CAMDEN – The Mt. Battie Star, long a symbol of hope for those who see it shining in the night sky, underwent a change on Wednesday, May 13. Some of the white lights were replaced with red to reflect the colors of Camden Hills Regional High School and its graduating Class of 2020.
School Valedictorian Robyn Walker-Spencer, Salutatorian Sophia Campbell and Band Director Nancy Rowe threw the switch at dusk to bring the new colors to life.
Randy Stearns and Peter Rollins of Friends of the Mt. Battie Star helped the high school coordinate the effort and aid the colors will remain for a few days.
Dr. Shawn Carlson, CHRHS principal, said the event was a kick-off to graduation.
“With the help of a lot of people,” he said, “we get to light the star with the school colors. There’s a lot of sadness as we started to make plans for graduation season and it really started to hit home for a lot of people.”
Carlson said it was a way to show the school cared.
“I don’t think there’s any question that the kids know the school cares about them,” he said. “It’s a new tradition perhaps. Maybe we can do this every season.”
The star has long been a holiday tradition for the Midcoast. Usually lit between Thanksgiving and ending with the ringing in of the New Year. Because of the pandemic, the star was put back up as a symbol of hope for the residents.
“We are all very proud of our students and staff,” said Carlson. “We all miss them and hope that this next 30-days is as joyful as we can make it.”
Carlson said missing out on graduation is a real loss for the kids and their families.
“They’ve lost a lot of the tradition they’ve seen held over the last years,” he said. “It’s sad and we are trying to find as many pieces of our traditions that we can hold onto in this crisis. And though we don’t think we can march through town, we do think we can have a parade through town. It will happen in cars.”
Carlson said the event today came about quickly.
“We were talking about graduation events about a week and a half ago,” he said. “And we thought wouldn’t it be cool if we could put the class colors up on the star. Tom Heath and Jen Curtis reached out to Randy Stearns and Peter Rollins and they helped us pull it off.”
Valedictorian Robyn Walker- Spencer said it was incredible what the school was able to pull off for them.
Salutatorian Sophia Campbell said the school has done a great job to compensate for the things that graduates usually do.
Seniors their whole life has been spent going through school hearing about how great their graduating year will be for them. Now it’s all gone, lost to them.
“Obviously it’s disappointing,” said Walker-Spencer. “There was a lot of build-up, but we're doing the best we can. In some ways, it makes it more nostalgic because of the connections we’re forced to make with other people and the way everybody is coming together for us is really special.”
According to Stearns, the star will keep its red and white lights through Friday evening. He said the star is scheduled to come down on Saturday morning.