The Class of 2023 at Mountain Valley High School sing their class song, “Life Is a Highway,” Thursday night after graduation ceremonies at the school in Rumford. Forty-nine seniors, the smallest class in recent memory, receiving their diplomas. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — Forty-nine students, the smallest graduating class at Mountain Valley High School in recent memory, received their diplomas Thursday night in Puiia Gymnasium.

In her address, Valedictorian Brooke Elizabeth Buotte said, “Everyone here today, whether you’re a student, teacher or parent, have a different perspective on the high school experience. I guarantee you though, every year can tell you at least one skill they learned from high school.

“I can tell you that I learned the value of hard work,” she said. “If you work hard, you’ll be successful. I truly do believe that. Success is different for everyone, whether you want to go to college, a vocational school or straight into the workforce.”

Buotte noted, “Regardless, if you put an honest effort into your goals, then I believe you’ll be able to achieve them. Nobody is going to remember what you didn’t accomplish.”

She said high school isn’t a contest of who can accomplish the most. High school is a learning experience. High school is supposed to help you learn what you’re interested in and provide you with a skill set to help you succeed at those interests.

“People are more likely to remember how you made them feel versus what you’ve accomplished,” she said. “You’re going to be remembered by your friends as a person who made them laugh, not as a captain of the field hockey team. You’re going to be remembered by your teachers as a person who always came to class with a smile on your face, not the person who got a perfect score on that one math test.


“You have an impact on every one of your peers,” Buotte said. “That’s the beauty of living in a small town and going to a small school.”

Buotte said if there’s just one thing to take away from her speech it is: “You’ll continue to have an impact on the people around you, no matter what path you choose. So try to have a positive impact on others. A simple smile or hello goes a long way for some people. Your kindness could be the deciding factor on whether someone has a good day or a bad day.

“The energy you put out to the world is the energy you’ll receive back,” she said. “You only have one life, so you might as well make it a good one. High school isn’t the end of our journey. This is only the beginning.”

Following graduation, most of the class boarded a bus for their Project Graduation to Spare Time Entertainment in Portland.

Valedictorian Brooke Elizabeth Buotte addresses the Class of 2023 on Thursday evening at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. Forty-nine seniors received their diplomas, the smallest graduating class in recent memory. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

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