Only one spot is left on the picture wall of graduating classes at Rangeley Lakes Regional School. Daxxtyn Williams’ Class of 2023 gets the final spot. “I have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Williams said. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The final piece of the puzzle is almost in place for Daxxtyn Williams.

The wall of graduating class pictures at Rangeley Lakes School is one short of a full deck and Williams’ Class of 2023 is the card that is missing.

Only one empty spot remains on the wall where 63 class pictures hang.

“Now it’s my turn. My class will finish the wall,” Williams said.

Williams’ mother’s Class of 1988 picture is there, as is his aunt’s Class of 1989 photograph and his sister’s Class of 2021.

“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Williams said.


He will graduate No. 6 in his class from the same school campus where he started in kindergarten.

“That’s the thing I like about this school, is that you can watch people from when they first start school to when they graduate,” he said. “It brings more sense of community because you can see the next generation of students that you have to be role models for.”

Williams recalls a student named Wyatt, who was a senior when Williams was in fifth grade, who was his role model. “I was always looking up to Wyatt,” Williams said.

He remembers thinking at that time, “‘I want to be like Wyatt. He is so cool.'”

Williams has found that nontraditional ways of learning, such as the time he spent shooting hoops with Wyatt, time he spent on the theater stage and time he spent outdoors as the key to his success at Rangeley Lakes School.

“If people can figure out how they learn in their own ways and then try to adapt that to their own learning process, then they can excel just as much as I have because it really comes down to how you spend your time outside of class, rather than inside the classroom,” Williams said.


Going to school through the COVID-19 pandemic had a big part in learning outside the classroom, he said.

“It definitely stunk not having a normal high school experience that you always hear people talk about. Well, when I was in high school, I was home most of the time.”

He added, “We tried Zooms, but it was just so tiring. We switched to a college-like format of coming to class prepared, rather than relying on the teacher to give us information.”

Not relying completely on another person to provide information forced him to reach out on his own, he said.

“I have grown a personal value to self-education,” he said. “You can certainly learn things in the classroom, but that does not mean that you can’t go outside of the classroom to expand on your knowledge. We literally had to do that during COVID. I have become a lot more open to new ideas and perspectives by doing so.”

It’s the ideas found outside the classroom that feeds his personality.


“I’m a huge theater kid,” said Williams, who performs in school productions as well as in community shows at Lakeside Theater on Main Street in downtown Rangeley.

The other passion that feeds Williams is working out after school.

“If I try to do my schoolwork immediately after school, I will not get anything done because I will be too frustrated to do it,” he said. “Going to the gym after school allows me an outlet to get rid of stress and frustration from my day at school in a healthy manner.”

It gives him a good mind-set, he said. “I then come home and feel ready to get to whatever it is that I need to do.”

He said the most important thing for him in getting good grades is “finding a balance. If I was just completely focused on academics, I would be miserable.”

He pays little attention to being in the top 10 of his graduating class. “I don’t pay attention to where I am in my class. It’s not really important to me.”


But for those who set a goal of being at the top of their class, Williams offers three bits of advice:

• Be mindful of when things are due. “I have a planner because I very easily forget when things are supposed to happen.”

• Don’t be afraid to ask for help. “The point of education is to learn, and you learn by asking questions.”

• Don’t let others define what success means. “Don’t let people tell you that what you enjoy is not successful based on their criteria. It may not make a lot of money, but if it is something that you enjoy, if it’s something that you love, is that not successful? Figure out what success means to you and hold on to that.”

Williams plans to double major in anthropology and musical theater at the University of Maine in Orono starting in the fall.

“They are two pretty different fields,” said the first-generation college student. “But I feel like they are both things that I am incredibly interested in — and I can’t have one without the other.”

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