MacKenzie Treadwell smiles at Justin Day as the pair march into the Leavitt Area graduation Sunday afternoon at The Colisee in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Leavitt Area High School opened in 1897, thanks to a concerned resident, James Madison Leavitt, who wanted to make a difference in his community.

On Sunday afternoon, Principal Eben Shaw addressed the newest graduates of Leavitt, reminding them of James Leavitt’s contributions and encouraging the 120 members of the Class of 2018 to get involved in their communities and the world.

“To be a part of something larger than yourself, you have to be involved,” Shaw said. “We all have a responsibility to engage positively with our community. We also have a responsibility to encourage others to join.”

Salutatorian Alexandra Ryan urged her fellow graduates to appreciate every moment, rather than always looking ahead, and passed on some advice she received when a high school student.

“Be the person who can make the best out of a Tuesday.” Ryan said.


“Tuesdays are just ordinary days. There’s nothing bad or good about them. It’s your job to make them special,” Ryan added.

“When you’re faced with a lot of obstacles, it’s your job to smile and light a candle in the tunnel. Look around while you’re in there, instead of just focusing on getting to the light at the end of it.”

Honor essay presenter Seth Ramser shared with his classmates his mother’s “you’re not special lessons,” and reflected that even though they were hard lessons to learn at the time, he has grown to “see the value in them.”

“In our homes and in our families, we are special,” Ramser said. “But the moment we walk out that door, we need to earn it. Not just by doing what is expected, but by going above and beyond, and considering others as we go.”

Honor oration speaker Chloe Veilleux told her peers to consider a bumblebee whenever they reach hills that seem too high to climb.

“Bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly,” Veilleux said. “But they don’t know that, so they just keep on keeping on, and fly.

“What counts is that every day you try, and you try with your whole heart. So have courage, have faith and astound yourself.”

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