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Wednesday, June 3, 2020
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A Key West Ghost Town, A Strange Last Week of School, Bracing for What’s Coming Down U.S. 1

Duval Street was empty on Memorial Day weekend. Except for us. We were there.

Last weekend, Jim and I drove our cars to Key West. We were just going to go there and walk around before the roadblock at the 18-Mile Stretch ends on June 1, but on the day we decided to go, I woke up feeling like our 2-hour trip south needed a little something more…

“Let’s race the cars to Key West,” I said, half kidding.

“Ok!” Jim replied.

Thus began the idea for “Keys for Keys: Porsche vs. Mustang” race to the Southernmost Point. Of course, not much of the race was real despite what many viewers thought, but it was just fun to drive both of our convertible sports cars to Key West on the Saturday before Memorial Day with no one around.

Describing Key West without people is kind of difficult. I moved to the Florida Keys in 1999, and ever since I can remember, traffic has been a problem in any populated areas of the Keys. However, with the roadblock in place, sometimes it would be several minutes before we saw a car passing in the opposite direction on the way south.

When we got to Key West, it felt like when everyone evacuates for a hurricane. Except there was no threat of an impending storm. No windows boarded or shuttered up. It was just… dead.

After the car “race” to the Southermost Point, we parked in a lot without cars. Then we walked down Duval Street, the main drag in Key West, passing hardly anyone. We went into Margaritaville for lunch. The waiter, Joshua, asked where we were from.

“The Upper Keys,” I responded.

“Oh!” he said, pointing to the one other table that was occupied in one of the normally busiest restaurants on the island. “That couple over there is from Key Largo!”

We asked Joshua whether he knew if Peppers of Key West was open since that was one of the reasons I wanted to go to Key West – we were out of Asian Marinade.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” he replied. “A lot of places shut down and are not coming back.”

Joshua told us about how much some businesses paid for rent in Key West. He mentioned a place that paid $36,000 a month, and a T-shirt shop on Duval that pays $72,000 a month. With businesses shut down in the past two months during the peak of tourist season, it was anyone’s guess as to which ones will reopen.

After lunch, we walked down to Mallory Square. No crowds. No street performers. No vendors. Nobody drinking pina coladas out of coconuts (except a homeless person, and was probably just coconut milk). The only person there was a man walking his dog. On Memorial Day weekend. Unreal.

So the roadblock into the Keys is set to come down Monday. As of yesterday, Monroe County has had 107 Coronavirus cases and four deaths versus 17,168 cases in Miami-Dade county to our north with 633 deaths. Although these numbers scare me, they almost don’t anymore. COVID-19 isn’t new; it’s something we’ve been living with in our society for three months. We all know someone who knows someone who has had it or who has died. Maybe we’ve even had the virus (like I suspect I got early on), and it’s not so much a threat. Either way, in two days we will be opening the floodgates and hoping for the best. Hoping that the only thing the counties to our north will be giving us is a better economy.

For the Keys economy, I’m glad the roadblock is coming down. In every other way, I wish it would last forever. I’m just grateful for the time I have gotten to spend returning to the days of ole in the most beautiful 106-miles drive in the country.

* * *

On Tuesday, we did something we had not done in over two months – we visited friends! Pete and Wendy invited us over for cocktails, and we ended up spending most of the evening laughing, chatting, and catching up. We were happy to be around people. Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed now, although not suggested if they’re not necessary. Time with my best friend (other than a Zoom call) had become necessary, and I was so ecstatic to finally converse with someone other than Jim (no offense to the best Quaranteammate I could ever have!).

* * *

On Wednesday, parents and our community held a car parade for graduating seniors. We were told in a faculty meeting that this was not an event that was sponsored by the school due to distancing regulations. I completely understood the liability concerns, but I couldn’t wait to go see three of my six graduating seniors who were attending and dozens of my former students.

Jim and I arrived a little early at Treasure Village where students were putting last-minute touches on their car decorations. I told him that I planned to stay in the car and just watch the parade go by so that I wasn’t tempted to hug the students, but I just couldn’t stay put. We walked through the barrage of vehicles, congratulating all the students who had worked so hard to obtain diplomas in my class. It was a reunion, and it was like nothing was ever wrong with the world, one in which everyone who had their credits got a diploma.

