AUGUSTA — “The people I found here are friends I know I will talk to after we leave this room.”

That’s what Miranda Kramer, 18, said Monday before Oak Hill High School’s graduation. Ninety-nine students graduated from the Wales school Monday at the Augusta Civic Center in front of hundreds of proud family members and friends.

Kramer, a member of the school’s academic top 10, said she transferred to Oak Hill from nearby Saint Dominic Academy as a freshman. She said her fellow students and the school’s faculty made her transition between schools seamless.

“Oak Hill’s community is so tight-knit,” she said. “Every new student is welcomed in instantly.”

“I am so much more confident,” she added. “I think switching to Oak Hill was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far.”

Kramer plans to attend the University of Maine at Farmington to pursue a degree in history.

Students nervously adjusted their hair, cords and robes before the final march. Teacher Tony Luchini greeted each student and handed the student a journal he or she began writing as a freshman. For some, the journal was cringeworthy; for others, it showed how their goals had morphed and who they have become in four short years.

Sara Moring, 18, said her goals have changed since she began writing in the journal in 2015. When asked what she was surprised to read in the journal, she pointed to a passage that said by 2025 she wanted to be married with one or two kids and employed as a veterinarian or “anything with good pay.”

“Some of it was really stupid,” she said. “It’s crazy how much everything has changed.”

Moring said she plans to attend Central Maine Community College next fall to take prerequisite courses and later transfer to another school with the goal of becoming a sports medicine physician.

During the ceremony, salutatorian Sadie Waterman said during her speech that her classmates are unique and special in a number ways, noting that some are certified nursing assistants, mechanics, artists and athletes. While she referred to her abilities in the classroom as special, she said that she was no more talented than her fellow classmates.

“So while I am giving this speech today due to my own success within the classroom, the real talent here is all of you,” Waterman said. “Because the select few skills that school measures us in — to recall math formulas or meet learning targets or using SparkNotes to finish an essay at 11:30 p.m. on a book, which you never actually read — these should not be the only measure of how talented or smart a person is.

“You each have your own skills and strengths, and those might not have been present inside the classroom, like mine,” she added. “But just because your own strengths might not align with someone else’s, that doesn’t make you any less talented, any less important, any less special.”

Valedictorian James Greenwood delivered an address filled with personal anecdotes about humiliating moments, such as when he spilled dog food at his job or stepped in cheese during lunch as a freshman. He urged his classmates to “stay positive” during adverse moments.

“Hopefully, you will remember to stay positive in the face of adversity, humiliation, exhaustion and spilled dog food,” he said. “I hope you will remember the good that came from high school; and if you remember the bad, I hope that you remember what you learned from those situations too.

“Now let’s go live the lives we’re meant to and eat as much food as we can while we are still young,” he said. “Congratulations, class of 2019!”

Principal Marco Aliberti said the students graduating Monday taught him numerous lessons and he was excited to see what became of the class of 2019.

“I’m just extremely proud and honored to be working such wonderful young people,” he said. “They’re wonderful people and they’re going to go on and do great things.”

 


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