Buckfield Junior-Senior High School graduate Megan Turcotte waves to people lining downtown Buckfield during Saturday’s procession following commencement. Emit Hoyt is driving. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

BUCKFIELD — Car horns, applause and cheers filled the air at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School as its 32 seniors were honored at their graduation ceremony Saturday afternoon.

The graduation was held outside with social distancing practices to ensure that no more than 50 participants were in proximity to each other at any one time. Family members remained in their vehicles at assigned spaces and were called to greet their seniors for celebratory hugs and photographs as each received their diplomas.

Larry Thornton, longtime varsity soccer and baseball coach, made greeting remarks, singling out several instances when he saw moments of greatness emerge from different students fulfilling their passions, be it athletically, scholastically or through personal perseverance.

“Strive for greatness,” Thornton encouraged the students. “Whatever you are most passionate about in life, whatever it may be, strive to be great at it … no one in this world will ever fault you for trying to be great.”

“I have found a group of people that I will never forget,” said salutatorian Josephine Replogle, who transferred to Buckfield two years ago from California where her former school numbered more than 1,000 students. “Although I haven’t been here long I have learned several important lessons from you, of loyalty, strength and dedication.

“We did it. We survived and graduated during a pandemic. We are 32 of 3.7 million people who can say that.”

Michelle Bourget celebrates after her daughter, Molly Bourget, graduated from Buckfield Junior-Senior High School on Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Valedictorian Jessica Doucette took time to thank various Buckfield educators for their role in her high school career before touching on the difficulties people face that students in rural communities are not exposed to.

“It was daunting for me to think about my speech,” she said. “Especially with everything that’s going on, it seemed like an impossible task. With the protests sweeping the nation following the tragic death of George Floyd. I thought about the … Turner senior who lost her life the week before graduation. I thought about the 100 Mainers, 120,000 Americans and 400,000 people across the world who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

“My heart is breaking … as people across the country and the globe suffer from injustices and tribulations that I never even have to think about. As I prepared for this speech I thought it would be unjust for me to talk about anything without addressing these tragedies and how privileged I am and we are to be so distanced from these things. I realized that I have to do better.”

Doucette thanked her classmates for the gift of reflecting on years of her memories with them. She noted that as a class, all had chosen to fill the space of things they’ve lost over the past several weeks with compassion, understanding and love for one another.

“This group has had to display incredible resilience,” said Buckfield Principal George Reuter in a statement before the graduation. “They have done a terrific job working together, supporting each other through the difficult times, and focusing on their post-graduation plans.

“They have been dreaming about their futures and developing their long-range plans for much longer than they have been dealing with COVID-19, and there is nothing that is going to stop them from achieving their dreams.”

Saige Collette gets a hug from her mother, Courtney Collette, after receiving her high school diploma Saturday at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Buckfield Junior-Senior High School seniors walk to their seats Saturday during the commencement ceremony processional. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Cheyanne Goroshin performs Saturday during the Buckfield Junior-Senior High School commencement ceremony. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Chairs were spaced with social distance in mind for Buckfield Junior-Senior High School’s graduation Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Buckfield Junior-Senior High School graduate Noah Forget gets a hug from his mother, Kerrie Forget, after receiving his high school diploma Saturday during the commencement ceremony. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Emit Hoyt pulls away after dropping his girlfriend, Megan Turcotte, off to graduate from Buckfield Junior-Senior High School on Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Kathryn Henderson celebrates Saturday after receiving her high school diploma from Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Sadie Gilbert and the rest of the Buckfield Junior-Senior High School Class of 2020 wore masks during graduation Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Buckfield Junior-Senior High School graduate Victor Verrill gets a thumbs up before the start of the processional parade following commencement on Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Buckfield Junior-Senior High School graduate Deja Bennett lines up for the processional parade following Saturday’s commencement. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Kaylee Langlois’s mortar board is decorated on top with the words “Now’s When My Life Begins.” Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Buckfield Junior-Senior High School seniors line up 6 feet apart while getting ready to graduate on Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Buckfield Junior-Senior High School graduate Saige Collette waves from her car window as supporters cheer from downtown Buckfield during a processional parade following commencement on Saturday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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