Top of the Class
his year's 2015-2016 valedictorians and salutatorians for Lakewood were announced today (2/29)
The list consists of four students, two from the Center for Advanced Technologies, one from the Center for Journalism and Multimedia and another from the Aquatic Management Systems and Environmental Technology program.
Seniors Joshua Roach, Nicholas Fox, Tyler Bittener and Haley Dolan have worked hard to prove that they could be at the top of their class.
Senior Joshua Roach - traditional valedictorian
"I was surprised because I'm pretty sure that there are more people that are smarter than me. I didn't even know my GPA was that high," said Roach, an AMSET student.
Roach has been accepted into the University of South Florida-Tampa, Eckerd College, University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, University of Miami, University of Tampa and Florida Atlantic University. He's currently debating between USF and Eckerd College.
Roach said he hasn't applied for many scholarships, but he did apply for Bright Futures.
Roach gives advice for upcoming seniors, saying "don't blow off your core classes that are honors. Try to get A's and B's in those classes. It'll boost your GPA."
He said he didn't expect to get this achievement.
"My sister was sal, and I was like, ‘Yeah, probably not going to get that' and I didn't think I could do it, but I beat her," Roach said.
Senior Haley Dolan- traditional salutatorian
"I felt pretty great because I worked really hard and kept my grades up," said Dolan, a CJAM student.
Dolan said she plans to go to St. Petersburg College for at least two years, finishing up and earning her associate's degree. Then she says she'll figure out where she wants to go for the next two years.
Dolan has applied for St. Petersburg College's Presidential Scholarship but says she hasn't heard back from them yet.
Advice that Dolan gives to upcoming seniors is to not procrastinate. "Try your best to be involved in everything and to not be afraid, to step out of your comfort zone," she said.
Dolan also said that winning this achievement is going to be "nerve-racking."
"I have to speak in front of everyone, but it'll kind of help me because I want to be a teacher," Dolan said.
Senior Tyler Bittner- CAT Valedictorian
"It's just kind of like a recognition for things you worked hard for," Bittner said.
Bittner said for this achievement he really just worked hard while he was in school.
Bittner has been accepted into seven schools - Purdue University, University of Illinois, Auburn University, University of Florida, University of Central Florida, Virginia Tech and Texas A&M University - but he's still waiting to hear back from Princeton University, Colorado State University, and Michigan State University.
"I have gotten a few scholarships, but I'm still waiting to hear back from a lot of schools," Bittner said.
So far he has gotten scholarships from Texas A&M University, Auburn University and University of Central Florida.
Advice that Bittner gives to upcoming seniors is: "Just keep working. Don't take like two classes your senior year just because you're a senior and you don't want to do anything."
Bittner also said that this is something he kind of knew would happen.
"I've always been expected to get A's and do well, so it just kind of came with it," he said.
Nicholas Fox- CAT salutatorian
Fox says he felt relieved to get this achievement.
"The only difference between me and the person that was next was two ten thousandths of a point," he said.
Fox said he just did his work and got A's.
"I'm fairly competitive, and keep up with all my grades in Portal, and my class rank's always been high," Fox said.
Fox doesn't know where he's going to college because he says he's still waiting for 10 schools to reply back. Those 10 schools are, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Washington, Stanford University, Georgia Tech, University of Florida, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Purdue University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of North Carolina.
During this interview, Fox heard back from University of Florida and he's accepted.
"My top five schools would be, University of Washington, MIT, Georgia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, and Stanford," Fox says.
As of yet, Fox says he doesn't have scholarships, but he says he did apply for the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship.
Advice that Fox would have for seniors is: "Take a full schedule. Take a full seven or eight classes, not filler classes but actual classes that matter... because that shows that you're actually still striving to work ahead. Actually show up to class, do the work in class."
Lastly, Fox says that he started striving for this goal around his sophomore/early junior year.
"I'm used to being top of the class, so it would be nice to have that, but I mean, top five is fine," Fox said.