HURLOCK — North Dorchester High School’s graduates received their high school diplomas on Thursday, May 27, at the school’s stadium in Hurlock.

The 121 seniors sat in the stadium’s stands behind the stage set up on the track, while their family and friends sat in chairs on the grassy field.

Former North Dorchester High School band teacher Michael Hughes gave the commencement address. Hughes talked to the students about some of the difficulties he faced as an elementary, high school and college student.

Hughes, who began his teaching career at Choptank Elementary School, taught band at NDHS for 16 years before moving this school year to Stephen Decatur Middle School to teach general music and guitar.

“I am you, we’re from the same places. I’m from Dorchester County, you’re from Dorchester County,” Hughes said.

He talked about the challenges posed during the students’ senior year: “Despite the fact that you’ve missed all this stuff, it will go on, and you’re going to experience incredible things.”

“Happiness comes from in here,” Hughes said, pointing to his head, “It doesn’t come from houses, it doesn’t come from cars, it doesn’t come from drugs or alcohol. It comes from inside. It’s ongoing and unfinished.”

Co-Salutatorians Megan Price and Kaitlyn Wolfe spoke prior to Hughes, and Valedictorian Paige Hinson gave her address before Principal David Stofa spoke.

In a quintessential North Dorchester moment, a yellow crop duster swooped low over seniors during the last notes of the Star Spangled Banner before the choir sang the class song, “We Are the World.”

At the conclusion of Hughes’s speech, he was presented with an acoustic guitar signed by all of the seniors.

Mike Detmer is a staff writer for the Dorchester Star and Star Democrat based in Maryland. You can reach him at mdetmer@chespub.com.

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