WATERVILLE — Graduates of Waterville Senior High School’s class of 2014 were asked to do one thing before receiving their diplomas Thursday night at the school’s graduation ceremony — to start a list of everyone who helped them achieve and to thank them.

“And make sure, as you live your life, that you end up on that can-do list in as many people’s lives as possible,” said Ian Wilson, an English teacher and coach at the school and the keynote speaker.

The graduates didn’t have to make the list right away, but it was a reminder to help others as they go about writing their own stories, their teacher said. There’s no formula for the latter task, but to the 134 graduates gathered at Colby College’s Harold Alfond Athletic Center, Wilson offered his advice.

“Nobody can tell you what must be done; you must discover it for yourself,” said Wilson, who said that some of the most important advice he received as a young person came from his grandfather.

“He told me it is not important that you know everything; it is only important that you know where to go to learn anything,” he said.

It was the same message that was echoed by Principal Donald Reiter, who told the students it’s not important that they know everything, but only that they are willing to learn.

Whether they are entering the work force immediately or after going to college, young people will likely encounter employers who consider their inexperience a disadvantage, said Reiter.

“I urge you to consider the reverse,” he said. “Turn your lack of experience into an advantage. Tell prospective employers that your inexperience is an asset, not a liability. Don’t act like you are entitled to a job, but humbly tell them that you can think outside the box.”

Whether they were going on to work or college, members of the class of 2014 said they are excited about the future.

“It’s a lot like the first day of school — scary and exciting,” said Ryan Duperry, 18. He plans to attend the University of Maine in the fall.

“I feel it’s time to move on, so I’m really excited,” said Jameka Martins, who will start her first day of work as a packer at Backyard Farms in Madison on Friday.

A friend, Marysa Pomerleau, plans to attend Capilo Institute, a cosmetology school in Augusta.

Before the ceremony, best friends Sarah Sullivan, 18, and Kassey Kreer, 17, said it hadn’t hit them yet that they were graduating. The two plan to be roommates in the fall at Southern Maine Community College in Portland.

“I’m really excited to get to live in a different part of the state for a while,” said Sullivan.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

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