River Ridge High
Co-valedictorian: Christopher McBride
GPA: 4.4772 weighted
Future school: U.S. Air Force Academy
Major: Aeronautical engineering
Ideal career: Air Force pilot
Most inspirational person: My parents, because they always urged me to excel and be the best in every aspect of life.
Favorite quote: "It matters not how straight the gate; How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul." William Ernest Henley.
Favorite place on campus: ROTC room because I can hang out with my friends there.
Favorite book: 1984 by George Orwell
Clubs and extracurricular activities: Air Force Junior ROTC, National Honor Society, French Honor Society, math competition, varsity football, Kitty Hawk Air Society, church youth group, part-time job at Beef O'Brady's
What is your impression of the Pasco County School District's attempt to better prepare students for the workforce through career academies? I think it is a good attempt. Especially with River Ridge's Engineering Academy, the students are able to have hands-on learning in a field they have interest in.
How would you improve your school or education in general? I think that if there was a way to motivate students more to get involved with extracurricular activities and to motivate them to excel academically, the entire school would benefit.
Sage advice for the up and coming: Being successful doesn't mean you can't have a social life. All you need to do is do your work and manage your time well and you can excel in school and still hang out with friends.
Co-valedictorian: Derek Wasilewski
GPA: 4.4772 weighted
Future school: University of Florida
Ideal career: Yeah, about that …
Most inspirational person: Adam Carolla. The man is a genius.
Favorite quote: "Have fun. Be safe." My dad.
Hardships overcome: I've got a pretty awesome life. Can't complain.
Favorite place on campus: Let's pretend it's class.
Favorite book: I should probably read more.
Clubs and extracurricular activities: Drumline. Part-time work at Current Performance Wiring, a local small business that makes custom engine wiring for hot rods. Chilling with my homies.
What is your impression of the Pasco County School District's attempt to better prepare students for the workforce through career academies? Kind of silly. You have your whole life to work, you only get to be a kid once. You shouldn't need to have the School Board teach you... career "skills."
How would you improve your school or education in general? Lower salaries for administrators. Increase teacher's pay to encourage better people to become teachers. A good teacher is better than a good administrator any day.
Sage advice for the up and coming: No "sage advice" I have is appropriate for this forum. Also, if you're looking for advice here, you probably need more than I can give.
Salutatorian: Tashyana Plantilla
GPA: 4.455 weighted
Future school: University of South Florida
Major: Premedical sciences
Ideal career: Anatomical pathologist
Most inspirational person: There are a lot of inspirational people in my life. My mom, Tito Roy, Mamasan, and Poppy have always been there for me and they have shown me how to succeed in my life. Without them I would not be the person I am today.
Best advice/quote: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." Buddha.
Favorite place on campus: There are a bunch of places on campus that I like to hang out at, but the top place is by far taken by Mrs. Legrand's science room because I can go there to just chill. I spend hours a day in her (classroom) and Mrs. James' room because I'm done with classes after 10:15 a.m. We always have great conversations. I love chillin' with them and grillin' with Mr. Foreman.
Favorite book: I'm more of a math and science person, but if I had to choose one I would probably say Timeline by Michael Crichton.
Clubs, extracurricular activities: Science Honor Society (president), National Honor Society (vice president), Key Club (treasurer), National Art Honor Society, History Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Students Protecting Land and Sea Habitats (aka SPLASH Club), Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society of PHCC, RRHS Marching Band sousaphone player, Concert Band tuba player, Weightlifting team, Brain Bowl team, Mathematics team, Relay for Life team captain
What is your impression of the Pasco County School District's attempt to better prepare students for the work force through career academies? I think that it is an overall good plan, but I do not think that it will help the students all that much. The average college student is going to change their career path whether they start college "knowing" what they want to do or not.
How would you improve your school or education in general? I think that schools need to allow students to deal with their education the way they want to. I understand their reasoning behind disciplining but there is only so much they can do before they come to a point where it simply becomes nonsense. While they say that they are trying to prepare us for college, in actuality, they are doing the complete opposite. They are babying us along and students need to realize that their future is in their own hands. One example of a pointless ongoing charade is the so-called "tardy table." There have been many forms of it in the past, each with its own flaws and distractions to the learning environment. One version of the "tardy table" required students who were only one second or more late to class to be absent from school for an entire hour to sit silently rather than be in the classroom learning. The latest version mandates students who are tardy to find a "tardy table" and sign in, a process that can take 10-15 minutes depending on how many other students are late. This is a ridiculous policy and it causes disruptions in the learning environment. If a student does not want to better their education they are not going to, and forcing them to go to school and abide by nonsensical rules only worsens the education of the students. I believe that there would be a tremendous increase in the knowledge of our students if the schools allowed students take responsibility for their future rather than baby them.
Advice for the up and coming: Don't be a follower. Don't be immature. Don't let the people around you affect your ability to learn and experience the things you want to. Take responsibility for your life and how you live it. Have fun … but not too much. There is only one reliable treatment for senioritis: ceaseless effort.