ELLSWORTH — Valedictorian Christa Ouellette expressed some disappointment in her speech at the 2018 Ellsworth High School graduation on Friday evening.
“At this point I thought I’d be taller and a better driver,” quipped Ouellette, who graduated with a 100.15 grade point average.
Salutatorian Fiona Tucker offered a piece of advice for her fellow classmates. “Choose your words carefully, and remember that words matter,” said Tucker, who graduated with a 100.09 grade point average.
Principal Dan Clifford recognized the numerous athletic achievements of the class, including state champions in swimming and wrestling. Ellsworth Middle School Principal Jim Newett, who is retiring this month after 29 years on the job, also was recognized by Clifford and received a standing ovation.
Clifford introduced the class to the chosen speaker, U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).
“These are our seniors,” Clifford said. “I promise you they’re going to do great things in whatever community they live in.”
Ben Tracy, the student speaker chosen by his classmates, spoke of learning to “fight through hardships,” such as calculus, and how “the feeling of being part of a team isn’t like any other feeling.”
Clifford recounted individual anecdotes about students, and noted that the class had taken 165 classes for college credit and offered up 6,120 hours of their time for community service. Clifford recognized the students who will join the armed forces. Graduates were listed as planning careers in a variety of fields, from engineering and forensic psychology to nursing, among others.
King, who addressed the graduates, gave 10 pieces of advice.
“There’s a multimillion-dollar industry putting erasers on pencils,” King joked. “It’s OK to make mistakes.”
Among his other words of wisdom:
“Treat each job you have as the most important job you’ll ever have” and “when in doubt, don’t get married.” King also spoke of the importance of a positive attitude, not giving up, and of honesty, “even if it hurts,” and the fallacy of a “geographic or a material cure.”
“You’ve got to make it work where you are,” King advised.
His final piece of advice?
“Value your family and friends and never let them down.”