News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 16, 2022 and The Weekly Packet, June 16, 2022
George Stevens Academy graduates 64

Harrison Waldon

Harrison Waldon of Blue Hill receives his diploma from Tim Seeley.

Photo by David Avery Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by David Avery

On Sunday afternoon, June 12, 64 graduates of George Stevens Academy were asked, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” by Head of School Tim Seeley.

Seeley opened the outdoor commencement ceremony attended by more than 300 people, by reading and reflecting on the poem “The Summer Day,” by Mary Oliver. The poem’s final line asks the important and appropriate question of the graduates and all of us.

Seeley said that, for graduates, the poem “calls them all to do something of significance with their wild and precious lives.”

The audience heard about the plans of each and every graduate as they received their diplomas. Many are headed to college, some right to the workforce.

For students from other countries, remarks were translated into native languages, including Russian, Tigrinya, Turkish and Vietnamese.

Graduate Samuel Bach of Surry, the First Honors Essayist, welcomed the families and friends of graduates. “High school has felt just long enough,” he said. It is time to move on, he added.

Bach plans to study electrical engineering at the University of Maine at Orono.

Another electrical engineering hopeful, Jack Gray of Brooksville, the salutatorian, followed Bach. He summed up his classmates in one word: perseverance. Referring to COVID, Gray said, adversity “will make us more resilient in the face of future challenges.”

Valedictorian Chloe Sheahan of Sedgwick also alluded to the pandemic and its challenges for the Class of 2022.

She said that the graduates learned to work together and learned the importance of community.

In a self-deprecating moment, Sheahan gave credit to others important to her. “Without my family and friends I would be very hungry and very lost,” she said, referring to her inability to follow directions or to cook.

To her classmates she said, “From here, we can go anywhere. Scary? Yes. But we’re ready.”

Sheahan is headed to Bowdoin College to pursue environmental studies.

The Class of 2022 presented to GSA a gift of a monetary donation to “Food for Thought,” a fund that helps any student pay for lunch bills at the school.

Following the presentation of 64 diplomas, Second Honors Essayist Emma Snow of Blue Hill gave a poignant and humorous farewell.

She told her classmates a funny story of how her life plan changed drastically many times. Once she wanted to be a marine biologist and later changed her mind, but she said she was afraid to tell anyone.

Today, though, she says, “I need to stay open to the possibility of change. I think we all do.”

The one constant in life is change, she said. “We’ve got the rest of our lives to figure out what we want to do.”

Snow plans to attend Colorado College to study history, education and Spanish.

Harrison Waldon

Harrison Waldon of Blue Hill receives his diploma from Tim Seeley.

Photo by David Avery
GSA graduate Neyat Johannes of Eritrea

Standing at the microphone, father of GSA graduate Neyat Johannes of Eritrea, center, translates into Tigrinya, her native language. Standing by, from left: David Stearns, GSA Dean of Curriculum; Gail Strehan, executive assistant to the GSA Head of School; Sally Mills, GSA Board of Trustees Chair; and Head of School Tim Seeley.

Photo by David Avery
Second Honors Essayist Emma Snow

Second Honors Essayist Emma Snow of Brooksville bids farewell to the crowd and to GSA at Sunday’s commencement.

Photo by David Avery
GSA Head of School Tim Seeley

GSA Head of School Tim Seeley addresses the crowd and the graduates.

Photo by David Avery