Later that evening, we watched a prerecorded graduation ceremony on the TV in our living room. All of the seniors’ names were called, and a lot of them even submitted videos of themselves donned in cap and gown with someone off screen handing them a diploma. It was genius, well-put-together, and it was nice watching it from the comfort of my living room.

Then school ended for underclassman on Thursday. Last week, all they had to do was answer a question of the day for attendance if they were all caught up with work. Teachers’ jobs were to help those students who had fallen behind with distance learning. So my support person, Vanessa, and I helped those struggling students. I am proud to say that every student in my classes who participated in distance learning earned a C or higher. Three of my students, however, never participated, and as per school policy, they received an incomplete.

And after Thursday, that was that with the students. On Friday, I posted grades. On Monday, I have a faculty meeting. No end-of-the-year celebrations. We are just done for the year. It’s kind of anticlimactic compared to all the rest.

But that’s good. I’m settling in to this laid-back lifestyle.

* * *

Tomorrow, we’ll take the boat out one last time before the Keys opens up. We’ll enjoy the peaceful serenity on the water. We’ll take one last day of deep inhales. Then on Monday, we’ll hunker down and brace ourselves for whatever starts coming down the road.

BOCC Seat 5 Candidate Robby Majeska Runs on Fiscal Responsibility, Key Largo Service

Rebekah in the Keys interviews Monroe County Board of County Commissioners Seat 5 candidate Robby Majeska, owner of Keys Kritters in Key Largo and member of the Key Largo Wastewater Board member.

The primary election is on August 18. Although he is a Republican, this primary could be open to ALL Monroe County voters despite party affiliation (a universal election race) since only three Republicans have filed to run.

Robby’s platform is that he is a family man who has lived in Key Largo for 22 years and a business owner with a proven track record of fiscal responsibility and experience. Robby wants to work to help Key Largo become a place where people can live where they work.

If you are a candidate on the ballot for Monroe County voters and would like a free 5-minute video to promote your campaign and your platform, contact us at RebekahintheKeysEmail@gmail.com.

Keys for Keys: Car Race from Islamorada to Key West While Tourists are Away

With the Florida Keys re-opening on June 1st, we wanted to see Key West like we’ll never see it again. Deserted! We drove separately in a race for titles from Islamorada to Key West. The first to reach the Southernmost Point is the winner and wins both cars! Rebekah’s 2000 Porsche Boxster Convertible, vs. Jim’s 2015 Mustang Convertible. On your mark! Get set! GO!

Rebekah in the Keys Memorial Day Tribute 2020

🎖We encourage you to memorialize those you are remembering in the comments on our Facebook page, RebekahintheKeys. Post names, photos, and/or information about those heroes who have served and passed away.

🏅We asked Rebekah in the Keys recent video stars Bob Robertson Cynthia Hayes Dete Israel Teresa Newton-Terres, Author, Speaker, PMP and some of our friends Ed Padula Nate Mizrahi, John Everett, Marta Carlisano and Phyllis Williams to wish everyone a safe and healthy Memorial Day. This video pays tribute to the men and women who’ve lost their lives serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and the veterans who are no longer with us. 👩‍👩‍👧‍👦

This Memorial Day weekend, take time to remember the fallen.

Saying Goodbye to My Seniors, Who Received a Well-Deserved ‘Break’

The community hung banners with the seniors' class photos along the corridor of U.S. 1 in Islamorada.

Today I said goodbye to my six English Language Learners (ELL) seniors. How strange it has been… we left for spring break expecting to see each other in a week. Nine weeks later, I’m trying to hold it together on a video call (with not much success) for our last day of distance learning class together.

These six students have had challenges in their lives that most of us can’t even imagine. I can’t go into details, but I will say that their childhoods in their home country (all six are from Honduras) were not like ours. Their stories and their perseverance have connected my heart to these beautiful young people for the past one, two, three, and even four years — plus summer schools — that I have had them as students.

Not only have they had to face the hardships of their childhoods, but when they moved to the United States, they encountered the additional obstacle of being unable to speak the language of the land. Imagine that. Pretend you move to a country and don’t speak the language. Some of them have only been in the U.S. for two or three years and came here without any English whatsoever. They have worked hard to learn it, but few of them in my experience have ever been able conquer the looming monster that stands between them and a high school diploma… state testing.

Don’t get me wrong, I am completely in favor of benchmark testing. Without it, what does a diploma mean? We have to have some level of standards for students to meet in order to give value to that little piece of paper. However, not every student has the same situation. Not everyone has been using the English language since they were infants.

