Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind.

We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them along the way, or muse about the prospects for their generation. They could be serious or casual, we told them, just keep it to 280 characters or less.

Here’s a look at this year’s valedictorians and salutatorians, and what they said.

Admiral Farragut Academy

Ruiqi “Ashley” Liu is the 2018 valedictorian at Admiral Farragut Academy.
Ruiqi “Ashley” Liu is the 2018 valedictorian at Admiral Farragut Academy.

Ruiqi “Ashley” Liu, 19

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.32

PARENTS: Xiaodong Liu and Leiqing Li

COLLEGE: University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill.

MAJOR: Engineering

PARTING THOUGHTS: Living at a boarding school since 8th grade in a foreign country has given me the independence and the confidence to be excited to start the next phase of my life. It has also given me the tools to strive for success in my future.

Ryan James Green is the 2018 salutatorian at Admiral Farragut Academy.
Ryan James Green is the 2018 salutatorian at Admiral Farragut Academy.

Ryan James Green, 17

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.24

PARENTS: Thomas and Jerlene Green

COLLEGE: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

MAJOR: Computer science and/or programming

PARTING THOUGHTS: I want to thank my family, who have always been my biggest supporters on my journey so far. I am looking forward to the next phase!

• • •

Calvary Christian

Gregory Christopher Marino is the 2018 valedictorian at Calvary Christian High School.
Gregory Christopher Marino is the 2018 valedictorian at Calvary Christian High School.

Gregory Christopher Marino, 18

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.55

PARENTS: Philip and Nancy Marino

COLLEGE: University of Florida, Gainesville

MAJOR: Health science / pre-med

PARTING THOUGHTS: When moving towards the future, it is essential to never forget the wisdom of the past. This is the foundation for who we are and who we are yet to become. Cherish those who give more than themselves to you and remember their love and friendship as you venture onward.

Julianna Rose Chappell is the 2018 salutatorian at Calvary Christian High School.
Julianna Rose Chappell is the 2018 salutatorian at Calvary Christian High School.

Julianna Rose Chappell, 18

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.52

PARENTS: Jess and Katie Chappell

COLLEGE: University of Florida, Gainesville

MAJOR: Civil engineering

PARTING THOUGHTS: I am honored to graduate as Calvary’s salutatorian. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for always believing in me. I love you. I would not be where I am today without a great support system. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in my high school experience. Proverbs 31:25.

• • •

Canterbury School of Florida

Alexandra Grace Johni is the 2018 valedictorian at the Canterbury School of Florida.
Alexandra Grace Johni is the 2018 valedictorian at the Canterbury School of Florida.

Alexandra Grace Johni, 18

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.66

PARENTS: Scott and Lisa Johni

COLLEGE: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.

MAJORs: Neuroscience and computer science

PARTING THOUGHTS: I learned to focus my time and efforts into what I am deeply passionate about: community service. In college, I plan to continue my interests by volunteering at a hospital and tutoring elementary school students through a campus organization. I believe to lead is to serve.

William Bond IV is the 2018 salutatorian at Canterbury School of Florida.
William Bond IV is the 2018 salutatorian at Canterbury School of Florida.

William Bond IV, 18

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.65

PARENTS: Trey and Kimberly Bond

COLLEGE: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, N.J.

MAJOR: Mechanical engineering

PARTING THOUGHTS: I am excited to move on to the next phase of my life in a new city studying at NJIT. I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and teachers who have all helped me through my hardest times throughout high school and making me the person I am today.

• • •

Clearwater Academy International

Kevin Cavazzini is the 2018 valedictorian at Clearwater Academy International.
Kevin Cavazzini is the 2018 valedictorian at Clearwater Academy International.

Kevin Cavazzini, 19

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.3

PARENTS: Paola A. Salsano and Vanni Cavazzini

COLLEGE: Lawrence University, Appleton Wis.

MAJOR: Mechanical engineering

PARTING THOUGHTS: As graduation approaches and my future plans come to fruition, I am so thankful to every single person who helped me through this long process. A special thanks goes to my whole family, who always supported me and helped me in making my dreams come true.

Lan Phuong
Lan Phuong "Taylor" Tran is the 2018 salutatorian at Clearwater Academy International.

Lan Phuong “Taylor” Tran, 18

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.1

PARENTS: Huong Tran and Nang Ha

COLLEGE: University of South Florida, Tampa

MAJOR: Biology

PARTING THOUGHTS: Standing on the edge of graduating and starting college soon is frightening. However, with huge support of my family, teachers and friends, I know I can do anything. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank my family for always being there. I couldn’t have made it this far.

• • •

Clearwater Central Catholic

Nadine Theresa Kallay is the 2018 valedictorian at Clearwater Central Catholic High School.
Nadine Theresa Kallay is the 2018 valedictorian at Clearwater Central Catholic High School.

Nadine Theresa Kallay, 18

Valedictorian

PARENTS: Richard and Roberta Kallay

COLLEGE: Undecided

MAJOR: Chemistry

PARTING THOUGHTS: High school has been a wild ride. It had its fair share of ups and downs, and a few sharp turns. But now I’m looking ahead. I am beyond excited for the future and every possibility it holds.

