Dirigo grads eager to greet the world
DIXFIELD -- "As a class, our differences have brought us together and pushed us apart, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way."
Those were the words of Meredith Brown, one of 60 graduating seniors, speaking during commencement ceremonies at Dirigo High School on Friday.
She began by quoting Henry David Thoreau -- There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it, and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.
"For a lot of people, happiness and a valuable life seems like the hardest and most abstract of possessions to obtain. But in reality, both value and happiness may easily be in the palm of your hand should you choose to have them there. Thoreau points out that life is what you make it. To make you life valuable, you have to value it yourself. It's not what someone else thinks what you're doing is important. It's about you believing that what you're doing is important," said Brown.
"We've all experienced that bad day going but returned smooth with just the right smile of a friend as well as those good days gone wrong with a frown from a stranger. Keeping a positive attitude and a smile will get you places and keep your spirits high at all life throws at you," she said.
"Classmates, you will be nurses, doctors, engineers, teachers, businessmen and women, and so many more things. On those roads that we've already chosen, there will be many, many twists and turns, forks and bumps, or so we've been told. We've also been told that our career paths will change more times than we can count. However, the best thing about Thoreau's words is that they show us that we've already achieved both happiness and value in our lives. That's a big deal," she said.
"From here on out, we begin to shape our lives. We will choose our own paths, following our interests through a college major, the armed forces or the work force. After all these years of waiting, we now get to choose for ourselves. A million words of advice will tell us how to live and who to be. Sometimes we'll need that advice and sometimes we'll want to throw a college book at the source of it. But following our hearts will lead us in the right direction, whether we accept the advice of others or not," said Brown.
"Years of high school has made us tough, driven and eager to greet the world with a can of paint to leave our mark. We have found happiness within the walls of Dirigo, enough to make us miss each other and enough to bring a smile to our faces at the thought of memories," she said.
Two members of the class, Jill Schnorr and Justin Richards, showed their fellow classmates as well as the packed gym at the school, their unique talents.
Jill sang a strong rendition of “Beautiful,” and Justin played the jazz classic, “There Will Never Be Another you,” on his saxophone.
Kirby Averill, in her address to families, said, "I'm finally getting out of this house. And surely, every student sitting behind me is thinking the exact same thing. Being that student, we never think about how hard it is on our parents."
"No matter how hard we've made your life, we would all like you to know that even if we haven't listened over and over repeatedly to the lectures you give, the words do stick in our heads, eventually. Those words that you have given us have made our lives, so far, successful, considering where we are all sitting today. Without you, mom and dad, by our sides, we wouldn't be here right now, getting ready to move on to bigger and better things than Dirigo High School," she said.
Valedictorian Emily Ray said, "In the Class of 2011, we have leaders, followers, starters, finishers, thinkers, doers, those who believe knowledge is power and those who believe that ignorance is bliss. Though on our own, many of these attributes could be weaknesses, together, they form a network of support and effort that pushes is forward and catches us, should we fall back."
Class President Deanna Dolloff noted, "We made it. We made it through the piles of homework, through the late nights, through all the tests that seemed impossible to pass, and through every week of stressful finals and mid-terms. It is safe to say that we're not the same people we were when we first walked in those doors four years ago. We have grown and developed as individuals and as a class. After tonight, it may be years before we see each other again. So let's enjoy these last few minutes and remember all the fun we've shared over these last four years."