Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School
Valedictorian: Rachel Turn
Parents: Janet and Eric Turn
Future school: I am attending the Harriet L. Wilkes College of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter because of the amazing professors, the strong academic environment where all the courses are taught on the honors level, the beautiful campus and close-knit community.
Ideal career: College English professor
Most influential or best teacher: It is impossible for me to choose one teacher for I have had so many inspirational teachers over the years.
Best advice: "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars." Kahlil Gibran
Favorite book: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.
Clubs/extracurricular activities: Key Club (president), National Honor Society (vice president) peer minister, volunteer writer for school newspaper; volunteer for Metropolitan Ministries, the Angelus House and the Children's Cancer Center; Hillsborough County Ambassador Storyteller, violinist, altar server. Hobbies include writing poetry, bike riding, reading and gardening.
How would you improve your school or education in general? I would strive to promote an even greater call to service in our community to donate more of ourselves to our global family who is calling for our help.
One thing you wish you did in high school but didn't: I wish I had the opportunity to serve firsthand the suffering people in the Dominican Republic, Uganda, Haiti, Rwanda and other nations.
Sage advice: Never give up hope in the world. Though at times this world seems consumed with violence and hatred, there is always hope in knowing that we can make a difference if we take a stand.
Salutatorian: Sarah McConnell
Parents: Catherine and Daniel McConnell
Future school: George Washington University: Elliot School of International Affairs Honors College. I picked this school for its strong program in international affairs and the location (Washington, D.C.)
Ideal career: Work in the international affairs field
Most influential or best teacher: All my teachers have influenced me in many different, positive ways.
Favorite quote: "Think wrongly if you please, but think for yourself." Doris Lessing.
Hardships overcome: Shyness.
Clubs/extracurricular activities: Varsity swimming, peer ministry, Key Club, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Project Vote Smart Internship (in Montana).
How has the state of the economy/budget cuts impacted your education and/or your future plans? I chose to apply to colleges with strong financial aid.
Sage advice: Apply to your dream school no matter how out of reach it seems, but apply to many colleges as backup.
One thing you wish you did in high school but didn't: I honestly can't think of anything I missed in the high school experience.
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Anclote High School
Valedictorian: Tony Gavarny
Parents: Tracy France, Ed Gavarny
Future school: University of Florida
Ideal career: Engineering
Most influential or best teacher: Elementary teacher Mrs. Lyman
Favorite book: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Clubs/extracurricular activities: Ecology Club, part-time job at Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill
Sage advice: Challenge yourself.
One thing you wish you did in high school but didn't: Be more involved in clubs.
Best advice: My dad told me to work smarter, not harder.
Salutatorian: Shannon Lewis
Parents: Scott and Denise Lewis
Future school: University of Florida to study sports medicine and be a "Mighty Fighting Gator"
Ideal career: Physical therapist
Most influential or best teacher: Science teacher and coach Stephanie Simon
Favorite quote: "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Hardships overcome: Moving to Florida during my freshman year and having to start high school not knowing anybody.
Clubs/extracurricular activities: National Honor Society, FCA, varsity soccer, cheerleading, golf, tennis, cashier at Tommy's Produce, part-time nanny.
How has the state of the economy/budget cuts impacted your education and/or your future plans? The cost of my education has greatly increased, but I realize it will all be worth it in the end.
Sage advice: Get involved. One of the best things to do in high school is to find out what you enjoy and make the most of it.
One thing you wish you did in high school but didn't: Started getting involved in clubs and sports in my freshman year.