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Check it out: Mt. Battie star shines as sun goes down, May 13, 14, 15

Mt. Battie star lit with Camden Hills school colors

By Susan Mustapich | May 14, 2020
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Salutatorian Sophia Campbell, left, and Valedictorian Robyn Walker-Spencer, visit Mt. Battie May 13, to flip the switch that lights the star, decked out in red and white bulbs, to honor Camden Hills 2020 graduates.

CAMDEN — The lights of the Mt. Battie star shone red and white the evening of May 13, to celebrate Camden Hills Regional High School graduating seniors, and start the 30-day countdown to graduation.

Peter Rollins, Randy Stearns and the volunteers who light the star each evening, added the red bulbs, and invited Valedictorian Robyn Walker-Spencer and Salutatorian Sophia Campbell to flip the switch and turn on the lights.

Rollins and Stearns planned the event with Camden Hills Principal Shawn Carlson. The high school ordered the red bulbs for the star, which arrived May 12.

Nancy Rowe, who is retiring at the end of the school year, was also there to celebrate the unique event. She has served as the high school's band director, instructor and Visual and Performing Arts Chairwoman for the past 33 years.

On top of the mountain, May 13, Carlson said, "I just want to tell everybody how proud we are of these graduates and all our students and staff, and how much we all miss them. We hope that these last 30 days are as joyful as they can make them."

The star will shine with the Camden Hills school colors for the remainder of the week. With sunset around 8 p.m., the time Camden Hills State Park closes, community members are asked to view the town icon and honor town graduates from downtown locations.

The 30-day countdown to graduation usually begins with a large sign hanging over the high school lobby.

With the school building, closed since March 16, a banner signed by the class of 2020, when they were freshman, was wrapped around one side of the historic stone tower.

Also beginning May 13, Camden Hills is recognizing 10 seniors each school day on the school's Facebook page with photos and comments from teachers.

In addition, senior Sophie Ernst has created a virtual representation on Instagram of the wall of graduates traditionally seen on the CHRHS office wall at

Rollins and a crew of volunteers erected the star on top of Mt. Battie April 6, to provide a symbol of hope, as the community began to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Erecting the star is no small effort, and this year with state restrictions in place, Rollins had to obtain permission from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, a process that took weeks. Each evening since April 6, volunteers have manually lit the star, which is powered by a generator. The star will have lit the night sky for 40 days by May 15, and is scheduled to be taken down over the weekend.

For 54 years the star on Mt. Battie has shone from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Eve. This is the first time it has ever been erected outside of the holiday season.

The Mt. Battie star, decked with Camden Hills Regional High School's red and white colors, was lit around 6:30 p.m. May 13. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
As the sun sets behind the Mt. Battie tower May 13, the 100 red and white lights become visible. After sunset, the star can be seen from many locations around Camden, and from further distances. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
These 2020 Camden Hills seniors, and many others in the graduating class, signed the banner hung on the Mt. Battie tower when they were high school freshmen. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Shawn Carlson, Camden Hills principal, interviewed by a Maine television station May 13, said he is proud of the 2020 graduates and all the school's students and staff. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
Beautiful! This photography was taken by Camden Hills Technology Coordinator Tom Heath, who was one of the first of the high school staff members to arrive on Mt. Battie May 13. Heath wears many hats, including, 'amazing photographer." (Photo by: Tom Heath)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: Don Dickinson | May 14, 2020 10:32

Not much social distancing in the picture of the students in front of the banner. At least three of them have masks on. Congrats on your graduation.

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