“Survivor” winner Bob Crowley urged Gorham graduates to pay their bills and follow the rules.

“Do the work and live up to responsibilities,” said Crowley, who last year became a national sensation after he won $1 million by beating out 17 other contestants in the reality TV show, “Survivor: Gabon – Earth’s Last Eden.” A physics teacher, he is retiring after a 24-year career.

Principal Chris Record handed diplomas to 195 Gorham seniors in graduation exercises June 7 at Merrill Auditorium in Portland. “Every graduate behind me has a future story right now,” Record told a packed auditorium in his address.

“Class of 2009 – it has been a pleasure to be your principal,” Record said.

Valedictorian Jennifer Wiacek decorated the podium with a purple lupine in a glass vase. She urged graduates to beautify the world, give a smile, volunteer, and stand up against a bully.

“We have the ability to make the world more beautiful,” Wiacek said. “We need to help one another. It’s about helping others so they can dream too.”

Class salutatorian Julianne Farrar asked classmates what they would say to the class and read a list of suggested parting words. Commenting on their high school years, one classmate said, “They were really good”; “I would say thank you,” said another; “We’re going to change the world,” she quoted yet another.

Farrar thanked the parents, teachers and friends who helped shape their lives and said the 195 young adults were “ready to take on the world.”

“Go be amazing, fabulous graduates,” said Nellika Stirling, class president. “It’s time to stand on our own two feet. The world is ours to manage.”

Stirling said the class’s senior year was marked by parking stickers and a new principal, as Record replaced John Drisko. Stirling also said it was the year of the survivor, a reference to Crowley.

Wearing his ever-present bow tie, Crowley, the faculty speaker, said life is a journey of many steps. He urged the graduates to follow the rules as the laws of physics are always enforced. He told them to show respect for the law, others and “yourself.”

“Pay your bills,” said Crowley, who also cautioned them to watch out for credit cards.

“Let’s go out and enjoy our new challenge together,” Crowley said.

Crowley advised them to look over the 10 Commandments. “They will help you survive,” he said.

Accompanied by music teacher Darrell Morrow playing the keyboard, the class sang a rousing rendition of its class song, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” While they sang, some celebrating graduates blew bubbles and others batted beach balls into the air.

After closing remarks from Record, the class danced from the stage as it exited the auditorium. The dancing shook the floor as they went out the door and into the world.

Cutline (GOR grad) – Jubilant Gorham seniors bat a beach ball into the air Sunday during graduation exercises at Merrill Auditorium. Graduates, from left, are Tiah Vaughan, Kelsey Herrick, Thea Bass, Sara Burnheimer, Michelle Walls, Jennifer Wiacek, Mairead Stillson, Lauren Cunningham, Isak Bouffard and James O. Hughes. Music teacher Darrell Morrow plays the keyboard. Wiacek was Valedictorian; Cunningham, class vice president; and Stillson, treasurer. Cutline (GORgrad 1) Cutline (GORgrad 2) ningham, Isak Bouffard and James O. Hughes. Music teacher Darrell Morrow accompanies on the keyboard. Cutline (Gor graduation Crowley)

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