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PPS Class of 2019 Graduates!

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PPS Class of 2019 Graduates!
Posted on 06/06/2019
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The Portland Public Schools held three graduation ceremonies on Thursday, June 6, one for each of the district’s high schools: Portland, Deering and Casco Bay. The commencement ceremonies were staggered at different times during the afternoon and evening.

Portland High School, one of the oldest operating public high schools in the United States, held its 198th graduation exercises at Merrill Auditorium. There were 189 graduates in the Class of 2019. At the Portland High ceremony, members of the school’s Class of 1969 joined current Portland High staff marching in for the ceremony. The alums were celebrating their 50th class reunion.

Deering High School, known as the most diverse high school north of Boston, held its 145th commencement ceremony at the Cross Insurance Arena. The Deering Class of 2019 had 235 graduates. Superintendent Xavier Botana praised Deering’s long and distinguished history, saying it “is a tribute to this institution and its significance to this community.”

In the evening, Casco Bay High School held its 11th graduation exercises at Merrill Auditorium. There were 88 graduates in the Casco Bay Class of 2019. Casco Bay, founded in 2005, is the Portland Public Schools’ newest high school. It is a part of the EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) network, and is a small school by intention so that teachers can get to know each student more deeply.

Casco Bay High School was just named one of only seven schools from across the country – and the first in Maine – to become a School of Opportunity. That designation honors excellent public high schools that engage in research-based practices that build on students’ strengths and create rich, challenging learning opportunities for all students. The Schools of Opportunity network is an initiative of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), based at the University of Colorado Boulder. Learn more at this link: https://www.portlandschools.org/news___calendars/news/c_b_h_s_wins___schools_of_opportunity__gold

The ceremonies included remarks by the superintendent, live music performed by numerous exceptionally talented young musicians in the Class of 2019, the presentation of awards and diplomas and addresses by students. The venues were packed with students’ families and friends and school district staff. Also in attendance were members of the Portland Board of Public Education and city officials.

In his remarks, Botana praised students for their hard work and perseverance and quoted Daniel Burnham, an urban designer credited with creating the beautiful lakefront of Chicago, which Botana considers his hometown. Burnham said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work that long after we are gone they will be a living thing.”

Botana told the Class of 2019: “Make big plans, aim high in hope and work!  I know that your accomplishments will be many and great.”

A Portland Adult Education (PAE) ceremony on Thursday, June 27, will close the PPS graduation season. PAE graduates, who typically range in age from their late teens to late adulthood, will be honored for receiving their high school diplomas or passing a high school equivalency test. The PAE ceremony will be at 6 p.m., at Merrill Auditorium.