WATERVILLE — For graduating senior Emily Glidden, Winslow High School will always be synonymous with family.

“(Something I won’t forget) is just how good of a bond we all have,” she said as she prepared to process into the Wadsworth Gymnasium at Colby College for the commencement ceremony Wednesday evening. “We’re such a close-knit class — just like a family.”

Winslow High School graduate, Grace Paradis, 18, receives corsage Wednesday before the beginning of commencement ceremonies at the Harold Alfond Athletic Center at Colby College in Waterville. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Though she said she is looking forward to studying business management at Kennebec Valley Community College next year, she knows Winslow is home.

“I’ve grown up here; I’ve made so many bonds here,” she noted. “I’m not ready to leave yet.”

She is not alone in her feelings. The theme of both being supported by and giving back to the Winslow community echoed throughout the graduation, as principal Chad Bell, Class President Devin Daigneault and Social Studies Teacher and Class Adviser Sean Keenan noted the importance of carrying memories of the town and school with them.

“We talk about the Black Raiders family so much I think it starts to become a cliche,” Bell said in his opening remarks. “But this is because we treat each other like a family. … When Pastor Lakey talks about taking Winslow with you, this is what I think of: take family, take the lessons taught by all your family members with you, and spread those words that you were taught in and out of the classroom wherever you may wind up. And wherever you wind up, remember that that road does come back home and your family will be here to support you.”

Keenan gave individual shout-outs to each of the 108 graduates, noting their transformation from “a bunch of nervous and awkward” freshmen to “a group of intelligent, confident, good-looking” young adults. He praised the selflessness of Desiree Veilleux, the rare ability to pull off camouflage and plaid like Jared Lambert, the brotherly love of Kevin Ware, who walked his younger sister to school every morning and the grace and class of Suzanne and Michael Bryan in the wake of a personal tragedy. And, he noted with a characteristic glint of humor, he already misses even those students who were chronically late to his class.

“There are a whole lot of people in this building who want nothing but the very best for you,” he said. “We are proud of you and we really love you.”

Noting that “one thing I never learned how to do is say goodbye,” Keenan left the Class of 2019 with the old Irish blessing, “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You.”

Daigneault touched on the importance of this year’s Winslow High School yearbook theme: Small Town, Big Dreams.

“We all have our dreams, and you are all capable of achieving some version of those dreams,” he told his classmates. “It’s going to take hard work. It’s going to be really, really, really, really hard work, but I think you can get through it. And you might end up with a dream that’s different from the one you have now. You might realize that the dream you had wasn’t what you really want. Heck, you might wake up with a different dream tomorrow, and that’s all OK. So be accepting to different things as they come along. Be ready to try new things, be open to new parts, and I’m sure you’ll all do great. Looking around at all of you, I can’t wait to see what happens.”


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