Katie Tibbetts, right, presents a rose Sunday morning to her mother, Margaret, at the start of the graduation ceremony at Lisbon High School. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LISBON — Four years of high school and countless memories later, the Lisbon High School Class of 2022 is moving on.

“I hate to say it, but the seniors when we came in, they were right,” said Amelia Mooney, vice president of the senior class. “You blink and it’s over.”

Seventy-one students graduated Sunday from Lisbon High School in a joyful and, at times, emotional ceremony that drew hundreds of people to the school gymnasium.

Each of the graduation speakers shared a take on the class motto, a quote from Dr. Seuss: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

They reflected on the past four years, with amusing anecdotes about the class of 2022 and a focus on a life lost too soon.

The Lisbon Fire Department Color Guard presents the flags Sunday morning at the start of the graduation ceremony at the gym at Lisbon High School. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Near the start of the ceremony, students rose from their seats with roses in hand to present to their parents and guardians. The annual tradition is a tender moment that acknowledges the success of the graduates stretches beyond the students themselves.


“Honestly, despite the semester we did online, I think class of 2o22 had it pretty good,” said Amelia Mooney, class vice president.

Reflecting on the students’ journey, Mooney encouraged her peers not to base their worth on numbers, whether they be grades, clothing sizes or social media followers.

“A single value does not show the way you hug your best friends,” Mooney said. “It doesn’t capture the way you smile and help a stranger or work hard for something you really want. This is because the number is only one moment and never tells the full story.”

Erica Hill, left, uses bobby pins Sunday morning to help her friend, Taylor Dumphy, secure her mortarboard in the cafeteria prior to the start of the graduation ceremony at Lisbon High School. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

During her commencement address, math teacher Lauralee Pearson shared highlights from the class of 2022. After students were sent home in March 2020, for example, one told her there was nothing important left in a locker — just a math book.

“That one still stings a little,” Pearson joked.

When Pearson asked another student to share something positive, the student drew a proton, she said. (A proton is a subatomic particle that has a positive charge.) Another asked to watch movies over and over again, until she gave them a detention.


And then there were the students who tried to convince her to adopt a cat without telling her the cat was pregnant.

“Yet here we are finishing the year in near normalcy. You did it, and you drove us nuts.” Pearson said, drawing laughter from her audience.

On a more serious note, Pearson shared some words of wisdom from her father. Rather than complain about the bad or poor actions of others, learn what not to do and become better, she said.

“So just for a moment, try to fathom the impact this could make on your life,” Pearson said. “Learn how not to be. It actually is that simple. Benefit from the angry, disagreeable, stupid, intolerant, ignorant, cold-hearted, ungracious people that you will meet in your life.”

Reese McAtee, right, the senior class president at Lisbon High School, helps a friend secure their mortarboard Sunday morning at the school cafeteria prior to the start of the graduation ceremony. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Reese McAtee, the senior class president, shared the most difficult message of the graduation ceremony. Speaking about her friend and cheer competition teammate, Andre Schafer, a student at Dover High School in New Hampshire who took his own life last year at 16, McAtee talked about the importance of seeking help.

“(Andre) was never able to get the real help he needed because of the stigma,” McAtee said.

It was an emotional speech that had McAtee pausing at times to collect herself.

Life, she said, is not linear, it is organic.

“Embrace the journey to the goal and remember the importance of your physical and mental well-being,” McAtee said. “This is one of the many milestones in your life. Life is too precious to waste.”

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