Marshwood Grads Urged Not to be Defined by Numbers

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By Caitlin Andrews June 03. 2016

The Class of 2016 tosses their caps in the air at the conclusion of the Marshwood High School graduation ceremony Friday night in South Berwick, Maine. Photos by Shawn St. Hilaire/

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Nothing can stop this year’s crop of Marshwood High School graduates — not even technical difficulties.

Marshwood’s Class of 2016 graduated under sunny skies Friday evening, with the school’s 50th graduation going forward with a slight delay due to technical issues. Luckily, some students had snuck beach balls in under their robes, and amused the crowd while the issue was addressed. It was this kind of resourcefulness and drive to make the most of every day that stood out to Marshwood High Principal Paul Mehlhorn.

“Over the course of 50 years, a lot has changed, and there is little doubt that Marshwood today is a different experience than it was (at the time of the first graduation),” Mehlhorn said. “However, Marshwood’s value of doing one’s best has remained a cornerstone throughout. Class of 2016 truly represents doing one’s best…each member of the Class of 2016 has met their requirements to get their diploma, as did the 49 classes before them.”

But Mehlhorn said he felt the students before him were special, noting the various achievements the students have been a part of, including being back-to-back football champions, broken track and field records, and the math team scoring fifth overall in a statewide competition and going on to compete in a national competition.

“This class has gone beyond previous classes in pursuit of their passion,” Mehlhorn said. “I would say they are the most diversely talented group of students I’ve ever encountered.”

However, salutatorian Nicholas Tice cautioned his classmates to be wary of acknowledging their failures and encouraged them to accept their imperfections as a way to succeed.

“No matter what our parents tells us, none of us are perfect, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing to learn in high school,” Tice said. “Sometimes you have to own up to fact may not be that good at whatever you’re doing…You shouldn’t need this kind of false validation, because you’re probably great at something else.”

Class president Chikacha Nduaguibe donated the class gift to the Hawk Buddies program, a mentoring group that connects high school students to elementary students, saying the value of leadership was an important lesson he learned in high school.

“Without leadership, knowledge is something without value, something that cannot be fully utilized if it’s not used to help others,” he said.

Valedictorian Erin Byrne encouraged her classmates to not be defined by the numbers that have surrounded their lives, such as the number of friends and likes they gather on social media, their grade-point averages, or their height and weight, and to define themselves instead.

“We are constantly surrounded by numbers that seem to determine who were are and what we’re capable of,” Byrne said. “There’s so much competition from society to achieve certain numbers, better numbers than our peers, but in truth these numbers tell us little about a person.”

She later added: “Every one of us is worth so much more than what a number can describe.”

And moments before the students walked off the field as a class for the last time, class representative Olivia Martin said she hoped her peers would remember the good times and the bad, the goofy and the serious, no matter where they went.

“We will always have roots at Marshwood,” she said.


The graduates of the Class of 2016 from Marshwood High School are as follows:

Top 10 students: Erin Byrne, Renèe Clavette, Lauren Noreen Clough, Amanda Marie Couture, Henry Fox Hausmann, Madison Marie Janakis, Isabella Claire Latta, Nicholas E. Tice, Sophie Alden Towle, Sophie Rose Greta Welch.

Kaylah Y. Abdul-Ghafur, Nikolas Adair, Zoë Ray Allen, Emily Neale Bacon, Chase Thomas Barlow, Gabrielle Bazemore, Jamie Lynne Beaupre, William Belote, Ryan Benedetto, Andrew Jordan Bennington, Victoria Biddle, Aubrey Alizabeth Rose Blanchette, Emilee Bogh, Michael Bonin, Jacob Scott Bossi, Austin Boyle, Christopher Alexander Bradbury, Darren Roy Brock, Emily Bruno-Moulton, Eric Bubier, Katie L. Burovac, Philip Butler, Brandon M. Cagnina, Alexis Canty, Lillian Grace Cardoso, Neva Marie Carroll, Nicolas R. Ciampa, Katherine Marie Clarke, Cassandra Mae Cogswell, Abby Corriveau, Ryleigh E. Costigan, Jennifer Dailey, Christopher R. Davis, Jr., Jared T. Davis, Natalee J. Davis, Travis J. Davis, Zackery J. Desotelle.

