Graduates credit faculty, families and Muppets
Belfast — Belfast Area High School celebrated its 47th graduating class since the school opened in 1966, and during Sunday's commencement activities, students gave thanks to everyone from their teachers and parents to the Muppets.
The outdoor ceremony included addresses from District 43 Rep. Erin Herbig (D-Belfast), RSU 20 Superintendent Bruce Mailloux, a musical performance from the BAHS Swing Choir and a duet from senior Wes Sterrs and Salutatorian Clare Olson.
Class of 2012 Valedictorian Noah Fishman kicked off his speech with a tribute to some of the teachers who made an impression on him during his four years at BAHS.
Fishman spoke of foreign languages teacher Tim Doran, noting the teacher's love of quotes from the film, "The Big Lebowski," and referred to Doran as "the Dude himself." Fishman also recalled a phrase he said was commonly uttered by BAHS Principal Stephen Fitzpatrick — "The choice is yours." And Fishman fondly remembered an occasion when he sought help from BAHS science teacher Ted Pellerin when he was preparing for a physics exam, and how the two ended up talking about, among other things, "the ethics of co-existing with flying squirrels."
Fishman also extended a heartfelt thanks to his parents.
"I'd like to thank my mom for packing me a lunch every day for the last decade," Fishman said.
Fishman said the definition of "graduation" in a chemistry lab setting is "a mark on a container or instrument that represents a measure of quantity."
"There's nothing in the definition of graduation that indicates we have finished," he said. "It is another mark on the vast vessels that are our lives."
When it came time to deliver the farewell address, Olson also thanked the teaching staff at BAHS, as well as the parents in the audience, props that included an advance apology "for any future trouble we might encounter."
But to begin her address, Olson credited some famous fictional characters with inspiring her speech — The Muppets.
Olson said she recently saw the Jim Henson creations in their latest feature-length film and she loved it, particularly the song titled, "Life's a Happy Song."
"The lyrics just clicked," she said. "...I've got everything I need right in front of me."
Olson closed with one of the more recognizable phrases from the Muppets, "Mahna Mahna," a comment that some in the crowd apparently recognized and echoed back in acknowledgment.
BAHS administrators awarded 160 diplomas during Sunday's ceremony.