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ACADEMIC AWARD WINNERS // A is for achievement

Pinellas County has a bumper crop of National Merit Scholarship semifinalists this year and more National Achievement and National Hispanic Scholars than in past years.

Scholars are selected by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. based on their scores on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test usually taken in a student's junior year and on detailed applications that provide information about academic standing, activities and interests.

National Merit Semifinalists are the highest-scoring participants in each state; National Achievement and National Hispanic Scholars are minority students who have achieved outstanding scores.

Linda McPheron, assistant principal at St. Petersburg High and head of the school's International Baccalaureate program, attributes the increase at that school _ from 8 in 1995 to 12 in 1996 to 16 this year _ to better training and the addition of a class for 10th-graders that helps them practice for the PSAT.

"Our (IB) guidance counselor saw a potential to improve the marks that students got ... by offering an SAT prep course where there would be practice every day," McPheron said. "We started it in the second semester of the '94-95 school year and this is the first group to fully profit from it."

At about the same time that St. Petersburg High started SAT preparation courses, other schools were involved in a program to enhance their honors classes, said Chris Lowry of Pinellas County schools' Magnet/Choice office.

"We pulled IB teachers from St. Pete High and they trained content program teachers from all the high schools in their curriculum areas," Lowry said. "They talked about strategies that they used, different ways of doing assignments. Of course, IB teachers are intensely trained in that program and it was a great opportunity for (non-IB) teachers to work with someone who was actually doing the teaching."

Teachers were doing more team planning and networking across the district, Lowry said. There was a component for academic coaching and students paired with a teacher who was their mentor and their coach.

The following students represent Pinellas County finest academic achievers. We include, as well, their selections of "significant educators in their lives."

IB is the International Baccalaureate program; CAT is the Center for Advanced Technologies.

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

CRYSTAL G. AKERS of Lakewood High School's CAT program is an Advanced Placement Scholar and her school's 1996 Outstanding Biology Student and Outstanding Calculus Student. She plans to major in biology and philosophy and to pursue a career in pediatric medicine.

SCOTT A. ARTHUR of Largo High School is president of Latin Club and vice president of Key Club. He received varsity letters in track, cross country and swimming. He plans to attend the University of Florida. Honored educator: Zelda Troiano.

JENNIFER A. BARRETT of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is a member of the National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta. She plans to major in communications at the University of Texas in Austin. Honored educator: Nan Griffin.

MATTHEW O. BELCHER of Seminole scored 800 on the verbal section of the Scholastic Aptitude Test and 1,550 overall. He plans to major in computer engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Georgia Tech or the University of Florida. Honored educator: Ken Phillips.

KRISTI L. BERGEMANN of Tarpon Springs High School served as co-chair of Academic Team, president of the National Honor Society, vice president of the Spanish Honor Society and as a member of the School Advisory Council. She plans to major in international relations and history at Eckerd College. Honored educator: Richard Wagner.

MATTHEW L. CLARK of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is the secretary-treasurer of the Senior Class, vice president of Civitan Club and member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society, cross country and track teams. He is undecided on a major or college. Honored educator: Aixa Ruch.

TRACY L. CORNETT of Tarpon Springs High School served on the Academic Team, was director of Hush and earned awards in International Thespian Society competitions. She plans to major in film or theater at Florida State University in preparation for a career as a director. Honored educator: Diane Lops.

RICHARD B. DANIEL of Lakewood High School's CAT program was a member of the U.S. First robotics team for three years and is an Advanced Placement Scholar in computer science. He plans to major in computer science at University of Florida and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. Honored educator: Dr. Michael Way.

MARK W. DELAQUIL of East Lake High School is member of the National Honor Society and captain of the debate team. He plans to attend the University of Florida in preparation for a career as a public servant. Honored educator: Greg Rocktoff.

AUSTIN M. DERFUS of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is president of the National Honor Society and Interact Club, captain of the swim team, a member of tennis team and the winner of Bausch and Lomb Sciene Award. He plans to major in biomedical engineering at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Honored educator: Mary Branch.

ELENA M. DICUS of Lakewood High School's CAT program was one of 60 juniors selected to complete her senior year in high school while enrolled as a freshman at the University of Southern California. She received a full-tuition scholarship for four years and is majoring in both psychology and art history. While at Lakewood, Dicus was in a three-year mentorship program with Dr. E. Verena Jorgensen, pediatric endocrinologist at All Children's Hospital. She is also a National Hispanic Scholar. She plans a career in pediatric medicine and research. Honored educator: Paul Dickman.

