Mt. Ararat Seniors wait for the graduation ceremony to start. (Left to right) Morgan Ruff, Sydney Stewart, Kaylee Bergeron, Mary Wheeler. Maria Skillings / Times Record

Mt. Ararat High School administrators, faculty and graduates stressed a sense of community, persistence, optimism and kindness at the school’s 2022 graduation on Sunday.

Senior class president Amanda Pickens spoke candidly about the pressures of modern society, social media and the level of perfection that is expected of kids today.

“We are plagued with reminders we aren’t good enough,” said Pickens. “Today we change our narrative on perfection. Go forth without fear or reservations about perfection. Cry, make mistakes, take pictures and don’t edit them! Relish in the fact that you have the freedom to be whoever and whatever you want,” said Pickens.

Interim Superintendent Robert Lucy echoed Pickens’ sentiment of endless possibilities. He quoted legendary figures Thomas Edison and Amelia Earhart, telling students that graduation day is, “the gateway to your hopes and dreams.”

“As you move forward, believe in yourself, remain persistent,” said Lucy. “Express your gratitude, seek opportunities, display kindness and spread your wings,” he said.

The 2022 graduating class consisted of 181 students from Harpswell, Topsham, Bowdoin and Bowdoinham, as well as seven international exchange students.


Pickens invited the seven exchange students, Saki Hoshino, Oscar Francais, Maya Wiktoria Kaletka, Maya Kammer, Polina Opadjko, Sofija Tilic and Klara Zalcikova, to the stage and presented them with this year’s senior class gift. As a tribute, a flag from each of their countries will hang in the halls of Mt. Ararat High Schoo going forward.

Graduates cheered as Mt. Ararat faculty member and student adviser Jen Green, who spent the past four years guiding students on their path to graduation day, took the stage. Green empathized with students who were about to leave the “familiar comforts” of their homes. Green quoted literary character Bilbo Baggins from “The Lord of the Rings.”

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to,” quoted Green. “All roads you travel are 100% valid,” said Green.

This year Mt. Ararat named eight valedictorians, Emma Hanna, Isadora Theberge, Anya Bachor, Gracia Leclerc, Lucy Nelson, Olivia Cox, Erik Richardson and Benjamin Humphrey. All eight students held a perfect 4.0 grade point average their entire high school career. Of the eight, only Leclerc, Hanna, Nelson and Cox chose to speak at the ceremony.

“I didn’t realize how much I was going to miss my time here, until it neared its end,” said Leclerc.

Hanna jested that her speech was her final homework assignment, but so much worse because she had to present in in front of “hundreds of people.”  She thanked her parents for their constant support and persistence.


“Nagging mothers have successful children,” said Hannah.

Nelson admitted she was nervous about leaving her tight-knit community of Harpswell. “Everywhere I go, I see someone I know,” said Nelson.

Cox posed the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She said that question was simpler when you were a child because a princess or a wizard were both acceptable answers.

Cox didn’t want to be a princess, but said her curiosity of dissecting fish eyes with her father as a child may have sparked her interest in becoming a biologist.

“As we look ahead, that question has developed into a really urgent one. We ourselves wonder who we are,” said Cox. “The thing that made you weird as a kid, could be what makes you a great adult. Think back to the little kid you once were. What made you different? That is what we should bring with us into the future,” said Cox.

Mt. Ararat High School Senior Choral Group, singing “May We All Find Home,” by Stephen Anthony Elkins. Maria Skillings / Times Record

Mt. Ararat High School Senior Class of 2022. Maria Skillings / Times Record



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