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High achiever at Nature Coast Technical High got early start

Dell Barnes Jr., in the library at Nature Coast Technical High School, plans to study international affairs, marketing and business in college. “I feel I have great oratory skills,” he said.


Dell Barnes Jr., in the library at Nature Coast Technical High School, plans to study international affairs, marketing and business in college. “I feel I have great oratory skills,” he said.

BROOKSVILLE — The kindergarten valedictorian stood before the crowd and made a proclamation that seemed bold for a boy of 5 or so.

"I am a young black man with serious goals," Dell Barnes Jr. told the audience at Pilgrim Christian Academy in Brooklyn, N.Y. The crowd ate it up, Barnes recalled last week. But he meant what he said.

Now 17, Barnes will cross the stage at Nature Coast Technical High School today near the top of his graduating class of 315 and boasting a well-rounded resume.

President of the Student Government Association. Varsity letter in four sports. Prom king. McDonald's Employee of the Month.

In the fall, Barnes heads to the University of Central Florida to study international affairs, marketing and business. He has given plenty of speeches since that kindergarten moment in the sun, but he continues to draw inspiration from that first taste of oratory.

"Ever since then, if I ever got down, I would think about it and it would put me on the right track," he said.

• • •

A potent mix of academic rigor, sturdy work ethic and trust in God's guiding hand runs in the Barnes family.

Dell Barnes Sr. is a computer technician at Brooksville Elementary School and a counselor at Eckerd Youth Camp. Sherylene Barnes is an English teacher at Brooksville Elementary.

When the family was still in New York and the elder Dell was on the verge of a deployment to Iraq with the Army Reserves, Dell Jr. came to Spring Hill to live with his grandmother and started the 7th grade at Powell Middle School. Dad didn't have to go to the Middle East after all, and the rest of the family moved to Hernando about a year later.

Barnes was elected class president at Powell and lunched on a regular basis with then-principal Earl Deen to talk about ways to improve the school. As an eighth-grader, Barnes gave a state-of-the-school speech one day that amazed the audience, recalled Marguerite Kling, who taught at Powell at the time and now teaches social studies at Nature Coast.

"Mr. Deen looked at me and said, 'I don't want to follow that,' " Kling said, laughing.

Barnes' government work continued at Nature Coast, where he served as freshman class president. Barnes held the position of SGA vice president last year and president this year, along with duties as senior class treasurer.

He played basketball, football, and ran track. He hefted iron as a member of the weightlifting team. Then, during his sophomore year, Barnes told his parents he wanted to scale back the athletic involvement.

"He said, 'I want to concentrate on my academics. I want to bring my grades up,' " Barnes Sr. recalled. "It threw me back, but we told him we were behind him 100 percent."

When Barnes started at Nature Coast, he entered the allied health program with dreams of becoming a cardiologist. He recently passed the exam to become a certified nursing assistant, but has changed his career goals. While he plans to use his CNA certificate to find a part-time college job, Barnes now wants to travel the world as a foreign trade representative and marketer for the U.S. government.

"I feel I have great oratory skills and a great sense of persuasion, so that career could really suit my personality," Barnes said, then laughed. "I love giving speeches, and I love to put on a suit."

Last summer, Barnes was tapped to participate in the American Legion Boys State program at Florida State University. The one-week leadership course in state and local government offers male high school juniors a hands-on civics lesson. Barnes served as school superintendent, city mayor and a member of the House of Representatives.

"That really gave me an extra spark," Barnes said. "I learned never to doubt myself because the competition was so fierce.''

Barnes has the respect of his Nature Coast peers. He was voted Best All-Around Senior (and Best-Dressed, too). But his influence apparently extends beyond his class.

About midway through this school year, Kling asked a social studies classroom full of freshmen to identify the qualities of a leader. After students gave a few answers like integrity and dependability, a girl raised her hand and said, "Dell Barnes."

About midway through his junior year, Barnes got a job at the McDonald's on State Road 50. He worked just about every station, from grill to front counter. "That was pure ambition,'' he said. "I wanted a car."

He managed to juggle the job and dual enrollment at Pasco-Hernando Community College to earn at least a semester and a half's worth of college credits.

Barnes will also have plenty of financial help. He won a Bright Futures scholarship, and a $57,000 ROTC scholarship will cover housing costs and provide a stipend for books and other expenses. He also was awarded the $1,000 Simon Toftegard Scholarship created in honor of the 16-year-old Nature Coast sophomore and standout tennis player killed in a traffic accident last year.

