Goeffrey Shambarger applauds Sunday after being recognized as a poet during the Lisbon High School graduation exercises. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

LISBON — After the Class of 2019 graduated from Lisbon High School on Sunday, Lorraine Chase, a substitute teacher, was singled out for a lot of hugs. 

She said she has taught this newly graduated class since it was a group of third- or fourth-graders, and has seen many of the students grow up though triumphs and struggles. 

“I’m so proud,” she said. “Especially some of those that struggled. I’m very very proud. They came through.  These kids are wonderful, and they’re going to do great things.” 

Kirsten Kalesnick beams Sunday after receiving her diploma during graduation exercises at Lisbon High School. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

Chase said the newest graduates are particularly close — and intelligent. 

“They’re very close to each other, they care about  each other, they care what happens to each other,” Chase said. “They’re smart kids, and they make good decisions. I’m very proud of them all.” 

Teacher and class adviser Sara Brown encouraged the graduates to “send it” — a reference to Larry Enticer, a professional stuntman known also for his mullet. 

“We’ve had a lot of laughs together, and you guys have driven me crazy,” Brown said. “I’ve discovered, through our time together,  that you are uniquely talented individuals. I’ve enjoyed watching you grow, learn and mature into young adults. I hope that you will continue to learn and explore every day.” 

Class speaker Carly Drischler also offered encouraging words to the other graduates. 

“If your dreams don’t scare you, even just a little bit, I urge you to set your sights higher,” she said. “The higher the expectation, the  scarier the dream, the greater the accomplishment. 

“It doesn’t matter where you’re going, whether you’re going to a two-year or a four-year college, going to trade school, going into the military or straight into the workforce or any other path you may choose.” 

And the new graduates have plenty of paths, plans, and options. 

Kane Strout said he is headed to Husson University in Bangor, where he plans to study sports management and minor in marketing. 

“It’s pretty tight knit,” he said of his class. “Everyone knows everyone, and looks out for everyone.” 

Sydney Plourdem, who graduated cum laude, said graduating brings new excitement. 

“We’re finally out of here,” she said. 

She plans to attend Thomas College in Waterville, where she will study criminal justice. She said her plans include joining the military. 

For some, the near future is not as clear. 

English teacher Christina LeBlanc , the commencement speaker, said she had the highest hopes for the outgoing class, and recounted her own journey of finding out who she was — and was not — in high school. 

“I wasn’t confident in who I was and, honestly, I didn’t know who I was,” she said. “Because of that, I just tried to be whatever people wanted me to be.” 

LeBlanc said she eventually figured out who she was — after plenty of trial and error. 

“I was 30 years old before I was comfortable in my own skin,” she said. “I’m better now than I’ve ever been. If you’re still figuring things out, keep going. You have time.” 

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