Medomak Valley valedictorian, salutatorian say they owe much to parents

By Beth A. Birmingham | May 10, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Mackenzie Bickmore, left, and Claire Bourett have been chosen valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, at Medomak Valley High School.

Waldoboro — Principal Linda Pease has announced that Mackenzie Bickmore and Claire Bourett have been chosen valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, for the class of 2019 at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro.

Bickmore, daughter of Karen and William Gardiner and Andrew Bickmore, attained a GPA of 4.602 out of 5.0 to be named valedictorian.

She attended the Damariscotta Montessori School from second to eighth grade, and said she really appreciated the freedom of learning it allowed her.

Throughout her high school career, Bickmore has been involved in many extracurricular activities, including soccer and basketball for all four years, and softball for three.

After tearing her ACL the summer before her junior year, she stayed involved with her teams by becoming their manager, and this year received the Coach's Award for her assistance in basketball with the underclassmen.

As a member of the math team for three years, Bickmore has been the high scorer this season, and will participate at the state math meet. She will also receive the Payson Prize for being the highest-scoring member of her team.

Volunteering has been a big part of Bickmore's life as well. She has participated in fundraising for the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital as a part of the Medomak Valley Chapter of National Honor Society.

As a member of the PAWS organization, she took part in community service activities such as freshman orientation, bullying prevention, reading to area youth, serving food at Wreaths Across America, raising money for breast cancer research, and other school-related volunteer work.

She has also volunteered for the Chickadee Program at the local library for three years, where she plans and leads a five-week program with second- and third-graders to introduce top children's literature.

Bickmore was involved as an assistant coach for girls' youth recreational leagues for both soccer and basketball.

"My mom is a huge influence on me," she said, adding that her mother excels as a coach, teacher and parent, and has taught her almost everything she knows. "Growing up with her as an example for me, I learned how to be a good teammate and classmate, and plan to carry her example with me in my future career," Bickmore said.

She will be attending Wellesley College in Massachusetts in the fall, plans to major in mathematics and minor in education, and wants to become a high school math teacher, She also hopes to have the opportunity to coach either basketball or math team.

"My fondest memory was our first Spirit Week as a class; we were shocked to have won. It became less and less shocking as we went on a seven-win streak, with only one loss at our last Spirit Week," she said.

She advised her classmates: "Don’t put things off for later, do them now,. If you wait for the perfect opportunity to do something, you may never get the chance."

To underclassmen she offered this, "Don’t take everything so seriously. Focus on learning the material, rather than getting the best grade. If you are more concerned with learning, your grades should reflect your knowledge. If you don’t understand something, don’t worry; one bad test or homework grade isn’t going to kill you. Just study hard, ask questions and make sure to do better the next time."

Bourett, daughter of Elizabeth and Timothy Bourett, attained a 4.595 to be named salutatorian.

It wasn't until her sophomore year that she and her family moved to Maine from Delaware. She said it was a huge change to go from an inner city school of 2,000 kids to Medomak Valley. "I really struggled with making friends in the beginning, so I focused on my school work," Bourett said, noting that midway through her junior year, she began to talk more and make friends.

"Sitting here now, I can honestly say I’ve made lifelong friends and I don’t regret moving at all. The move was the best thing that’s ever happened to me," she said.

Since her sophomore year, she has been on the tennis team and was a captain the past two years, and played singles. Theater made its way into Bourett's life this year, and she performed in three shows.

She is also part of the PAWS program, which helps the school community.

Bourett said by far the most influential person in her life has been her father. "I don’t even know how to articulate the fact that we are basically the same person ... we are both logical realists who enjoy looking at demotivational posters and watching British comedy shows," she said. "He has always pushed me to do well in school, and I’m so grateful to have had him throughout my academic journey."

Bourett will be attending the University of Maine at Orono for cellular and molecular biology, and also hopes to minor in mathematics. After that, her goal is to go to medical school and practice medicine in Lincoln County.

She said her fondest memory was being involved in the fall production of "Shrek the Musical."

"It’s not one specific memory, but the whole experience was one of the best things I’ve ever been involved in. I had so much fun backstage, trying to be quiet while dancing with my friends to whichever song was being performed at the moment. The show was one of the most involved performances I’ve ever been a part of, but it was so worth it for all the memories I have from it," she said.

She had this advice for classmates: "I would tell them to enjoy this summer, as it could be the last one that we all have together before 'real life' begins. Everyone will be spreading out, from going to college to starting work to joining the military. We need to enjoy ourselves before it happens."

This was her advice for underclassmen: "Underclassmen need to learn to respect their teachers. I know that it sounds cliche, but I really think they need to hear it from someone around their age. I have seen so much disrespect in this school towards adults, and it infuriates me. I would say 'If you just respect your teachers, your academic career will be so much easier. Teachers will want to help you, not just have to. Maybe just talk to your teacher sometimes. Guess what? They’re people, too, and they actually have interesting things to say.'"

Bickmore and Bourett will join their class of 140 in graduation exercises Wednesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. in the MVHS gymnasium.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | May 10, 2019 16:15

A remarkable student. Kudos to the teachers who inspired her.  Camden is so fortunate to have such dedicated teachers.

Students are the future and the teachers are the wonderful "font" of knowledge and stepping stones.



If you wish to comment, please login.