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Class of 2011 a close-knit group
RUMFORD -- With 103 graduates, it was smallest class since the merger of 1989, but this group of seniors was very close-knit.
At commencement exercises Thursday evening, students marched into Mike Puiia Gymnasium with a pin on their gowns picturing classmate Danny Garneau, who died a year ago after fighting a long battle with leukemia.
In her senior address, Megean Bourgeois said, "Are we really graduating today? Are these caps and gowns really ours? It's odd to think that we've become those people that we once knew as old, as accomplished, as admirable. Without realizing it, we became the mentors."
It is learning and teaching that has transformed us into the people that we've lived up to, that has tranformed us into the people worth looking up to. On this day of graduation, we realize we don't have to be anything more than ourselves to be admirable," she said.
"When you're young and growing up in a small town, you feel claustophobic, depressed; you can't wait to get out. Then, as we grew older, we grew together and realized how much our small town has cultivated our personalities and our passions. Through our successes, and loss, we grew closer to each other than any class before us and I'm so grateful to have been a part of it," said Bourgeois.
"In becoming graduates, we've learned that the world, like this high school, is not defined by others. It's defined by use and the only limits we have are those we impose on ourselves," she said.
Class President Zacahry Taylor said, "As we leave home to pursue our dreams, through thick and thin, we will always be one. We'll chase those dreams by any means, too. Albert Einstein once said, 'Try not to be a man of success, but a man of value.'"
He conluded, "So don't worry about getting that degree, just yet. Live for the moment and enjoy the ride."
Assistant Principal Chris Decker read each name, then senior adviser Chris Carver handed each student his or her diploma, followed by handshakes from Gilbert, Superintendent Tom Ward, RSU 10 board Chairman Jerry Wiley and RSU 10 board Vice Chairman Bruce Ross.
The exercise concluded with the class song "Tatoos on the Town," by James Aldean. One part of the song says, "It sure left its mark on us, we sure left our mark on it. We let the world know we were here with everything we did. We laid a lot of memories down like tattoos on this town."
The new graduates then moved into the cafeteria area for pictures with family and friends. Then they received a police escort out of town enroute to the Waterville YMCA for a night of friendship and togetherness.
Among the scholarships, Mariah Briggs and Zachary Taylor were recipients of a Danny Garneay Memorial Scholarship. Megean Bourgeois received the Sen. George Mitchell Scholarship. Kera Miller received a scholarship from Franklin Savings Bank Community Development. Chelsea Lach received a scholarship from Rumford Power.