FARMINGTON — Mt. Blue High School awarded diplomas Sunday to 163 graduates during a ceremony that was held inside the school gymnasium due to rainy weather.

Mt. Blue Principal Joel Smith began the ceremony, originally planned for outdoors, by sharing a quote he had heard this year from a speaker at a Maine Principals’ Association banquet, which Smith attended with this year’s Mt. Blue Principal’s Award recipient and class valedictorian, Levi Bogar.

The quote: “Focus on who you want to be, not just what you want to be.”

“This idea is the essence of true success,” Smith said.

Many students decorated their mortarboards with original artwork Sunday morning at the Mt. Blue High School commencement in Farmington. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

School officials said 157 students from Mt. Blue High School, part of Regional School Unit 9, will continue their education and professional development, along with six international students who received a certificate of attendance.

The ceremony began with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” performed by Noah Prescott on the electric guitar, and seniors Natalie McCarthy, Jack Cramer and Autumn Hensley performed “500 Miles,” by Peter, Paul and Mary.


During his speech, Bogar urged his classmates and others in the audience to step outside their comfort zone.

“In my free time, I like to watch videos about our brains and how they work,” he said. “One of the most powerful facts I have learned from this is that a certain region of your brain grows from doing things you don’t want to do.”

Bogar concluded his speech with this quote from author, businessman and motivational speaker T. Harv Eker: “Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions and more growth than everything else combined.”

Finley Ward, president of the class of 2024, spoke after Bogar, reminding his classmates of the tribulations they faced during the beginning of their high school career early in the pandemic.

“COVID-19 changed our lives in ways we could have never imagined,” Ward said. “The simple joy of meeting friends at Giffords or witnessing each other’s successes in sports were all things that ceased for some unknown amount of time.

“We had to adapt. Not only within the four walls of our own homes, but in our social lives here at school, too. I am here today to proudly say that this class did not quit.”

Ward also gave special thanks to Melanie Prescott, the senior class adviser, for her hard work advocating for students and helping them raise $35,000 for their class trip.

“Thank you,” he said. “To all of you. Thank you for the memories we’ve made, thank you for the laughs, thank you for the frustrations, thank you for teaching me how to work through stressful times, thank you for joining me in leaving behind a positive impact on Mt. Blue High School.”

The newest graduates of Mt. Blue High School toss their mortarboards into the air Sunday morning at the conclusion of commencement inside the school’s gymnasium in Farmington. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

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