On Sundays, Barnes works the early shift at McDonald's so he can help his father, who also is a pastor, set up and run his fledgling Pentecostal service at the Holiday Inn in Spring Hill. Barnes plays drums, his 10-year-old brother Dheron plays piano, and 8-year-old sister Destiny dances.

"I really rely on God," Barnes said last week as he talked with a reporter in the school media center about his school days and his future. "Without him, I wouldn't be able to do any of these things I have accomplished."

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or

Nature Coast Technical High School Class of 2010

Valedictorian: Andrea Michelle Morris

GPA: 4.5

Parents: Andrew Morris and Susan Pinchong

College: University of Tampa

Field of Study: Government and world affairs, with double minor in mathematics and journalism

Salutatorian: Kimberly M. Kroll

GPA: 4.34

Parents: Wayne and Shelley Kroll

College: University of Miami

Field of Study: Pharmacy

Salutatorian: Dana Marie Lonergan

GPA: 4.31

Parents: Jerry and Pat Lonergan

College: University of Tampa

Field of study: Public health with minor in international and cultural studies

Rounding out the Top 10

4. Lindsey Lacich

5. Ashley Cupaiuolo

6. Megan Paradis

7. Lucy Werner

8. Aimee Cooper

9. Morgin Ciarcia

10. Shannon Werner


Shawn Abtey

Jessyal Acevedo

Kristina Achatz

Daniel Adair

Eric Adams

Shazel Agonoy-Juliano

Toni Agricola

Christina Andrade

Cody Anello

Jennifer Anger

Ashley Antczak

Vita Argento

Brittany Armstrong

Michelle Autexier

Maxine Baird

Charles Baker

Russell Baker II

David Baldwin

Vanessa Baluja

Dell Barnes Jr.

Kayla Barraclough

Shawn Basco

Jade Beatty

Robert Bedson

Justin Beetz

Cory Bemis

Sara Bergery

Stephanie Bess

Veronica Bichouti

Jasmine Bilbao

Samantha Billey

Christy Blackburn

Clayton Blackburn

Mason Blair

Nicole Boik

Christin Bondanza

David Botts

Brian Bradshaw

Michael Brady

Joshua Brigido

Julia Broughton

Andrew Brown

Ciera Brown

Colleen Brown

Kathryn Brown

Kal'Treshia Brown-Mobley

Kevin Budin

Gerald Buker

Jamel Byrd

Dylan Caggiano

Nicholas Caldwell

Lachlan Cameron

Jeffrey Cancel

Amanda Caniglia

John Carbone

Ashley Cascio

Eddie Castro

Morgin Ciarcia

Nicholas Ciucci

Peteranthony Ciufo

Jeffrey Clarkson

Christine Clemente

Avery Clemmons

Danielle Colladay

Virginia Collins

Daniel Colon

Danielle Connelly

Michele Cool

Aimee Cooper

Yanice Crespo

Scott Cronin

Ashley Cupaiuolo

Kasandrarae Daniels

Megan Daniels

Jennifer Davison

Grant Dionne

Annette Donato

Emily Dorough

Danielle Doucet

Tevin Drake

Dayne Dukes

Dawn Duncan

Chelsea Dunlop

Nashala Duplain

Ryan Ellerbee

Braddie Ellison Jr.

