MADISON — Chase your dreams, no matter how challenging, never doubt your potential and never lose faith in yourself.

That was a message Kristin Bishop delivered Friday night to seniors about to graduate from Madison Area Memorial High School.

“No matter how the road appears on your journey, remember that success will come with hard work and determination,” she said.

Bishop, a 2014 Madison graduate and a 2018 graduate of Bowdoin College, stood before 53 seniors in a gymnasium where about 600 school staff, family members and friends cheered them on.

Bishop received a bachelors in government, legal studies and education at Bowdoin and has received numerous awards. She said when she was 11 she went home from school and told her parents she wanted to be a government lawyer. She said that in her heart she was determined she could use her life to better the lives of others and help make the world a better place.

Her message was positive, encouraging seniors to go out into the world, be a good person and be genuine and kind, which comes with success. She urged them to take chances on positive change.

“Be open to new ideas, new perspectives and new opportunities,” she said, recommending seniors embrace diversity and differences.

“Lead lives of service and place yourselves in others’ shoes.”

Class President Lauren Hay welcomed the crowd and Principal Jessica Ward presented 2018 recognitions.

As people filed into the gymnasium, 18-year-old twins Evan and Whitney Bess, 2018 class salutatorian and valedictorian, respectively, took a moment to reflect on what led them to graduation night.

Whitney Bess said she plans to attend Husson College in the fall to study forensic science and then study for a masters degree at another institution after she receives her bachelors degree.

“I want to try to work my way to the FBI,” she said.

She said she watches a lot of crime shows and is fascinated and intrigued by forensics and wants to work out in the field.

Evan Bess said he plans to attend the University of Maine in Orono to study biomedical engineering.

“I’m hoping to use it as a stepping stone for going to medical school,” he said.

The siblings, whose parents are Jennifer and Jeff Bess, took every opportunity while at Madison; Evan played baseball, basketball and football, and Whitney played soccer and softball and during her freshman year she played basketball.

She cited three people who were great influences on her during her high school career — history teacher Barbara Moody, who also was her advisor all four years; Raelene Allen, business technology teacher; and Matt Dyer, who teaches math at Madison Junior High School but who has been her mentor and confidante since she was in sixth grade.

“I go to him with all my problems and the best advice I can get is from him,” she said.

Evan said it is tough to name any specific people, but like his sister, he cited Dyer as prominent in his school life.

“We’ve got a lot of great staff here,” he said. “Chris LeBlanc, the athletic director — we call him ‘Uncle Chris’,” he said. “We grew up down the road from him. I’ve known him all my life.”

Whitney gave a farewell to her class after diplomas were presented by Ward, School Superintendent Bonnie Levesque and Kristie LeBlanc, a member of the Board of Directors for School Administrative District 59.

Ward had earlier recognized the top 10 seniors: Emily Lin, Nathan Dimock, Regan Mantor, Lauren Hay, Jillian Holden, Hunter McDonald, Sean Whalen, Victoria Blauvelt, Evan Bess and Whitney Bess.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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