SKOWHEGAN — Pack your bags well, find a lifeboat to rescue you, go find a rainbow, explore, eat some cake, be creative and keep moving forward.

Those were the seven pieces of advice Skowhegan High School valedictorian Carey B. Lee imparted to fellow seniors Sunday before they received diplomas during commencement exercises.

Family members, friends, faculty and staff packed the school’s gymnasium to support and congratulate the 145 seniors in the Class of 2018 – and give them a rousing sendoff.

In a farewell to her peers, Lee asked them to thank their teachers, families and others who have helped them along the way.

“I speak for all of us when I say we are very grateful for the knowledge and opportunities gained from being here,” Lee said.

She elaborated on her seven pieces of advice to seniors, saying it is important to pack clothes, books, phones, chargers and other necessities for their journey in life, which is just starting, but she also urged them to pack more intangible items such as compassion for others, love for learning and courage.

“Some of us have already used compassion, love and courage through some tough times,” she said.

She recommended her peers make time for themselves, as personal well-being is important to success and happiness; she also suggested they travel, try new foods and pick up a musical instrument. Before congratulating seniors, Lee urged them to keep moving forward and not be discouraged.

“There may be some snags in the road, but we can all think of ways to get around them,” she said.

Salutatorian Lucas E. Lenfest greeted the crowd, saying it was an honor and privilege to offer a heartfelt welcome. Like Lee, he thanked those, including band and orchestra director Jennifer Fortin, who contributed to the successes of students.

“Our music program is extremely dedicated to our education,” Lenfest said, adding that the top five students are musicians.

He also commended other teachers and the new school administration and asked seniors to thank them.

“Take the time now also to hug your friends,” he said. “Tell them what they mean to you. … Just as important, take the time now to say hello to someone you’ve never talked to before.”

Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:

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