MONMOUTH — While 52 students graduated from Monmouth Academy as scheduled on June 7, one did so at a faster pace.

Emily Levasseur took only three years to graduate, joining the Class of 2015 for graduation. Levasseur, 17, of Monmouth, plans to attend Unity College, where she will pursue adventure therapy. She plans to use this degree to work with special needs kids in the outdoors.

Levasseur recently looked back at her journey from battling with a learning disability in her youth to graduating early and even becoming one of the best wrestlers in the nation.

“I was sitting at the dinner table last night with my dad,” Levasseur said. “I said ‘Y’know dad, I’ve accomplished a lot and haven’t really given myself enough credit for it.'”

Students were adorned in maroon or white graduation caps and gowns as they marched into Stuart L. Foster gymnasium for what may be the very last time on June 7.

Four students took to the lectern to read essays that received honors. Fourth honor recipient and first speaker Shannon Buzzell implored her fellow students to explore outside of their comfort zone as they move on into adulthood.


“Do not be afraid to adventure out of your comfort zone and meet these new people,” Buzzell said. “You could be meeting your best friend or the love of your life without ever realizing it.”

With the class motto “in nobis, nostrum futurum iacet,” Latin for “in ourselves our future lies,” hanging behind him, third honor recipient Angus Koller was bold enough to admit that the future is never certain. His speech, which he dedicated to his deceased aunt Nicholette, told classmates to live in the moment.

“None of us can predict the future, so why worry about it?” Koller said. “Instead of always asking what if or what will happen, focus on what is happening.”

Salutatorian Sherman Spears said during his speech a recent trip with classmates to Europe taught him that the classroom is only the beginning of the learning experience.

“Each of us is capable of exploring and expanding our understanding beyond the confines of a classroom,” Spears said. “A classroom is not the zenith of knowledge, but the beginning.”

Valedictorian Jordyn Mann recalled valuable lessons that were learned from humorously out of context quotes from teachers at the academy.

“Mr. Youngs once said, ‘when in doubt, don’t lick it,'” Mann said in her speech. “Often life does not go as we plan it, and we must try to avoid possible issues that could arise.”

While many graduation speeches focus on the personal pursuit of wealth, happiness and success, Mann, the final student to speak, left her classmates with another quote from a faculty member.

“If you see the opportunity to make people’s lives more pleasurable, take that opportunity,” Mann said. “As our math teacher Ms. Small once said, ‘You know what I see? The opportunity to draw so many happy faces.'”

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