After Coronavirus became a household word and we began distance learning in March, Florida eliminated the requirement to pass the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) or get a concordant score on the SAT or ACT. My six seniors, some or maybe all who might have had to try again after a preparatory summer school class, are now being issued their diplomas since they have met all their credit and GPA requirements.

Last week during a Zoom meeting I attended (unrelated to school or education), one participant seemed upset that seniors were being “handed a diploma” without meeting these requirements. I totally understood her opinion. But, I said, regardless of what you think about regular students receiving their diplomas without passing state tests, these ELL students have come so far in their reading and writing levels from not knowing ANY English when they moved here, and even if they might not be able to pass the test, all six of these particular students completely deserve the honor of graduating. She did not seem convinced, and luckily someone else changed the subject.

What I think people should understand is that we all get “breaks” in life. Have you ever gotten out of a speeding ticket? Did you ever wrong someone and that person forgave you? These six ELL students worked so hard to learn the language and succeed in all their classes despite the language barrier, and this year they got a well-deserved break during one of the scariest times for them in their lives, even considering their tough upbringing. It’s too bad that my hard-working ELL freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will most likely not have this rare opportunity.

Fighting tears throughout today’s video call, I told them to be brave, go into the world, and accomplish their dreams. I told them that they were given this opportunity, and they should not take it for granted. And I told them that I will always be here for them any time they need me.

“Don’t cry!” popped over the chat on the right side of the screen, giving me a good reason to laugh.

Then one by one, they turned on their video so I could see their beautiful faces one last time as their teacher. One boy introduced me to his little brother, who I will have in class next year. “I love you’s” abounded verbally and in chat. Then one by one, they were gone.

It was hard to log off the video call today. Although I didn’t get to hug them goodbye, I was so happy. I was happy that they have come to the end of this milestone in their lives. I was happy that I will be holding these six souls in my heart forever. But most of all, I was happy that, for once in their short lives, they finally got a reward that they truly deserve.

Two Weeks Until Locals-Only Era Ends in the Keys

Enjoy places like the Lorelei in the next two weeks!

So it’s official. The roadblock restricting access to the Florida Keys is coming down on June 1. I guess it is about time that we start allowing tourists to migrate south for the summer. Although the roadblock completely served its purpose of keeping us relatively safe during this pandemic, the Keys economy is dependent on tourism… and we would have to open our islands up to non-residents sooner or later, despite the risks of COVID-19 depleting our retiree population. But what can you do, right?

I know many businesses and employees have struggled financially due to the lack of tourism. For their sake, I am glad the Monroe County Board of Commissioners made this announcement this morning. However, I can’t help but lament the announcement after enjoying the last two months of island living without the continual flooding of guests. Not only have our county officials kept us relatively safe from Coronavirus by closing the Keys, but they allowed this fragile environment a chance to breathe.

I moved to the Keys in 1999, and not once has there ever been a time that I could look around the road at a stoplight on the way to the post office and see all of my friends and neighbors in the few other vehicles beside me.

And how fortunate we’ve been to make a left turn while hauling our boat to the boat ramp! I’ve had to wait for 10 minutes at this time of year to launch my truck from my road on to U.S. 1 even before ever getting into the boat! How nice that has been!

What about going to restaurants like Lorelei and Gilbert’s since these Florida business reopened?!? Yesterday Jim and I enjoyed dinner on the beach of the Lorelei with no wait time for a table! In fact, there was only one other table taken while we were there! We ate on a sandy, white beach with the most amazing view in the world, and we only shared this experience with other locals who have chosen to make these islands their homes. I know this roadblock has not been good for traditional businesses, but I couldn’t help but to LOVE that we didn’t have to push over any tourists or step on any of their children to take pictures of the sunset!

Not once have we waited for a spot to dock our boat. Not once have we had less than outstanding service from waiters or waitresses who know now that we live here and we will always support our local businesses. Not once have we had to decide whether to take the old road rather than U.S. 1 due to traffic congestion on Plantation Key.

So before our beloved tourons return, I have a few things I’d like to do.

First, I want to go snorkeling on the coral reefs. I first snorkeled in the Keys in 1998. The reefs were pretty active then. Since then (and probably even before then), our reefs have been dying from the chemicals in suntan lotion and from other human activity. I haven’t snorkeled much in the past decade; I enjoy fishing more when I can get out on the water. But I want to go snorkeling now. I know it has only been two months, but I want to see the life teeming around the reefs; perhaps fresh, healthy coral polyps have been given a chance to start their life.

