Across 73 years, I have attended a number of graduation ceremonies. Invariably they give the senior class a good send-off, but they often seemed scripted, dry and pro forma. The Casco Bay High School: Class of 2024 commencement I attended last Thursday night was anything but. It was a joyous celebration.

Perhaps, “everyone was into it,” is the best way to capture the spirit and substance of the evening. Occasional signature dance steps, on the way to collect a diploma, were artful and felt just right, musicians were talented, each graduate made a very brief statement – some about the past, some about the future and many were heartfelt thanks to parents. When diplomas were passed out, there were many reciprocated hugs for the school’s founding and departing principal, Derek Pierce, and for teachers who had played an important part in the student’s program.

However, lest anyone get an impression otherwise, there was nothing frivolous or undisciplined about all this. My impression was of a close, accepting community celebrating a lot of hard work and whose members clearly cared about each other.

Mr. Pierce’s parting words were just the right mix of humor and gravitas. The calm smile and poise of every student as they received their diplomas from the superintendent suggested a proper and well-deserved pride in their accomplishments. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I would like to come back as Derek Pierce and start a school.

Congratulations to the Casco Bay Class of 2024.

Kenneth MacArthur
South Portland

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