HANCOCK COUNTY -- Jadyn Saucier wore a fanny pack beneath her blue gown Thursday at Hancock High's commencement ceremony, but the photo inside her cap was far more important than the phone and lipstick in the pack around her waist.
A photo was of Saucier and her grandmother, Luby Peterson, placed so Peterson could be present in spirit to watch Saucier, a top student at HHS, accept her diploma.
Peterson died in 2014, and she and Saucier were very close.
"She was my best friend, and she still is," Saucier said. "I talk to her every day."
She said her grandmother lived with her family for five years, starting when she was in fourth grade. Peterson suffered from Alzheimer's disease, but she still taught Saucier life skills she needed at a young age. Saucier said Grandma Luby taught her how to cook and how to make her bed.
"She gave me all of my morals," she said. "And she always wanted to see me graduate, so I wanted her to be here with me."
Saucier, who is ranked 13th in her class, also wore her grandmother's ring. She plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.
Two hundred seventy-one students walked across Brett Favre Field to receive their diplomas. Many have chosen to stay close to home while attending college; others are flying across the country or even around the world for their next step in education.
Valedictorian Grant Collum is going down under to the University of Melbourne in Australia. Salutatorian Trevor Ladner is off to Harvard University. But senior Joseff Curtindale said he is going to stay close and pursue a degree in graphic design. He hopes to design video games.