Eleven students will attend college in Maine, while others will enter universities across the country and globe.
Thirty-three students graduated from the Maine School of Science and Mathematics on Saturday. Credit: Melissa Lizotte / Aroostook Republican

LIMESTONE, Maine — Thirty-three graduates of the Maine School of Science and Mathematics are one step closer to their post-high school goals.

Students graduating from the residential magnet school in Limestone have hometowns that span the length of Maine, from Fort Kent to York County.

For five of those graduates, their college journeys have already begun. Bella Fernandez, Anne Bostock, Trynitee Fallon, Jack Tetreault and Shelby Carson all earned associate degrees from the University of Maine at Presque Isle through dual-credit courses taught at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics.

Eleven students out of the graduating class will attend college in Maine, including five within the University of Maine System. Two graduates will enter military service, while others will attend public, private and Ivy League colleges across the country and internationally.

In her commencement address, Berwick native Fallon reflected on the challenges she and classmates faced to reach graduation, from homesickness to pandemic stresses and the tendency to procrastinate on some assignments.

“Being at this school takes strength, sacrifices and dedication,” Fallon said. “[But] we’ll leave here knowing what it’s like to create our own family and not love that family any less than the ones we already had.”

Maine Sen. Troy Jackson used his career trajectory from fifth-generation logger to politician as one example of how students can embrace life’s unpredictability.

“If people had told me when I graduated high school way back in 1986 that I would be an elected politician, I probably would have laughed in their faces,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s roots go back to Limestone, where his mother grew up, and to Allagash, where he and his father followed the men of the family into the logging profession. His political career began in 1998 after he and other loggers blocked access roads to protest what they saw as unfair labor and hiring practices.

Today he credits Aroostook with developing his work ethic and hopes that Maine School of Science and Mathematics graduates remember the people and places that shaped them, Jackson said.

“It’s impossible to predict how your life will unfold, but if you know who you are and where you come from, you’ll be okay,” Jackson said.

Saturday’s commencement also marked a new beginning for the school’s executive director, Sam Critchlow.

In July, Critchlow, a 2001 Maine School of Science and Mathematics alum, will leave Limestone to become head of school for High Mountain Institute in Leadville, Colorado. He will hand the reins to Rob Constantine, who is currently chief financial officer at the White Mountain School in Bethlehem, New Hampshire.

As director, Critchlow was instrumental in leading the Maine School of Science and Mathematics out of the COVID-19 pandemic, partnering with Limestone on a solar array project and advocating for the school in the Maine Legislature, said Yoosuf Siddiqui, chair of the board of trustees.