Passion, confidence for graduates

Passion, confidence for graduates

By Al Hemingway - Staff Writer

You could call it an omen. When Superintendent of Schools Karen Loiselle informed Board of Education Chairman Robert Goldstein that the Bacon Academy’s Class of 2010 was certified to graduate, the sun suddenly broke through the thick, ominous clouds that had threatened rain most of the day.

“Look, the sun,” said Jo-Ann Campbell, a teacher at the school, who pointed skyward. “That’s a good sign.”

It was certainly a good sign for the seniors who were saying goodbye to the school. On June 17, 241 graduates - which included an amazing 12 sets of twins - received their diplomas, and will begin a new chapter in their lives. The former students are traveling a variety of different roads. Class valedictorian Nicholas Joaquin is going to Dartmouth in the fall.

“I applied to the school,” he commented. “I received a letter that I had been accepted. The funny thing is they never interviewed me or asked me to visit the college. But, I am excited about going.”

Andrew Devoe, 2010 class salutatorian, is happy about being accepted to Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. There, he will pursue a career in computer science.

“I’m a little nervous about giving my speech tonight,” he confessed. “But, I’ll get through it.”

Robert Goldstein, a 1985 graduate of Bacon Academy and class salutatorian, urged the class never to forget their passion. As he was preparing his speech for the commencement exercises, he found a copy of his that he had delivered 25 years ago, when he graduated from the institution. In it, he found that he had talked about not only his passion, but other students in his graduating class, as well. He talked to some of his former classmates, and learned that after a quarter of a century, they were still passionate about their careers.

“So, it is a very powerful notion, this thing called passion,” remarked Goldstein. “When you have it, when you follow it, happiness and satisfaction are virtually assured.”

While watching “Up in the Air,” a movie starring George Clooney, Karen Loiselle received the inspiration she needed for her speech to the 2010 graduating class. Clooney portrays a hatchet man, who travels around the country firing employees for bosses who do not have the courage to do it themselves. He is so good at it his job, he gives motivational talks about eliminating the burdens in life. He shows the audience a backpack, and tells them putting all their possessions in the backpack weighs them down, and these things should be shed. Sadly, Clooney’s character, Ryan Bingham, means not only personal possessions, but relationships with people, as well.

“Thankfully, you are much wiser than Ryan Bingham,” Loiselle said to the class, “because, throughout your four years at Bacon Academy, you have learned first-hand of the power of relationships.”

Loiselle challenged the seniors to fill their backpacks with the lessons they have learned while at Bacon Academy. She asked them what would be their most valuable possession that they would take with them on life’s journey.

Loiselle asked Bacon Academy Principal Jeffry Mathieu what the students needed to pack for the future.

“‘Confidence,’ he said without hesitation,” Loiselle informed the class. “He then proceeded to reflect on how self-assured you have grown through your travels from freshman year, to this very evening. He said to put this confidence in your backpack and reach for it next year during the times when you feel understandably unsure and uncomfortable when you encounter brand new challenges, people, and situations.”

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