As members of the class of 2017 prepared to depart the school that has served as a familiar landmark for much of their lives, their peers and staff members offered some words of wisdom and encouragement for their future endeavors.

The June 8 ceremony began with a few brief remarks from Madison Philbrick, class president, before the microphone was turned over to Searsport District High School Principal Marianne DeRaps. Although the year seemingly flew by, DeRaps said she still had time to recognized how the class of 2017 was filled with students who are down-to-earth and real.

She encouraged the class to choose to be successful and to be the best versions of themselves, while also cautioning that they should never make excuses about who they are or from where they came.

“Don’t let fear of failure or excuses get in your way,” DeRaps said.

The principal told students they should make being awesome their No. 1 goal, while also taking time to live their lives.

Other speakers included Paige Ireland who advised her fellow graduates to make sure they enjoy the adventure they will embark on as they depart high school. Exchange student Xinyi "Coco" Yu also delivered remarks, discussing her time adjusting to a new culture and thanking her classmates, staff members and the community for their kindness and patience.

Meghan Grant read an original poem she penned, titled “Graduation.”

The ceremony also featured a presentation recognizing class advisers William George, Nancy Raymond and Chris Goosman.

Before diplomas were presented to each graduate, Bailey West and Cassie Donald delivered final remarks to their class. West noted that while small decisions might seem insignificant, it’s those decisions that can often be the most important.

She also challenged her fellow graduates to cultivate small, positive habits throughout their lives.

Donald said graduation marked the end of one chapter for her class, but it was also the start of a new chapter. No matter where life takes them, Donald wished each of her classmates the best of luck and encouraged them to be the person they want to be.

The graduation ceremony concluded with diplomas being presented to each graduate.

Class of 2017 graduates are Chad Armstrong, Ivy Blake, Dakota Bowen, Sheryl Bowen, Logan Busko, Katrina Butler, Madison Clapp, Karigen Coffin, Clinton Dakin, Cassie Donald, Chelsey Gibbs, Barrett Grant, Meghan Grant, Trei Hanson, Kacy Harriman, Ryan Haskell, Julienne Hebert, Lucas Hendrickson, Ty Hruby, Paige Ireland, Jacob Kilpatrick, Mikhail Kroening, Andrew Lavin, Devin Nielsen, Rajah Peavey, MacKenzie Philbrick, Madison Philbrick, Mitchell Philbrook, Richard Priest, Wayne Sanborn, Tori Staples, Cameron Watt, Bailey West, Edward Whalen, Victoria Wilbur and Xinyi "Coco" Yu.