Andrew Salvatore Piazza is the 2018 salutatorian at Clearwater Central Catholic High School.
Andrew Salvatore Piazza is the 2018 salutatorian at Clearwater Central Catholic High School.

Andrew Salvatore Piazza, 18

Salutatorian

PARENTS: Steven and Angela Piazza

COLLEGE: University of Central Florida, Orlando

MAJOR: Business management

PARTING THOUGHTS: It is not only important to recognize yourself for achieved goals that have helped shape you for the future, but also to be thankful for those who helped shape you. Life is filled with hopes, dreams and expectations and my past will truly allow me to live a better future.

• • •

CCC International Baccalaureate Program

Gabriela Piñero-Crespo is the 2018 valedictorian in the International Baccalaureate program at Clearwater Central Catholic High School.
Gabriela Piñero-Crespo is the 2018 valedictorian in the International Baccalaureate program at Clearwater Central Catholic High School.

Gabriela Piñero-Crespo, 17

Valedictorian

PARENTS: Carmen Crespo and Antonio Piñero-Piloña

COLLEGE: University of Florida, Gainesville

MAJOR: Biology / pre-med

PARTING THOUGHTS: As this year ends, I’ve become increasingly aware that change is a cycle. Just when you get comfortable, it switches up on you. But I’ve also learned that you are the only constant in that cycle, and as everything familiar gets stripped away, you are left to adapt and grow.

Andrea Medina is the 2018 salutatorian in the International Baccalaureate program at Clearwater Central Catholic High School.
Andrea Medina is the 2018 salutatorian in the International Baccalaureate program at Clearwater Central Catholic High School.

Andrea Medina, 18

Salutatorian

PARENTS: Miguel and Araceli Medina

COLLEGE: University of Miami, Coral Gables

MAJOR: Neuroscience

PARTING THOUGHTS: Graduation approaches. Excitement for the future abounds. The University of Miami will give me countless opportunities that will lead me closer to my goals. Thanks to my parents, teachers and friends who have helped me become the person I am. Proud to be a Cane!

• • •

Indian Rocks Christian

Hannah Taylor Anderson is the 2018 valedictorian at Indian Rocks Christian School.
Hannah Taylor Anderson is the 2018 valedictorian at Indian Rocks Christian School.

Hannah Taylor Anderson, 18

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.59

PARENTS: Curt and Crystal Anderson

COLLEGE: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

MAJORS: Mathematics and physics

PARTING THOUGHTS: These past 4 years have blessed my life more than I could have ever dreamed. My family has always encouraged me to venture beyond the imaginable, and now that I am graduating, I finally feel like I made it; however, I know that Vanderbilt is just the beginning of my adventures.

Carlie Elizabeth Haagsma is the 2018 salutatorian at Indian Rocks Christian School.
Carlie Elizabeth Haagsma is the 2018 salutatorian at Indian Rocks Christian School.

Carlie Elizabeth Haagsma, 18

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.44

PARENTS: Mark and Julie Haagsma

COLLEGE: University of Florida, Gainesville

MAJOR: Biology or biomedical engineering

PARTING THOUGHTS: Something I learned over the past four years while pouring everything I am into accomplishing this goal, is this: I am not defined by my achievements but instead by my identity in my Savior, Jesus Christ. Although I am proud of it, I am prouder of who it has shaped me to be.

• • •

Keswick Christian

Lucas Joseph Richard Trotter is the 2018 valedictorian at Keswick Christian School.
Lucas Joseph Richard Trotter is the 2018 valedictorian at Keswick Christian School.

Lucas Joseph Richard Trotter, 17

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.72

PARENTS: J. Mark and Michelle E. Trotter

COLLEGE: Liberty University Lynchburg, Va.

MAJOR: Accounting

PARTING THOUGHTS: Success isn’t an enigma. A wise advisor counseled: “the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.” (Pr 21:5a). I hope my peers will take a calculated risk: One positive decision, multiplied across a generation, exceeds expectations every time. Do it. Today.

David Lawrence Polar is the 2018 salutatorian at Keswick Christian School.
David Lawrence Polar is the 2018 salutatorian at Keswick Christian School.

David Lawrence Polar, 17

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.56

PARENTS: Rick and Katie Polar

COLLEGE: Bob Jones University, Greenville, S.C.

MAJORS: Trombone performance and computer science

PARTING THOUGHTS: My experience at Keswick Christian has impacted me in numerous ways that will be beneficial as I continue my education elsewhere and make decisions throughout the rest of my life. I am eternally grateful to my teachers and friends, who have always remained an encouragement.

• • •

Lakeside Christian

Julie C Quezada is the 2018 valedictorian at Lakeside Christian School.
Julie C Quezada is the 2018 valedictorian at Lakeside Christian School.

