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End of the beginning for Lisbon Regional School's Class of 2014

Lisbon Regional School's Class of 2014 before the start of commencement exercises last Sunday. Meg Brown/Littleton Courier. (click for larger version)
June 04, 2014
LISBON—"Welcome to the end." This quote from fourth honors student Anna Walker kicked off the graduation of 23 seniors from Lisbon Regional School Sunday afternoon. Behind the scenes, the end was brimming with anxiety. Students quietly looked ahead while guidance director Mary Coleman pinned flowers to their robes. Nervously, they would assist one another with adjusting the white and orange tassels that hung from their caps, then turn and excitedly pose for a selfie to commemorate their last moments as high school students.

"From this point on," third honors student Shannon McGrath informed, "we are entirely in control. We determine our own happiness and success…we literally have the ability to do whatever we want with our lives." McGrath challenged her classmates to "live life to the fullest and not settle for less than you deserve."

Valedictorian Rebecca Daniels would agree, urging students to continuously develop. She used her great uncle's toolbox analogy to explain that the skills we learn are a specific tool stored in our brains. Daniels reflected on her great uncle's question of "is a tool the same when you put it back in your toolbox after using it?" "At first," she thought, "of course it is…[but] he told me that it wasn't the same tool. The tool had gained experience…in life, the more we use the information we have in our brains, the broader it becomes." Daniels also challenged classmates to "keep [their] toolboxes growing daily" and "use the tools you currently have from this school and keep them sharp."

Class salutatorian Olivia Myers emphasized the tools students gained at Lisbon Regional listing a few of the many opportunities the school gave her, despite the "one thing I always hear about Lisbon is that there aren't enough AP classes, not enough choices of classes, not enough sports, not enough opportunity." She quoted comedian Milton Berle to contradict this statement: "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." Myers built that door as did many of her classmates, a few reaching out to local schools and business internships to supplement their education. Myers implored her classmates to continue building those doors.

"No matter where you end up tomorrow or 10 years down the road," Myers said, "anything is possible—even in a small town like Lisbon. Go out, make mistakes, make new friends, see the world, and always remember where you came from."

Scholarships and awards were also presented during the ceremony, such as the Lisbon Teachers Association Scholarship awarded to Brenna Ferro. McGrath was awarded the Lisbon Lions Club scholarship as well as the New England Wire Technologies Scholarship, the latter along with Walker, Rebecca Daniels and Olivia Myers.

It was difficult for students to believe that they are done with high school. Whether heading off for college, joining the armed forces, or going straight to work, each is in for a new adventure. Walker put it best with, "Whenever I'd go to a graduation in the past, I'd think about how sad it was, how bittersweet, how gripped with nostalgia the people on the stage must be. But now that I'm here, I can't find it within me to be upset. All I can do is look forward with excitement. So let me revise my earlier statement: Welcome to the end of the beginning."

The graduates left the stage with astonished smiles, ready to take on the next part.

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