WATERVILLE— Strength and teamwork are two characteristics that made Winslow High School’s class of 2014 the back-to-back snow fort building champions of the school’s annual winter carnival, according to senior class president Rachel Sirois.

“It’s not an easy feat, but with our hard work and collaboration we pulled it off,” said Sirois in an address to her fellow graduates, family and faculty Wednesday night. “It takes many important characteristics in a person and in a group of people to build a winning snow fort— characteristics that I think our class embodies.”

One-hundred and eight students graduated from the high school at Colby College’s Harold Alfond Athletic Center on Wednesday, the culmination of four years of hard work, memories and perfecting their fort-building skills.

After a moment of silence to remember family and friends who could not be at the ceremony as well as three students who died over the last four years, Sirois reminded her classmates to make the best of every situation in the future.

“I hope you see support in others, provide support to others and if plans do not go as expected, at least we know how to build quality snow forts,” she said.

As the students prepared to open a new chapter in their lives, two faculty members also addressed the graduates with advice and a reminder of their time at the high school.

Senior English teacher Jared Goldsmith performed a song he had written for the graduates called “What will they be?” providing a humorous take on the students’ future while biology teacher Joan Pierce gave the keynote address.

Pierce read 10 inspirational quotes to the students and reflected on how they can be applied to the class of 2014 and their futures.

Her number one piece of advice was a quote from Jane Goodall, the British anthropologist best known for her research on and work with chimpanzees and other primates: “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Pierce told the students means that they have control over the effect they want to have on the world.

“If you look around at your classmates and think about the positive effects you’ve had while you were here, and your effect on the school, know that it was your choice and make it a positive one,” she said.

Outside the ceremony, graduates exchanged hugs with family members and friends.

“I’m going to miss my friends, but I’m ready to move on,” said Dustin Fitch, 18, who is joining the U.S. Marine Corps.

Haley Small, 17, said she will be studying early childhood education at Kennebec Valley Community College and hopes to become a preschool teacher.

“It’s really exciting,” she said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

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