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Determination drove Hernando High student to achieve her goals

Sha’Niqua King, 18, was determined to graduate so she worked to get a qualifying score on the ACT. She reached her goal and now is heading to Saint Leo University in the fall.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Sha’Niqua King, 18, was determined to graduate so she worked to get a qualifying score on the ACT. She reached her goal and now is heading to Saint Leo University in the fall.

BROOKSVILLE — As a junior last year, Sha'Niqua King began thinking in earnest about her final year at Hernando High School.

Not only was she intent on graduating; she wanted to do so away from the exceptional student program that she had been in since she was a youngster at Moton Elementary School.

"I'd been thinking about it," she said. "All my grades were good and my (grade-point average) was 3."

But there was an obstacle: Her English and reading skills were weak.

"I was in regular classes, but my English class had an extra teacher for help," she said. She was in a reading class, too, but she could not pass the English FCAT, which is necessary for graduation. "I passed the math with flying colors," she noted.

There was a Plan B, though.

King, 18, could graduate if she passed the ACT, a college entrance exam. She took it twice, trying to raise her score, and earned a high enough mark to exit the ESE program and head for graduation.

"I felt relieved,'' she said. "I was happy."

King's success is all the more impressive because of difficulties she faced at home during her junior year. She has lived most of her life with her grandmother, Jessie Jones. When Jones became ill, King moved in with her aunt, Melissa Jones. Her grandmother now is doing better, she said.

In 2008, King lost both her parents, about a month apart.

"It was rough,'' she said, reflecting on those days. "I was missing school. I didn't want to do work in classes. My test scores were bad."

She said she prayed and knew "that everything would be all right."

Things improved and King now thanks her family and her guidance counselor, Joan Emerson, for their support. "Without my family," she said. "I don't know. …"

Now, she's looking ahead to college. She has been accepted into Saint Leo University's Learning Enhancement for Academic Progress program, for students who would benefit from a more structured entrance into college.

"Since I was little, I have always wanted to go to college," she said. "I wanted to be somebody. Make my grandma proud."

King will major in business, which suits her interests. For all four years of high school, she has been a member of the Future Business Leaders of America. She said she has been in every FBLA competition and has won two trophies in skills word processing.

She had thought of a career in art or fashion design, but when she got a taste of business, she said, "I really like this. I'm good at it and there are so many things you can do in business."

King knows that improving her language skills will take time, but she's determined to succeed.

"I can do everything everybody else can do,'' she said.

Fast facts

Graduation ceremonies

Graduation at Hernando High School, 700 Bell Ave., Brooksville, will be at 7:30 p.m. today at the school's football stadium. If it rains, the ceremony will be postponed until Monday, same time and place.

Hernando High school

Academic leaders

Valedictorian: Jessie Lynn Leasure

GPA: 4.41

Parent: Sherry Leasure

College: New College, Sarasota

Field of Study: Fine arts

Salutatorian: Kiersten Joan Gorse

GPA: 4.26

Parents: Charles and Natalie Gorse

College: Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Field of Study: Veterinary medicine

Rounding out the Top 10

3. Kyle E. Morgan

4. Tabitha C. Williams

5. Lauren A. Parrish

6. Rebecca A. Baldwin

7. Kyle S. Wieszchowski

8. Ashley L. Spradlin

9. Shelby K. Stocker

10. Breanna N. Lettau



Hernando High school

Class of 2010

Lamorte

Caitlyn Lane

Ta'nise Langley

Elizabeth Lawrence

Jessie Leasure

Natassia Lee

William Lee

Breanna Lettau

Dylan Levesque

Edwin Leyva

Kevin Liguori

Nathan Lloyd

Jesse Logan

Jacob Lopez

Heather Lynn

Tory Mackenzie

Marenia Maier

Sha'niqua Maner

Spencer Manuel

Deanna Marshall

Jeffrey Martin

Michelle Martin

Shawndra Mathis

Lauren Matthews

Ashley McConnell

Lance McCray

Desiree McDaniel

Jenna McDaniel

Kevin McGeehan

Brendan McGinley

Angelica McQuade

Alyssa McVey

Robert Meehan

Dana Middleton

Eric Miller

Keith Miller

Rachel Miller

Rachael Minjarez

Brooke Mix

Anna Moncada

Erik Moncada

Kiana Montero-Stube

Pete Moore

Brian Moran

Kasey Morgan

Kyle Morgan

Ashley Morrison

Kayla Mullins

Matthew Mutter

Nicholas Nazar

John Nguyen

Deirdre Nicol

Jennifer Nicolodi

Torey Norton

Christopher Nyholm

Kaisaundra Olander

Joshua Orendorf

Patrick Osmond

Cody Pankow

Brittany Parker

Joshua Parnell

Lauren Parrish

Maria Pascarelli

Nicholas Pascullo

John Patterson

Wayne Patterson

Eric Perrine

Ashlie Peterson

Alan-Michael Picheta

Erin Pierce

Lyle Plummer

Miguel Ponce-Gomez

Ashley Porter

Samantha Post

Daniel Pritz

Melinda Pyles

Dara Raboteau

Dakota Raney

Misivy Reittie

Samantha Rhodes

Miranda Robinson

Jeremiah Rodriguez

Gerado Rojero

Cassie Rollins

John Rollins

Sean Rook

Cody Samson

Ch'Antia Sanders

Brandon Schroeder

Miranda Scott

Tara Scranton

Julia Seidelmann

Shawnee Sellers

Leann Shafer

Jasmine Sharpe

Miriah Shattuck

Lauren Shuford

Kaydias Slaughter

Amanda Smith

Bora Smith

Candice Smith

Daniel Smith

Kathryn Smith

Justin Smith-Roby

Christian Spade

Tara Spears

Vincent Spencer

Ashley Spradlin

Cheyenne Spurlock

Michael Stackpoole

Heather Stanley

Alison Steiner

Kimberlee Steinman

Shelby Stocker

Christopher Strickland

Amber Suiters

William Talbott

Sol Terkovich

Angela Terry

Corey Thomas

Catie Tooken

Kevin Trewyn

Yasmin Villaneda

Sarah Volpe

Trey Waddy

Olivia Wagner

Mike Walker

Shakari Washington

Brittany Weaver

Melissa Weeks

Heather Wescomb

Spencer Weston

Sarah Whealdon

Krisi Wheeler

Kendra Whitmore

Kyle Wieszchowski

Melody Wiley

Danielle Williams

Jordin Williams

Lerner Williams

Ryan Williams

Tabitha Williams

Alysia Wimett

Jessica Winfield

Sarah Wishon

Robert Wolaver

Timothy Worsley

Charles Worthington

Kristopher Zeigler

Devon Ziske

Determination drove Hernando High student to achieve her goals 06/04/10 [Last modified: Friday, June 4, 2010 9:24pm]

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