ANSON — Take more risks. Be honest even if it hurts. Treat your first job as if it’s the most important you’ll ever have.

That was some of the advice from U.S. Sen. Angus King, I – Maine, Friday night to graduates in Carrabec High School’s Class of 2019.

King, a special guest speaker at Friday’s commencement, told the class of 35 graduates he was going to give them 10 pieces of advice he wished someone had told him when he was 18.

In addition to the first three, King also advised the graduates that a firm handshake is critical; they shouldn’t put anything on the internet that they don’t want their grandmother to see on the front page of the newspaper; and to always carry a $20 bill.

He also said there “is no such thing as a geographic or material cure.”

“By that I mean if you’re not happy in North Anson or Solon, don’t say, ‘Once I get to Denver I’ll be happy’ or New York or Boston,” he said. “You carry your happiness between your ears. A lot of people think, ‘If only I can buy a Harley Davidson I’ll be happy.’ A thing is not going to make your happy or a place. You have to have a positive attitude wherever you are.”

Finally, King told the graduates that when in doubt they shouldn’t get married; attitude is everything; and it’s important to value your family and friends.

“In tough times they’re what you’ve got,” King said. “That’s what’s going to make the difference and carry you through.”

The senator’s remarks were part of a program Friday that also included messages from students and school officials at the Carrabec High School gym.

The school includes students from Anson, Embden, New Portland and Solon.

Principal Timothy Richards had his own words of advice to the graduates, all of which he said will “cost nothing” but get them far in life.

Have a good work ethic. Do your best every time. Find something in life you really care about. Be coachable and listen to what others have to say.

“Please consider these ideas as they will pay you dividends for your entire life,” Richards said. “These things will cost you nothing but will bring you the respect of those around you. I wish you the best and know you will make your school and community very proud.”

Valedictorian Lillian Johnson thanked parents and teachers for their support and congratulated her peers.

“At times we all wanted to give up and stay home,” she said. “I can’t count the number of times we all said, “I’m just going to drop out, but we all stuck with it.”

Prior to commencement several students said they were both excited and nervous and shared their plans for the future.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Lilyana Aloes, of Anson. “It’s kind of nerve wracking to leave everyone, but it will be bittersweet.”

Her classmate Chantel Whittemore, of Solon, agreed.

“I’m ready,” said Whittemore, who plans to attend Husson University and become a pharmacist. “(I’m sad to leave) my classmates but not the school in general.”

Peter Nathaniel Mouland, who said he stayed an extra year at the high school because he has some learning disabilities and needed to perfect his reading skills, said he was both excited and afraid to be graduating.

“I’m nervous as heck, but yea, I’m prepared,” he said.

Mouland plans to attend Eastern Maine Community College and will stay with a family member near Bangor and come home on the weekends to help take care of his family in Solon.

“The end is only the next beginning,” Mouland said. “This is the end of my childhood and well, now I’m going to my first years as an adult. I’m going to a new experience at a new school in another town. So yea, it’s going to be a lot to get used to.”


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