PORTLAND – Members of Portland High School’s class of 2010 have already accomplished a certain measure of success, according to valedictorian Corey Carmichael.
The boy who started a snow-removal business in sixth grade. The girl who came to this country three years ago and graduated after taking honors-level courses.
During Wednesday’s commencement ceremony at Merrill Auditorium, Carmichael advised her classmates to remember that success comes in many styles and colors.
“We are the authors of our own stories,” Carmichael said. “Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not good enough.”
Principal Mike Johnson presented diplomas to 174 graduates in a late-morning ceremony that featured speeches, performances and awards.
The prestigious Brown Medals, which recognize the top five male and the top five female scholars in each graduating class, were awarded to Carmichael, Timothy Weber, Simon Thompson, Marianne Anderson, Scott Briggs, Vesna Glisic, Patrick Curran, Emma Wilson, Cole Hutchison and Molly Monaghan.
In delivering the salutatorian’s speech, Weber noted that the class of 2010 is graduating at a time when jobs are scarce and profits are valued above all else.
Weber urged his classmates to approach the future as sailors would on the high seas, tacking back and forth to avoid adversity and make the most of opportunity.
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do,” Weber said, quoting Mark Twain.
Wilson, who is class president, said her class will be remembered for its unflagging vitality and rambunctious nature, from having fun during homeroom to working on political campaigns to supporting their families with after-school jobs.
Student singers performed “The World’s Greatest,” by R. Kelly, “Come So Far,” from the musical “Hairspray,” and “The Blue and White,” which is the school song.
Superintendent Jim Morse, who graduated from Portland High in 1973 and returned last July to head the city’s public schools, noted how much Portland has changed and yet remains the same.
“Even though my childhood neighborhoods are gone, Portland is a far safer, cleaner and more beautiful city,” Morse said. “It is a multicultural city, a gateway to the world, a city of many languages, a city where world cultures meet, and yet a city where local neighborhoods and local interests still exist.”
Morse singled out several students as worthy representatives of their class:
• Henry MacVane, a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician who recently received an American Red Cross Real Hero Award for saving a young boy who was drowning. He will study chemical engineering at the University of Maine.
• Kimara Nzamubona, a native of the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo, who was mentored by a local engineering firm and has received a four-year scholarship to Colby College.
• Yuri Shepard-Kegl, a graduate of the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf program at Portland High. She came from Nicaragua to Portland four years ago, mastered a new sign language and is now a confident, independent young woman, Morse said.
“(They) are but a few examples of graduates in your class who have learned that love is about giving,” Morse said.
Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: