SKOWHEGAN — The class of 2021 graduated Sunday at an outdoor ceremony at Skowhegan Area High School and Bloomfield Academy, with almost 160 students receiving diplomas.

The ceremony began at 1 p.m. at the school’s football field. Each student was allowed up to 10 guests, with each group given a 10-by-10-foot space for seating, with the spaces 6 feet from one another. Students were seated on the bleachers and looked downward at family and friends.

Prior to diplomas being awarded, a moment of silence was held to pay respects to a student who died last week.

Salutatorian Miles E. Lambke delivered welcoming remarks at the beginning of the ceremony. He talked about his love of soccer and how it taught him drive, focus and motivation. He urged classmates to “find something to pour your heart into, to focus on and strive towards.”

“What it is matters less than the fact that it exists,” Lambke said. “Many of us have that something already. Don’t give it up. Some of us aren’t as sure. We are free to choose. That outlet for enthusiastic passion that we choose might change, might stay the same, might evolve, might diminish in influence.”

Graduate Ashley Davis bumps fists Sunday with Principal Bruce D. Mochamer after receiving her diploma during commencement at Skowhegan Area High School. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Valedictorian Elizabeth Steeves performed “Rainbow,” by Kasey Musgraves, followed by farewell remarks in which she reflected on her time at Skowhegan Area High School.

Steeves spoke to some of the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that as the year went on, it did not seem a graduation ceremony or other traditional, end-of-year ceremonies would be held.

Steeves then shared memories with her classmates, including parades, pep rallies and the speech team’s winning the state championship.

“Little details such as those are what make our stories stand out,” Steeves said. “They are experiences we can look back on together, while still continuing forward on our own path.”

Ashley Davis, second from left, and classmates during the commencement processional Sunday at Skowhegan Area High School. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Following the speakers, students received their diplomas from Principal Bruce Mochamer, School Administrative District 54 board of directors Chairperson Lynda Quinn and Superintendent Jon Moody.

“Now, after today, you will begin writing the next chapter of your story,” Steeves said. “For some of you, that means attending college or a trade school. For others, that joy may mean joining the military or entering the workforce. And if you are unsure of what the next page will bring, that’s OK, too. After all, it’s your story. Your place is out there, and all you have to do is pick up a pen and be ready to write the next part of your story.”

The schools are part of Maine School Administrative District 54, which enrolls students from Canaan, Cornville, Mercer, Norridgewock, Skowhegan and Smithfield.

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