WINTHROP — About 60 seniors graduated from Winthrop High School on Sunday afternoon, many of them excited about finishing school and moving onto another chapter of life, but also wistful about the things they’ve learned and the people they’ve met along the way.

“I’m pretty excited to get out,” said one graduate, Carrie Savoy, shortly before the graduation got underway in the school’s crowded gymnasium.

Savoi, who studied culinary arts at Capital Area Technical Center during high school, plans to continue those studies at Kennebec Valley Community College next year, she said. She hopes to one day run her own food truck.

“I’m just going to go for it” said another senior, Colin Bowler, who plans to study liberal arts at Central Maine Community College next year, then hopes to study journalism in the University of Maine System.

Part of what set him on that path was the creative writing classes he took at Winthrop High School, Bowler said.

A number of students said they’re going onto some form of higher education. Others are entering the workforce or pursuing other opportunities.

Nickk Child currently works a construction job and plans to enter the U.S. Army in August. Tia Muzima said she plans to travel to New Delhi, India, to volunteer at a child care service before figuring out her next life steps. Cheyenne Finch is entering a program to become a certified nursing assistant at a long-term care facility in Augusta.

“I’ve always wanted to help others,” Finch said.

Wearing caps and gowns, in the school’s green and white colors, the students marched to their seats at the front of the Winthrop High School gymnasium before hearing an address from their principal, Keith Morin.

It was a swan song for Morin, who is leaving Winthrop High School next year for a job as the assistant superintendent in Regional School Unit 18, the school district headquartered in Oakland.

Though times were not always easy for the graduates, Morin said, they should hold onto the positive outlook they’d carried through their years as Ramblers.

He listed numerous people whose names are now etched in history who overcame adversity earlier in their lives: Albert Einstein didn’t speak until the age of 4 and couldn’t read until he was 7; Vincent van Gogh sold just one painting during his life; Charles Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, never had one of his cartoons accepted into his high school yearbook.

“Believe it or not, my speech isn’t about failure or success,” Morin said. “The message I want to share with all of you this afternoon is this: your contributions to the culture of Winthrop High School is inspirational to others. We have established a culture of care, compassion, respect and understanding during times when we could have chosen to look down, but instead, we chose to look up.”

The graduates also heard addresses from their salutatorian, Megan Marie Chamberland, and valedictorian, Matthew Phillip Ingram. Ingram listed some of the academic and athletic accomplishments of his classmates, before attributing their success to teachers and other mentors.

“They have taught us valuable life lessons that we would not have learned anywhere else,” Ingram said. “Every single one of these individuals stresses the importance of family and community … Some of our best memories and life moments are from times spent with these individuals.”

He called Morin an “irreplaceable leader” who “managed to keep everything in line while still being humorous.” He also thanked two retiring faculty members, math teacher Maria Kauffman — “one of the nicest people you will meet” — and learning center teacher Trudy Hanson — “compassionate, helpful and sincere.”

Before the graduates received their diplomas, they sang a rendition of “Life is a Highway.” They also heard remarks from social studies teacher Sharon Coulton. Coulton, who has been at Winthrop for over 30 years, was unequivocal in her support for their achievements.

“Yes, I am biased, and no offense intended to Winthrop High School grads in the audience,” she said. “But this class might just be the best class ever — and now you can applaud.”

Coulton’s daughter was a member of the graduating class.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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