Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 20, 2019
DISHS seniors graduate as a family
With caps and gowns at the ready, Deer Isle-Stonington High School graduates its Class of 2019 on June 16. Top Row, from left: Ronald Weed Jr., Gunner Crouse, Seth Welch, Michael Barter, Robert Eaton, Tobey Snow, Andrew Barter, Caleb Hardie. Bottom Row, from left: Kaley Eaton, Gabrielle Gray, Haley Hardy, Kristin Thompson, Kiley Langlois, Mercedes Rice, Lillian Gray, Adeline McDonald, Abigail Stinson, Kaitlyn Harrison.
by Monique Labbe
The 18 students in the Deer Isle-Stonington High School senior class received their diplomas on Sunday, June 16, but not before a few laughs and many more tears.
“I have spent the last few days confused, and a little annoyed, that all my classmates kept bawling over every single senior thing we’ve done,” said Second Honor Essayist Mercedes Rice in her remarks. “It wasn’t until I saw Caleb [Hardie] come out as [school mascot] Skippy for the last time on step up day that I realized what they were feeling. I found myself bawling my eyes out.”
Rice addressed her friends and family, and became emotional when talking about leaving behind all the memories she had made with her classmates throughout the years.
The emotions continued to run deep in the speeches of the top four students in the class. Salutatorian Kaitlyne Harrison said that the last week has been a blur, and the fact that their time as a class has come to an end still does not feel real.
“To my friends, to the people who have gone through everything with me over the last four years of high school, you guys are my family,” said Harrison. “Today is graduation and I feel like I’m in some sort of fog. We are more than just a class. Way more.”
Ready By 21 mentor Kyra Alex was selected by the students as the guest speaker at the ceremony. Alex began her address looking at the students as she spoke, but quickly had to readjust her view.
“I can’t look at you or I’m going to cry,” said Alex, who was emotional at several moments in her speech.
“This class had me at hello,” said Alex. “I have watched them grow from people telling them who they are, to them telling us who they are. They are resilient, and are ready for the future, and deserving a validation. They are resilient because of space; the space in their hearts that they hold for each other, for change and for growth.”
Valedictorian Lily Gray reminded her classmates that through all the disagreements during class meetings, they became stronger as a unit, which made her stronger as an individual.
“I came to this class in middle school, during a not so great time in my life, and you were all there, to pick me up and get me through,” she said. “I can’t forget any of you for that.”
First Honor Essayist Addie McDonald echoed the familial bond she and her classmates have formed.
After the speeches, scholarships were awarded to the students prior to receiving their diplomas. This year, 70 awards were handed out, totaling over $51,000.
The 2019 graduating class included Andrew Barter, Michael Barter, Kaley Eaton, Robert Eaton, Gabrielle Gray, Lily Gray, Caleb Hardie, Haley Hardy, Kaitlyne Harrison, Gunner Krouse, Kiley Langlois, Addie McDonald, Mercedes Rice, Tobey Snow, Abbie Stinson, Kristin Thompson, Ronald Weed Jr., and Seth Welch.