Lewiston JROTC cadets carry the colors into the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Friday night at the start of commencement exercises for Lewiston High School’s Class of 2019. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

LEWISTON — Kayla Berry is one of those rare teenagers. When her father offered advice about her schoolwork, Kayla took it to heart.

“I worked my whole life and never really got an education,” said Troy Berry, the dad in question. “I’ve always drilled it in to my kids that education is key in this world.”

Kayla, whose grades were slipping in her first years at Lewiston High School, grabbed hold of her father’s advice and ran with it.

“She spent that first year in the bedroom,” her father said. “She went to school, she came home and went right into her bedroom. There was no TV, no internet, just schoolwork. She had to put in a lot of hard work. She got on a hot streak after that and here we are today.”

Lewiston High School seniors ham it up for the camera as they wait for Friday night’s graduation ceremonies to start at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

Yep, there they were. Troy and his family were standing in line outside the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, along with hundreds of others who came to see their children graduate. Graduation night had come and, as several people pointed out, this was no ordinary class.

In his address, Shawn Michael Chabot, president of the 2019 class, held up a Rubik’s Cube — a symbol, he said, of a very diverse student body coming together as a group.


“Look around you. Look at your classmates and even the people in the audience,” Chabot said. “You see, we weren’t all born here. I see people from different parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada and Mexico. And we weren’t all the same color, shape, size or ethnicity. No, we are all different — and we are supposed to be different.”

Robert Shephard, the class valedictorian best known for meowing like a cat during a speech his freshman year, reminded his classmates that in spite of all their achievements, they are really just beginning to live their lives.

“Over the last four years, we have won soccer championships, hockey championships, cheering championships,” Shepard said. “We have a state-recognized drama program, a nationally ranked mock trial team. We have one of the nine best poets in the whole entire country. We have ‘mathletes’ and animal lovers and comedians and storytellers and artists and athletes and authors and all kinds of incredible people that have done incredible things. But ladies and gentlemen, we have not peaked yet. The Class of 2019 still has a long way to go until we’re done.”

Lewiston High School seniors ham it up for the camera as they wait for Friday night’s graduation ceremonies to start at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

Lewiston High School senior Dido Lumu takes a selfie with Assistant Principal Kristen Crafts before Friday night’s graduation ceremonies at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham

Chabot had his Rubik’s Cube and Shepard his cat’s meow. Tyler Marcox, in his salutatorian address, described their years together as more of a book — a book that is not yet finished.

“Currently we have reached the crucial point in our story and sometimes it can feel as if a chapter is missing,” Marcoux said.

“A chapter that tells us exactly what we will do after we graduate and what exactly is to come ahead. A chapter that gives us all the answers to the many questions we have been asking ourselves in regard to the next steps in our lives. And while it may feel this way, the truth is we have still yet to flip the final page of our current chapter.”


As the students collected their diplomas and prepared to take on their lives after high school, Shepard had a final bit of wisdom for his classmates.

“Envision your future and relish the past, because life is a one-way ticket,” Marcoux said. “There is no going back.”


Who’s Going Where

Community College, 129: 49.6 percent
Four-Year College/University, 72: 27.7 percent
Trade School, 10: 3.8 percent
Military, 4: 1.5 percent
Apprenticeship, 2: 0.8 percent
Gap Year, 14: 5.4 percent
Undecided, 24: 9.2 percent

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