MONMOUTH — Caitlyn Kenney, 18, clearly recalls the first day of her senior year at Monmouth Academy.

“I can remember it like yesterday, me starting school and being like: Oh, my God, I am graduating in June. And now it’s here in a couple of days,” she said.

Monmouth Academy senior Caitlin Kenney adjusts her mortar board Sunday before marching into graduation ceremonies in Readfield. Staff photo by Andy Molloy

In the middle of rehearsals for graduation last week, Kenney took a moment to think about the transition she and her 56 classmates are now facing.

In the days leading up to Sunday’s graduation, the routine was not classes and assignments but practicing marching in the shoes they would wear to walk up to and down from the stage at graduation, then a full dress rehearsal. During that week, she and her classmates — many of whom she has known since she started school — would do a walk around at Henry L. Cottrell Elementary, Monmouth Middle School and at Monmouth Academy.

“I’m nervous but kind of excited,” she said. “I know I am going to cry, but I’ve just been with these people all my life, and it’s weird that I am graduating now.”

On Sunday, she gathered with her classmates for one last class cheer before falling into line and marching in to start the graduation ceremony in front of about 900 friends and family.

The three honor speakers, Benjamin Brooks, Kayla Brooks and Trevor Flanagan, distilled their time at school and how they grew up and grew to appreciate the lessons they learned on taking responsibility and taking risks. In the case of Flanagan, he shared how much of life relates to a golf game.

Principal Rick Amero, who first met many of the graduates as their new principal when they were in the seventh grade and he was scared to death, had these words for his graduates.

Monmouth Academy seniors Mariah Herr, left, and Haylee Langlois sniff the roses Sunday before marching into graduation ceremonies in Readfield. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

“As I reflect upon where you are today, I truly believe you’re ready to tackle whatever comes next,” Amero said. “I’ve watched each of you discover your own unique strengths and abilities. I am excited for your plans, whether they include further studies in the fields of science, English, technical education, business. You’ll serve your country, work in your family business or enter the workforce with a particular skill set.

“As you leave here today, once again, you’ll face change … However, I know you’ll be just fine. Your teachers know you’ll be fine, and you will be welcome here to face any challenge that comes your way.”

Kenney predicted that she’ll be pretty tired on Monday after the Project Graduation events, but it will also be weird because she won’t be returning to high school in the fall. Instead, she is enrolling in the Maine College of Health Professions in Lewiston, where she’ll study for an applied science associate’s degree in radiologic technology.

“It’s two years and a summer program. It’s X-ray, so I am going to be doing X-ray stuff,” she said. “And then I might move into doing MRIs and sonography.”

She had planned to be a physical therapy assistant, but after weighing her options, and the more she thought about radiology, the more she wanted to do that.

A lot of her classmates have chosen to pursue degrees in health-related fields.

“It’s pretty cool, because the health industry needs a lot of people,” Kenney said.

In the meantime, she said, she’s looking for a job to augment the hours she’s getting as a receptionist at Charlie’s Honda to help pay for the education that will help her set the course for the rest of her life.

“I’ve been told this, and I didn’t really think about it much, but high school goes by super fast,” she said.


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