MONMOUTH — The dimly lit Monmouth Academy gym served to keep some temperatures cooler for parents and family on Sunday while the stage, filled with nearly 50 graduating seniors was brightly lit and warm for those in caps and gowns.

They sat under a large banner featuring their class motto: “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

Principal Richard A. Amero Jr. told them that after watching them prepare for graduation, “I believe you all do have it all together.”

Sunday’s ceremony saw Amero convey a diploma he signed to his son Avery Amero.

The two talked briefly as the seniors came into a side room to gather roses and carnations.

Avery Amero said it was “not bad” being the principal’s son. “I didn’t have many classes,” he said. “If you clear out things your first three years, senior year is a breeze.”

The younger Amero is headed to the lineman program at Kennebec Valley Community College.

Later, on stage the entire senior class thanked the principal for all his hard work on their behalf.

“You are the father to all of us in the class,” said Rebecca Bero, president of the senior class, adding that he pushed them to succeed.

While most of the class members are finished with their work at the school, five of the are on the baseball team, and the Mustangs have advanced to play in the Class C South Regional final at St. Joseph’s College on Wednesday.

Avery Amero plays first base and pitches — in fact, he was the winning pitcher on Saturday.

Hunter Richardson, who was one of the two honor speakers Sunday, plays shortstop and pitches as well.

Richardson talked of the class’s efforts in community service, and how that supported the four pillars of the National Honor Society —scholarship, service, leadership and character — of which he was a member.

His favorite service project was doing the Cottrell Taylor baskets, “when you put together bunches of boxes for the less fortunate for Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Richardson plans to attend St. Joseph’s College of Maine in the physician’s assistant program.

Speaking prior to graduation ceremonies, Jared Gosselin, who is heading to the University of Maine for pre-engineering, reflected on what he will miss about high school.

“I’m going to miss football, and the teachers here have been pretty cool,” he said.

Bradley Arsenault, who is heading to Unity College for the wildlife and fisheries management program, said, “I’ll miss the community and how everybody supports everyone and everybody gets along with each other.”

Many of the students have spent their entire school careers together.

“My favorite thing is the closeness between us all because we live in a small town,” said Kennedi Mellen. “Most of us have been together from kindergarten up.”

Mellen plans to attend Southern Maine Community College to be a dietitian.

Amelia Freeman said one of her favorite activities was Big Week, where different grades do different things, and that included learning about taxes and writing checks. She is planning to attend the University of Maine for marketing and advertising.

Kassi Chapman recalled that one of her best memories was from Project MOBY (for My Own Back Yard) when the class went on a camping trip to Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park their freshmen year. She plans to do an internship at MaineGeneral Medical Center next year to become a certified nursing assistant and then attend a program to become a registered nurse.

This was the third graduation ceremony over the weekend for William Zima, superintendent of Regional School Unit 2. He had already attended those at Richmond and Hall-Dale high schools.

“Every year I get to do it three times,” Zima said. It’s cool to seem them so excited and so ready to step out. It’s amazing.”

As the gym began to fill with smiling family members and friends, Emmeline Willey served as volunteer pianist, sitting at the keyboard minus her mortarboard, saying she’ll probably continue to play on the side as she studies communications and English at the University of Maine.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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