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Be Yourselves, Make Your Own Choices, Grads Advised

Gorham grads turn their tassel as principal Keith Parent pronounces them graduates. Photo by Debra Thornblad. (click for larger version)
June 13, 2012
GORHAM - Gorham High School Valedictorian Kyle Fortin told fellow 2012 graduates to continue being themselves, continue to make their own choices in life.

"The choices we make in life will define you, and if they're going to define you, it's all the more important that they're yours," he said. "Decisions have consequences, not that that should stop you, you just need to factor them in."

Fortin started his address thanking all those; parents, teachers, coaches, family and friends for helping them get to this point. "Four years is a long time to put up with us," he said about their high school years. "If there's one thing about us, it's that we are ourselves," he said. "We have to be our own person. We are our own person and that's all we want to be. I want to thank those mentioned earlier for not forcing anything on us, for letting us be ourselves."

"Life is what you make it," he concluded. "One day I'd like to look back and see that all my decisions were mine alone."

The high school had two Co-Salutatorians this year, Patrick Pike and Adam Tremblay.

"'Sweet deal' is something I constantly say, good or bad, it's always the best answer," Pike said. "Looking for the positive is how I got through school. A negative can be a positive if you look at it that way."

Looking at sports as an example, Pike noted even when losing you come back to play the game year after year.

Life's a game too. He admitted he played different games to get through different classes. But even so, "I worked as hard as I could in every class," he said.

"As we move forward we'll face situations that contradict each other," he said. "We've already made some big decisions, but we've had our parents to make decisions as well. That's about to end."

Pike said high school will have a lasting impact on his life and that he's made friendships he won't soon forget.

"And so I leave you with a final 'sweet deal,'" he said.

The title of Tremblay's address was "What's in a Name?"

He spoke about the various nicknames he has acquired over the years. Some were just for fun and others have a special, private meaning.

"Most think names are important. They are something that are truly ours," he said, referring to names given at birth. "But are they?"

He suggested that nicknames were more important, that they are something that is truly unique.

Like nicknames he said each of the graduates is unique.

"There is no one on earth like you, create yourselves," he said.

Guest speaker for the night was middle school guidance counselor Matthew Saladino. Saladino said he remembered when the class first came up from the elementary school.

"You don't want us, we're 'that class'," he recalled them saying, and they then proceeded to tell him why.But Saladino said over the years he's concluded most of the class is right-brained, that is artistic, musical, impulsive and spur-of-the-moment.

"Labels and stereotypes are put on people all the time, and then they try to live up to that label," he said. "I want this class to leave with a different belief about themselves than when they came in seven years ago."

"You are 'that class,' the one who lost a best friend right away, the class that raised money for a memorial scholarship, the one that on April 29 of each year goes to Promenade Street to lay flowers," he said.

"You are 'that class,' the one that has faced its demons and considers each other morally family."

"You are 'that class,' the one who attended conferences and became leaders, the one that cares and wants to help people, just look at your majors (in college)."

"I'm very proud of you, we all are," he concluded. "Be proud of who you are."

Garnett Hill
Salmon Press
Northern Human Services
Parker Village
Martin Lord Osman
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