Graduates march into the Leavitt Area High School graduation at the Colisee in Lewiston on Sunday afternoon. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

LEWISTON — Madison Smart, one of 144 members of the Leavitt Area High School Class of 2019, knows a lot about being the new kid.

Nathan Nardone gets some friendly advice from Jacob Blais, right, to not screw up the procession before the Leavitt Area High School graduation at the Colisee in Lewiston on Sunday afternoon. Nardone led the procession, he said, because he was happened to be short enough to go first. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

During her honor oration during graduation exercises Sunday afternoon at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, Smart said her family moved frequently during her teenage years, causing her to attend 10 or 11 schools.

“Everybody in Leavitt’s graduating class is about to become the new kid,” Smart said. “Some of you are going to college, or getting a job, going into the military or traveling the world. We’re all entering the world of adulthood together and becoming the new kids in the school of life.”

Smart presented a solution to navigating the anxieties that come with being the new kid: Believe in yourself and take leaps of faith.

“We can’t let the fear of the unknown ruin our lives,” Smart said. “All it takes is one moment of believing in yourself. Disregard all of the ‘what ifs’ and go for it.”

Valedictorian Tamra Benson told her classmates, “Growing up is such a beautiful, terrible, scary, wonderful thing, and I wish it didn’t have to happen so fast.”

She added: “Our real successes in life are the ones that go unnoticed. They’re the times we wanted to give up but didn’t. The times we struggled but fought through it. The times we overcame senioritis. In the end, you made it. You should all be proud of yourselves.”

Salutatorian Danielle Allaire urged her fellow graduates to “live in the moment.”

“We can’t solve the problem of time flying by,” Allaire said. “There’s no way to slow down time. We should make memories in the moment we’re living in. We shouldn’t fret over the past or worry about the future, but instead, live in the moment.”

Amos Grant, in his honor essay to his classmates, reminded his classmates, “There are a lot of hard things we’ll have to do in life.”

“A lot of people want change,” he said, “but want people to make a change for them. If you aren’t happy with something in life, make the most of your abilities and don’t underestimate yourself.”

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Graduates march into the Leavitt Area High School graduation at the Colisee in Lewiston on Sunday afternoon. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn