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Berlin grads urged to be "red trucks" guiding the way for others

Students move their tassels from right to left to show they are now graduates Photo by Debra Thornblad. (click for larger version)
June 11, 2014
BERLIN Berlin High School graduated 89 senior at a ceremony held Friday afternoon, as cloudy skies turned to bright sunshine.

Valedictorian of the Class of 2014 is Miriam Arsenault and Salutatorian is Emily Landry. Class President Dylan Poirier led his class into the gym for the ceremony.

Principal Gary Bisson began by thanking all those who helped make it possible for these students to get to this point. Saying he probably had what is now known as ADD growing up, it took him a while to find his place in life, but he found it.

"I am living proof, there's life after graduation," he said.

Citing the "butterfly theory," which says everything that happens has a ripple effect, he said, "life is not what you gather, but rather what you scatter."

"You have been created to make a difference," he said. "Every single thing you do matters for everyone and for all time."

Superintendent Corinne Cascadden, former principal of the Berlin elementary schools, noted she had welcomed many of them 13 years ago when they were five years old. She had watched them grow from raising their hands and asking questions to the independent thinkers they are today.

"Be proud of who you are and where you come from, and continue to be 'Curious Georges'," she said.

Valedictorian Miriam Arsenault told of a recent trip coming home on I-93. During a rainstorm the driver's side windshield wiper flew off. But they made it safely through the notch by following the taillights of a big red truck.

"On reflection, I would say there are many individuals who have been 'red trucks' for us. Quietly, unknowingly leading, guiding, and helping us to reach our goals. Coaches who have inspired, teachers who have motivated, counselors who have driven us to excellence individuals who lead by example and who have remained true to themselves and their values."

Miriam said they were now entering this highway and it was their turn to be "red trucks" for others. The first person to influence was yourself, then "others will be influenced by your drive, your passion, your happiness," she said.

And should you ever doubt your right to be great?

"You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same."

"Point your feet, your gaze, and your goals toward the future, toward possibilities. Be a 'red truck'. And as you travel the highway of life, allow your taillights to shine brightly enough to guide others safely, and lead them to greater possibilities," Miriam concluded.

Class President Dylan Poirier noted that high school started differently for each graduate.

"Some people were too nervous to speak on day one, others made friends easily, and I ended up in the girls' bathroom," something he attributed to teacher Tom Sweeney, who received the yearbook dedication this year.

"What happened over the next four years though was very similar for all of us. High school lays the foundation on which we build the rest of our lives," he said.

Each graduate has his/her own talents. "Most importantly, though, this group of students, every member included, has the talent, knowledge, and work-ethic needed to succeed after high school," he said.

The class leaves behind many fond memories of the past four years, but in return has gained knowledge and experience in equal amounts, Dylan noted.

He quoted what one student wrote in his senior will, "An understanding that high school is just a milestone."

"This statement should inspire us to view high school as just one accomplishment amongst many more to come. If we strive to apply what we have learned about ourselves in high school to our lives after graduation, we will surely succeed," he concluded.

Math teacher Tom Sweeney, who received the yearbook dedication this year quoted two people in his remarks.

John Lennon once said "how can I move forward if I don't know which way I'm facing?"

Students will know which way they are facing and how to move forward when they set goals, Sweeney said.

He then quoted a graduating senior, Richard Dragon, "just because you're different, you shouldn't be excluded."

"Knowing you made a difference is the road to happiness," he said "Make a difference, that's my advice to you."

"Noblesse oblige," School Board Chairman Nicole Plourde said. "To whom much is given, much is expected."

"It's about stepping up to the plate," she said. "The simple truth is we need you. We need you time, your talents, your work ethic. Be the person God created you to be."

"Each and every day I will bless each and everyone of you. So let the journey begin."

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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