Aiyana DeYoung-Martin, Morgan J. Dion, Bailee Dodier, Keith Dorr, Burton Dow, Zachary C. Doyon, Adam Driver, Carly Dutra, Tucker E. Etro, Kathryn Elizabeth Fagan, Zachary C. Farmer, Garrett Festervan, Hayden Elizabeth Fitt, Jason A. Fletcher, Kiera Christine Flynn, Mackenzie Rose Fogarty, Claudia Maddy Folger, Alexander Fudge, Marlee June Gagnon, Kevin Gard, Benjamin Allen Gildersleeve, Kayla Lynn Gildersleeve, Emma Nicole Gilliam, Eric J. Glidden, Samantha Godel, Bryant Goodenough, Brittany Goodwin, Ryan Gould, Chad W. Gregor, Jayde Grevich, Theresa Guillermo, John E. Guy, Nicholas Daniel Hall, Sydnee Hamblen, Tara Harvey, Alexander Hatfield, Emma Hichens.

Charles E. Honkonen, Aaron Howard, Saige Ryann Hughes, Sarah Ann Jacobs, Jeremy R. Jacques, Sara Janetos, Noah Jule, Jenna Lynn Kashmer, Sacha Bryn Kiesman, Andrew C. King, Brittany Lynn King, Clint N. Knowles, Chase Alexander LaGrassa, Nicholas E. Landis, Maya LaPierre, Breanna Lavacchia, Gus Leisentritt, Cassandra M. Lewis, Kathleen Olivia Constance Locke, Joshua Hamlin Lord, Baili Lontine-Kearson, John Lyman, Tatum Mallon, Molly Elizabeth Manero, Brianna Marr, Olivia West Martin, Ashlee Taylor Mayo, Jackson McCann, Harlon Paul McCarthy, Mack McCarthy, Silas McIntire, Maren Anne McKenna, Jenna McKenzie, Logan McLaughlin, Curtis McLean, Katherine Mercer, Trevor John Messier, Devon Mitchell, Maxwell John Mitchell, Zachary T. Mitchell, Biruk Jermaine Moore, Devan Joseph Moretti, Samee Mushtak, Chikacha D. Nduaguibe, Makayla Ann Neal, Peter Andrew O’Brien, Ryan P. O’Neil, Madison Leigh Owens.

Celine Marie Paone, Ashley Marie Paul, Madeline Taylor Pentecost, Caleb Ethan Pettigrew, Sophia Pike, Connor Stephen Pregent, David A. Prince, Chloe Prodanis, Gwenevere Reed, Jared Alexander Reynolds, Breanna Richardson, Emily Kirsten Robida, Jillian L. Robillard, Dana Robinson, Joshua Robert Romano, Nina Simone Ross, Marni Russell, Mikaella Ann Sansoucie, Tyler Schontag, Markazie Kahawanion Sebastian, Katelyn Elizabeth Shea, Leah Marie Shea, Carson Smith, Jack Spear, Samantha Springer, Anna Springfield, Haley Stacy, Jonathan F. Stacy, Justin Matthew Stacy, Lilianne Sullivan, Hailey Joann Tarr, Benjamin W. Taylor, Courtney Paige Taylor, Emily Mae Thibeau, Austin Tyler Trombetto, Sarah Christiane True, Rachel L. Turnbull, Alexa M. Villagra, Ryane E. Walters, Rhiannon B. Waterman, Alexander G. Weeks, Alexandra Giorgia Wells, Aidan Whitis, Mikayla Rose Willey, Zachary Wilson, Joshua Wyatt.

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