Lisbon Regional graduates look to future
June 10, 2009
LISBON–Eyes on the future, the seniors of Lisbon Regional High School became graduates, watched by proud families and friends.
In a packed gym, the seniors marched in to the traditional strains of Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" and lined up on stage as a class for the last time, cheered by all. After the Pledge of Allegiance and the entire gym singing the National Anthem, the serious business of graduation began.
Jennifer White, in her welcome speech, reminded family members of how far they had come in the years they spent at Lisbon.
"This day we knew would eventually come and now we sit upon this stage we can't believe it's finally here," White said. "I know it was just yesterday that we were sitting in the third grade attempting times tables and whining about how the nine years of school left were going to take forever. Well, forever has arrived."
Valedictorian Timothy Osborn reflected on the accomplishments of the class of 2009, many of whom had been together since kindergarten. The class had much success, whether it was "winning state championships, being awarded for a youth and government bill, achieving excellence in the martial arts or receiving honors for civic duty. This class has shown consistently it can accomplish great things."
Osborn said the town always supported its students, including turning out in great numbers for sporting events. They grew up in a "small town with a big heart" and he hoped that idea would follow each of them no matter where they went.
Kelly Johnson, the salutatorian, had somewhat different thoughts on her mind. She was thinking of procrastination, something she did a lot of, she said. In fact her speech was written at midnight two days before graduation. Just as she put many things off, she wanted to put off saying goodbye to her classmates but knew she could not. She and the rest of her class would not be able to put off anymore leaving "the comfort and support given by the school community of Lisbon Regional."
The commencement speaker, Wendell Jesseman, chairman of the board of New England Wire Technologies, Lisbon's largest employer, congratulated the graduates on their accomplishment and gave advice but also reflected on the state of the world, noting that the students were graduating during a time of severe national security and economic challenges.
"It's not a good time to be looking for a job and if you're in college it won't be a good time to be looking for part-time work," Jesseman said. "It will be a good time to further your education, however."
Jesseman gave the soon-to-be graduates advice that would serve them well in the future. Among the ideas were: work hard; work smart; be organized; stay focused; keep a sense of humor; own up to mistakes, save time for fun and understand the culture of where one works. Understanding the culture is vital to getting along with co-workers and getting things done, he said.
After awards and diplomas were handed out, Ella Nilsen bid everyone farewell on behalf of her class and advised her now former classmates get out and see the world.
"Stop in a new town, a new country, a new continent," Nilsen said. "Meet people, learn a language, ride a bicycle. Get off Facebook and go to New York City, a much more interesting place to people-watch."