Next, I want to go to Key West. I’ve been there quite a bit in the past 22 years, but I want to go to the places that are never available to visit. I want to take my time in museums that are open. I want to try every single hot sauce in Peppers of Key West (minus the Weapons of Mass Destruction section). I want to go on any tours that offer a local discount and ask all the questions I want to ask to the guide! I want to drive down Duval Street… or maybe even roll down Duval Street! Actually, I really don’t know what I want to do in Key West, but I know I will never have this chance again to do it… without many people.

And maybe I’ll spend a half day sometime watching a dolphin show at Theater of the Sea; I was there once for an Islamorada Chamber of Commerce luncheon… maybe 10 years ago. Maybe I’ll have a picnic on the dock of Robbie’s Marina with the tarpon and the pelicans; I’ll eat a sandwich, and they can have some bait fish. Maybe I’ll haul my boat to a new ramp in a new location! The possibilities are limitless!

These next two weeks are an opportunity for us to do things we’ve wanted to do… without the lines! So formulate your Keys quarantine bucket list, put on your CoronaMask, grab your hand sanitizer, and go do all those things that you’ve wanted to do! We have a unique opportunity to experience our beloved islands as only locals of 60-plus years ago were able to do.

Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. The countdown clock has begun!

Mark Kohl: Candidate for State Attorney

Former State Attorney Mark Kohl is running against incumbent Dennis Ward in the republican primary election on August 18, 2020. Kohl says that he’s running on the platform of ethics, which he says has been a problem under Ward. Kohl also talks about how Coronavirus has changed the way that candidates are campaigning this political season. The winner of this primary will face Democrat Don Barrett in the November election.

Rebekah in the Keys is offering free 5-minute videos to political candidates running on the Monroe County, FL, 2020 ballot. Candidates can contact Rebekah at RebekahintheKeysEmail@gmail.com to schedule their video.

Venturing to a Restaurant for First Time Since March

Gilbert's security tapes off every other boat slip to maintain distancing despite being open.

It’s a rainy Mother’s Day in the Keys. I look out the window and feel a little stuck, not from quarantine at the moment but from the weather.

For the past week, Florida’s social restrictions have been eased. Yesterday, we even ate at a restaurant for the first time in almost two months. It was a beautiful day, and we put the boat in the water at a ramp in Tavernier and headed up to Gilbert’s about 15 miles north.

When we arrived, we tied up the boat in a boat slip. Later on, as we were leaving, Gilbert’s security began taping off every other boat slip so that boats would be docked far enough apart.

Staff wore masks as they took our orders and delivered food. We had masks with us, but we didn’t wear them; we were far from other tables at the outdoor bar and restaurant.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about going into a restaurant. Honestly, I didn’t know if we were just going to pass Gilbert’s and go snook fishing under the bridge or if we were going to stop. When Jim pulled the boat in to the dock, I just went with it.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Keys has not dwindled. There are currently 89 cases confirmed and still only three deaths. The Keys are still closed to tourists and visitors, which made Gilbert’s a relaxing, friendly place to go. Of course, we saw the occasional power boat zipping past us, presumable from Corona-infested Miami, on the way there. But what can you do, right? Everyone at Gilbert’s, though, looked like a local, from their relaxed island garb and hair to their warm and friendly smiles to their Costa, Oakley, Flying Fisherman, or Maui Jim sunglasses. Locals just have that island look to them, and none of our boats are built to surpass the sound barrier.

Plus, we recognize each other. Pulling in to a dock, Jim recognized some friends from the sandbar. Jose works security at Turkey Point, a nuclear facility about 20 miles north of Gilbert’s, and Jose’s wife is a nurse at a local nursing home.

In talking with the nurse from about 12 feet away at the table over from the couple, we learned that she has administered about 500 Coronavirus tests. Of those test, only three were positive. Of those three, only one person had any symptoms. The more we talked to her, the more confident I felt about being in public for the first time in a couple months.

She did say that a relative of theirs had been on a ventilator after becoming infected from the virus. “But that’s all we’ve seen firsthand,” she finished.

Jose said that several of his employees quit working for him because his wife was a nurse at a nursing home; they said they felt that he — and therefore they — would be at risk to acquiring COVID-19 due to her position.

