ROCKLAND, Maine — Oceanside High School graduated its first class Tuesday night with a packed house.
“It’s one of the best graduations I’ve been a part of,” said Oceanside East Principal Tom Forti.
Oceanside is the consolidation of Rockland District High School in Rockland and Georges Valley High School in Thomaston.
Forti said a lot of heavy lifting by staff went into making the first Oceanside graduation go off so well.
There were 150 students who graduated for the inaugural Class of 2012.
Forti pointed out during his speech Tuesday night that symbols of proud histories and rich traditions are visible in the gymnasium where the participants gathered for graduation. He then pointed out the new name of the school, also visible in the gym.
“You see a name that represents the beginning of a new history and new traditions, ones you have so graciously helped to create,” Forti said.
The principal thanked the community for its more than $260,000 in local scholarships given to this year’s graduates.
Co-valedictorian Alex Wallace of Spruce Head referred to the merger of the schools in his speech Tuesday night.
“Coming into this year and starting Oceanside High School has been a drastic change for everyone involved, Wallace said. “We left the security of our old districts and communities and although we knew the immense benefits of the consolidation, we were apprehensive of the change and the unknown.”
Wallace said he has grown and is a better person for the experience.
Co-valedictorian Emma Mason of Rockland told her classmates, families and friends that hard work pays off. She also urged her classmates to be kind to others, remember that life is short, and to appreciate the people who helped them along the way.