Julie C Quezada, 17

Valedictorian

GPA: 3.8

PARENTS: Asuncion Quezada and Elvia Cruz

COLLEGE: St. Petersburg College

MAJOR: Business

PARTING THOUGHTS: As graduation day approaches, I take in consideration every teacher at Lakeside for taking the time to teach me and provide spiritual guidance. I especially want to give a huge thanks to those who guided me the most all these years: Phil Jones, Jim Jensen and April Burkholz.

Hunter Jacob Forster is the 2018 salutatorian at Lakeside Christian School.
Hunter Jacob Forster is the 2018 salutatorian at Lakeside Christian School.

Hunter Jacob Forster, 19

Salutatorian

GPA: 3.67

PARENTS: Kurt and Susan Forster

COLLEGE: Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach

MAJOR: Undecided

PARTING THOUGHTS: Throughout my high school career, I learned to conquer many different obstacles, including my learning disability. I appreciate and want to thank the teachers and staff at Lakeside Christian School, especially Mr. Phil Jones as well as my parents for encouraging and supporting me.

• • •

Northside Christian

Lindsey Leadbetter is the 2018 valedictorian at Northside Christian School.
Lindsey Leadbetter is the 2018 valedictorian at Northside Christian School.

Lindsey Leadbetter, 18

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.72

PARENTS: Fred and Lori Leadbetter

COLLEGE: University of Miami, Coral Gables

MAJOR: Engineering

PARTING THOUGHTS: Thank you to my parents, teachers, friends and coaches for believing in me and pushing me to reach my potential. I would not be here without you. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Joshua Mullholand is the 2018 salutatorian at Northside Christian School.
Joshua Mullholand is the 2018 salutatorian at Northside Christian School.

Joshua Mullholand, 18

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.71

PARENTS: Daryn and Tamara Mullholand

COLLEGE: Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne

MAJOR: Aviation management with flight

PARTING THOUGHTS: I am thankful to so many people who have invested in my life. I am thankful to my God for saving me! I look forward to the challenges ahead and the opportunity to serve the Lord in my college years. I cannot wait to begin my pilot training at FIT!

• • •

St. Petersburg Catholic

Denielle Kirk Abaquita is a 2018 co-valedictorian at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.
Denielle Kirk Abaquita is a 2018 co-valedictorian at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.

Denielle Kirk Abaquita, 18

Co-valedictorian

GPA: 4.5

PARENTS: Edwin and Eloine Abaquita

COLLEGE: University of Central Florida, Orlando

MAJORS: Computer science and business

PARTING THOUGHTS: From the very bottom of my heart, I would love to thank my parents and my sister for their unyielding support. To everyone I can’t mention but desperately want to (you know who you are), thank you for being in my life and for letting me be in yours. I love you all!

Annie Nguyen is a 2018 co-valedictorian at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.
Annie Nguyen is a 2018 co-valedictorian at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.

Annie Nguyen, 18

Co-valedictorian

GPA: 4.5

PARENTS: Dat Nguyen and Lieu Tran

COLLEGE: Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

MAJOR: Pre-medicine with focus on neuroscience

PARTING THOUGHTS: Rupi Kaur once wrote, “If you were born with the weakness to fall, you were born with the strength to rise.” I believe life will knock everyone down at some point; the fall is inevitable. However, the rise is just as powerful.

Daniela Christine Bellini is the 2018 salutatorian at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.
Daniela Christine Bellini is the 2018 salutatorian at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.

Daniela Christine Bellini, 17

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.48

PARENTS: Roberto and Cindy Bellini

COLLEGE: Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa.

MAJOR: Biomedical engineering

PARTING THOUGHTS: Frank Lane once said, “If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.” High school taught me difficult lessons like this, and I want to thank my loving dad, my heartfelt mom, my beautiful sisters, and my phenomenal friends for weathering out my storm with me.

• • •

Shorecrest Preparatory

Charity Chen is the 2018 valedictorian at Shorecrest Preparatory School.
Charity Chen is the 2018 valedictorian at Shorecrest Preparatory School.

Charity Chen, 18

Valedictorian

GPA: 4.85

PARENTS: Mike and Anna Chen

COLLEGE: Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

MAJOR: Undecided

PARTING THOUGHTS: I would like to thank all my teachers, especially Mr. Ellenberg, who taught me how to write; Mr. Asad, who helped me gain new perspectives and greater interest in history; and Mr. Hyink, who proved to me again and again that biology really is my life.

Kyle James Mullins is the 2018 salutatorian at Shorecrest Preparatory School.
Kyle James Mullins is the 2018 salutatorian at Shorecrest Preparatory School.

Kyle James Mullins, 18

Salutatorian

GPA: 4.72

PARENTS: Thomas and Andi Mullins

COLLEGE: Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

MAJORS: Economics and government

PARTING THOUGHTS: “A mind is like a parachute; it only functions when open.” I don’t know who quipped this, but I find it increasingly relevant as I enter a new stage in life. I shall stay open to new ideas and experiences, bridge gaps in my perspectives, and widen my understanding of the world.

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MEET THE TOP PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADS