WATERVILLE — Winslow High School graduated 96 students Wednesday evening at Colby College in front of friends, family and the school’s faculty and staff.

“These past four years have been a blur of deadlines, stress, practices, rehearsals, games, championships, wins and losses,” Senior Class President Meg Nadeau told the audience gathered in Wadsworth Gymnasium. “Sometimes it felt like this night would never come.”

In a speech structured around the idea of the playground as a metaphor for life, Nadueau asked her classmates to remember simpler times in their childhoods and the lessons they learned on the playground.

“Let’s start with the slide,” she said. “A fan favorite because of the rush you get riding down it. But the only way to experience the exhilaration of letting yourself go and flying down the slide is to climb to the top. … You have to work hard first in order to experience the rush of the ride.”

Nadeau talked about the monkey bars, a lesson to trust yourself and hold on when things get tough; the fire pole, a lesson in taking risks even when you are scared; the game of four square, where waiting in line for a turn at the game was a lesson in patience; and the swings, which illustrate the highs and lows that we experience in life.

“As we go our separate ways and make new memories with people who we haven’t met yet, don’t forget where you started,” Nadeau said. “Don’t forget those who played with you on the playground at recess, those people sitting around you right now.”

Also speaking at Wednesday night’s ceremony were teachers Jared Goldsmith and Sean Keenan. It’s a Winslow High School tradition for Goldsmith, an English teacher, to write and perform an often humorous song about the graduates.

“Every June I see a lot of students come back for graduations, but I also see you continue to be part of the fabric of the town. I see a lot of you come back and do things in the community,” Goldsmith told the graduates in introducing his song, titled “Black Raider Town,” after the school mascot.

Social studies teacher Sean Keenan also addressed the students, weaving memories of the last four years together with pieces of advice for the graduates.

“Don’t let your hurts define you,” Keenan said. “Allow them to refine you. You’re going to get knocked down. Get up and be better. Resolve to not allow yourself to be defined by your enemies or your failures, but will yourself to let them shape you into a better person.”

Many of the graduates of the class of 2015 are going on to college, while others are joining the workforce and the military, Keenan said.

As they gathered in the hockey arena at the Alfond Athletic Center before the ceremony, the graduates, wearing black and orange, laughed and talked. Ross Poulin, 18, of Winslow, is preparing to attend the U.S. Military Academy and is leaving at the end of June for the school in West Point, N.Y.

“I’m really excited. I’m looking forward to it,” Poulin said.

A friend, Jacob Boudreau, 18, of China, will be attending the University of Maine in Orono to study computer engineering. “I really like how Winslow isn’t very big and you know most of the people. I’m going to miss it,” he said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm