GORHAM — Now that her high school career is coming to an end, Gorham Middle High School Valedictorian Libby Fortin, daughter of Paul and Shelli Fortin, is excited about taking the next step to achieve her dream of a career in the medical field.
“I have known since middle school that I wanted to do something in the medical field,” Fortin said. “What I like about it is you can be there to help people in their time of need and have an important impact on their lives.”
Fortin said she will be attending the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, and majoring in pre-med. Following four years as a pre-med, Fortin said she hopes to go to medical school. Her goal is to be a pediatrician as she enjoys working with kids, Fortin said.
To get ready for the challenges of college, Fortin said she took a number of courses to better prepare herself for a pre-med curriculum. These courses include advanced placement classes in chemistry and biology, as well as anatomy and physiology, which she noted was her favorite class. She said it was her favorite not only because of the subject matter, but also because of the teacher, Keri Wade.
“She (Wade) always cheered me up. She is such a funny and happy person, your mood instantly lifts when you are in her classroom,” Fortin said.
In addition to Wade, Fortin said several of her teachers acted as mentors during her high school career and had an important impact on her life. Included in the list is English teacher Rob Hamel, who Fortin said has always been her “number one supporter.”
“He has always been there, whether it was to help with school work or offer life advice,” she said. “He is just one of the most amazing people I have ever met.”
Fortin also touted the work of the school’s Director of Guidance Christine Lemon, who she noted is more than a guidance counselor, she is always there for whatever students need.
Fortin said she will not only miss her teachers, but her fellow classmates and everyone involved with the school.
“It is definitely very emotional coming to the end of high school,” she said. “I think the thing I will miss most is the community in this school. I don’t think I would have wanted to go to high school anywhere else. I like that our school is small. You really get to know everyone on a personal level and get to interact with them.”
Interaction with her classmates was a hallmark of Fortin’s time at GMHS. She noted that her favorite memory of her time at the school came during her junior year as part of the school’s winter carnival.
“I just remember everyone getting so involved with it (winter carnival),” she said. “We did a lot of activities, we were all just really close that week.”
According to school officials, currently 31 seniors are expected to graduate this week as part of the class of 2021. Fortin said it was definitely an honor to be named the valedictorian for the class.
“It is nice to know you can be a role model for all of your peers,” Fortin said.
Fortin said that while she didn’t see being the valedictorian of the class as one of her goals when she started high school, she did admit to some friendly competition with her older brother Kyle Fortin, who was the valedictorian at GMHS in 2012.
“Me and my brother Kyle have been teasing and joking with each other about it (valedictorian),” she said. “You know we kind of joke about who took the toughest classes and who got the best grades.”
Now that she has achieved the honor, she says she is a little nervous about having to give the valedictory speech.
“I am not really a fan of public speaking,” Fortin said, noting that she will actually be giving two speeches, one at class day and one at graduation. “I will say though that it is such an honor to be able to reflect back on our time as a class.”
During her time with her classmates, Fortin was very involved in a variety of school activities. She noted that she was her class’ secretary for all four years of high school, which of course means she was very involved in the school’s student council. Fortin was a member of the National Honor Society for four years and a member of the French club.
Fortin said she was also involved as a peer tutor starting in middle school and enjoyed working closely with her classmates and friends.