Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 12, 2014
BHHS graduates urged to keep ‘their hearts and their passion’
The Blue Hill Harbor School of Blue Hill, Maine graduated its class of 2014 on June 6. From left, Nicholas Ira Wood, Jacqueline Alice Caswell, Julien Kilday Livingston Wilder, Rebekah Lynn Bubel, Derek H. DeRaps and Bridget Ann Limeburner.
by Anne Berleant
On June 7, six Blue Hill Harbor School graduates marked the end of their secondary education at a commencement that was long on humor and short in length.
“What kind of talk would this be if it wasn’t about the zombie apocalypse?” asked student adviser Daniel Hays, chosen by the graduates as their guest speaker.
Rebekah Lynn Bubel, Jacqueline Alice Caswell, Derek H. DeRaps, Bridget Ann Limeburner, Julien Kilday Livingston Wilder and Nicholas Ira Wood received their diplomas, and a copy of the Dr. Seuss classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go from principal Joshua Jones and lead adviser Andrew Dillon.
The two graduates who chose to speak struck serious tones in the final words of their high school careers.
The small, alternative high school “gave me everything I needed to change myself,” said Wilder.
“If it wasn’t for my family and friends…telling me to keep going, I wouldn’t be here,” said DeRaps. “There was a lot of road blocks, but I made it—surprisingly…[Blue Hill Harbor School] really helped me put things in perspective.”
A slideshow of candid photos interspersed with statements found by the students served as the backdrop to the commencement held at Peninsula Metamorphic Arts and Learning Center. The sayings captured the philosophy behind the independent school:
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.—Zen Shin
“A lone amateur built the ark; a team of professionals built the Titanic.”—Richard Needham.
The Blue Hill Harbor School, which opened in 2007, uses personal learning plans and is based on the EdVisions education model.
Lead adviser Andrew Dillon spoke to the strengths of each graduate, while Hays advised, “You learn more from listening than talking,” and not to “find a ‘them’ or a ‘they’ to blame”—including, or especially, parents, “because at some point you will begin noticing that you are becoming one or both of your parents.”
Defining zombies as “how people act when they’ve given up…on their hearts and their passion,” Hayes concluded, “So, don’t be a zombie!”
Board president Ed Volkwein spoke of needing more physical space “to meet the enrollment growth” as the board’s “number one priority.” The 2014 class is the largest the school has seen graduate.
Volkwein also announced the Gay Leach Memorial Fund. Leach, who died last month, “was an important part of the board, and we lost a friend.”
Finally, speaking directly to the graduates, Volkwein said, “Each of you has a distinct calling…but a calling will do nothing until you answer it.”