Graduates go forth ... but please come back

By Dwight Collins | Jun 11, 2014

Camden — Last Friday night I had the opportunity to cover the graduation at Camden Hills Regional High School and for me it was reality check, reminding me that time flies by in the blink of an eye.

This year's graduating class included a lot of kids I have known through the years, either through coaching, being children of people I grew up with or students I met while working there.

For each one of the graduates I pray they move forward in their journey and find success, I hope they never forget the support of the people, family and friends, who they leave behind. Some will move on to college and others will enter the work force, but either way, the CHRHS Class of 2014 is full of leaders, athletes, scholars, poets, activist and actors.

I look back to my own graduation and remember the sense of accomplishment the moment we walked out of the gymnasium at the old Camden-Rockport High School, I also remember just as vividly the overwhelming fear of what lay ahead.

I was proud to be a part of the class of 1990, and from early on that year many of my classmates proved to be born leaders. It was that class that forever changed the face of graduation voting on going with all black caps and gowns as oppose to the traditional red for the boys and white for the girls. Little did we know then graduates would continue wear black with red and white tassels.

I remember going to the YMCA for our project graduation and almost everyone took part. It was here that I started to notice something very strange, but at the same time equally as cool.

Jocks were hanging out with rednecks, theater people hanging out with the math team, people were letting loose and realizing that this was the last time we would be together as classmates.

I remember joining in with a jam band we had that night and I think we sang some AD/DC but the way it sounded, I was surprised I didn't get mobbed by a flock of geese.

One thing I can say about my classmates is that we all pretty much accepted each other for who we were and for the most part we got along. Sometimes I sit back and think about those days and I try to remember one great thing about the people I grew up with, we may not have all run in the same circles, but we were all friends with someone who did.

As time went by we all scattered to the four corners of the world, some to college, some to the military and a group that was content on being out from under the parental unit. Coming back the first time after joining the Army, I felt like a big fish in a small pond. I had been away, seen some things and had a chip on my shoulder. It was one of my childhood friends who knocked it off, reminding me that one of the most important things is not to forget where you came from.

I realized then that as much as I enjoyed going “away,” deep down inside I was glad to be home and home will always be here for me. Maybe things have changed to a certain extent, but the quality of the people never change.

I look around town today and see classmates and even those who graduated before and after me, taking leadership roles in the towns they grew up in and around. Firefighters, business owners, police officers, teachers and laborers alike all working together to give back to the community that gave us so much.

So I want to leave the class of 2014 this -- home is where the heart is. If this is your home, please return, because it is you, the graduates, who will continue to make our corner of the Midcoast the best place to be from.

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