will not be anyone telling us what to do,” said Co-valedictorian Brooke Smiley. “We must decide for ourselves what we want to major in, where we want to work, where we want to go, what our overall objectives are. We must use these changes to define who we are; we must take our own path to discover our identity. Life is full of surprises and the changes brought by these surprises is what makes life interesting.”

For Carney, taking a year off and then coming back to get his diploma didn’t turn out to be a mistake.

“My first senior year, I was so stressed. Everything seemed so hard,” he said. “When I came back, I had a different perspective on things and everything was simple.”

More than 200 young people were given diplomas Friday night, but so was one man who has been around for a lot more than four years: David Bowie, who became a teacher at the school in 1968, was presented with an honorary diploma.

Bowie, said school Principal Jake Langlais, “has been a cornerstone in the foundation of LHS for 50 years. I hope to keep him for as long as he’s willing to remain.”

Hird, the class president, urged his classmates to proceed with passion and open minds. He also said they should never forget from where they had come.

“Whatever your life has planned for you,” he said, “never forget your roots. You are all forever Lewiston High School alumni and Blue Devils in your heart.”

LHS Class of 2018 Facts:

  • Number of Graduates: 235
  • Number attending higher education: 198
  • Number going to a 4-year college: 81
  • Number going to a 2-year college: 112
  • Number going to prep school: 1
  • Number going to the military: 4
  • Number going directly to the workforce: 3
  • Number undecided: 30
  • Number of exchange students: 4
  • Recessional Song: “The Show Goes On” by Lupe Fiasco

Source: Assistant Principal Jay Dufour


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