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Meet the 2009 Gulf High valedictorians and salutatorians

IB valedictorian: Alice Chang

GPA: 4.7182 (weighted)

Clubs/extracurricular activities: Brain Bowl (team captain), National English Honor Society (vice president), Young Democrats Club (vice president), National Honor Society (treasurer), Interact club (treasurer), Spanish Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Leo Club, Astronomy Club.

Favorite place on campus: Mrs. Jan Ledman's English classroom. Whether during class, at lunch or after school, the doors, both metaphysically and literally, are always open.

Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

Favorite musician or group: Motion City Soundtrack.

Future school: Columbia University.

Major: Chemistry or English literature.

Ideal career: Research scientist.

Most inspirational person: My parents, who have never failed to provide the support and good sense that have kept me balanced.

If you could, what would you change about the Pasco County or Florida education system? I would encourage school administrators, teachers and students to communicate more closely about important decisions. Also, ice cream parties on Mondays!

Best advice/favorite quote:

"We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off, which is a kind of integrity, if you look at every exit as being an entrance somewhere else."

Tom Stoppard, British dramatist and screenwriter (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead)

IB salutatorian: Mario Talanga

GPA: 4.5952 (weighted)

Clubs/extracurricular activities: National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (math tutor), Future Business Leaders of America, golf, tennis, jet skiing, raising and breeding domestic pigeons, competitive boxing, job as Publix cashier.

Favorite place on campus: The chemistry classroom. Ms. Peek is one of the most intelligent teachers I have met; she makes the class challenging, but keeps it interesting. The class prepares you well for college.

Favorite book: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

Favorite musician or group: Dropkick Murphys.

Future school: University of Florida.

Major: Pre-med, accounting and finance.

Ideal career: Miami Beach plastic surgeon.

Most inspirational person: My parents, Zelijko and Mira, and my two younger brothers, Franjo and Krunoslav. My family's high regard for education has motivated me to put all my time and effort into school. They have supported me throughout life and helped me make tough decisions that have guided me in the right direction.

Best advice/favorite quote: "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve." — Dr. Napoleon Hill

If you could, what would you change about the Pasco County or Florida education system? The education system in Florida is not sufficient in preparing students to compete in the global economy. The current curriculum's focus on memorizing facts to prepare to pass standardized tests is insufficient for preparing students for the future. A new curriculum based on using critical analysis to assess information should be administered. Additionally, teaching should become more individualized. One size does not fit all in education.

Valedictorian: Jamielee Hyatt

GPA: 4.1309 (weighted)

Clubs/extracurricular activities: National Honor Society (president), National English Honor Society (historian), Libertarian Club, former job as a cashier at Wal-Mart.

Favorite place on campus: The weight room. It's one of the few places I can go to relieve stress.

Favorite book: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.

Favorite musician or group: The Beatles.

Future school: University of South Florida.

Major: Biology.

Ideal career: Biologist.

Most inspirational person: English teacher Jan Ledman, for her enduring kindness, love and test.

If you could, what would you change about the Pasco County or Florida education system? Take pressure off teachers by not forcing them to prepare students for a very sub-standard test (FCAT).

Best advice/favorite quote:

"Go to school."

My mother, Rose Kilgore

Salutatorian: Brittany Motta

GPA: 4.122 (weighted)

Clubs/extracurricular activities: National Spanish Honor Society, National Math Honor Society, National Honor Society (historian), Student Council (treasurer), yearbook (co-editor), Gulf High color guard, job at Dairy Queen.

Favorite place on campus: The senior locker area because that's where I get to catch up with friends that I don't have classes with.

Favorite book: The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer.

Future school: University of Central Florida.

Major: Forensic science and anthropology.

Ideal career: Forensic scientist.

Most inspirational person: Teacher Mrs. Mary Keane. Her genuine love and care she showed for each student combined with her gift to educate helped spark my interest in academics.

Best advice/favorite quote: If it's not going to affect you in five years, don't sweat it." — Steve Griffith, AP calculus teacher.

The Gulf High School 2009 graduation ceremony will be at 7 p.m. May 29 at the Calvary Worship Epicenter, 6825 Trouble Creek Road in New Port Richey.

Meet the 2009 Gulf High valedictorians and salutatorians 05/20/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 12:56pm]

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