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Messalonskee seniors set to graduate at 7 p.m. tonight at the Augusta Civic Center

They are a small graduating class and while many of them – 102 to be exact – are headed to college, nearly a third of them are undecided about their post-secondary plans.

They are also students who have had to experience more than half their high school years in perhaps the worse pandemic in human history.

“These kids have had to endure a lot of changes,” Principal Paula Callan said of the Messalonskee seniors set to graduate at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center.

For the most part, Callan said the seniors rolled with the challenges they encountered as best they could. At the same time, she said, they also benefitted in that RSU 18 ranked as one of the few school systems in the state that continued to offer in-class education through much of the pandemic.

Still, Callan said she is struggling to define the Class of 2022.

“You have 155 individuals,” she said, “who have each mapped out their future. Nobody is following in the footsteps of another.”

What is known, though, is that 63 of the seniors planning to seek further education are headed the four-year college route, while the other 39 are going to a two-year institution, either a community college or technical school.

Nine others have decided to pursue a military option with five going into the active service and the other four electing to join the National Guard. Of the students going the active path, three have chosen the Army, one the Navy, and one the Marines.

That leaves 41 students who are undecided about their plans.

Callan said that is not necessarily a bad situation. On the contrary, she said taking a gap year to work and consider options can be a wise choice.

“In a way,” she said, “it’s courageous not to follow the norm. I think if you ask many of the adults in this building, they might have made different choices after high school if they had the chance to do it over again.”

Whatever choice they make, whichever route they ultimately take, the 2022 Messalonskee graduates, each and every one, will commence their new journey Thursday night.

You can watch the livestream of Graduation here.

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