LIVERMORE FALLS — The 96 graduating seniors at Spruce Mountain High School gathered Sunday at Griffin Field for a commencement ceremony that resembled drive-in movie theater.

“It’s a little different, but still exciting,” senior Scott Jackson said.

“I kind of like this style,” said Christine Fournier, who was there to see her daughter, Acacia, graduate.

In his speech, class salutatorian Levi Hawkins said he felt a bit awkward and out of his element.

“I don’t like being in the spotlight, but here I am,” he said. “Excuse me if I’m a little self-conscious about wearing this bathrobe. Well, the day has finally come. We’re graduating. I wish I could turn back the clock and do it all over again.’

Hawkins continued: “The thing is, life isn’t about looking back. It’s a journey in which we look forward to a future that’s even better. We live in troubled times, times when racism, disease and division run rampant. It is likely that in the future, we will be referred to as “the Corona Class,” or something along those lines. This uniqueness presents us with an opportunity to model to future generations what to do under pressure.”

Valedictorian Abigail Thurston spoke of setting schedules over the past four years.

“Graduation marks the end of this chapter of our lives,” she said, “and after today, we are left with a blank canvas ahead of us. We are left to reevaluate what time means to us. We are choosing where we go from here.

“Our class has more obstacles than most in our current situation. All of our future plans are up in the air, and we don’t know how or when they will come to fruition. Time seems to move slowly, but in the same instance, these months have come and gone in an instant. We cannot stop time. We cannot skip ahead or travel back to moments we wish we could change. We can only move forward.

“We persevered to earn our graduation in our own right, and we will continue preserving long after these moments. I have faith in our strength as a class, and I have faith in us all as individuals. The beautiful thing about time is that it is always moving forward. We may feel stuck right now, but the passage of time will accelerate us forward into new experiences, new opportunities and, eventually, into a better place.”

Before leading graduates in the turning of their tassels, Melissa Bamford, the class president, said: “The planning for today has definitely been a different experience. This entire school year has been full of a wild turn of events. But we have made it. Finally.”

Bamford said a lyric from country singer George Strait has gotten through the past four years. That lyric: “I’m not here for a long time. I’m here for a good time.”

“We didn’t get a long time this year but we definitely have had some good times over the past four,” Bamford said. “It’s sad but true to say that realizations truly always come from bad circumstances and 2020 showed us that.

“Live every day to the fullest, take that extra picture with your favorite people and always be ready for an adventure because those are memories you will have to hold on to.”

Following the ceremony, an 11-minute parade of graduates made its way through Livermore Falls, toward the high school in Jay.

Firefighters from Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls and Fayette and police officers from Jay and Livermore Falls took part in the procession.

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