FARMINGTON — Mt. Blue High School held its graduation ceremony Sunday before a packed gymnasium and televised the event to the overflow in the auditorium. It was a time of deep personal reflections as well as a celebration of a milestone in life.

Graduates filed through the room, many of them with decorated mortarboards on. Some had initials and their graduation year, others had sayings or quotes. One girl wore a mortarboard that said, “Look mom I did it.”

One of the many who couldn’t find a seat and chose to stand in the back was Joseph Davenport. He was there to see his son Jake graduate. Beaming with pride, Davenport positioned himself to snap a couple of pictures of his son as the graduates rounded the corner of the room.

Principal Bruce Mochamer addressed the 162 graduates, families and friends, some of whom were watching via live streaming, joking with the audio and visual students by making his voice cut in and out.

Salutatorian Michaela Hutchinson and valedictorian Daniel Lesko were presented with medals by Mochamer, who struggled putting the proverbial square peg in a round hole by attempting to place the medal over Hutchinson’s cap. Smiling, Lesko removed his cap as he stepped forward to receive his honors.

“That’s why he’s valedictorian!” Mochamer shouted to a laughing crowd. “Dan, you’re wicked smart,” Mochamer said. “I wish I could have figured that one out earlier.”

Speaking to the students, Mochamer said, “You have opened up and shared yourselves with me and many others here on campus and they have worked hard and felt as they’re your parents,” adding he wished he could get the IRS to allow him to claim them all as dependents.

“But seriously,” Mochamer said, “I have learned who you are — what you are — and what your life is like. I thought it was my job to be the one that influences you, but I soon realized that in many cases, through all those conversations, it was really you teaching me.”

Mochamer said, “You made me stop, step back, reflect and think about who I am and what I am, so for that I thank you, the students, for teaching all of us what life is about.”

Class speaker Anthony Franchetti took a different path and looked forward to his future by looking into the past. “We can look back at a time more strenuous than our own and learn from our forefathers,” Franchetti said.

Franchetti focused on the lives of his own family, struggling out of the depression and the world plunging into war. “In a far off place, a man was elected and gathering a following still unmatched to this day,” he said. He was a man who had invaded Poland by the time his grandmothers were in high school.

He spoke of how his grandmothers knew nothing of the luxuries we have today. They worked hard, went to school and shouldered their burdens of hardship without complaint. “Their perseverance and mental toughness are what made them the greatest generation.”

“The upcoming days, months and years may not always be easy,” Franchetti said. “Indeed, they will harbor some of the toughest, most challenging things you could ever imagine. When these times are tough, we must look to history to be our guide.”

Franchetti plans to attend Maine Maritime Academy to study marine transportation operations.

Victoria Newbill addressed her class saying, “What I have learned, what I will really take away when I’m no longer here, is that I had so much time, so many opportunities and instances that I never took.

“Some of you look at me and think, ‘Victoria, I don’t understand. You’ve been in everything under the sun,’ and yes, you’d be right,” Newbill said. “I’ve been in many groups. I’ve done a million different things, and if it looked good on a resume, you better believe I’d be the first to do it.

“But what I’ve missed,” Newbill said, “oh, man what I regret that I missed was you.” She said she’s been good at always doing things and getting things done, however, “all the while dodging you in the hallways or avoiding simple conversations and boasting of my own accomplishments and standards.”

Newbill said she was a person of faith, and “I’m called to love you — each and every one of you.” Newbill said she had done a disservice to God and to her classmates and that she hoped it wasn’t too late.

“All I want now is to hear your story. I’ve heard mine, and though it looks impressive on paper, I bet it’s so awfully boring,” Newbill said. “Tell me about the time you felt so low you didn’t think you were going to make it, but then you did and now you’ve gained it.”

Not just the bad but the good, Newbill said. “Tell me how life looks in your perspective — your laughs, your loves, your joys. These are the things that will last when all else is stripped away.”

Newbill gave an impassioned plea, saying she was sorry for being “oblivious” to the presence of others but that now she is in the present with them.

Newbill served as class president all four years and plans to attend Bryant University in Rhode Island where she will play field hockey and major in accounting.

Douglas McIntire — 861-9252

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Twitter: @CD_McIntire