KENTS HILL — Rain may have forced the ceremony inside, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the 82 seniors graduating from Kents Hill School on Saturday morning.

The boys In their maroon gowns and the girls in their white gowns posed for photos in the gym alongside proud parents, classmates and friends.

Sebastian Muller introduced his parents, Karl and Elke, who had flown in from Oberhausen, Germany, for his graduation, and said he came to the private high school two years ago to improve his English and to play sports.

“And to become closer to being an adult, more mature,” said Karl Muller.

Elke Muller said the family wanted him to become more global — hard to imagine because Sebastian’s birthplace was Singapore.

Their son said he will miss Kents Hill. “It’s really a great place, really friendly, and the teachers are very helpful.”

Simisola Odimayo’s parents were unable to travel from their London home to see their daughter graduate in person, but tuned in to the live stream on the Internet.

The school streamed the graduation, and the event will remain accessible through their website at www.kentshill.org/commencement-2013.

Odimayo’s aunt and uncle, who live in Augusta, were there for the ceremony.

“The community was very welcoming and very accepting,” she said. “If I had gone somewhere else, I doubt I would have gotten the same experience socially.”

Already admitted to the University of New England’s pharmacy program, Odimayo said she had yet to make a final decision on her next move since she was waiting to hear from schools in London.

“I like to help people but I’m not very good with blood, so pharmacy is still a way to help people,” she said.

D. Jeremy LaCasse, head of school, gave the imminent graduates one final assignment: to write down what it means to be a person of principle and to say how they will make a difference in the future. He said he would collect those index card answers as they received their diploma.

In his senior address to his fellow graduates, Sam Hall, of Rockport, talked of how the junior varsity baseball team and coaches handled a 42-0 loss with grace and humor and a follow-up screening of the movie “42.”

He praised the qualities and work ethic of the Class of 2013, citing several members by name, including Sheng-Wen Chen, of Taipei City, Taiwan, “whose meticulous attention to detail make his math and science projects resemble fine works of art.”

Just prior to the ceremony Chen said he initially had been homesick, but then came to accept and embrace the Kents Hill community over the past two years. “The boarding school makes a lot of difference,” he said.

Asa Gomberg, of Augusta, who spent three years at Kents Hill as a day student, also praised the community, “where everyone has your best interest at heart” and where she has made lifelong friends.

Abigail Marshall, of Fayette, marched into the auditorium in a procession that also included her father, math teacher Tom Marshall. They were watched by Abigail’s brother, David, who is about to begin his third year at the school.

“It’s going to be weird not seeing her every day,” David Marshall said.

Unlike most of her classmates, Abigail will be back at Kents Hill, where her family lives, when she’s on breaks from studying nursing from the University of Vermont.

“I’ll still miss all the people that are here.”

Her father echoed that sentiment as he watched the graduates assemble on the bleachers for photos.

“I’m a dorm head as well, and I live with 30 of these boys,” Tom Marshall said. “You get very close to them over the course of the year.”

Her proud father said Abigail had done very well, and at the commencement ceremony she was presented with the Lois Masterman Award to a girl “who in the opinion of her classmates and faculty, most exemplifies the following philosophy of living: ‘To be helpful to others and to make something useful of my life,'” Masterman’s motto.

Cornelia Spring, of New York, managing director of J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York and a member of the Kents Hill’s board of trustees, addressed the graduates, saying she imagined she was speaking to her son, Huyette Spring, who graduated in 2008 from Kents Hill School. He helped her shape her speech, she said.

Spring harkened back to her 17th summer, spent traveling across the United States via Greyhound bus.

“Being curious and traveling will teach you — prove to you — that you can manage all kinds of things in life you simply cannot possibly prepare for.”

She encouraged the students to travel the world, visiting their former classmates along the way.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
[email protected]

 

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