Jim and I looked at each other and commented about how crazy that is to quit a job in an economically unstable time like this because your boss’s wife is a nurse. Economic survival of the fittest, we guessed.

I don’t know, though, if we could blame them. Right now it seems like that was a stupid decision. But a month ago, in the midst of this panic, who knows what we would have done if we were in their position. Perhaps they had elderly or families they needed to think about. With the media talking about nothing but the overcrowded hospitals in New York and other big cities around the country as well as the number of deaths in Italy and around the world, would we have reacted the same way?

We don’t hear about that much anymore, even though the number of cases seem to be increasing. And all of a sudden, sitting unmasked at a beautiful, tropical, island beach sipping a margarita and working on a bowl of lobster bisque, it all seemed… fake.

I’m not saying that Coronavirus is fake; it’s real. I’m not saying people haven’t died; they have. There are just so many questions that are unanswered, and nobody is asking them or getting sufficient answers.

For example, I would like to know if the economic standstill for the last two months has been in vain. States are opening up restaurants. Tomorrow, hair salons across Florida will be back in business. With the “official” numbers of cases increasing, did our economy suffer for nothing? Did we overestimate the impact of the actual virus and underestimate the impacts of our government’s response to it? Did we just postpone the effects of Coronavirus for two months?

I don’t want to be the conspiracy theorist. But something just doesn’t make sense. Without assigning blame anywhere, I wonder did we all need something like an evil virus to get us to band together in a highly politically divisive world? Did we all need a common villain to unite us?

Throughout this ordeal, my thoughts and feelings have been scattered all over the gambit. It hasn’t mattered very much to me personally, though. Unlike many others, my job is pretty secure. I can pay my bills. So I just follow the rules while trying to support and help my community and those who need help the best I can either from my home or while wearing a mask and gloves. But now, we’re about to venture out again, and I have to think about how I actually feel about the safety of myself and others, and I have virtually no reliable information to base my decisions on… just a president who suggests ingesting household cleaners to kill the virus and a governor who says COVID-19 only effects the elderly and puts his mask on incorrectly on live TV.

These are the people telling me it’s safe to go to a restaurant and now a hair salon. These are the people people who told me these places weren’t safe two months ago. They continue to tell us what to do and what not to as the news continues to report “the numbers” and the press releases sent to them by these officials and stories about how to clean our car door handles.

In a world where every person has access to mass communication and boundless information, it’s the only time I can ever remember not having anything real to cling to.

I post a photo of my mom and I on Facebook and wish her Happy Mother’s Day.

A Message to Graduating Seniors

Coral Shores High School's lockers were emptied. The text books have been returned.

I am so happy that our community will be honoring our graduating seniors in a variety of ways, including signs posted throughout our U.S. 1 corridor. Many people feel heartbroken for them, as these seniors are missing the end of their final year of school and traditional senior activities while distance learning in quarantine.

And yes, they have had to give up some things they were looking forward to, namely prom and their graduation ceremony. I, too, want to say my heart goes out to them, but then again, I see this a little differently.

So here is my message to the Class of 2020:

Wow. You’ve been through a lot in the past four years. Three years ago, you were new to high school when we evacuated for (or lived through) Hurricane Irma that ravaged the Florida Keys. Then two years ago, you were shocked with the tragedy at Margory Stoneman Douglas as your world changed from an unrealistic fairy tale to the realities and insecurities of the world we live in. You’ve had it tough. Remember the struggles you faced because these are examples of the types of obstacles you will face throughout your life.

Now you’re facing a worldwide pandemic in your senior year that has resulted in the cancelation of prom, graduation, and the other end-of-school activities you’d normally be participating in. That sucks.

Or does it?

Seniors, I know sometimes it’s hard to see the glass half full or accept change. It’s hard to miss out on things your older siblings and parents did. But I hope you realize that you are the class who got a gift that none of us have ever received. And that is the gift of time.

Seniors, you are about to start your lives outside of high school, whether that is college, military, or joining the workforce. In the past two months, you have had to do a half day of distance learning (if you did it right) with the rest of the day devoted to whatever you wanted to do.

What was that? Was it cooking a meal for your family? Was it playing a video game? Was it building something? Or developing a program? Playing an instrument? Were you helping a sibling understand a math or science concept? Did you create hilarious video spoofs of popular classical rock songs? Did you go fishing every day? Whatever you did, you chose to use your time in the way you did. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a job that you loved, too?

