2017-06-04 / Front Page

King to BHS grads: Take risks, learn to shake hands

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By DINA MENDROS
Associate Editor

BIDDEFORD — Two hundred and eight Biddeford High School Class of 2017 graduates were ready to embark on their new journeys after receiving their diplomas at the Tiger Gym on Friday night.

Friends and families watched proudly as the teenagers marched to their seats to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the BHS band.

By turns nervous and excited, the almost-graduates gathered in the school cafeteria prior to the 6 p.m. ceremony.

Each of the students had their own paths to follow.

Kasey Hall said she was going to work this summer and “in the fall I’ll attend cosmetology school."

“I can’t wait to get out in the real world,” said Cameron Dumont who plans to work for two years before going to college to study electrical engineering.

Shyla Sodones wasn’t wasting any time. She said she was moving to Farmington the day after graduation; in the fall she’ll be attending that town’s campus of the University of Maine and hopes to become a teacher. “Today is the grand finale before I’m off to my new adventures” she said prior to graduation.

She said the experience was “bittersweet.” 

“I was raised in Biddeford my entire life," said Sodones." I know all these people, watched them all grow up, so it’s bittersweet moving while they all stay here.”

Bittersweet might have been the word to describe how Principal Jeremie Sirois was feeling. He took the helm of BHS four years ago, so the Class of 2017 was the first he shepherded through their four year stint at the high school.

“They’re a good group of kids,” he said. “They always have smiles on their faces. They always do what they’re asked. They’ll be hard to replace.”

During the graduation ceremony, a number of students and adults passed on some words of wisdom to the graduates. Speakers included senior Class President Tiffany Curro, Student Council President Colby Perron, guest speaker U.S. Sen. Angus King, Principal Sirois, Salutatorian Madison Perry, Valedictorian Ashley Paul, and junior Class President Chanelle Chretien who gave the closing remarks.

King’s remarks received a standing ovation. He told the graduates 10 things he wished someone had told him prior to graduating.

Among his suggestions were “Take more risks. ... That doesn’t mean doing stupid things, that means doing things you don’t think you could do. ... You can do anything but you’ve got to try.”

Another piece of advice was “don’t write stupid stuff onto the internet that you don’t want your grandmother to see in the newspaper.” That one got a big round of applause.

“Treat your first job as if it’s the most important job you’ll have,” King said, “attitude is everything” and “learn to shake hands.” His parting words were “value your family and friends and never let them down.”

The main event, the presentation of diplomas, was conducted by Mayor Alan Casavant, Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Ray, Sirois and Class Advisor Victoria Salo.

— Associate Editor Dina Mendros may be reached 282-1535 ext 324 or dmendros@journaltribune.

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