Graduates take part in Middle Township High School for Graduation Wednesday, June 19, 2013.

Edward Lea

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP - Middle Township High School literally had its shining moment Wednesday on a sunny evening in downtown Cape May Court House as hundreds watched the senior class commencement.

In black and white gowns, about 225 graduates sat in folding chairs at Memorial Field on Pacific Avenue, while friends and family observed and applauded from the bleachers and fences surrounding the rubber track.

It was hot - at least one person in the crowd fainted - but the speakers were cheery as they sent off their peers from Middle and Dennis townships and Avalon and Stone Harbor boroughs with warm goodbyes.

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Salutatorian Jennifer Hicks, 18, of Cape May Court House, who is bound for the University of Miami, remembered how teachers had often told them their class "is like none they have seen in a while" - in a good way, of course.

Class President Angelica Saclayan, 18, of Cape May Court House, supported her classmate's sentiment with a long list of their class's achievements, from a litany of athletic accomplishments to the choir's recent performance backing up the classic rock band Foreigner during their show in Atlantic City.

"I have no doubt you will do great things in the next chapter of your life," the future University of Maryland student said.

Valedictorian Alexandra Mairone, 17, of Cape May Court House, summed up the class.

First, she confessed to resisting the temptations of Facebook and Candy Crush in order to write her speech at all.

Second, she talked about the diverse group the couple hundred teens made up, each different in various ways but at the same time recognized as a unit. They were not unlike a jigsaw puzzle, she said.

In fact, she put one jigsaw puzzle piece on each of her classmate's chairs, hoping they would take them with them as they took their next step.

"There's a place in your future where your puzzle piece will fit just as perfect," the soon-to-be Princeton freshman said.

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