BINGHAM — Thank your supporters and be thankful for the close-knit community, the valedictorian from Upper Kennebec Valley Memorial High School told his 12 classmates Sunday.

Because of the small size of the school district, Carrington Miller said he was able to get to know each of his classmates and spoke about them individually, telling each to take pride in their work ethic, sense of humor or willingness to help others.

He said they should use these talents to support the next generation in the same way they were supported by their friends, family and community.

“We need to bring these things with us as we move on,” he said.

Miller said even if the students move far from the area after graduation, they will remember the lessons they learned and the experiences they had while in school.

“We will carry pieces of Valley High with us,” Miller said.

Some of the 13 graduates, who sat on stage before a small crowd of family and friends, became emotional while watching a slide show of photos of their classmates and during the nostalgic speeches given from a podium built by Salutatorian Seth Malloy.

Malloy and Megan Medlin were awarded the School Citizen Award for their sense of service while in school.

Commencement speaker Donald Beane, who retired from SAD 13 after 41 years as a teacher, said the graduates should be proud of the values, experiences and expressions they gained from life in the close-knit community.

“Always be proud of your roots,” he said.

He said the graduates and teachers should feel proud of their achievements despite “that silly and outrageous report card” issued by Gov. Paul LePage’s administration.

Stephen Jackson, 18, of Bingham, said he is not sure how long he will continue to live in the area after graduating, saying he hopes to travel and see other parts of the country.

Even though he switched schools several times, first attending the school district in second grade and then returning for his senior year, he said he is good friends with his classmates in the close-knit school and is sad to see the time end.

“It’s like we’re family,” he said.

Daniel Rogers, 19, of Bingham, said he was glad he got a chance to attend a small school and that it will be hard to say goodbye to his classmates, almost all of whom he attended school with since kindergarten.

“It’s kind of sad because you get so close,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]

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