PORTLAND, MAINE | Maine Senior Seeds celebrated their graduation from the Maine Program with a banquet on May 18 hosted by the Maine College of Art. Fifty-one Maine Seeds, the largest graduating class ever, their families, and friends attended the banquet to recognize the Seniors’ incredible accomplishments over the past few years.
Current Maine Seed Morrigan opened the evening by welcoming all the guests, who were also joined by longtime Seeds supporters Leonard and Merle Nelson. Morrigan then read a letter from Seth Freed Wessler, a former Seed and Maine native, who went on to become an award-winning journalist.
Wessler’s story was extremely powerful, as he spoke about how much Seeds of Peace had affected the way he understood power, privilege, and politics. In addressing the Senior Seeds directly, Wessler explained how deeply Seeds of Peace had influenced his approach to journalism, and more generally how it has shaped his outlook on life.
Following Seth’s letter, Maine Seed Michael-Corey Hinton gave an inspiring speech about the importance of remembering their communities. Hinton specializes in American Indian law and works for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, D.C.
As a Passamaquoddy Native American himself, Hinton also acts as a lawyer for the tribe. He reminded them that injustices happen everyday in their own Maine communities, touching on the impact that racism had on him and his family growing up as a Native American.
Hinton emphasized that as the Seeds move on to this important next stage of their lives, they must remember the hard work they have done, and continue to do as a Seed of Peace, and they must translate the valuable lessons they have learned into whatever career paths they may choose moving forward.
Maine Program Director Tim Wilson offered closing remarks, in which he stated how proud he was to have known the graduates, and how excited he is to see what paths they will take heading into the future.
SEEDS OF PEACE RECEPTION
Before the graduation, Maine Seeds and counselors gathered for an evening reception at the Portland Harbor Hotel.
Two Maine Seeds, Mohamed and Morrigan, spoke about how the program has evolved and what they have achieved with groundwork laid by the predecessors. Mohamed and Morrigan talked about how important it was for them to meet Alumni who had gone through Seeds of Peace, and now finished with college, are working in various ways to make positive changes around the world.
Seeds presented Gerard Collegia, Manager of the Portland Harbor Hotel, with an award thanking him for everything he’s contributed to Seeds, including his generous donations to the reception.
Reflecting on their Seeds of Peace experiences, many Seeds were visibly moved by how much the Maine Program has affected the paths they’ve chosen in life. Seeds also said it was inspiring for them to hear from Maine Seeds Program Director Tim Wilson and the current Seeds about how the program has grown over the past 10 years.
Later in the evening, younger Seeds were able to meet with their older peers one-on-one and speak with them about their careers in journalism, politics, non-profits, education, business, and law. The older Seeds also expressed how inspiring it was to meet with new Seeds and hear about the work they were doing to empower their communities at such a young age.
MAINE SEEDS GRADUATION