READFIELD — Maranacook, graduates and alumni said at the high school’s graduation Sunday, is the house that teamwork built.

That “house,” Maranacook Community High School, was stifling hot and jam-packed with sweaty people Sunday afternoon, and it briefly appeared to lose electricity just before the ceremonies were to begin.

As graduates lining up to go into the gymnasium saw the lights go out, they wondered aloud, “What about the fans? What about the microphone?” To which graduate Hollie Legendre added, “What about … everything? Oh my God!”

Power came back on within minutes, and Legendre said there was no place she’d rather be than right there in her own school.

“Sure, we could go to the (Augusta) Civic Center, and it’d be cooler and have more space,” she said, “but we’ve spent so much time here together, I’d still rather be here. It means something to all of us.”

Speaker Ronn Gifford, a Maranacook ski coach and a graduate of the class of 1980, which was the first freshmen class to attend high school at the then-newly formed and built Maranacook, said he saw similarities between his class and the class of 2014.

Gifford noted that Maranacook opened in 1976 after the towns of Manchester, Readfield, Mount Vernon and Wayne, which previously sent their students to other area high schools, joined together. He said the residents of the towns came from different backgrounds but were united in a feeling that education could, and should, be different — that a better way could be developed. He said the school’s first students, staff and supporters bonded, looked out for each other and have remained together.

“In your class, I see similarities” to that of 1980, Gifford said. “You have that same passion for Maranacook and what it stands for, and for each other.”

He cited the graduates’ academic and athletic achievements and their strong community involvement as a class, noting, “In these accomplishments, you’ve established your own piece of history. I hope the lives ahead of each of you will be as rich and full as you’ve helped make mine.”

Valedictorian Alec Daigle and salutatorian Tyler Lang teamed up to give their speeches together as one — because, they said, that’s the Maranacook way.

“Two weeks ago we tried to write individual speeches, but we figured we could make a bigger impact with a combined speech than we could as individuals,” Lang said. “Like if you’re building a house, no one member of a team of specialists, no plumber … could build the whole house by themselves. But working as a team, they can build a beautiful house.”

Daigle said the Maranacook community provided them “with the tools that give us the ability to form friendships and collaborate to succeed, which has allowed us to be a team that has added to the house that is Maranacook Community High School.”

Principal Dwayne Conway, wrapping up his first year in that job, described the class of 2014 with one word.

“Kind,” he said. “That came through loud and consistently throughout the year. The kindness of this class is exemplary — not just in how they treated the principal and faculty, but most importantly, how they treat each other. That’s a trait they get from you — parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. I expect (graduates) to continue to make Maranacook proud, as you have the last four years.”

Graduates Emma Gyorgy, Grace Kavanah and Ellie Nazar harmonized together on the song “Landslide,” by Stevie Nicks, receiving a standing ovation.

The school lobby was a flurry of activity before graduation started in the adjacent gymnasium, with graduates posing for photographs with each other and family members.

The gymnasium was decorated in gold and black, the Maranacook school colors.

Gifford said he and his class were given the opportunity to vote, as eighth-graders, for one of two school mascot and color combinations — gold and black Black Bears, or blue and white Lakers.

“I think I voted for Lakers,” Gifford said, “but I’ve loved being a Black Bear ever since.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj


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