In a June 5 ceremony at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, the 246 members of the Bonny Eagle High School graduating class of 2015 were encouraged to be grateful for life’s opportunities for friendship, adventure and learning.

Principal Paul Penna delivered the first speech of the commencement ceremony, encouraging the graduating seniors to reflect on their hard work and accomplishments to date.

“Graduates, your success is not defined by this ceremony but rather the countless moments, hours, days and weeks of work, dedication, challenges and choices you had to make to achieve this important goal,” Penna said. “Take time to reflect on the choices you made that brought you here this evening. Be grateful to all the people in your life who have guided, taught and supported you. Some of those people will always be by your side, while others will separate from you as new relationships enter your life – embrace them.”

“Don’t let anyone define your passion,” Penna added.

Valedictorian Austin Flanigan encouraged his classmates to embrace the coming changes.

“Now it’s time to experience something else, be it the military, the work force, or higher education,” he said. “We need to expand our definition of who and what we are. We need to try new things and expand our horizons.”

Flanigan also cautioned the graduating class not to forget their closest friends as they forged ahead with life.

“Remember your true friends,” he said. “In the grand scheme of things, there are very few people from high school, if any, that will remain part of your life. But, for those few people that do, appreciate them and the relationship that you have. There will always be times that you will need someone to turn to, and when that time comes they will be there.”

In the final graduation address, science teacher Andrea Johnson encouraged students to embrace uncertainty.

“We live in an incredible time on an incredible planet, and we have a world of opportunities,” she said. “Sometimes those opportunities jump out at you but sometimes you have to be the one to take the leap.”

Johnson also advised the graduating seniors to have faith in the enduring value of their education.

“You may feel like none of what you have learned will ever help you,” she said. “But, to be honest, you are wrong. Not just a little wrong, but completely wrong – totally, utterly, without a doubt wrong. You have no way of knowing what type of opportunities might show up, nor when, nor where. You can’t be sure of the knowledge you will need or who you will learn from.”

“Your education never really ends,” she said.

Cassandra Davis poses for a picture with Principal Paul Penna after receiving her diploma on Friday night. Davis graduated with honors.Eva Bean receives her diploma from Principal Paul Penna Friday night. Bean graduated with high honors.Brittney Thompson receives her diploma from Bonny Eagle Principal Paul Penna Friday night.Kyaunna Libby smiles for the camera after receiving her diploma on Friday night. Libby graduated with highest honors.Kellan Corbett leads another line of graduates to the stage to receive their diplomas Friday night.Nick Farmer leads a line of graduates to the stage on Friday night to receive their diplomas.Jake Ryan heads a column of graduates as they proceed to the stage to receive their diplomas on Friday.A group of Bonny Eagle boys trade some final words as fellow students.Photos by Adam BirtAntonio DiBiase flashes a thumbs-up for the camera while quietly prepping for the big moment. Amused, Eric Dennison watches the camera.A group of Bonny Eagle girls watches patiently while their classmates receive diplomas.Eric Dennison, left, points to a face in the crowd; Antonio DiBiase follows Dennison’s gesture.The Bonny Eagle class of 2015 launches beach balls into the air after all the diplomas have been handed out and the final musical selection played.Hed:Members of the class of 2015 listen to their classmates’, teachers’, and principal’s words of wisdom as they prepare to graduate.Bonny Eagle High School class of 2015 President Jessica Ray delivers the president’s address at the Cross Insurance Arena on June 5.Five members of the Bonny Eagle graduating class play “Cantaloupe Island,” the jazz standard composed by Herbie Hancock.

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