SANFORD — The sun finally made an appearance at the Dr. Stephen A. Cobb Stadium at 6:30 p.m. Friday night, where about 247 Sanford High School seniors received their diplomas and prepared to transition into the next stage of their lives.

“It’s exciting, but sad, because it’s like the last stage of my childhood,” said student Elizabeth Darragh. Fellow graduate Victoria Leonard echoed this sentiment, viewing the graduation ceremony as just another chapter ending in their lives.

The transition from high school to adulthood was a running theme throughout the ceremony Friday, which began with a series of slow claps from the Class of 2014 as they marched to their seats in a “Pomp and Circumstance” processional performed by the Sanford High School Band.

English teacher Bradley Chiasson first addressed the graduating class with a slew of humorous announcements: He called out several students for taking selfies during class and for their antics in the high school.

“I was going to give a spelling quiz, too, but realized half of you can’t even spell your own name,” he said.

Chiasson’s speech, which drew laughter and cheers from the crowd, soon took a more serious tone as he moved on to relate the students’ futures to a doorway.

“Doorways, it seems, are where the truth is told,” he said, and the Class of 2014 now have their hands on the knob, he said. He concluded his speech to a standing ovation from his students.

“May every day be the best day of your life,” he said.

The next speaker to take the podium was salutatorian Marlee Sue Smith, who will be studying biochemisty at the University of Southern Maine in the fall. Like Chiasson, she emphasized the importance of the ceremony as a milestone as she spoke of her experiences in finding topics for her graduation speech.

“I was focusing on perfection for this speech instead of focusing on the fact that it is our night,” she said. She also compared life to that of an indeterminate math equation, where finding the solution can require several different tries.

Valedictorian Gillian Morris, who will be studying biology at Colby College next fall ,told the crowd that her speech would not contain any advice, nostalgia, or life-changing epiphanies, because she and her peers were still adults with a “lowercase A.”

She likened their future journeys to crossing a chasm.

“The future awaits us on the other side of the void,” said Morris. “Right now, we are not about to cross the chasm. We are still standing at the edge of the cliff.”

She had the entire Class of 2014 stand up and pose, to “stand like you are ready to cross the chasm,” she said.

With all of her classmates striking poses, Morris made the declaration that it was indeed their time to take flight into the future.

“Okay,” she said. “We’re ready.”

— Gillian Foss is a senior at Marist College and a summer newsroom intern with the Journal Tribune.

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