Sen. Angus King goes over the 10 things he wished he was told when he was 18 years old during the keynote speech at Morse High School graduation Sunday, June 9. Paul Bagnall / The Times Record

Graduates for the Morse High School Class of 2024 celebrated memories made during their time at the school, focusing on essential life lessons and meeting challenges head-on during a commencement ceremony Sunday, June 9.

Watch graduating seniors Adelaide Hinds, Olive Beeton and Elizabeth Tetzlaff sing the national anthem at commencement. Jennifer Hinds video

About 160 seniors took their diplomas during a commencement ceremony in the Morse High School gymnasium, as high school closed with heartfelt speeches by the valedictorian, salutatorian, honors essayists and guest keynote speaker Sen. Angus King.

“And so, this is it,” said Salutatorian Chase Morris Roth-Wells. “Our time at Morse has dwindled, but I hope that many can join me in proudly saying that we certainly made the most of it.”

King highlighted 10 things he wished someone had told him when he was 18. Among them that it’s OK to take risks and to make mistakes; attitude is everything and makes a difference; be honest, even if it hurts; and treat your first job like it’s the most important job you ever had to make an impression and open doors of opportunity later in life.

Valedictorian Grace Violet Tetreault told the story of her time coaching rowing classes during the summer of 2022. She remembered an older adult, who she referred to as “Bob,” refused to listen to her instructions despite Tetreault competing internationally and being recruited into an Olympic development camp.

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“Class of 2024, I tell you this story because there will be times when you swim where your stubbornness leads you astray, and there will be times when you’re the person on the dock where no matter how loud you are, you are dismissed,” Tetreault said.

She related the experience to some of her female classmates, where no matter how qualified or loud you speak, it gets flushed out into background noise.

Morse High School Valedictorian Grace Violet Tetreault gives her speech to the 2024 Morse High School graduates. Paul Bagnall / The Times Record

“And with that, class, go forth; know that you may swim, but a shipbuilder never drowns,” Tetreault said.

Morse High School senior Class President Sebastian Davad Lafer spoke about his parents’ message to him that life is not a sprint but a marathon. He reflected on how life is not a fleeting competition where there is a clear winner or loser, but he still found great value in reexamining advice that didn’t resonate at the time.

“While my parent’s wisdom doesn’t quite mean the same to me as it did years ago, there is still great value to be gained from it,” Lafer said.

Commencement speaker Tamas Barnabas Weisz spoke about how to burst the bubble and step out to experience the world, saying that if he hadn’t done so, he would have missed out on all the experiences at Morse High School.

Weisz told the story of how he had an opportunity to finish high school early two and a half years ago, but instead, he decided to spend his last two years of high school at Morse.

Weisz is originally from a small town near Bonn in southern Germany. He remembers all the students who taught him to talk and think like an American while experiencing many different avenues of Morse High School life.


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