Principal Ira Michaud imparted four final lessons on Edgecomb Eddy School’s Class of 2020. On June 5, Michaud recalled his sixth grade year in 1991 as being a “real pain” to his parents, extended family, school officials and classmates. Michaud explained he learned lessons from those close to him in avoiding becoming his “own worst enemy.”
Michaud was assigned to write about a hero. He didn’t take the task seriously which resulted in a meeting between the teacher, his parents and principal. “Learning is more important than getting a laugh. I definitely learned from that experience.” Other life lessons included think before you speak, take care of those who need your help, and learn from your choices by letting history teach you how to proceed.
Michaud imparted his experience to the 11 Edgecomb Eddy sixth graders in the annual graduation ceremony, the first in the school’s history to practice social distancing. Students were seated six feet apart and audience members sat in small clusters to abide by the state of emergency mandate. While the social distancing is one practice school officials hope doesn’t become a tradition, other rituals such as class gifts remained a central part of the ceremony.
For several years, the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes have given handmade wise owl pillows to graduates. The first grade class continued a 25-year tradition of gifting each graduate with a handmade pouch. Grade two presented a quote from Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh, The Places You Will Go.” “You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go – oh, the places you will go,” read teacher Becky Alley. Third graders presented confetti poppers. “We’re so proud of you. Go out there and have fun and work hard. Remember the inspirational saying, ‘Your future depends on many things, but mostly you learn from everything,’” said third grade teacher Sarah Currier. Grades four and five presented graduates with a traditional gift worn by graduates for centuries. While students were out of school practicing distance learning due to the coronavirus, Alley and fifth grade teacher Nancy Rose made the ceremonial hats. “You’ve had a myriad of challenges with new teachers, a new principal and you learn from those experiences and continue to flourish in the coming years,” Alley said. “These odd caps are used to symbolize a special day worn by artists, students and the well-educated since the 14th century. So wear these with pride for you have accomplished something great.”
Three graduates were singled out for their accomplishments during their tenure at the pre-kindergarten through grade six school. Julian Deliso received the Academic Award from sixth grade teacher Julie Browne. The award is presented annually to a student who has been a top student and performed well on standardized tests. Deliso scored above the 90th percentile on Northwest Education Association’s test in reading, language usage and mathematics. The state’s standardized test, Maine Educational Assessment, wasn’t given this year, but Browne reported Deliso scored above state expectations in past tests. “He has a strong natural academic ability, possesses an inquisitive mind and pushes the envelope by soaking up as much knowledge as possible,” Browne said.
Ziera Lei Bercasio received the Edgecomb Eddy Arts Award. This is the second year the award was presented. The Sara Leone Outstanding Citizenship Award was presented to a student who only spent one year at the school. Kiara Bridges received the award name after a 2002 graduate who stood out as a student with enthusiasm for learning, a love of the outdoors and a zest for life.
The graduation also said goodbye to two staffers. Alley was given a plant for her three years of teaching. Judy Reid’s 30 years as an administrative assistant will be commemorated with the playground being decorated with a plant in her honor and a plaque.
Selectman Mike Smith gifted graduates with birdhouses he made from wood donated by residents Joe and Lisa McSwain.
The Class of 2020 members are Ziera Lei Bercasio, Kiara Bridges, Julian Deliso, Rebecca Fassett, Ross Gaffney, Nicholas Heaberlin II, Madison Lorrain, Garrett Marshall, Justine Marshall, Hayden Rines and William Seiders.