Jayce Corgan, right, joins his classmates Sunday in the hall of Winthrop High School following their graduation. His advice to classmates: Don’t wait to try new things. Jessica Lowell/Kennebec Journal

WINTHROP — Jayce Corgan’s key advice to anyone starting high school next year is simple.

“Don’t wait — for anything. Do  things. Be confident. Try new stuff,” Corgan, 18, said only days before he and his fellow graduating seniors at Winthrop High School would collect their diplomas Sunday and take that next step in life.

For the last year and a half, Corgan, who grew up in Winthrop as the second of four children in his family, didn’t wait.

“It’s opened so many doors. I never played hockey, but they needed a goalie, so I was like: Oh, I’ll do that,” he said.

How’d he do?

“Oh, not good,” he said with complete assurance. “Not good, but it was fun. It was a new thing.”


And so was picking up the guitar and the drums. The important thing, he said, was trying.

Graduation is a time that people hand out advice, and this year’s keynote speaker, Alexis Dascoulias, the dean of students at the high school, was no different.

Dascoulias urged the soon-to-be graduates to be bold.

Six years ago, Dascoulias stood on Crawler’s Ledge on the Kalalau Trail on the island Kauai. The ledge was a narrow stretch of pathway on a hiking trip that she, her husband and two others were taking to reach a beach only accessible by this one trail.

With a steep rock on one side and vertical drop of between 700 feet and 800 feet on the other, it was Dascoulias’ turn to be bold.

“I believe happiness breeds happiness,” she said of a small bold action of hers. “That’s why I sing in the hallways everyday at school. I don’t care if I make a fool of myself, because it makes you all smile. Sometimes, you’re laughing at me, but I’m OK with that.”


She said she believes she’ll win her battle with cancer, so she arrives at school each day with an appreciation of the world around her and that is a medium bold action.

And moving from Maui to Maine was a huge bold action.

She said everyone has the capacity to be bold, that people can choose to do what they can with what they have where they are and trust that others can do the same.

“Whatever you’re going to do next, be it in 10 minutes, in the fall, next week, in a year, in four years, in 24 years. Whatever you’re going to do, be bold,” she said.

“The tragedy of life is not that it’s short. The tragedy of life is that some of us wait way too long to live it,” she said.

Dascoulias capped off her speech with a bold move of her own: she sang to the students and the standing room-only crowd in the David J. Poulin Gymnasium. The song she chose was “The Last Days,” written by John Ewbank and Brenda Russell that ends with these words: “But doesn’t it strike you as strange/That we’d only begin to start living our lives/If today were the last of all days?”


Despite Sunday’s rain, the mood in the high school hallway was high as friends and families found their graduates for hugs and pictures, and the graduates waited for their next step, heading off to their Project Graduation event.

And after that, Corgan plans to head to the University of Maine in the fall to study computer science. The foundation for that was his time at the Capital Area Technical Center, where he was in the computer tech program, where he has already earned some certifications.

For incoming students, his best advice is to try.

He said he’s not a straight A student, but he did well enough to get into the National Honor Society.

“Just give it your best,” he said. “Just try. Just have the attitude that you are an A-plus student, and you’ll do better.”

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