Leavitt Area High School Valedictorian Olivia Morel, left, receives the Class of 1956 trophy from Principal Eben Shaw, right, at Sunday’s graduation. Photo courtesy Suzanne Boutot

AUBURN — Last summer, Eben Shaw asked himself what he wanted all students to have when they graduated from Leavitt Area High School.

“I wrote two words on the white board in the conference room, in red marker, two words that are still there. Probably they’ve been there so long now that they’ll have to get some sort of chemical to wipe them off,” Shaw, the school’s principal, told Class of 2021 graduates sitting on the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport tarmac on Sunday.

He’d written ‘resilient’ and ‘well-rounded’.

Class Vice President Libby McIntrye quickly shows off her diploma Sunday at the Leavitt Area High School graduation at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport with Assistant Principal Derek Galway, left, and Principal Eben Shaw. McIntyre walked the stage wearing her grandfather’s boots. Photo courtesy Suzanne Boutot

“They aren’t likely to show up on a test or an assessment, but I think we know it when we see it,” he said. “You, the Class of 2021, has demonstrated a level of resiliency the last year because you’ve had to. It’s often said that kids are more resilient than adults give them credit for — that is a fact.

“I implore you, please continue to build your resiliency by expanding your horizons and trying new things,” Shaw added.

At a warm, outdoor ceremony for its 122nd commencement, the school graduated 134 students. The high school, in MSAD 52, includes students from Turner, Greene and Leeds.


Shaw commented that his wife had made special collector’s edition graduation masks for the day, but with the recent drop of the state’s face covering mandate, they hadn’t been needed.

“It’s nice to see you,” he said. “I haven’t seen you in about a year — you look good.”

He thanked graduates for staying positive and flexible during a “strange and difficult year,” and encouraged them to keep those attitudes. In the years ahead, college majors will change, job plans will change.

“Ultimately, you’re confident enough to try new things and are resilient enough to roll with the punches, and that’s when good things happen,” Shaw said. “I am exceptionally proud of the Class of 2021, for many things . . . As you’re off, getting to where you need to be, congratulations and the best of luck to each of you.”

Valedictorian Olivia Morel said she and classmates could look back and feel bad for themselves, or mourn what they lost, or they could practice gratitude and remember that each day is a chance to choose something greater.

“It’s not only about the big choices that shape our lives, but each small decision that contributes to an over-arching picture of what we ultimately become,” Morel said. “Life is imperfect, life comes with its hurdles, its low points, and apparently it also comes with a global pandemic every once in a while.”

Salutatorian Morghan Dutil focused her speech on the years in life being like chapters in a book.

“This chapter has been page turning, keeping us all on the edge of our seats with its twists and turns,” Dutil said. “Today marks the last page in our high school chapter. Tomorrow, another one begins.”

The Leavitt Area High School Class of 2021 gathered for graduation at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport on Sunday. Photo courtesy Suzanne Boutot

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: