NEWPORT — For the 160 students graduating Friday at Nokomis Regional High School, the past was just as important as the future.

Class president Jackson Peck, dressed in maroon like all his fellow graduates, said as he was preparing his remarks for the event, he was inspired by the banners hanging on the walls of the gymnasium, whether it was a sports title or another achievement. The banners are easy to overlook, he said, but they tell the story of the 50 graduating classes that had come before them.

“Every one of these classes have leaders … ,” he said. “We are part of collection of classes spanning back 50 years.”

Peck, who plans to attend Saint Anslem College in the fall, said the legacy of the class of 2018 doesn’t end when they exit with their diplomas. He said their future isn’t written yet.

“We are now the providers of our own future,” he said.

Class valedictorian Kailey Bell told her fellow graduates there wasn’t a single person on stage she couldn’t think of a kind word to say about, whether a person brought humor to the days, or those who bring others joy.

“I’m so proud to call you my classmates and friends,” she said.

Bell said each person has left a small but noticeable legacy behind in the halls of Nokomis, and that those legacies would be lasting. She said every graduate’s path will make a lasting difference on the world, and said she hoped they would carry those legacies wherever they went in the world.

“I think the memories we created here will endure,” she said.

Bell challenged her fellow graduates to always aspire for greatness and also to make small but important changes in the world. She asked for everyone there to remember that every person has something to offer.

“I can’t wait to see the legacies you all accomplish,” Bell said. “I believe in you, best of luck, and congratulations.”

The class speaker, Latin teacher Patricia Mullis, said she remembered that when she graduated from high school, it was a tumultuous time with great unrest in the country. She said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy were both assassinated that year, and the political climate was such that people spoke at each other, not to each other. But she said great progress happened in that time as well, including civil rights legislation. She said many people fought for justice in those years, and said those were “extraordinary acts by ordinary people.”

“That challenge remains for you today,” Mullis said.

She said every person, including those graduates, had a personal responsibility to stand up against unfairness and inequality. She said speaking up against injustice is difficult, “but it must be done and it must be done by you.”

“Carpe diem, seize the day,” Mullis said. “That’s not just a slogan but a true code to live by.”

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

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Twitter: @colinoellis