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Wisdom High School graduates 19 small town students ready for the world

ST. AGATHA, Maine — The decorated mortarboards of the 19 Class of 2018 Wisdom High School graduates who received their diplomas on Saturday said it all. They are thankful for the support they received throughout the years and excited for the future.

Wisdom High School Class of 2018 graduate Cassandra Boucher hugs Wisdom English teacher Amy Schmitt following a graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 9. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

One of the mortarboards read, “Aspiring Engineer.”

Graduate Kayla Pinette shared on her cap a poignant photo of herself taken during her

First Communion. The photo includes her mother, Kate Pinette and late father Freddie Ringuette, who passed away four years-ago.

The cap read: ‘Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me.’

Kayla Pinette, who plans to study nursing at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, said she chose to honor her father in this way “because through everything, he was always there guiding me on the right pathway toward success. I know how proud of me he would be.”

Wisdom principal Ralph Fantasia spoke at the ceremony of his confidence in all of the graduates.

Wisdom High School Class of 2018 graduate Cassandra Boucher adjusts her cap in preparation for a graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 9. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

“These students on the risers next to me have shown their strengths and abilities, whether it be skills displayed in their tech classes, their knowledge in the classroom, their leadership abilities, or with their artistic and athletic skills,” he said. “You have been a part of Wisdom, and Wisdom has been a part of you. Part of the reason why I believe Wisdom will forever be a part of you is the smallness of our school. You are 19 strong up here.”

Fantasia, who said he graduated from a high school in Rhode Island of about 1,500 students, expressed his envy for the Wisdom graduating class.

“You come from small communities who have invested their time, efforts, and monies for you,  whether it be for bottle drives, chicken BBQs, attending concerts, art shows, sporting events, and now, today, your graduation,” he said. “This community has been here for you in ways that only small towns can understand and relate to.  Your communities, your families, your teachers, the custodians, secretaries, cafeteria workers, coaches, and administrators have invested these efforts because you are important, you are their future, you are worth it.”

The small graduating class received about $425,000 in scholarships, according to Guidance Counselor Larry St. Peter.

Riley Theriault earned the honor of being class valedictorian while Olivia Gervais was honor essayist.

Salutatorian Dorothy Harris told her fellow classmates that they can do anything they set their minds to do.

Wisdom High School Class of 2018 graduate Kayla Pinette honored the memory of her late father, Freddie Ringuette, on her mortarboard at a graduation ceremony on Saturday. Ringuette passed away in 2014. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

“Some of us will become nurses, some will become engineers. All of us are going to make a difference,” she said. “From here, we have the chance to do anything and everything we want as long as we work hard.”

St. John Valley Technical Center Director Kevin Lavoie presented graduate Dylan Weyeneth with the center’s director’s award.

Weyeneth plans to attend Southern Maine Community College to study information technology.

Near the end of the ceremony, the class played an emotional slideshow of its members throughout the years, from baby photos to elementary school, middle school and high-school. The slideshow also included prom photos and a short video of graduate Jack Guerette reaching 1,000 points on the basketball court.

The slideshow ended with a printed quote which expressed the appreciation the graduates have for their small town and excitement for what their futures may hold.

“Oh the places I’ll go, but country roads will always take me home,” it read.

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