THORNDIKE — The Mount View High School Class of 2017 processed into the school’s gymnasium Sunday afternoon in their green and white gowns as hundreds of family members and friends looked on and snapped photos.

“Now you can relax a little bit — that was the hardest part,” said Paul Austin, school superintendent, when the procession ended.

The 88 graduates will attend public and private colleges throughout Maine and New England, start working or take a gap year, and eight will serve in the military. Collectively, the class won more than $100,000 in scholarships.

Cameron Morin, the class president and valedictorian with a GPA of more than 100 percent, plans to attend the University of Maine at Farmington and pursue a career as a mathematician.

Morin is the youngest person in the senior class, aside from early graduates, he said to the full gym, “so what do I know?”

“I know that the journey has gone by fast,” he said.

Morin spoke about the teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and countless other staff who never failed to greet students as they passed by.

“This is the gift only Mount View can give a person,” he said.

Now, he said, everything is going to change as they go off on their own.

Kevin Richards, the class salutatorian with a GPA of more than 98 percent, plans to attend Unity College to study wildlife biology.

Richards said he was sure everyone expected a motivational speech, which he had thought about presenting. But eventually, he said, that speech would fade from memory.

Instead, Richards talked about some of the life lessons he had learned, and about how learning itself is important.

The most important things you learn, he said, are learned “without ever knowing you learned them.”

He encouraged his classmates to “do your best with what you have.”

Richards also spoke about death.

“Death always accompanies life,” he said. He recalled a time when, talking with an older co-worker, he said it seemed that the 60-year-old man had done everything.

His co-worker turned to him and said, “If I died tomorrow, I would have no regrets,” a moment that stuck with Richards.

Austin, the superintendent, spoke about the importance of those who helped the graduates along their journey.

“While today is all about the graduates, I want to take a few short moments to recognize the people who helped you get to this day,” Austin said. “It is appropriate and fitting that we honor you for the support you’ve given. While many of these graduates might not remember their first day of school, I bet you do.”

Austin also thanked the staff at the high school, as well as the Regional School Unit 3 district.

“Each one of these outstanding students is on a journey, and you have been a part of that journey,” he said.

As a superintendent, Austin said, graduation is one of his favorite days. The class has come together over the years and is now sharing one final moment, he said.

“You are why we are here,” he said. “And you are the fruits of our labor.”

Austin told the graduates that while the rest of their lives started tomorrow, “each of us does this every day,” as every day is a new chance.

He ended his speech with a quote from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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