Seniors toss their hats into the sky after officially being names graduates Photo by Debra Thornblad. (click for larger version)
June 11, 2014GORHAM – "We started school here in Gorham at the same time. We're both graduating 13 years later, how cool is that," Gorham Middle High School Principal Keith Parent said.
Parent is retiring this year after 39 years in education, the last 13 in Gorham.
Gorham graduated 31 seniors this year in commencement ceremonies held in the gym. As seniors waited at the top of the two sets of stairs leading down to the gym, Parent noted this was the 84th year seniors have come down those stairs to their graduation.
The processional was led by Valedictorian Tyler Sanschagrin and Salutatorian Brian Veazey.
In his remarks, which he called "Miracle on Life," Brian cited the 1980 Olympics when the U.S. won a hockey game everyone expected the Soviets to win. That game was during the Cold War and the Soviets had won gold in the past four Winter Olympics.
Brian said he decided to tell this story because he believes it can easily be related to life. There will be obstacles to face and some may seem as if they cannot be conquered, he said.
"You may feel as it everyone has already given up on you, and that you are destined to fail," he said. So remember, "when you are about to give up and falter at the sight of a greater obstacle, remember that you were meant to be there in that situation. If you give up then, everything you had worked for is just being thrown away. Life is designed to have obstacles and you have a part of you that is conditioned to hurdle that obstacle."
Brian said it's important when facing an obstacle to focus on that obstacle at hand, not what has happened in the past.
"When chasing a dream, never give up, because you never really know how close you are to success," he concluded.
Tyler called his remarks "Cake," although no one would know why until the very end.
He started his remarks by saying "No one sitting in this room tonight matters," and acknowledged some might think of this as depressing.
But he meant it he said to be liberating. The universe is so large that one person won't be able to influence it, so that should bring the relief to try things and not worry about hurting the universe.
"So instead of worrying about things that do not matter, be happy; no one can predict the future. The only true facts are reality, and reality is what we make it. So make it the best it can possibly be. We all have the freedom to be happy and to so anything that makes us happy. So take advantage of that, take risks; don't worry about the consequences, as long as you know that the intentions are as good as they can be," he said.
"The universe will go on. If that doesn't take the pressure off of the people behind me, then I don't know what will," Tyler said.
And the "cake" part?
"A nice slice of cake always puts the biggest smile on my face. It makes me happy," he concluded.
The senior class chose teacher Rob Hamel as their guest speaker.
Hamel told students a couple of real life stories, followed by three pieces of advice. One of the stories involved a now famous star determined to make it. In the beginning he had nothing, but wrote himself a check for one million dollars, certain there'd be a time he could cash it. He put it in his wallet and waited. Eventually that time did come.
Hamel told students to dream big and write their own check for whatever their dream might be. His second piece of advice was to "be nice." That feeling inside you will tell you what's right. And finally, always try your hardest at whatever you do.
On the back wall where students sat during the ceremony there was a quote by Dr Seuss. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."