MONMOUTH — Fifty-one students graduated from Monmouth Academy on Sunday afternoon in a very traditional observance of the school’s 210th graduation.

Monmouth Academy was founded in 1803.

Boys wearing maroon caps and gowns and girls decked out in white entered the Monmouth Academy gymnasium to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” by Elgar, played by the Monmouth Academy Concert Band.

Dressed in white tuxedos, juniors Rebekah Bryant and Emily Lombardo were class marshals, setting the solemn pace for the processional with long batons.

Hundreds of friends and family members packed the gymnasium, and many fanned themselves with their programs on the hot, sticky afternoon.

Midway through the ceremony, seniors came down off the stage to give single red roses to their parents, loved ones and friends who had helped them along the way.

Senior Sarah Record said of the flower presentation, “Take time to remember. Thank you for all you’ve done. Thank you for your faith and prayers. Now for our gratitude from us to you.”

Third honor essayist Dylan Thombs, who also is senior class president, introduced the other speakers and gave a stirring speech of his own. Thombs first related how he was inspired by a dream to write an essay on the sea.

“I stayed up late and studied the poets and the writers, but nothing came,” he said. “Then it came in a dream.”

Thombs said, “This class has faced adversity, … What has Monmouth given us? Did we all gain the same education?”

He said there were many opportunities for education outside the classroom, such as sports and clubs. Thombs praised Monmouth Academy’s teachers, especially a biology teacher who inspired students so much that most of the school’s top 10 students are planning to major in biology or a related subject when they go to college.

“We know we are loved by having people educate us,” said Thombs. “We have called Monmouth schools our home, some of us, for as long as we have been on this Earth. We all have different stories to tell. We could not have come this far without the love shown us here.”

He continued, “Let us show that we were not loved here in vain. Let us have a legacy of love moving into the future.”

Brandon Goff, who was ranked first in the class of 2014, proclaimed, “We did it!”

Also speaking were second honor essayist Sabrina Beck and fourth honor essayist Emily Vancil.

Principal Richard Amero recognized retired teacher Scott Foyt, who taught 43 years at Monmouth Academy, from 1970 to 2013. Foyt now is an advisor to the school’s Academic Decathlon team.

Amero also recognized the Monmouth Academy baseball team, which recently won the Mountain Valley Conference title and will compete in the playoffs leading to a regional and state championship. Finally, he praised senior Marques Houston, who won three events in the state Class C track and field meet.

As diplomas were presented, Monmouth Academy continued a tradition of projecting images of baby and childhood pictures of each graduate on an overhead screen.

The Monmouth Academy Chorus sang songs by Eric Idle and Taylor Swift. The Concert Band played “Symphony No. 9” by Antonin Dvorak.

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