Sunlake High School
Valedictorian: Sarah Collins
Parents: Martin and Linda Collins
GPA: 4.5555 weighted
Future school and why: The University of Tampa. They have been ranked the No. 1 school in nursing for the past two years. I also love the small school feeling.
Ideal career: Nurse practitioner.
Most influential or best teacher: I have had several great teachers in high school but the most influential was AP chemistry teacher David Maggi. He is a great teacher and mentor.
Best advice or quote:
"People will always talk, so let's give them something to talk about." Lady Gaga
Hardships overcome: My dad has been very sick the past two years and I have had a lot of family obligations, but my parents always made sure I had time for school.
Favorite book: The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton.
Clubs, extracurricular activities: National Honor Society, Dance, Odyssey of the Mind, volunteering at Moffitt Cancer Center and Lake Myrtle Elementary School.
How would you improve your school or education in general? I would have the administrators seek the advice of their good students to find out who their exceptional teachers are and reward those teachers.
How has the state of the economy/budget cuts impacted your education and/or your plans for the future? It's made it harder to get money for college. However, it's also made me more secure in my decision to be a nurse since it is one of the few growing fields.
Sage advice for the up and coming: Challenge yourself. It's the only way you will reach your full potential and not get bored with your life.
Name one thing you wish you had done in high school: I might have joined the swim team.
Salutatorian: Roger Prough
Parents: Jana Prough, Craig Prough
Future school and why: The University of Miami because they have a solid International Studies program, and I feel I will have better opportunities for internships, research and study abroad.
Ideal career: Something involving protecting human rights around the world.
Most influential or best teacher: Mr. Richards, my world history teacher, because he made me become more interested in social sciences.
Favorite book: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Clubs and extracurricular activities: National Honor Society (vice president), cross country, soccer referee, busboy at Red Lobster last summer.
Sage advice: I think what has helped me throughout high school was that I kept everything in perspective and I didn't stress over the smaller things in life.
Best advice or favorite quote:
From a young age, my mom told me that school always is my No. 1 priority. This helped me become more organized because I could prioritize what I had to do.
How would you improve your school or education in general? I feel that teachers are being molded into one form who prepare students solely for standardized testing, and a lot of the teachers who have built their classes around discussion and lecture are being forced to change their ways or leave instead of being praised for preparing students for college. I also think as a whole, administration needs to have a more personal relationship with students. This year administration has been much more distant and has had a greater superiority complex as opposed to previous years, and I feel this has led to a decrease in morale amongst both students and teachers. I feel treated as a subject rather than a student.
How has the state of the economy/budget cuts impacted your education and/or your plans for the future? Fortunately for the majority of my schooling, the economy was strong, which led to benefits such as increased technology in the classroom and more materials to supplement my learning. When the economy fell into a recession, I was already a sophomore so I was very independent and able to adapt to the budget cuts easier than an elementary school or middle school student. I think that five years from now, we will see the true impact of the budget cuts that occur because these will be the students who went through a majority of school with less. The economy did heavily influence choices about my future because the University of Miami was a more appealing choice since it is a private university. Therefore its funding is not at the mercy of a governor as staunchly against education as Rick Scott.
One thing you wish you did in high school: It would have been fun if I could have taken a weight lifting class and built some muscle before heading to college but I don't have any major regrets from the past four years because I enjoyed my life in high school and achieved my goals.