PITTSFIELD — Graduating high school seniors at Maine Central Institute on Sunday were told to make their own stories and to make their own dreams as they head off into the world after graduation.

Maine Central Insititue senior Matt Glidden speaks with friend and fellow graduate Avery Gosselin, reflected in his sunglasses, before commencement Sunday in Pittsfield. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming

Sunday was the 150th graduation ceremony at the school, which serves the School Administrative District 53 towns of Burnham, Detroit and Pittsfield, as well as students from 11 other states and several foreign countries, including Vietnam, Spain, Italy, China, Rwanda and Japan.

On Sunday, it was the students’ chance to shine in crimson caps and gowns, marching to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” played live by organist Gerry Wright.

In her commencement address, longtime MCI teacher Tanya Kingsbury urged graduates to follow the Golden Rule — the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated — but she told the 107 graduates to go beyond the basic principle.

“Do for others better than you expect from them,” said Kingsbury, who has been on the faculty at MCI for 39 years. “We have to always rethink and relearn what is good.”

Kingsbury touched on her own list of “pet peeves” as she debunked some myths associated with old expressions, including “Nice guys finish last.”


“That is the biggest bunch of baloney and negative nonsense that one has ever said,” she said. “You don’t have to crawl over someone else to get to the top. Think of it this way: You are right now at the top if you’ve done your best in the best way you know how.”

Following the invocation delivered by graduating senior Margaret Hodgins and a welcome from Headmaster Christopher Hopkins, senior Caitlin McKenney gave her valedictory address.

In her speech, McKenney cited the traditional motto of the United States — “E pluribus unum,” Latin for “Out of many, one,” saying the class of 2019 started out a many young people, but on Sunday it stood as one.

Life will hand you 30,000 mornings, she said, adding, “This is your life. Don’t miss a day of it.”

Daughter of Brian and Tracy McKenney, of Harmony, valedictorian Caitlin McKenney has been active in track and cross-country teams for the past four years in addition to her studies and extracurricular activities, according to the MCI website.

McKenney has participated in MCI’s Model United Nations, Student Orientation and Language Immersion, school newspaper, Philanthropy Council, Outdoor Adventure Club, National Honor Society, and Running Club, which she co-founded with classmate Nicholas Clark. McKenney has received several academic awards, including the George M. Parks Award for highest accumulated GPA in her junior year as well as achievements in French, algebra, chemistry and history.

Elisabeth Parker is the salutatorian for the class of 2019. The daughter of James and Jennifer Parker, of Northport, one of her primary interests throughout her years at MCI has been her participation in the Key Club, which has taught her about leadership and collaboration while helping the community, according to the website. Parker participated in the Bossov Ballet Theatre, is a member of the National Honor Society, and is a church musician and choir director. She also is a Manson Essay finalist, and she enjoys skiing and sailing.

In his welcome, Hopkins noted three retiring faculty members who, combined, have a total of 90 years’ experience in education. The retirees are Roberta McGuire, Steve Peterson and Edward Miller.

Maine Central Institute senior Caitlin Delaney McKenney gives the valedictory address Sunday to the graduating class during the school’s 150th commencement in Pittsfield. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming


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