Cape May New Jersey is the home to many things….long summer beach days, a population of people who exclusively wear flip flops and of course our graduating class of 2019.
Another thing Cape May is proudly the home of is rip currents so strong they sweep you out to sea before you realize what’s happening. If you say you have never been caught in a rip current before, congratulations, because for us regular mortals that live in this shore town it is something that happens quite frequently and on days when the water is rough can be unavoidable. Fortunately we have been taught since we were five years old what to do when the tide starts to sweep us away. You don’t panic and you swim to the side. Really though, whenever we get stuck in a current what happens?We often abandon all reason and panic sets in. This usually just happens momentarily, then the part of our brain that was listening back when we were five years old kicks in and logic returns. We swim to the side carefully avoiding the harsh pull of the ocean. The interesting thing about this scenario is our initial reaction of panic to uncertainty despite knowing that the solution to the problem is at hand. To all of my classmates sitting out there today, know that there are going to be a lot of rip currents in your future, literally, but also metaphorically. Some will be small, maybe a difficult math class or asking for a raise at a job, but some will seem daunting and insurmountable at the time, like making decisions for a career path in an uncertain future. During these years at LCMR we have built up the skill set needed to navigate the rough waters to the best of our abilities, and hopefully come out safely on the other side. We are prepared for whatever rip current life throws at us as we move into the future.
The class of 2019 has left a defining mark on the academic world of Lower Cape May Regional High School. We paved the way for new research and exploration. Nine of us comprised the inaugural class of the Advanced Placement Capstone program bringing an incredible new research program to lead the way for future students. As a whole, our class attended engineering competitions, business conventions and rescued sea turtles. We built bridges, kayaks and designed houses. We even opened up a new cafe for culinary students to showcase their skills. The academic experience these past four years has not just taught us the basics of education, it has prepared us for future endeavours in ways we may not even realize until they are happening. All of these accomplishments aside, during our years in high school the most important thing to remember is the idea that learning never stops. Our constant progress has shown us that as far as we have come, there are always many more miles left to swim. Soon, we will be parting ways, going off to colleges across the country, entering the service, or joining the workforce, but wherever we go, we will never lose those lessons we have been taught here. We will hold on to the ideals that we are never finished learning and I hope will always be progressing and open to new ideas. We’ve been taught how to learn and now we must go out and use that information to succeed. And of course at first we are going to panic. New experiences are daunting. Just remember you already know what to do. Use the knowledge and skills you have learned over the years, and remember to always swim to the side when you fear a rip current has started to pull you out. I’d like to close with a benediction of sorts. This is a poem by Lucile Clifton. I didn’t study this poem in class in high school, but I am sure that I would not be able to appreciate the beauty of the piece without my time here in the classrooms of Lower Cape May Regional.
“May the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear, may you kiss the wind then turn from it, certain that it will love your back, may you open your eyes to water, water waving forever and may you in your innocence, sail through this to that”