Class of 2021 embraces togetherness at Proctor High


Proctor High School spelled out “we love our seniors” in plastic cups that decorated the fence for the past few weeks of school.

Looking out to the community that has watched her grow up, Co-Valedictorian Hope Kelley delivers her address.
Co-Valedictorian Maeve Sheehe urged her classmates that “the sky’s the limit.”

PROCTOR — After missing their Washington D.C. trip because of the pandemic, the Proctor High School Class of ’21 was ecstatic to gather for their high school graduation on June 12. The tight-knit group at Proctor High School comprises just 24 seniors, and that’s including the kids who transferred into the school after the pandemic hit.

“This is the best opportunity I have as a principal all year and I look forward to it from the very beginning. Proctor has many decades of traditions we follow and last year a few of them weren’t able to be realized,” said Principal JoAn Canning. She assisted the graduating class with pinning on their carnations in the gym before the ceremony.

Co-Valedictorian Maeve Sheehe said she is “excited to start the next chapter of my life. I know we’ve all worked hard through the pandemic and persevered.” The star student will pursue nursing at the University of Vermont with the idea of becoming a labor and delivery nurse, who concluded her speech by encouraging her classmates through a metaphor that life is like a hot air balloon and “the sky’s the limit.”

The other Valedictorian was Lucy Tate, who spoke to her classmates about her love of reading, encouraging them to learn about as many different perspectives as possible and declared that “people are like books,” in that everyone has an interesting story to tell.

While the Class of 2021 were excited to be at the graduation in person, not everyone was able to attend. The class of 1971, which was invited because of a Proctor tradition to invite the class of 50 years earlier, could not be there. Instead, the Golden Diploma students Catherine Cameron, Robert Lang, Camden Richardson, Janaya Richardson, and Sydney Wood took turns reading the names of those 1971 seniors.

Class-elected speaker Jake Eaton, who is the athletic director, basketball coach, and a mentor, was chosen because the class admires his positive energy and loyalty to Proctor High.

“Are you excited?” Eaton asked the graduating class, who responded, “Yeah!” He joked back, “Well, I’m excited to get rid of you! Did you see my gray beard this winter?”

Eaton continued his speech to say that the current graduating class was special to him since they were in the first grade when he started at Proctor High School.

Considering the most recent challenges, Eaton told the group, “I’m proud of everything you’ve been through. You did it with kindness and respect, and you did it together. Your prom, senior trips, championship games all got canceled but you never gave me a hard time. You’re still smiling and ready to kick the real world’s butt.”

Family and friends, at the ceremony tent on the field outside the school, beamed with pride.

“It’s surprising that he’s grown up so quick. Seems like yesterday,” said Howard Lear, Tyler Eugair’s grandfather who came to see him graduate.

Canning sent the class of ’21 off into their futures by quoting A.A. Milne, who said, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

COVID or not, transfers or lifelong residents, the comradery was evident and punctuated at the end of the ceremony by the Proctor graduates throwing their graduation caps all together in the air.

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