Planning for your future is extremely important. You will have to choose your destiny before it chooses you. You have been given this awesome gift of time to discover yourself and your interests. I, nor anyone on this planet, have never had that luxury. Your job is somewhere you will be at least 40 hours of every week, and you have been given the time to discover how you’d like to fill those hours based on how you have been filling them in the past two months. Figure out what makes you happy and go for it! You’ve still got the time!

Additionally, the time you’ve had has hopefully been stress-free or with little stress. School has been pretty easy if you’ve spent just 25 minutes a day on each class. You’re free to re-do low-grade assignments, and you’ve even been able to stay in bed all day AND still attend school. Plus, you don’t have to pass the otherwise-required state tests! I assure you, you’ve never had it easier than now, and you never will.

When you venture out into the journey of an adult life with us old folks, you will have bills to pay. You will have relationships to work on. You will have places to be. Things to do. People to see. Honestly, the stress of life is what sucks. I’ve realized this through quarantine. I have so appreciated being able to get out of bed before work, mosey into my home office, and turn on my computer in order to teach my students. There is no drama. There are no distractions. There is only the stress that I put upon myself to do a good job. I’ve never had that before. And you were given this gift, too, in a time that is typically one of the most stressful times of a person’s life.

“But what about prom and graduation?” you might ask.

The only thing I remember about those type of events (that I actually attended) were what I see in old photos.

As far as graduation, my advice to you is take your senior photos! Post them on all your social media! If you didn’t have them taken, have your mom take pictures of you and the things you’re into – maybe you in your car or you posing with your guitar. Be sure you like it. Photoshop out all the acne. Bam. Senior photos with a story of all stories to tell, and $900 still in your parents’ pockets. Because YOUR CLASS was different than any other class in the development of human history.

Prom? Put on that dress or rent that tux. Take photos with your boyfriend or girlfriend, who I know you’re still seeing despite social distancing! Have a romantic picnic at sunset somewhere, or now you can even go out to dinner.

You will not be missing out. You know what happens at prom? I’ve been a teacher for 12 years – in charge of prom for about 4 of those years – and I can tell you what happens at prom. Students go to prom and get their photo taken with their date or friends (which you can still do, as I suggested). Then (if you are a girl) you will take off your shoes and leave them in a corner with your purse that you will be worrying about all night. You will stay an hour or two to see what’s going on, and you will eat something light. Then you will leave and find somewhere else to go, or you will go home. The big deal about prom is dressing up to look your best, taking photos, then sharing a fun time with friends. All can be done, even remotely, and all you miss out on is the peer pressure to do something that might be dangerous. In 2020, you will be safe, you will be beautiful (you could even use filters if you need to and look like an astronaut or a kitty cat!), and you don’t even have to put shoes on in the first place.

Seniors, this gift of time is something that nobody in our lifetimes has ever had. It is a gift that, in my opinion, is more meaningful than any graduation present. You get to discover yourself. You get to discover your talents. You get to discover your interests… without the ugly monster that will probably haunt you the rest of your life: stress. Try your assignments, and you will pass. If you don’t do it right, you can do it again. And as long as you have your credits, you are getting a diploma. It is an unprecedented time, and it is to your advantage.

Not only do you have these benefits, but you now you are completely tech savvy. You are actually prepared for this world, unlike previous classes in the last several years who have had teachers standing over their shoulders guiding them through instructions using the computer. Unlike them, you’ve had to figure this all out from home. Our world has changed to be a technological one, and you are better prepared for this world than any graduating class in human history.

So seniors, I hope you understand what a gift you have in this unprecedented time. Take your photos and splatter them all over social media. But realize that you have been given a gift no one has ever had before entering the real world. Time is the only thing that you can never, ever get back. You might not appreciate this right now, but you will look back at your graduation year – the year you prepared to face the challenges of the real world – as a time of peace. A time when there were no school shootings. A time when everyone was relatively safe from everything but a viral pandemic that we could wage war against on our couch in our pajamas.

As we now begin to come out of quarantine and readjust to an even newer society that is a meld between pre- and post-COVID-19, remember the time, peace, and safety that you’ve had in the past two months. These are things that are priceless… something you may never have again.

Own it. Use it. Embrace it.

MUSIC VIDEO: (Faithfully) Quarantined

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