STRONG — Mt. Abram High School graduated 66 seniors Thursday night in a commencement ceremony held in the school’s cavernous gymnasium.

Milling around in their school library, waiting for the proceedings to begin, members of the Mt. Abram High School class of 2017 expressed anxiety, enthusiasm and relief about the end of high school and the paths that lay before them.

Daniel Luce, 18, of Strong, said he was “extremely nervous” and “speechless” as he gathered with friends in one corner of the library. For Luce, it felt as though just yesterday he had watched his older brother walk across the same stage — though that happened in 2010. Despite all the changes since then, Luce said, those seven years had flown by.

“It’s a pretty surreal feeling to be graduating,” he said.

Luce wasn’t sure what he future held, though he had different and exciting options before him. Initially he thought he would be heading to Central Maine Community College in the fall to study to become an electrician, but an email from the University of Maine at Augusta basketball coach might change things. The coach wrote to say he would be interested in having Luce come to play for the school. If he did attend UMA, Luce said, he probably would study accounting, though he’s still waiting to hear back either way.

Caleb Warren, 18, of Phillips, mostly expressed relief and a desire to move on to new horizons. Warren plans to attend Washington County Community College in the fall to continue studying plumbing. He spent the last two years learning plumbing at Foster Tech (FC) in Farmington and before that had worked with independent plumbers. Warren said he fell into the field but was excited to learn about it.

“It’s the career I’ve always been looking for,” Warren said.

Of all his memories at Mt. Abram, Warren said, it was the senior class prank that sticks out the most. This year someone — not Warren — took it upon himself or herself to release six chickens in the school — five hens and one rooster, for good measure.

Among the Mt. Abram graduates, 51 said they would be attending college, while 13 plan to move directly into the workforce. Two students said they will be enlisting in the military. Many of the college-bound students plan to attend schools across the state, from Thomas College in Waterville to University of Maine at Farmington and University of Southern Maine in Portland. Among them, Mt. Abram students received 186 individual, state, local and college scholarship awards totaling $227,188.

Sisters valedictorian Brooke-Lynn Hinkley and salutatorian Brianna Hinkley opened the graduation ceremony with reflections on the changes they had seen and experienced in their time at Mt. Abram. Rep. Thomas Skofield followed, congratulating the graduates and presenting the Hinkley sisters with awards from the Legislature in recognition of their achievements.

Principal Michelle Tranten, who joined the school in 2015, had only two years with the class of 2017; but as she spoke about them, she called out students by name and reminisced about their quirks and habits.

“I have earned proudly a few new gray hairs from this class, and I wear them with honor and cover them with hair dye on a regular basis,” Tranten said. “I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to get know these young adults.”

Kate McCormick — 861-9218

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Twitter: @KateRMcCormick