Portland’s newest high school held its eighth graduation ceremony Thursday evening at the Merrill Auditorium, handing out degrees to 82 graduates.

Founded in 2005, Casco Bay High School is part of the Expeditionary Learning network, which requires students to engage in project-based learning.

The graduation ceremony included remarks from interim Superintendent Jeanne Crocker and music performed by students. Mayor Ethan Strimling and members of Portland’s Board of Education attended the ceremony.

Thursday’s ceremony was in keeping with the school’s non-traditional approach to learning, with lots of hugs and humor mixed with the pomp and circumstance, according to a news release by the school department.

Principal Derek Pierce, who in March was named Maine Principal of the Year for 2016, talked about how members of the class of 2016 differ from many teenagers, who have become so tied to technology that they have difficulty communicating with other people.

He commended Casco Bay students for being able to have conversations with people about the most challenging issues of the day and being able to listen to others’ points of view.

“Class of 2016, may you continue to bring us closer to a world of love and justice, just one conversation at a time,” Pierce said.

“This is a class that is unique, not just because we got class and style,” said class speaker Mohamednoor Hassan. “We have a lot of love and respect for each other.”

As students received their diplomas, humanities teacher Susan McCray read aloud their future plans and the things for which they will be remembered.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.