Bailey Hartill received her diploma on Friday night, when just a few months ago she did not know if she would ever graduate or even walk again. (Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record)

BRUNSWICK– Five months ago, Bailey Hartill didn’t know if she would be able to walk again, let alone walk across the stage at her high school graduation.

The Brunswick High School senior fell down a flight of stairs in January and was unable to speak, walk or go back to school for the second semester of her last year of high school.

“I felt like a piece was taken from me,” Hartill said. “I didn’t get the full time I wanted.”

Instead of spending her days procrastinating with a case of senioritis or playing in her final softball season, Hartill was in physical and speech therapy, doing what schoolwork she could with the help of a tutor, all to ensure she would graduate.

And graduate she did.

Brunswick High School graduates embraced loved ones after Friday evening’s ceremony. (Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record)

Friday evening, Hartill walked across the stage at Watson arena with 172 other graduates.

In the fall she will attend Central Maine Community College, where she will study to be a physical fitness specialist. From there, she hopes to go to the University of New England to study physical therapy.

She always knew she wanted to do something with physical fitness, she said, but her experience this spring and the connections she formed with her therapists opened her eyes to “how life-changing it can be.”

Hartill isn’t the only one whose personal struggles and later triumphs have influenced their paths forward. Abigail Komiega plans to take a gap year to work and save money, but then hopes to study to become a dietitian. She and others in her family have struggled with eating disorders, she said, and hopes to help others form healthy relationships with food.

Certain parts of high school were rough, Komiega said, but she had fond memories with her friends, especially in cheerleading.

Class Salutatorian Logan Gillis started her final adieu to the class of 2019 by telling them all how much she loves bread. No, really, she assured them, she loves it. So much so that her parents gave her a baguette for her 18th birthday. She compared her fellow classmates to a really good loaf of bread, made with quality ingredients (education) by master bakers (their teachers and families).

“We have all been made into amazing bread,” she said, and together “we can create one amazing life sandwich.”

Valedictorian Daniel Lyons chose not to talk about his “incredible good looks or irresistible charm,” he said, mostly because “words cannot do them justice,” but instead laid out a three-step plan for his classmates to follow to lead to a “non-cowardly life.” They were to “know thyself,” “know your fears” and “conquer your fears,” three steps that in 10 or 20 years would make them “too awesome” to need to take advice from a high school valedictorian, he said.

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Caps fly as the Brunswick High School class of 2019 officially become graduates. (Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record)

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