Corbin Emerson

Hettie Epison

Joshua Erazo

John Fadroski

Tara Falk

Kimberly Francisco

Michelle Farrelman

Christopher Fazio

Bruce Federico

Logan Feinberg

Jordan Fernandez

Aimee Fish

Matthew Fraioli

Christopher Frazier

Joseph Frederick III

Alyxandra Fritz

Adam Frosceno

Brandon Fulgenzi

Valentina Galeano-Munoz

Lynwood Gallier

Jessica Gambino

Heidi Garcia

Jessica Garman

Chelsea Garton

Connor Garvey

German Garzon

Sergio Garzon

Christie George

James Giaccone

Robert Gomez

Stephen Gordon

Jarrah Greene

Victoria Grimes

Tiffany Grossi

April Guinta

Robert Gupton

Melissa Gurganus

Nakia Hagood

Sean Haigler

Koltin Hall

Lynette Hanthorn

Kathryn Harmon

Tyler Harrison

Justine Harvey

Samantha Hatcher

Cody Hayworth

Crashawnna Henry

Paige Herring

James Herwarth

Ellen Hodge

Aaron Holland

Laura Holmes

Paul Hoppe

Rebecca Houck

Brandi Hughes

Jesse Hunt

Matthew Iannacone

Courtney Ioviero

Jesse Irish

Kyle Jackson

Jenna Jessings

Alyssa Joens

Jessica Johnson

Natasha Jufko

Kayla Karban

Kelsie Karish

Amanda Kennedy

Matthew Kong

Kimberly Kroll

Lindsey Lacich

Elizabeth Landry

Kevin Laureano

Amber Lawrence

Ashley Lawrence

Caitlin Leach

Amanda Lehman

Kristina Lima

Alexandra Livengood

Gregory Locke

Dana Lonergan

Jady Losurdo

Kaine Lowe

Victoria Loydgren

Tiffany Lubee

Thomas Luehl

Stephani Lukowiak

Andrew Lyle

Krista Lynch

Michael Lynch

Joseph MacGregor

Emily Mackert

Colin Mackiewicz

David MacLean Jr.

Ariel Madera

Joshua Malone

Nisreen Margieh

Madison Marmolejo

Juliana Marquez

Jennifer Marshall

Danielle Martin

Elijah Martin

Fernando Martinez

Sarah Maybee

Peter McAleer

Megan McMahon

Lloyd McManus III

Maurice Mendez

Anthony Merando Jr.

Jessica Mervine

Lorraine Meyer

Michael Midolo

Mikayla Miller

Carmen Morales

Megan Moran

Andrea Morris

Austin Moss

Angela Muguercia

Erica Muguercia

Corinna Murphy

Justin Murray

Gary Myers Jr.

Salvatore Napoli III

Christopher Neagle

Cera Nelson

Johnny Newhouse

Olivia Nielson

Shawn Noble

Meschell Novak

Michael Ofria

Jordan Ollie

Elizabeth Olmstead

Christopher Olson

Richard Ortelli

Adeline Osmar

Sandra Osment

Anthony Pacchiarotti

Nicholas Pagliarello

Cody Paige

Megan Paradis

Mary Parlett

Rachael Patascher

Brittany Pecsenka

Victoria Pepe

Jacob Perkins

Jorden Petracco

Alicia Pierson

Carlee Podvin

Rachel Powell

Philip Progar

Kristopher Provo

Angela Raab-Jenson

Jacob Raborn

Jennifer Raborn

Sarah Ram

Steven Reardon

Elijah Redding

Tyler Reece

Samantha Rei

Rachel Reiman

Kayla Reiss

Nicholas Rentas

Hubert Reuter

Ernesto Reyes

Richard Rice

Steven Richardson

Stefan Rickard

Mark Rivera

Chelsea Roberts

Amanda Robles

Joshua Rodgers

Ensley Roessler

Brittany Rogers

Christian Rosario

Ethan Rose

Meghan Rossi

Melissa Rubino

Jannel Ruiz

Daniel Rule

Tabitha Rummel

Dylan Ryder

Amanda Salazar

Michael Salvato

Jared Sandifer

Ashley Sarver

Kyle Schmidt

Brittany Schultz

Theresa Scott

Julian Serna

Alexandra Serra

Alicia Siricio

William Smallze

Haley Smith

Tyler Soreng

Heather Stein

Antwon Story

Christina Tagliaferro

Justin Tewey

Wayne Tillman

Allymillet Torres IV

Jordan Torres

Ricardo Torres

Allison Tucker

Kristen Turney

Samuel Valiquette

Nicholas Vance

Nico Vargas

Melina Velez

Rodrigo Villavicencio

Trevor Volkes

David Vulpes

Robert Waddy

Scott Wadsworth

Taylor Washam

Kyle Webster

Zachariah Weeks

Lucy Werner

Shannon Werner

Heather Werschky

Bonnie Whealton

Kristen White

Guan Whitsett

Jessica Whitten

Susyn Wilkinson

Olivia Williams

Robert Williams

Zachary Wolf

Cierra Woods

Devin Wright

Jared Wright

Johnathan Wysocki

Donald Zeller



Graduation ceremonies will be at 7:30 tonight at the school, 4057 California St., Brooksville.

High achiever at Nature Coast Technical High got early start 06/08/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 9:22pm]
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