READFIELD — Despite the unseasonably hot temperatures Sunday, Taylor Anderson wore a heavy hand-knitted orange scarf like a stole over his black graduation gown.

Even though Maranacook Community High School has air conditioning, it was a bold choice as the scores of people who came to watch a senior they know graduate seemed to overwhelm the streams of cool air.

Where some soon-to-be graduates wore cords of different colors signifying academic achievement, like completing an associate’s degree while still in high school, or stoles that broadcast which branch of the military they are joining, Anderson, 18, wore his scarf for his advisor, Paula Weisberger.

“She had knee surgery this year,” Anderson said, and during her recovery, she knit scarves for her advisees.

His was orange, he said, because in his freshman year, Weisberger had asked his favorite color and remembered what it was. He chose to wear it to honor Weisberger, who he said is retiring this year.

Anderson was one of 92 students to receive a diploma Sunday in a packed gymnasium at the high school, the same gym where the students as eighth-graders got their introduction their next four years high school with the help of that year’s senior class.

The ceremony featured senior class members handing out tokens of appreciation to family and friends, music and memories shared by student speakers.

It also featured some steady advice from retired Maranacook Community High School teacher Mark Wicks, who was Class Speaker. Wicks urged the students to continue to strive and achieve even as they leave their friends behind.

“Sometimes, what we really want seem out of reach, so we never dare to ask ourselves for it,” he said. “The greatest gift you can give yourself right now in this single, solitary monumental moment in your life is to decide without apology to commit to living your life the way you want. Challenge yourself. Set a bar for yourself, and then set it just a little bit higher. A funny thing happens when you do that. You can do amazing things if you let yourselves.”

Molly Searway, class valedictorian, thanked the people who had doubted her because they firmed her resolve to succeed. She issued a challenge for her classmates, met with loud applause and cheers at the close of her brief comments: “In the face of failure we cannot give in, because we are far too precious to the future of this world. Harness your anger, your hurt and turn it into power. A man so gifted in his way with words once said, ‘Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago, to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.'”

After graduation, Anderson was headed to a family cookout at home with relatives who had traveled from as far away as Arizona and Florida to Maine. This summer, he’ll work for the Maine Department of Transportation.

Later, he plans to learn welding at the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn and go to work as a welder. Anderson, who has volunteered with classmates for the Travis Mills Foundation, said metal work is a recent fascination for him; in the last couple of years, he helped his father with some projects at home.

Eventually, he said, he plans to get his inspection certificate so that he can supervise and inspect the work of other welders.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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