AUBURN — On a soggy Saturday evening at Walton Field, Edward Little High School seniors gathered to celebrate the final milestone of their educational journey.

“Soon, we will all be off on our own path,” said senior Gabe Despradel, president of his class, who urged his peers to love and cherish the family and friends who helped them along the way.

Valedictorian Ben Condit called on graduates “to show the world what the incredible Edward Little Class of 2023 can do!”

“This (is) your chance to dream big, to point your ship, to blast off to the far horizon and to live like you’ve never lived before,” Condit told the departing seniors.

This year’s class will be the last to graduate after attending only the existing high school building constructed more than six decades ago. Beginning in the fall, a new Edward Little will house the Red Eddies in modern quarters erected close by on the same property.

Lorelei Michaud, one of the graduates, said even the constant construction next door posed little trouble.


“They let us know when there were going to be blasts,” Michaud said.

She said her class handled adversity well, including the coronavirus that interrupted studies in 2020 and disrupted learning for a couple more years.

Valedictorian Ben Condit fist bumps with Salutatorian Breya Whitman on Saturday after their Disney-themed commencement addresses at the Edward Little graduation ceremony at Walton Field in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Salutatorian Breya Whitman reminded classmates of the winter carnival during their freshman year when students “received some devastating news” about a pandemic just beginning to sweep across the face of the globe.

“We got caught up in this current which led us to places that we didn’t want to go,” Whitman said. “We logged on to our classes, kept our distance, and quarantined when necessary.”

Ultimately, Whitman said, by “following the guidelines and adapting to the new circumstances, we were able to have a normal senior year.”

Whitman said, too, that her class “grew stronger from our version of high school. Graduating from a nontraditional high school experience proves that we are brave, we are capable, and we are persevering. “


For graduation in less-than-ideal circumstances, that ability to persevere proved helpful.

The wet weather Saturday left puddles and squishy grass underfoot, but mostly held off for the ceremony.

Beforehand, volunteers and staff members were busy wiping off hundreds of chairs set up for students, staff, friends and family. Somebody arranged to get 800 towels to help keep things dry.

Principal Scott Annear welcomes the graduates Saturday to the Edward Little commencement ceremony at Walton Field in Auburn. The outdoor ceremony was livestreamed and projected onto large screens to the sides of the stage. The football scoreboard was set to display the class year. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Principal Scott Annear praised everyone who helped pull off the ceremony despite the occasional rainfall during preparations.

For Cindy McMahon of Chesterville, it was a big family occasion. She said she came to see her nephew, Alex Delisle, get his diploma.

She said that she and other family members attended to show “how proud we are” of the graduates.

Michaud, who plans to study at Central Maine Community College in the fall, said Edward Little was a good high school, “a nice, accepting place” with friendly people.

Even so, she said, “I’m just kind of ready for it to be over.”

“Congratulations ’23,” Despradel shouted to end the ceremony. “We made it!”

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