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Casco Bay High School Holds Commencement Exercises

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Casco Bay High School Holds Commencement Exercises
Posted on 06/10/2016
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Casco Bay High School (CBHS) held its 8th graduation exercises on Thursday, June 9, at Merrill Auditorium. There were 82 members of the graduating Class of 2016.

CBHS, founded in 2005, is the Portland Public Schools’ newest high school. It is a part of the EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) network, and CBHS students engage in project-based learning expeditions.

The high school’s graduation ceremony was in keeping with the school’s non-traditional approach to learning, with lots of hugs, humor and heartfelt sentiments mixed in with the pomp and circumstance during the evening ceremony. For example, students and even the principal’s mother chimed in with teasing comments during the address to the class by CBHS Principal Derek Pierce, who in March was named Maine Principal of the Year for 2016.

Pierce talked about how members of the Class of 2016 differ from many teenagers who are so tied to technology they can’t communicate with other people. Pierce said class members have demonstrated through their learning expeditions that they can look people in the eye, have conversations about the most challenging issue of the day and listen to others’ points of view.

Pierce concluded, “Class of of 2016, may you continue to bring us closer to a world of love and justice, one conversation at a time.”

Graduating senior Josie Pierce, chosen by the Graduation Committee as the class writer, read a poem she wrote about redemption.

Mohamednoor Hassan was the class speaker. He said class members were like his second family. “This is a class that is unique, not just because we got class and style,” he said. “We have a lot of love and respect for each other.”

All the members of the Class of 2016 delivered some “final words,” each sharing a thought on topics such as life, their school experience and the future as they graduated. Graduating seniors Sebastian Grimm and Maisie Perkins presented a gift from the class of 2016 to the school: a wooden plaque students made inscribed with the school’s and students’ names.

As students received their diplomas, humanities teacher Susan McCray read out loud their future plans and what they’ll be remembered for – attributes both funny and serious.

The ceremony included remarks by Interim Portland Superintendent Jeanne Crocker and live music performed by students. The auditorium’s seats were filled with students’ families and friends and school district staff. Mayor Ethan Strimling and Portland Board of Education members also were in attendance.

The following are the National Honors Society students for the Class of 2016: Hannah Clifford; Emily Damon; Sadie Grant; Nate Hesselink; Julian Lambert; Cora Melcher; Maeve Porter-Holliday; Josie Pierce; Alysha Ayling; Curtis Brown; Sebastian Grimm; Dillon Kelly; Emelia McLaughlin; Emmet Lynch; and Mel McClue-Chute.
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