- Class of 2022
Lauren Kenison has been at Cape Henry Collegiate for the better part of 12 years and will take away the importance of making connections. Lauren has a simple rule that she lives by: find friends who will stick with you and who will make you a better person. One of her favorite quotes is from Patroclus in “The Song of Achilles.” Patroclus tells Thetis that he is "made of memories" because in Archaic Greece culture memory was linked with immortality. If someone is remembered, then they can never die, because their deeds live on in the memories of others. This is what Lauren’s friends from CHC mean to her – the experiences they have shared will live on, no matter where life takes them.
Early on in 1st Grade, Lauren met Kate McCray and has been thankful ever since for their profound friendship. And as the years have progressed, she has continued to reach out to classmates, teachers, coaches, and staff to establish important relationships, including one with me. I’ve been fortunate to know Lauren well for the last seven years. She feels fortunate to have met so many wonderful people who have inspired her, been there for her when she needed them, and made her laugh. We talked about the importance of having that support system and how it can make all the difference during high school. She hopes to be able to add to her circle of friends by meeting new people at college, ones who will continue to make her a better person.
Lauren’s 5th grade teacher Ms. Melissa Anderson remarked, “Lauren is a student I will always remember as a kindred spirit. She was that face in class that would be cracking a smile at my quirky off-hand comment that other students didn't get. She has a natural depth of character that reaches across to all sorts of people, which is a rare and beautiful find.”
I asked Lauren to impart some wisdom to the rising students here at CHC. Without missing a beat, she replied, “Don’t get discouraged when your learning style clashes with your teachers’ styles. One bad grade won’t do you in. And try to take classes you're actually interested in. Don’t just take them because they’re easy.”
She speaks from experience, because her interest in environmental science came about from taking some challenging science classes from Mr. Erik Cofer, including Global Environmental Issues and AP Environmental Science plus Honors Biochemistry with Mrs. Liz Moore. Some would shy away from these types of classes but something about the material clicked for Lauren and she knew that this would be the right path for her. She was also inspired by the movie “Erin Brockovich” which she watched in class one day. Could Lauren be the next famous environmental advocate and activist? It's entirely possible, given her passion and determination.
Lauren will be the first to tell her that math is not her best subject and that over the years, she has sometimes struggled to grasp certain concepts – until she took Mr. Bryan Rudolph’s Calculus class. Lauren was surprised to find that not only did she understand the lessons but that she looked forward to taking his class.
“He just uses the right words and phrasing to make it all make sense. And you don’t feel afraid to raise your hand and ask questions,” said Lauren, who was genuinely sad on the last day of his class. “Mr. Rudolph is so relatable and won’t get frustrated if someone doesn’t get it.”
Mrs. Krissy Lyle, Lauren’s Middle School Life Science teacher, said of her, “I had the privilege of meeting Lauren as a young 7th Grade student. She was initially very quiet and somewhat reserved. As the year went on, she started to show more and more of the awesome young lady that she is. She is perceptive, kind and often will go the extra mile to help those in need. The following year I got to know Lauren on a deeper level as we traveled to Curaçao as part of the NEXUS program. I watched her grow immensely as she deepened friendships, overcame challenges, and demonstrated to others what it means to be an incredible CHC Dolphin. Lauren continues to exemplify our core values and will be a shining star on her college campus. I am so proud of all she has accomplished since those middle school years and I will greatly miss seeing her in the hallways.”
Lauren participated in sports throughout her tenure at CHC. She started off in varsity girls soccer in 8th Grade and then gave indoor track a try in 10th Grade. She found her time as the manager for varsity girls volleyball in her senior year to possibly be the most satisfying. Not being a player but supporting the players and friends, lessened the pressure of being an athlete herself. Instead, she could focus on taking care of her team. One regret she has is that she didn’t have the opportunity to attend more sporting events and cheer for every athlete. She is proud of the fact that she now knows so many of the students and loves being able to call out their names and support them. Lauren also knows that she will have a challenge in learning all the players' names in college but I’m betting that she will give it a try!
Lauren’s English 10 teacher, Mrs. Janine Mobley-Burke, recently shared this with me, “Having taught and traveled with her, I can say without question that not only is Lauren one of my favorite students, but she is also one of my favorite people! An absolute dream student, her intelligence and work ethic are rivaled perhaps only by her kind heart and thoughtfulness. For example, I will never forget the Christmas gift she gave me during her freshman year—a lovely family photo with a generous gift card, but the best part was a bouquet of orange Dum-Dum lollipops! When I asked how she managed to get only orange, she said she bought a bag and pulled out all the orange because she knew they were my favorite. It seems like such a small thing, but it meant the world to me. I treasure this, along with the many other memories I’ve had the pleasure of making with Lauren. I miss having her as a student, but I am so proud of all she’s accomplished and can’t wait to see her thrive in this next chapter.”
Twelve years is a long time to make memories and cultivate friends. Lauren is thankful that CHC made those memories possible. Making those connections both big and small with friends and faculty have been so important to Lauren’s success and she hopes to replicate that formula as she heads off to William & Mary in the fall to study Environmental Science. Just as she is thankful for the friendships she has made, I am also thankful for the friendship Lauren has given me during my time here at CHC.