Belfast grads treated to individuality, reminded of differences

By Ethan Andrews | Jun 11, 2017
Photo by: Ethan Andrews Belfast 2017 graduate Ian Snowdeal lifts up James Ritter for a photo after the Regional School Unit 71 commencement June 11.

Belfast — 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.

 

 

Graduating seniors from Belfast Area High School react to co-valedictorian Eilha Charbonnier rapping a portion of her farewell address to the class of 2017. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
2017 Belfast Area High School graduate Annie Wirth after commencement June 11. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Hunter Merchant looks toward the crowd while receiving her diploma June 11. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Nolan Woods, left, joins other graduates after getting their diplomas June 11. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Victoria Curtis gets her diploma at Belfast Area High School graduation June 11. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
The 2017 salutatorian, Katherine King, addresses Belfast Area High School underclassmen June 11 at the school's graduation ceremony. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
The Senior Chorus sings Imagine Dragons' "It's Time" June 11 at Belfast Area High School graduation. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Belfast Area High School graduate Alaa Al-Matrouk is greeted after getting her diploma June 11. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Belfast Area High School graduate Ravi Weaver embraces teacher Butch Richards after commencement June 11. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Bearing gifts at Belfast Area High School graduation June 11. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Maximillian Howard, center, sings with the Senior Chorus June 11 at Belfast Area High School graduation. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
On a cloudless day with temperatures well into the 90s, attendees at Belfast Area High School graduation take whatever shade they can get. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Belfast Area High School graduation keynote speaker Brandon Baldwin, schools and curriculum coordinator for the state attorney general's Civil Rights Team Project, urges graduates to remember that "not everyone is like you." (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Belfast Area High School graduates wait in the wings after getting their diplomas June 11. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Belfast graduates show their diploma holders, which are left empty for the ceremonial presentation. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Co-valedictorian Eilha Charbonnier joins her Belfast Area High School classmates after receiving her diploma. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Belfast Area High School boys preparing to receive diplomas stand in a row behind their classmates who have already been through the ceremony. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
Graduates and loved ones crowd the track outside Belfast Area High School June 11 at the school's 2017 graduation ceremony. (Photo by: Ethan Andrews)
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