On June 11, a cloudless day with temperatures in the 90s, Belfast Area High School seniors, family members, friends and loved ones weathered the final celebratory passage of high school life: the commencement ceremony.

Graduates heard from keynote speaker Brandon Baldwin of the state attorney general's Civil Rights Team Project, who saluted those students who made it through high school in spite of adversities. He urged the class of 2017 to consider the deceptively simple phrase "not everyone is like you."

Class co-valedictorian Eilha Charbonnier rapped part of her farewell address, thanking fellow students, parents and others in rhyming couplets. Sample verse:

"Then there are coaches and teachers and all the rest,
Who held the figurative matches that lit our interests.

"And everything they taught us broadened out minds,
They cut and chiseled them to make them more refined.

"So, thank you for teaching me how to deal with fractions,
And the physics behind light refraction.

"And I admit I never learned how to throw a ball with a curve,
But at least I know better than to use 'good' as an adverb."

The class of 2017 program listed 109 graduates with 64 going on to college and 45 either forgoing college or undecided.