When the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal published a 2015 graduation special supplement May 20, it was pretty impressive.

A page or more for each high school in both papers’ circulation area, complete with a list of graduates, and in some cases, photos of the students.

Every school, that is, except Waterville Senior High School.

Waterville had its page. Even a group shot of the seniors, formed in the shape of a 15.

But no list of names.

The school is not releasing the names of graduates.


“We are choosing to not list the names of the graduating class individually,” Cher Harvey, the secretary to the principal at Waterville Senior High School, said Friday in an email to the Morning Sentinel. “We prefer they are listed simply as the Class of 2015.”

Harvey’s email was in response to a request for names, so they could be listed on centralmaine.com along with names from graduating classes of all the high schools in the two newspapers’ circulation areas. Last month, when the request was made for the May 20 special print supplement, the Morning Sentinel advertising staff got a similar response.

There are only a few occasions in most people’s lives they get their name published by a newspaper — these days that includes print and the Internet. Some of life’s biggest milestones can usually guarantee it. A person’s birth, engagement or wedding, and death. And yes, high school graduation.

The name in the paper for a birth or death is more for family and friends than the subject of the item.

There are many who are never engaged or married.

But it’s been a given for generations that if you graduate from high school, everyone in town will see your name in print and know it. Nothing’s changed — that’s a proud achievement for most teenagers and for some, the biggest of their lives.


We’re also still in an era that, despite the all-selfie, all-Facebook, everything online culture, getting recognized by a publication in print and online matters.

The Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal will have covered or featured 24 graduations by the end of the day Sunday. Of those, lists of graduates for most of those are featured on a special page on the newspapers’ website.

Waterville High School’s graduation is Thursday. The Morning Sentinel’s website says that a list of graduates will be published if it’s made available by the school.

Calls Wednesday to Waterville High School didn’t provide any answers — no one was available to talk about it. After a few transfers, my call landed with Superintendent Eric Haley’s voicemail. I left a message asking about the decision and saying I’d like to talk to him about it, but he didn’t return the call.

Earlier requests from the Morning Sentinel for the list for the May 20 supplement as well as the graduation webpage also were initially refused, followed by no answer, when that refusal was followed up with emails by Sentinel staff, including one to Principal Don Reiter.

It’s not clear who made the decision.


It may lie with Waterville High School, rather than school district, because Winslow High School, which is also in Alternative Organizational Structure 92, provided a list of its graduates. It appeared both in the supplement and online. Winslow’s graduation was Wednesday night.

It’s also not clear why the decision was made.

There’s some speculation at the Sentinel that some kids on the list won’t graduate. That’s why we run a disclaimer saying actual graduates may differ from who is on the list.

While Harvey’s reply could be read that it’s a matter of not recognizing individuals so much as the class, that doesn’t really make sense.

Graduating from high school is an individual achievement, not a class achievement. That’s why everyone in the senior class won’t be walking up on stage to get a diploma.

But individuals are constantly recognized, with the enthusiastic backing of the school, mostly for sports achievements, but also for other notable activities.


This newspaper publishes the school’s honor roll quarterly and was provided a list and photos of the top 10 students in the class of 2015, though their achievements weren’t included. Most of the other high schools that provide a top 10, or top seniors list, also provide photos and what the students achieved.

Waterville’s list will be published on our community page soon. So those top 10 students will at least get their names in the paper. The other 100-plus who didn’t make it to the top, but whose graduation is equally important and a source of pride for them and their families, won’t.

It’s also not clear if parents were told the list wouldn’t be provided to the Morning Sentinel for publication. Or if the parents care. We have to believe some may.

We do, too.

This column has been corrected.

Maureen Milliken is news editor of the Kennebec Journal or Morning Sentinel. Email her at centralmaine.com. Twitter: @mmilliken47. Kennebec Tales is published the first and third Thursday of the month.

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