Class of 2017 Graduates from Calais High School

By Lura Jackson


The outgoing seniors of Calais High School have reached a destination long in coming – with their diplomas in hand, they have crossed a significant milestone into adulthood. For the first time in their lives they are facing a future outside of Calais’s formal education system, a future that may include academic studies, trade college, entering the work force, or military service. The 43 students of Calais High School’s Class of 2017 received their diplomas on Sunday, June 4th.

Jonathan “Jack” Lander, who has served as the class president for all four years for the outgoing class, provided the welcoming address. Lander noted that this was the last time the class would be gathered to celebrate its hard work, array of accomplishments, lessons learned, and friendships forged over the past four years. “These are the things we will remember and carry with us,” Lander said, rather than grade point averages. Lander provided the class with a reminder from Robert Kennedy that “…many of the world’s greatest movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man.”

Similar sentiments were given by Kassidee Ramsey and Riley Sluzenski in their speeches. “I figure if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one,” Ramsey said, sharing the words of Calamity Jane during the closing address. “You’ll never know if you don’t go, you’ll never shine if you don’t glow,” said Sluzenski, quoting from Smash Mouth’s song All-Star. 

The guest speaker for this year’s class was none other than famed Maine humorist Tim Sample, who chose to regale the audience with a lesson on the importance of perspective. Sample expressed his concern about the level of polarization in our society and around the world. “Different people with different perspectives are convinced they are absolutely right and other people are absolutely wrong,” said Sample. He shared the story of a group of blind men in India who encountered an elephant for the first time. Each of the men touched a part of the elephant, from the trunk to its side to its tail, and then asserted that the part they felt was representative of the elephant as a whole. “Even though they’re right, they’re not one hundred percent right,” Sample said. “Their information is correct as far as it goes, but no individual has all the information.” Sample said that the story was indicative of the human condition, in which no one has the whole story. He said that if we accept our personal experience as real and that of others as real, but leave room for the elements we may not be aware of, “that perspective gives us a way forward, a way from the sense of gridlock.”

This year’s Valedictorian was Riley Sluzenski, the Salutatorian was Delayne Hold, the first honor part was Kobey Gillespie, the second honor part was Kassidee Ramsey, the third honor part was Daniel Fransiscus, the fourth honor part was Kianna Pike, and the fifth honor part was Katie Cavanaugh.

A number of scholarships were presented to the students at the graduation. The Agnes & Wilbur Hooper Scholarship for $500 was presented to Kianna Pike; Anna & Harold Drew Scholarship for $500 was given to Kobey Gillespie; the Calais Education Scholarship for $1000 went to Jack Lander; the Calais High School Student Council scholarship for $500 was presented to Kobey Gillespie; Calais Lioness scholarship for $500 went to Kayli Doten; the Calais Regional Hospital Auxiliary went to Katie Cavanaugh; the Clarence Beckett Scholarship for $2000 was awarded to Samantha Look; the Class of 1977 $200 scholarship went to Branden Gillespie; the $250 Dale Carter scholarship went to Katie Cavanaugh; the Early College for ME scholarship for $500 for four years was given to five students: Dillon Stanley, Daniel Fransiscus, Kianna Pike, Sydney Lins and Laura Socobasin; the George Mitchell scholarship of $2000 a year for four years went to Wade Lola; the Jack and Sally Smith scholarship of $2000 went to Kobey Gillespie; the Jo Boehm Nursing Scholarship of $500 was awarded to Katie Cavanaugh; the John and Bessie Adams Scholarship of $3660 was divided between five students: Riley Sluzenski, $1000, Delayne Hold, $1000, Katie Cavanaugh, $660, Alyssa Rocha, $500, and Kayli Doten, $500; the MELMAC scholarship for $2000 was given to Kobey Gillespie; the Nicholas John Leon Memorial award went to Katie Cavanaugh; the Philip W. Beckett Jr. scholarship for $500 was presented to Julia Edgerly; the Principals' Award for $100 was given to Riley Sluzenski; the Ruth Brogan scholarship for $750 was given to Daniel Fransiscus; the Sharon Eileen Clark scholarship for $1250 a year for four years went to Kassidee Ramsey; the St. Croix Council scholarship for $500 went to Riley Sluzenski; the St. Croix Lodge #46 Masonic scholarship of $500 went to Kassidee Ramsey; the St. Croix Regional Nurses Association scholarship for $250 was given to Katie Cavanaugh; the St. Croix Regional Student of the Year scholarship for $500 went to Riley Sluzenski; the Calais Lions Club John and Mary Hazelwood Memorial scholarship for $1000 went to Kassidee Ramsey and Katie Cavanaugh; the WQDY Broadcast Journalism scholarship of $250 was given to Ryan Fitzgerald; the St. Croix Regional Technical Center's WCCC Scholarship was given to Marisa Mitchell.