Mt. Abram High School Class Marshals Charles Pye and Isabella Norster lead the Class of 2022 to their seats Friday evening, June 10, in Salem Township. The graduation ceremonies saw 40 seniors receive their diplomas. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

SALEM TWP — Mt. Abram High School graduating seniors were told to embrace, not fear the mountain and to keep an open mind by salutatorian Cameron Walters Friday evening, June 10.

“Standing behind me is a mountain, the same mountain the school is named for,” he said. “I can not think of anything more fitting to symbolize the school, staff or students. Having hiked the mountain once a year for soccer team bonding, I have grown to appreciate the difficulty of the hike and I learn something new each time to make the trek easier for the following year. My knowledge of the mountain has paralleled my journey through high school in numerous ways.”

Landon and Lydia O’Neil of Rangeley arrive at Mt. Abram High School Friday evening, June 10, in Salem Township. Their sister Emily was graduating from the school named for the mountain seen in the background. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Those climbing the mountain for the first time start at a run, despite being told to slow down because the hardest and steepest part comes at the end, Walters said.

“Remember, life is a marathon not a sprint,” he noted. “We have all completed a very important section of our race but there is still plenty more to come. Take it slow and tackle your challenges one at a time.”

There are four false peaks before reaching the summit, Walter said.

“We have reached our own version of the false peak, not false as in fake,” he noted. “We haven’t reached the top of the mountain. We have all worked our butts off to graduate but the hard work doesn’t stop here, in fact it has only just begun. Let your growth and progression continue. Do not let graduation tonight be your final destination. Set yourself a new goal whichever path you choose and let every step from here on out lead you to your aspirations.”


While the school’s motto is “Fear the mountain”, those graduating should alter the motto to “Embrace the mountain,” Walters said. “Embrace everything the mountain embodies, everything you have learned at school while the mountain silently looked over us.”

Never forget the memories made at Mt. Abram, now go out into the world and make memories with new people on new adventures, he added.

It was announced the 40 graduating seniors received $822,734 in scholarships from 79 sources. Of the seniors, 23 plan to attend secondary schools, 16 will enter the workforce and one will serve in the United States military.

Mt. Abram High School Class of 2022 Salutatorian Cameron Walters speaks during graduation Friday evening, June 10, in Salem Township. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Former history teacher Thomas Fiske expressed his pride in the senior class whom he had when he started in education four years ago.

“I have seen them develop over the past few years, I can’t express enough how proud of them I am,” he said. He left the graduates with three things as they start the next chapter of their lives.

“First, be a life-long learner, education happens daily,” Fiske said. “There are things out there that aren’t scholastic in nature. Go forth with an open mind. Second is perseverance. We have gone through some of the more trying times. The third is community. The only way forward is with each other.


“What we have here at Mt. Abram is something that is very special. We have a tightness. Take that bond, hold those memories.”

Assistant principal and athletic director Kristina Stevens called senior Ian Allen to the podium for a surprise presentation. His father, Darren Allen – the school’s boys soccer coach – had been named the State Coach of the Year for Maine small public schools, she said. Because no local representatives could attend Stevens read the Legislative sentiment from the the Maine State Senate and House of Representatives recognizing that achievement. Ian accepted the award for his father.

“Today is a very exciting day,” valedictorian Wyatt Sieminski said. “It is crazy to think that we began high school four years ago and now it is time to graduate. We have accomplished a lot during our time here. We have won soccer games in the middle of snow storms, won a basketball game in Augusta for the first time in 20 years and just last week we even managed to find our time capsule after an hour of digging random holes in the ground.

“Through all of those things we have grown. Through our relationships, goals, actions and achievements we have slowly become the people who are ready to take the next steps in our lives. Now we are encouraged to take on the real world — a scary place filled with new responsibilities and challenges.”

Some students have known what their first steps in the real world will be while others still aren’t sure what their best option is, Sieminski said. “That is okay. The reality none of us know where we will be in one year let alone five or ten.”

Uncertainty will be faced in the next year, but there will be opportunities and chances, he added.


Mt. Abram High School seniors visit with family and friends while issues with the public address system are resolved Friday evening, June 10, in Salem Township. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Graduation was delayed as the public address system wasn’t working and an alternative arrangement had to be set up.

The high school experience for the Class of 2022 was not classic, Stevens said after the ceremony got underway. She spoke of the many challenges faced and lost opportunities during the pandemic as well as the tragic car accident “with our own involved.”

“We cried, we grieved and we came together as a community,” she said. “We have all been through so much together that we don’t even talk about it because there seems to be no words for it. But there is a word for that ‘blah’ we are all feeling and it is called languishing. It is about the lack of connection, lack of motivation and a general sense of apathy and numbness.

“Many of us felt this over the last few years but when I look into this crowd of seniors I do see hope for the future because I believe you will all learn from this experience.

“Redefine what is possible from the times when things felt very impossible,” she encouraged.

Comments are not available on this story.