BUCKFIELD — The 33 graduates of Buckfield Junior-Senior High School’s Class of 2021 enjoyed an outdoor graduation ceremony on Saturday that included a sunny, blue sky and very few signs of the pandemic that totally upended their lives and the lives of their parents, educators and the entire world.

Shyloe Morgan delivers the salutatory address during Buckfield Junior-Senior High School’s 2021 commencement in a field next to the school on Saturday. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

As Salutatorian Shyloe Morgan said in her graduation speech to the class, “We didn’t have a normal junior year nor anything close to normal our senior year. And that is possibly the understatement of the century. Since March 13, 2020, which I’m sure we all remember pretty well, (what was) supposed to be the best time of our lives has actually been the most difficult.”

However, Morgan said, “From hard times come some of the most valuable lessons we will ever learn. We have learned how to adapt to online learning and get better at communicating with our classmates and teachers; that family matters more than we realize; to stay connected to the ones that you love; and how not to take traditions for granted and how to savor all of the moments we have.”

She also noted that it’s not the moments that stick with us but the people who we spend those moments with that we most remember and value. Morgan also named some special highlights her class had shared together: Carnival Ball, whitewater rafting, competing together on sports teams “and being especially good at tug of war during homecoming.”

Kylie Carrier, the class valedictorian, said in her graduation speech that she would never forget how a coach from an opposing soccer team approached she and her soccer teammates asking, “Where is Buckfield, anyways?”

Although their hometown is small and unknown to many, they still had “a team from ‘who knows where’ that is able to change the game completely,” she said.

The BJSHS soccer coach always said the team and the school’s students were “Buckfield tough,” Carrier said, which meant “that no matter what is thrown at us we will bounce back because we are resilient. It means that no matter how sore you are or how difficult it is you will continue to stay strong.”

Kylie Carrier delivers the valedictory address during Saturday’s commencement in a field next to the school. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Carrier also remembered how her class, with help from the community, donated over 41,000 pounds of food to

Good Shepherd Food Bank when they competed in a school spirit challenge and came in second place in the WGME Channel 13 broadcast competition for the event. She also noted her community and school’s special traditions of the Labor Day parade, the Carnival Ball, and how, when their class was in middle school, they walked from cemetery to cemetery for a Day of Caring to place flags on veterans’ graves.

“We learned how to honor the ones who fought for our country,” Carrier said. “Our small town gave us so much more than just an education. This town didn’t only educate you in academics, it taught you how to work together and to respect traditions no matter how unique they are and to honor the men and women who served our country.”

Buckfield senior Alaina Adderley arrives at graduation Saturday afternoon in a field next to the school. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Other special highlights of the Class of 2021’s BJSHS graduation included song performances by Carrier and Alaina Adderly. Together they sang “My Wish,” a song by Rascal Flatts, and following the salutatory address, Adderly sang ABBA’s “I Have a Dream.”

Science teacher Chandele Gray served as class guest speaker, telling students that “by now you know who you are, and you have a sense of your strengths and limitations.” She encouraged the class to find a way to use their strengths to their advantage: “Find a way, don’t quit,” she said.

“I know you contain within you everything that you need to be successful, so go be amazing!” Gray said.

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