Senior Emily Hanscom speaks to classmates at the Telstar High School graduation Friday night.

BETHEL — The 45 members of the Class of 2019 at Telstar High School got some advice from staff, students and the top two scholars at Friday night’s Commencement.

Principal Mark Kenney opened the special night with some praise for the students.

“We are all so proud of your efforts and individuality,” Kenney said. “This is a very special moment in the lives of these young adults, and one that in the last 24 hours has finally started to become all too real.”

Class member Georgia Piawlock followed Kenney’s opening remarks by  singing the national anthem. Piawlock also offered a message to graduates, alongside classmate Hannah Evans.

Top scholar Emily Hanscom went with a superhero theme in her speech, touching on the many ways each graduate can make a difference.

“Remember to the let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile,” she said. “Your superpower is who you are. Whatever your superpower is, don’t hide it, embrace it.”

The other top scholar, Emalee Harrington, ended her address with words of encouragement.

“I wish you all the best in the next phase of your life,” she said. “Congratulations and best of luck Class of 2019.”

Chairman of the SAD 44 School Board Marcel Polak and Superintendent Dave Murphy both spoke briefly to the class prior to the presentation of diplomas.

“Class of 2019, I commend you on the many successes and achievements you’ve obtained during your years in the school district,” Murphy said.

“Get out of your comfort zone, do new things, travel and keep learning,” was Polaks advice.

“I am proud of all of us, we’ve all been through so much, whether it’s been together or on our own, and yet here we are,” Evans said.

“Every person here tonight put in a lot of hard work and effort just to be here, school isn’t easy as we all know, but we all persevered through it,” Piawlock said.

Evans and Piawlock are co-class presidents.

Dean of Students John Eliot capped off the 51st graduation, asking for three things from his students:  Never look back, treat everyone with kindness and to “show up at Project Graduation.”

The diplomas were presented by Kenney and Class Advisors John Eliot and Tera Ingraham.

As students received their diplomas, each one gave Kenney a puzzle piece. All the pieces together form a picture of the entire class. Kenney gave students an airless balloon in return.

Instead of exiting to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance, more modern music and students displayed a variety of dance moves as they walked down the aisle.

After Commencement, graduates traveled to the Portland area for Project Graduation activities.

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