AMANDA C. DORAN of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Thespians and Keyettes. She is undecided about a major and college. Honored educator: Dr. Linda McPheron.

ANDREW J. GRAY of Lakewood High School's CAT program is an Advanced Placement Scholar with honors, a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and U.S. First robotics team. He plans to study aeronautical engineering at U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Honored educator: Larry Gray.

RONALD M. GULLEKSON of Lakewood High School's CAT program is captain of the wrestling team. He plans to serve in the Navy, then pursue a career in screenwriting or film directing. Honored educator: Cara Terry.

SYED H. HAIDER of East Lake High School won a National Council of Teachers of English writing award and was a member of a team that took second place in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Design Competition. Haider plans to attend Harvard University in preparation for a career as a novelist and genetics researcher. Honored educator: Donna Henry.

KRISTIN D. HARMEL of Northeast High School won a National Council of Teachers of English Writing Award and Rennselar Scholar Medal. She plans to major in journalism at University of Florida in preparation for a career as a newspaper columnist and author of novels for young adults. Honored educator: Elizabeth Marcotte.

JEFFERY M. HOCH of Tarpon Springs High School is a member of National Honor Society and winner of Excellence in Playwrighting Award. He plans to teach science at the college level. Honored educator: Lucia Arnold.

DAVID T. HWANG of Seminole High School was a member of Academic All-Star Team for two years. He plans to concentrate on premed courses and philosophy in preparation for a career in medicine. Honored educator: Christine Lowry.

THOMAS M. KAPPELER of Clearwater Central Catholic High School is editor of the school's literary magazine and newspaper, president of National Honor Society and a member of the French Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Student Council. He plans to major in journalism at Boston University. Honored educator: Anita Huenke.

JONATHAN B. KRAUSE of Shorecrest Preparatory School is editor of the yearbook, three-year member of ice hockey team, volunteer teacher at a science center and is involved with desktop publishing projects. He plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Honored scholar: Brad Moore.

MIRANDA M. LEE of Gibbs High School received a perfect score on the Florida Writing Assessment Test. She hopes to major in chemistry and English literature on the New College campus of the University of South Florida. Honored educator: Toni Preston Mitchell.

JOCELYN M. LEITZINGER of Tarpon Springs High School is a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She plans to major in marketing at the University of Pennsylvania or Notre Dame University. Honored educator: Jay Calisce.

BRYAN P. MAHONEY of Northeast High School is member of the National Honor Society and a published cartoonist. He plans to attend the University of Florida in preparation for a medical career. Honored educator: Fred Dorsett.

CATHERINE A. MARCINKIEWCZ of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She plans to major in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

EMILY A. MATHEWS of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is an Advanced Placement Scholar with honors, a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She plans to major in biology or molecular biology in preparation for a career in biomedical research. Honored educator: Richard B. Mathews.

THANEEYA K. McARDLE of East Lake High School plans to major in art and human studies at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. Honored educator: Pat Priscoe.

AMY M. McCORD of East Lake High School is vice president of the French Honor Society and a member of Mu Alpha Theta and the National Honor Society. She plans to major in chemistry or biology at John Hopkins University or the University of Florida. Honored educator: Jann Rowe.

ALEXA K. McSWAIN of Lakewood High School'S CAT program was a member of the U.S. First robotics team and Academic Team. She plans to major in premedicine and science in preparation for a career in bioengineering, research and as an astronaut. Honored educator: Diane Church-Smith.

CARRIE A. MEWHA of St. Petersburg High School is an Advanced Placement Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and the French Honor Society. She plans to major in preveterinarian studies in the honors program at the University of Florida. Honored educator: Wayne Tucker.

DAVID C. MINNEN of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction. He plans to major in computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

TANIS A. O'CONNOR of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is an Advanced Placement Scholar with distinction and a member of 1997 Academic All-Star Team. She plans to major in biochemistry/genetic engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Honored educator: Yvonne Waters.

ANDREW A. PARKER of Seminole is a member of the National Honor Society and a Gold and Silver Medalist in the National Latin Exam. He plans to study oboe performance at a major music conservatory in preparation for a career with an American orchestra. Honored educator: Violet Shaughnessy.

MEGAN C. PATRICK of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and French Honor Society. She plans to major in biology with a premedicine curriculum at Boston College in preparation for a career as a neurosurgeon. Honored educator: Carolyn Nelson.

RYAN H. PEEPLES of St. Petersburg High School's IB program plans to major in computer science and computer engineering at Georgia Tech or the University of Florida. He plans to work in research and development in the field of artificial intelligence. Honored educator: Dr. Jan Adkins.

