Pasco High School | Valedictorian: Amanda Newlon
GPA: 4.59 weighted
Future school: Florida State University
Ideal career: lawyer
Most inspirational person: It is impossible to have one because, while there are many people with traits I admire and hope to emulate, it's more important for me to see each person as a real, flawed human being rather than an ideal.
Best advice/quote: My dad, quoting Yoda, said, "Do or do not. There is no 'try!' " This idea entirely sums up the importance of attaining your goals.
Hardships overcome: The youngest of my six siblings, Billy, has medical issues needing corrective surgery. Though I know the surgeries can only help enhance his life, it is still hard to witness his pain.
Favorite book: The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan
Clubs/extracurricular activities: Student Council (treasurer), National Honor Society, Model U.N., Teen Court, Volunteer at Sunrise of Pasco County, Publix Employee of the Year.
What is your impression of the Pasco County School District's attempt to better prepare students for the work force through career academies? This is a great option for some students, and I applaud the county's effort to prepare them. However, I wish there were more courses for the college-bound, possibly through an expansion of advanced placement courses.
How would you improve your school or education in general? The best way to improve education is to pay teachers the rich salaries they deserve. Until we as a society reward our education system and the people that run it, we will not be rewarded in turn.
Sage advice for the up and coming: Make sure you like and honor the person you are because when the external stuff fades, you're going to be stuck with only yourself to praise or blame. Also, don't mess around in ninth grade, it's the GPA foundation.
Salutatorian: Elizabeth LaRue
Future school: University of Florida
Major: music/public relations
Ideal career: events coordinator
Most inspirational person: I really respect my dad for what he has done with his life. He is a very hard worker and really cares about the people he helps. Many of his patients love his sense of humor and dedication.
Best advice give/favorite quote: I don't know that I can pinpoint this. It's my parents' overall advice and constant support that has helped me shape who I am today.
Hardships overcome: A.P. Calculus. It is the hardest class I have ever taken!
Favorite place on campus: Mr. Donald Charlick's classroom. It's a fun place to learn or talk.
Favorite book: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Clubs/extracurricular activities: Interact (past president), National Honor Society, Show Stoppers Choral Group, Arts in Motion member, voice and piano lessons
What is your impression of the Pasco County School District's attempt to better prepare students for the work force through career academies? I greatly support the career academies program. (The purpose of) high school is to successfully prepare for the future, and for many students, that's not necessarily a college education. It teaches valuable skills that can help in a variety of rewarding work fields.
How would you improve your school or education in general? I wish the teachers who work hard received stronger recognition. Teaching is a rather selfless career — giving all to see students achieve. It's the special teachers that influence people's lives.
Sage advice for the up and coming: I would advise any student who wants to succeed to work hard and keep their goals in mind. It has to be their initiative to achieve because their will is the strongest driving force.