Parents, friends and school officials stood along the Old Highway as their beloved seniors hopped on boats and jumped in cars to celebrate the closing of their high school chapters with a parade on May 19. Led by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Islamorada Fire Rescue, the Coral Shores Class of 2023 shared in a celebration before the May 24 graduation as they blared music, threw candy to onlookers and shared in some water wars with their classmates. The fun continued on May 21 with senior sandbar celebration, which culminated with a graduation cap tossing.

In cars and on boats, the Coral Shores Class of 2023 paraded the Old Highway, from Forest Tek to the high school, as parents, friends and school officials cheered on May 19. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.