J. KEVIN PRATT of Lakewood High School's CAT program is a member of Academic Team and the National Honor Society. He plans to study computer science and music at New York University.

KARI Y. PHILLIPS of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and the German Honor Society. She plans to attend college. .

JEFF RAWSON of Canterbury School of Florida is a member of the the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society and the varsity soccer team. He plans to major in art and biology at a small out-of-state school. .

SUMMER L. RUECHEL of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is a member of National Honor Society and French Honor Society. She plans to major in chemistry at Clemson University or the University of Florida in preparation for a career in pediatric medicine. Honored educator: Janet Dye.

ALEXANDER R. ROOT of Seminole High School received awards for Latin and Algebra II. He plans to study engineering at Columbia University in preparation for a career in research or teaching. Honored educator: Don Peet.

CHEMAIN M. SANAN of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is a member of National Honor Society, French Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, and plans to major in English and psychology at Cornell University. Honored educator: Patricia Linzie.

ELIOT J. SCHREFER of Countryside High School received a National Council of Teachers English Writing Award and was vice president of Youth in Government. He plans to major in business and English at Pomona College or Harvard University. Honored educator: Marjorie Shoaf.

ADAM C. SCHUELLER of Shorecrest Preparatory School does freelance computer work for neighbors. He plans to major in computer engineering at Vanderbilt University or the University of Florida..

MATTHEW B. SPENCE of Seminole is a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society and Academic Team. He plans to major in history or political science before enrolling in law school. He plans a career as a baseball player or trial lawyer. Honored educator: John Welch.

ROSE L. SZABADY of St. Petersburg High School's IB program is an Advanced Placement Scholar with distinction and has won awards from the American Meteorological Society. She plans to major in biology in preparation for a career in biological research. Honored teacher: Aixa Ruch.

ELIZABETH J. TRACI of St. Petersburg High School's IB program..

ETHAN P. TREVINO of Lakewood High School's CAT program is an Advanced Placement Scholar with distinction and member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Academic Team. He plans to major in Spanish and art at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Honored educator: Daniel Epstein.

NOEL M. WAHLBECK of Lakewood High School's CAT program is president of the National Honor Society and a member of International Thespian Society. He plans to major in mathematics at the University of Central Florida. Honored educator: Deborah Leadbetter.

BARRY D. WALLING of Countryside High School is a member of National Honor Society. He plans to major in premedicine at the University of Florida in preparation for a career in anesthesiology or medical research. Honored educator: Pam Hardwick.

KIMBERLY L. WEBER of Clearwater High School is a member of the National Honor Society. She plans to attend St. Petersburg Junior College before enrolling in a university in preparation for a career in the medical field. Honored educator: Daniel Laurenti.

National Achievement Scholars

PATRICK R. BRYANT of Lakewood High School's CAT program is a National Achievement Scholar and a member of Ebony Scholars, the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. He lettered in varsity basketball and track. He plans to attend the University of Florida. Honored educator: Brenda Dent.

ANEESHA P. PRETTO of Dunedin High School is a National Achievement Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society and McKnight Achievers. She plans to attend the University of Florida in preparation for a career in international or corporate law. Honored educator: Dr. Calvin Harris.

ERICA E. WHITTINGHAM of Countryside High School is a National Achievement Scholar. She plans to major in premedicine at Florida A&M University in preparation for a career as an ophthalmologist..

National Hispanic Scholars

EDUARDO ARENAS of Clearwater High School is a National Hispanic Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. He plans to major in advertising and to minor in computer science. Honored educator: Richard Haynes.

DANIEL CABRERA of Countryside High School is a National Hispanic Scholar, an Advanced Placement Scholar, president of the Student Government and a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. He plans to major in bioengineering. Honored educator: Terry Serbanos.

LEA C. GANS of Countryside High School is a National Hispanic Scholar. She is president of Interact Club and a member of the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society and Academic Team. She plans to major in microbiology or psychobiology at the University of Miami in preparation for a medical career. Honored educator: Pamela Powell.

KRISTINA R. MARTINO of Lakewood High School is a National Hispanic Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. She plans to complete premed studies at Madison University in preparation for a career in pediatric oncology. Honored educator: Linda Mickey.

ELENA N. MARRERO of East Lake High School is a National Hispanic Scholar and member of the National Honor Society. She plans to major in journalism and mass communications in the honors program at the University of Florida. Honored educator: Daniel Wood.

REBECCA L. WOLF of Largo High School is a National Hispanic Scholar, vice president of Mu Alpha Theta and member of the National Honor Society. She plans to major in mechanical engineering at the University of Florida or Georgia Tech. Honored educator: Ron Williams.

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