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Meet Mitchell High's valedictorian and salutatorian

Kristina Crane’s favorite place on campus is Mr. Braddy’s chemistry lab, where she finds herself in a class full of friends with “an amazing teacher.”

MICHELE MILLER | Times

Kristina Crane’s favorite place on campus is Mr. Braddy’s chemistry lab, where she finds herself in a class full of friends with “an amazing teacher.”

Valedictorian: Kristina Crane

GPA: 4.5909 weighted.

Future school: University of South Florida

Major: International business

Ideal career: Pastry shop owner (but that's my retirement plan)

Most inspirational person: My father is the most inspirational person in my life because of his perseverance. The oldest of five brothers, my dad worked to attain everything he has today without a college degree and while supporting his family. On top of this, he remains a historical sponge who loves to learn and constantly seeks more knowledge. His attitude of hard work and levelheadedness continues to inspire me.

Best advice you've been given: My mom has always told me, "Strive for excellence, not perfection." I live by this.

Hardships overcome: Although I feel blessed that I have not endured much hardship in my life, I will only comment that balancing school and attempting to maintain a semblance of a social life has been a challenge.

Favorite place on campus: If you have not inferred that I am a geek yet, perhaps admitting that Mr. Braddy's chemistry laboratory is my favorite place on campus will put several nails in that coffin. Mr. Braddy is an amazing teacher, and having him for AP chemistry in a class full of friends with a fun and educational atmosphere fills my head with warm memories.

Favorite book: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

Clubs/extracurricular activities: National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, I babysit and petsit, but other than this I just like to hang out with friends, read, write and listen to music.

What is your impression of the Pasco County School District's attempt to better prepare students for the work force through career academies? I feel that programs such as the medical academy, ROTC and Marchman Technical Education Center are effective in preparing students who already know what general field they will enter.

How would you improve your school or education in general? I think that the school is improving educational opportunities by offering more advanced placement classes to freshmen and sophomores where they were not offered before; I only wish I had the opportunity to take AP classes during my underclassmen years. As for improving our school, I would suggest greater focus on educational activities or at least cut back on the pep rallies that interrupt the curriculum; however, with sports being such a central aspect of school spirit and pride, I realize this suggestion is probably far-fetched.

Sage advice for the up and coming: Work ethic is half the battle. If a student can prioritize and take initiative with her schoolwork, she will be much better off in college and highly valued in the workforce. To make a social comment, don't get bogged down in the drama of high school, because, really, will it matter in the future? Focus on school and your life will be much simpler.

Salutatorian: Jessica Ordax

GPA: 4.5714 weighted.

Future school: Duke University

Major: Biomedical engineering

Ideal career: Biomedical engineer researching and developing novel drugs and treatments

Most inspirational person: My grandmother is the most inspirational person in my life because she is a fighter. She has battled arthritis for over 30 years now and I have never once heard her say "Why me?" She is the strongest person I know and I am going to find her and all the people who suffer from corruptive diseases a cure because no one deserves to suffer their entire lives when the answers to all of our problems are right in front of us, we just need to find them.

Best advice you've been given/favorite quote: "It will all pay off." (I have no idea if that is a quote but it's what I cling to).

Hardships overcome: As far as "hardships" go I have been fortunate enough to say that I have been hardship-free thus far in my life, but I have had to cross a few "obstacles," mainly moving here to New Port Richey from Miami. My sophomore year was most definitely my "loneliest" year and my hardest because I am very shy and being "new" I had no choice but to make new friends. I could no longer revert back to my close-knit group of friends and be blissfully unaware of the world around me. Coming here and being forced to adapt to a polar opposite environment made me a stronger, more confident person, and it helped me find myself.

Favorite place on campus: The one place on campus that feels like "home" whenever I walk in would have to be Mr. Braddy's classroom (my science class). This will be my third year having the same teacher (for a different class, of course), and every year I feel as if I learn so much. That classroom represents the majority of my high school education and my most proud high school achievements.

Favorite book: All Around the Town by Mary Higgins Clark.

Clubs/extracurricular activities: National Honor Society, Key Club, French Club, Brain Bowl team, Calculus BC competition team, varsity volleyball, competitive dance, volunteer at the YMCA and work as a personal assistant for a real estate agent.

How would you improve your school or education in general? I have always felt that the education system has given me many opportunities, I have no complaints, but I would suggest a having a larger selection of AP courses.

Sage advice for the up and coming? Do not renounce any dream for fear of failure because your likelihood for success is much greater. I have sacrificed endless "outings" with friends, and I was no longer plugged into the latest TV show crazes but I do not regret any of it because of where it got me. There truly is no substitution for hard work, so I would advise everyone to put in the work now and make a wise investment because your education is one commodity that will never depreciate. High school is fleeting but your intellect is forever.

Meet Mitchell High's valedictorian and salutatorian 04/28/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:58pm]
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