Boys Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Jordan Holding, Gulf
Proudest academic accomplishment: Holding's mom, Lori, helps with this one. She says Jordan, who transferred from Mitchell early in his sophomore year, maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school. Additionally, she says, he earned straight A's all three years at Seven Springs Middle School, never missing a single day.
Proudest athletic accomplishment: Holding qualified for the state meets in wrestling and weightlifting his senior year, but says he fell short of his expectations in both. A 130-pound district and regional wrestling champ, he fell in the second round of the Class A tournament to eventual champ Jordan Cone of Live Oak Suwannee. In lifting, he placed fifth in the 129-pound class at the state meet, but said he would've finished higher had officials not determined he rolled a 200-pound clean-and-jerk try on his chest. "I have it on video and everything," he said. "I really think I got the lift."
Weighted/unweighted GPA: 4.18/3.82
Standardized test score: 1170 SAT
Sports: Wrestling (four years), weightlifting (four years)
Class schedule as senior: English honors, advanced placement calculus, a "cooking class," courtroom procedures, AP government, physics honors
Other feats: Graduated fourth in his class ... wrestling and weightlifting team MVP as a senior ... National Society of High School Scholars (2008) ... Gulf High nominee for Wendy's High School Heisman ... Mathematics Honor Society (2006-08) ... NEMA National English Merit Award ('07) ... named a Pasco County Rotary Club Outstanding Senior ... named a Gulf High Top 8 "Stand Out" Student ('08)
Last class in which he earned lower than a B: "I don't really remember, to tell you the truth," Holding said. "I've always gotten A's and B's, and only a couple of B's."
College: University of Florida
Did you know: Tired of the carpet in his family's home, Holding begged his parents to purchase laminate flooring for his 16th birthday, and eventually installed it himself after some self-teaching. He recently replaced it with hardwood flooring, completing all except one room of the house, and has done similar jobs for some neighbors and acquaintances of his mom's. "It's been great for us, but he's real meticulous," Lori Holding said. "Every single cut is truly like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. His dad and I have trouble putting in a light bulb, but he's very self-sufficient that way."
Quotable: "He's the real deal. He's a pretty intense young man. He's very passionate about what he does and it's often misread by a lot of people and they can't understand him. But if you just know him, he's extremely intense and passionate. He got a 4.2 GPA and he was upset about it; that should tell you all you need to know about him right there." — Gulf wrestling coach Travis DeWalt
Stephen Reid, Gulf
Weighted/unweighted GPA: 4.23/3.83
Standardized test scores: 29 ACT, 1210 SAT
Sports: Football , weightlifting
Notable: Graduated third in his class ... will be first member of his family to attend a four-year university ... county math contest participant last four years ... Math Pride Award winner ... National Math Honor Society ... National English Honor Society ... has taken church-sponsored mission trips to Navajo Indian tribe in Arizona and New Orleans, painting and repairing homes
College: Brown University, where he'll play football
Tyler Fleming, River Ridge
Weighted/unweighted GPA: 4.12/3.60
Standardized test scores: 23 ACT, 1090 SAT
Sports: Wrestling, weightlifting
Notable: Graduated 23rd in his class ... named River Ridge's male student-athlete of the year ... fourth in 119-pound division at Class 2A wrestling tournament as senior ... three-time Sunshine Athletic Conference wrestling champ ... region wrestling champion as a senior ... first runnerup in Mr. & Ms. River Ridge Body Building Contest
College: University of South Florida
Jesse Alpert-Stern, Academy at the Lakes
Weighted/unweighted GPA: 4.0
Standardized test score: 27 ACT
Sports: Swimming, soccer, football , tennis, track
Notable: Winner of Donald J. Cram Scholarship, awarded to most outstanding math students entering Rollins ... avid bridge player, ranked third nationally in 25-under age division ... defensive end on AATL team that won six-man football state title ... goalkeeper for AATL soccer team
College: Rollins College
Joey Knight, Times staff writer