Gratitude for the great education and the opportunities they’ve had was a common theme among the students speakers at Cape Elizabeth High School’s graduation ceremony, held on a windy Sunday at Fort Williams Park.

While recalling the common achievements and individual triumphs of the class of 2016, the speakers told the students, administration, faculty, family and friends on hand to look to the future, as well. Valedictorian Will Steidl urged his classmates to always remember to “look up at the stars.”

“We’ve made some incredible memories, from making a schoolwide Harlem shake video, to watching the men’s basketball team win states at the last second after an insane comeback,” he said.

“Our educations are an unbelievable gift that we don’t want to take for granted. We are so lucky to have teachers who will do everything in their power to teach us, administrators who want to see us succeed, a town that generously supports our learning, parents who love us more than we can ever truly fathom and peers who both challenge and inspire us, who celebrate our successes and help us through our struggles,” he said. “None of us got here alone. We all share in this achievement.”

In closing his speech Steidl said, “Class of 2016, it has been an amazing honor to learn and grow with all of you for so many years. Enjoy this moment. We’ve earned it.”

Brayden Crosta, who was chosen by his classmates to address them, gave this advice to the 142 graduates: “As we all find our way on the new path ahead of us, let’s not be afraid to try something new, learn from our mistakes, and know when to move on.”

Crosta said he learned this lesson through a lot of trial and error that included brief attempts at playing soccer, running cross country and playing the trumpet.

In the end, he said, “We’ve all experienced that trial period, a time during which it isn’t clear whether the path that we’re on is the right one. But just as we’ve taken the time to find our path in high school, we can prepare to do the same in the coming years.”

The final speaker of the afternoon was Alex Muka, the class president, who urged his fellow graduates to “follow your own path, independent of the thoughts and judgements of others. In college or whatever other endeavors we choose to pursue in the future, I know it will never be in our favor just to be another face in the crowd.”

Muka also said, “I’ve learned the importance of living life on my own terms, even when there are consequences and my decisions might be unpopular. It is for that reason that I urge you to strive for more than adequacy and never shy away from doing things differently.”

In addition, he looked back with pride, particularly on this past school year.

“This year we made our mark on CEHS, both figuratively and literally. This year it seemed that we all grew closer and more connected. It was exactly the kind of senior year I hoped for.

“It has been such a ride, and I can’t stand up here and take the credit for that, because that was an organic energy that came from all of us. So here at the close of my final day with all of you, I just want to say congratulations. and thank you. It has been a pleasure to be your president and work alongside each and every one of you,” he said.

Overall, he added, “While we may not have it all figured out, I trust that when the time comes, the skills and understanding that we have learned at CEHS will provide us with all we need to be the leaders of new innovations and positive changes.”

Cape Elizabeth High School principal walks by as the class of 2016 graduates toss their caps into the air on Sunday at Fort Williams.

Cape Elizabeth valedictorian Will Steidl told his classmates Sunday, “Class of 2016, it has been an amazing honor to learn and grow with all of you for so many years. Enjoy this moment. We’ve earned it.”

Eva Miele and Marcus Donnely enjoy a graduation moment Sunday at Fort Williams.


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