WATERVILLE – There are three rules to being successful in life, according to Winslow High School Principal Chad Bell: work hard, learn from failures and be humble.

“The world does not owe you a thing,” Bell reminded graduates on Wednesday night.

The class of 2016 graduated in front of a full crowd at the Wadsworth Gymnasium at Colby College. Class officials and a teacher addressed the 102 students dressed in black gowns and orange stoles.

Bell told the graduates to take the time to reflect on mistakes and to remember to stay kind and humble, because they will need a support system wherever they go.

“Don’t forget those who have brought you to where you are,” he said, before telling students that the high school was honored to be a part of their growth.

Class Vice President David Selwood led the ceremony and first thanked families and friends in the audience.

“Without you, we would not have reached this point,” said Selwood, who will attend Princeton University in the fall.

Class President Jacob Trask turned his speech into a list of the top ten best things about Winslow High School. He included the Winter Carnival, which the class won this past year, the tight-knit bond that made the class feel like a family, and the Raider pride that he said “never dies.”

“If God isn’t a Black Raider, then how come all nights are black and the sun is orange?” Trask said, quoting Jim Poulin, a former football coach.

Jenn McCowan, who teaches English and theater, was chosen by the class to be the graduation speaker. While most students hadn’t had a class with McCowan since freshman year, Selwood said, she is still a favorite faculty member.

“Hands down, this is the meanest thing a student has done to me,” McCowan joked.

McCowan talked about the change the teachers see from freshman to senior year, when students evolve from “gawky” and “intimidated” to confident high schoolers.

“This whole time there was a safety net of teachers who were concerned about you,” she said. “That’s why, when you look to your left and to your right, you’ll see so many faculty members here today.”

McCowan didn’t attend her high school graduation, and instead moved to college early. She regrets that decision now, she said, because she realizes moving forward isn’t the most important thing.

“People are the most important thing,” she said. “All the shared history in this room deserves a moment.”

The one adjective McCowan said she’d pick to describe the class is tenacious.

“You’re tough,” she said.

She advised the graduates to stay curious, be creative and be kind.

“Find the things that feed your soul,” she said.

Since she does a lot with theater for the school, McCowan told students to look to acting whenever they are unsure. Think about what a confident person would do, and then do that, she said.

“We’re rooting for you,” she said.

Madeline St. Amour – 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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