BAR HARBOR — Michael Remy, the commencement speaker at Mount Desert Island High School on Sunday, urged the 120 graduating seniors to never stop learning.
“Now more than ever, this world so desperately needs you to remain a student, regardless of whether or not you plan to attend college,” he said.
“Never stop searching, exploring, wondering, loving, learning, and not just for yourself, but for the greater good of all. And never stop saying ‘thank you’ and being thankful. Maintain an attitude of gratitude.”
Remy, the school’s music director, was chosen by the class of 2017 to be their commencement speaker.
He said that, of course, they should do their best to succeed in whatever path in life they choose.
“But deep down, we know what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves,” he said. “What really matters is helping others win, too.”
Senior class member Emma Forthofer was chosen by the high school faculty to be one of the two student speakers. She told her classmates that, while not everyone is cut out to be a risk-taker, everyone can and should be open to change.
“You don’t have to do what you’ve always done to be yourself,” she said. “Being yourself includes constant creation.”
Mary Paola was selected by the senior class to be the other student speaker. She said that in preparing her talk, she asked a number of her classmates about their hopes for the future. She drew a big laugh when she said one student hoped “not to be selfish,” another hoped “to be selfish” and a third, “to sell fish.”
As for herself, Paola said, “I hope we won’t let fear of the unknown keep us from what we could be.”
Addressing the graduates’ parents, Principal Matt Haney said, “You have raised amazing young men and women, and that did not happen by accident. Thank you for all the love, patience and time you have given them. Thank you also for trusting us to guide them through their high school years.”
He also acknowledged the “endless passion, energy and wisdom” of the high school’s faculty and staff.
Haney said community support is vital to maintaining the high quality of education and opportunities that students receive at MDI High. Citing the nearly $400,000 in donations for scholarships this year, he said, “We could not achieve what we do without the support of our community.”