Edward Little High School graduates Caelan McGuigan, left, and Addison Avery sing one of their favorite verses from their graduation performance, “For Good,” at Tabers, a restaurant and driving range in Auburn. They later agreed that, “And now whatever way our stories end/ I know you have rewritten mine/ By being my friend” are their favorite lines of the song. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience when Addison Avery and Caelan McGuigan finished their duet at Edward Little High School’s graduation earlier this month.

Not even their own.

Phones were left untouched. Conversations, put on hold.

Few performances have captured the soul of the moment as well as their heartfelt rendition of “For Good” that evening.

It wasn’t just their talent for singing or the song lyrics which resonated with the hundreds of family, friends, teachers and classmates in attendance, but the feeling that the performance was something more for Avery and McGuigan.

It was the celebration of a friendship stretching back to their days at Fairview Elementary School and a goodbye — for now.


“It well may be/ That we will never meet again/ In this lifetime/ So let me say before we part/ So much of me/ Is made of what I learned from you,” Avery sang as her father, Assistant Principal Darren Avery, played the piano.

The song from the hit musical “Wicked” tells of the feelings between unlikely friends Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, as they bid farewell.

“It pertained to everyone, really,” Avery said. “Anyone could have connected (the song) to their friends.”

In the week leading up to the ceremony, the duo practiced at Avery’s home with her father, a longtime music teacher and worship leader at East Auburn Baptist Church.

Avery’s father was her first vocals teacher, finding places for her to improve even as others with less keen ears told her she was perfect. She credits her father for having the greatest impact on her musical career.

“It was emotional, you know, I had to choke it back a little bit, to be honest with you,” he said. “(I) really feel proud of both of these girls and … what they’ve accomplished.


“To be able to celebrate that last moment with (Avery) was a privilege.”

For a while, McGuigan wasn’t sure she was going to be able to sing at graduation. Correcting herself a moment later, McGuigan said she would have forced herself to do it.

McGuigan’s no stranger to performing. Like Avery, she was a member of the honor choir, drama club and a capella club. But unlike her friend, McGuigan sometimes gets stage fright.

“I don’t really like singing in front of people, ever,” she said. “It was a big thing.”

After the soundcheck earlier in the day, she began feeling more confident about their performance.

“If you weren’t next to me for a lot of the singing stuff, I don’t know if I would have been able to sing in front of people,” she told Avery.


Avery said the most challenging part of the performance was holding themselves together.

“We both have sung in front of people, I wasn’t nervous much about that part,” she said. “But just making sure we did a good job and got through it without falling apart” was difficult.

Luckily, they were able to hold off the tears until the very end.

Both agreed that “And now whatever way our stories end/ I know you have rewritten mine/ By being my friend” were their favorite lines from the song.

The pair first performed “For Good” in the drama club’s musical review last spring. As school staff considered what to do for the graduation musical performance, Choral Director Sarah Brooks thought of their duet.

Avery and McGuigan auditioned for the spot and were chosen to perform.


“Knowing those two and knowing how close they were and seeing them grow up together for the last couple years,” Brooks said. “When they came in and … sang their audition, I had to fight back tears.”

Avery, Brooks said, has strong leadership qualities. When Brooks was absent from choir, it was Avery who would lead the class through songs with the accompanist.

She was “someone I could count on to get things done,” Brooks said.

McGuigan has a smile that lights up the room, often using her positive personality to encourage her peers, Brooks continued.

“She’s humble about it, too,” Brooks said. “I will miss both of them so, so much. Because they were great.”

Their performance received a standing ovation from the Class of 2022 and dozens of attendees in the crowd.


But neither Avery nor McGuigan noticed. As the song drew to a close, hand in hand, they only had eyes for each other.

“It was our own little world, kind of,” Avery said.

Avery will head to Grand Canyon University in Arizona this fall, possibly majoring in hospitality management and minoring in worship arts music. At Clark University in Massachusetts, McGuigan says she’s leaning toward elementary education.

Despite the distance, Avery and McGuigan are confident they’ll stay in touch.

“We’ve been through so much and so many years of friendship, and I think that was the perfect way to end our high school chapter,” McGuigan said. “Because I just know that we’ll be friends. I just know that we will.”

“For sure,” replied Avery.

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