Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 19, 2014
Penobscot graduates four in the Class of 2014
The 2014 graduates of the Penobscot Community School, from left: Nathan Winchester, Dylan DesFosses, Ethan Bates-Cole and Ethan Snow. Commencement was held on June 12, 2014 in Penobscot, Maine.
by Anne Berleant
On June 12, four young men marked the end of their elementary school career with songs, laughter and appreciation for each other and the schoolmates, teachers and family members who played a role in their transition to high school.
Ethan Bates-Cole, David DesFosses, Ethan Snow and Nathan Winchester opened the commencement ceremony to the sounds of “Sharp Dressed Man,” by ZZ Top, as Class Marshal Toby Snow led the processional.
Superintendent Mark Hurvitt, teacher Heidi Riopell and Principal Allen Cole presented the diplomas to the graduates.
The commencement “recognizes the passage from eighth grade to high school,” DesFosses said in his opening remarks.
Two of the graduates received awards, presented by Cole. DesFosses received the President’s Award, which recognizes one eighth grade student from each Maine school who demonstrates the qualities of active participation in civic or community activities, good scholarship and school involvement. Said Cole,“This young man has been an exemplary student [and] a role model. He is always willing to lend a hand…[and] is gracious, patient and sincere to everyone.”
The Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award, given for honor, trustworthiness, loyalty and “cleanliness in mind and body,” and other positive traits, came next.
“This one is easy,” said Cole, naming Ethan Snow as the recipient.
Guest speaker Cordell Gross used a story from his own life to illustrate the importance of paying attention to the “small and infinitesimal” moments. “My father taught me how to sharpen a scythe,” he said, a skill which led years later and in a roundabout way to full-time employment at the mill in Bucksport.
“You never know how small a thing, a five-minute conversation, a 10-minute conversation, is going to affect your life,” he said.
Gross also noted: “Isn’t it wonderful that someone was asked to speak at a school where, more often than not, he was asked not to speak?”
The commencement included Penobscot traditions of presenting flowers to family and friends in attendance and sharing the class prophecy, will and history. Bates-Cole and Snow remembered those who began the journey with them in 2005, a class of eight students. Some moved to other towns, some transferred to other schools, some skipped grades and others, like Winchester, transferred to Penobscot.
“Sixth grade was full of changes,” remarked Snow, and by eighth grade, “there were four of us.”
The Class of 2014 gift to the school was a new bench.
“Some of our time has been spent on the bench outside the front office,” said Bates-Cole. “There are a lot of splinters in that bench.”