The decorated caps of Freeport graduates Alexys Langley (left) and Reilly Lefebvre, who will be roommates at the University of Maine next year. (Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record)

PORTLAND– Alexys Langley and Genesis Rodriguez took different paths to get to the stage at Merrill Auditorium, where they took their Freeport High School diplomas in hand.

Langley, 17, has felt ready for college for years and pushed herself to graduation within three years.

Rodriguez, 19, took extra time, leaving the school for a little over a year before she decided she was ready to go back.

While their paths and their timelines may have diverged, both young women worked tirelessly, relentlessly, to get where they are and so they can start the next stages of their lives 

Kaleb Barrett takes a selfie as he crosses the stage to receive his diploma. (Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record)

For Langley, that means studying psychology at the University of Maine, where she will room with her friend Reilly Lefebvre. For Rodriguez, it means going to Central Maine Community College to study business so she can help her mom one day open a business.

“I’m so excited, it’s about time,” Rodriguez said before the ceremony Sunday morning. “I’m ready to get my life on track and get it started,” she said. “I’m happy to make my mom proud. This is the dream.”

Meredith Dowling-Wolfe, class president, thanked the Freeport community for the tools to “find our voices, articulate our thoughts, and be conscious, aware young adults as we venture out into the world.

“Behind every graduating student, there were multiple people who got them to this point. On behalf of the class, I would like to thank every teacher, every family member, every coach, every peer who has been part of this journey,” she said. “We could not have done it without you.”

Graduates then took a moment to present a rose to a loved one, family member or mentor who helped them get to the stage, exchanging hugs and tears.

Teacher and keynote speaker Lisa Blier spoke of how drastically her view of “kids today” differs from how young people may be seen by many. She commended the 142 students for what they accomplished on their own during the past four (or three, or five) years at Freeport High School, from civic activism, leadership, academic achievement to artistic and musical accomplishment and mentorship.

“Kids today, especially this class, you are exceptional and you make us proud,” she said.

Weston Goodwin and Liam Gould, while ready to set off for college at Endicott and Thomas Colleges, respectively, where they will both play tennis, are proud of what they and their classmates have done during their high school years, on and off the tennis court, in and out of the classroom.

“It’s been a great senior year and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish next,” Gould said.

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The Freeport High School class of 2019. (Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record)

 

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