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  1. The Education Gradebook

Blake High School: Tribune scholars profiles and essays

An invitation was extended to the top 3 percent of Hillsborough’s graduating seniors to take part in the annual competition.

More than 200 of Hillsborough County’s top high school seniors from 35 public and private schools accepted an invitation to share their accomplishments and take part in an essay contest through the 2020 R.F. “Red” Pittman Tribune Scholars program. Their profiles and essays are published here, just as the students submitted them. To search all schools, click here.

AnnaGrace Brackin

AnnaGrace Brackin
AnnaGrace Brackin [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Class Salutatorian.

2. Captain of women’s varsity swim team.

3. Co-founder of Graces’ HOPE, a not-for-profit raising money, providing support and lobbying for children with epilepsy and their families. Now housed within the Epileptic Services Foundation, received the Kids are Hearos award, the International Day of Peace award, a special commendation from Senator Bill Nelson, and the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service.

4. Member of National Honors Society, National Arts Honors Society, Phi Theta Kappa, and Psi Beta Honors societies.

5. Member of the Mayor’s Youth Corps.

6. Scholastic Arts & Writing Regional Gold Key recipient, National Gold Medal recipient and National Best in Grade recipient.

College or other post-high school plans: I am graduating high school with my associate's degree and plan to attend a four-year university. I have been accepted into the English departments of the University of Iowa, the University of Florida, Florida State University, and a few others. I will commit to one by May 1rst. After I graduate with my bachelor’s degree, I plan to go into the Naval Officer Candidate School where I intend to attain my master's and doctorate degrees while serving. I would ultimately like to teach at the post-secondary level.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Sea level in Florida is rising by as much as one inch every three years. This rise poses a great threat to public and private infrastructure, bringing with it great restorative expense not only in the aftermath of major events, like a hurricane but also from regular weather patterns, such as rain and tides. Florida’s shorelines are integral to our economy from both property tax and tourism revenue. The future of our shorelines requires money and cooperation from both the public and private sectors. The public sector should not just provide relief from disaster, or maintain current failing infrastructure. Public works should be required to incorporate coastal restoration and coastal reclamation, as well as storm surge and runoff water mitigation. These should be planned in regular, budgeted phases and when rebuilding from major events. There should also be a responsibility for preservation from private property owners, in the form of loss of property. The carrying capacity of our shoreline should be established, which would, in turn, result in a statewide development moratorium, also potentially disallowing the rebuilding of structures that sustain a certain level of destruction from a major event. In this model, the government buyout of property owners could also be considered. It may even make sense to consider lobbying for National Park designation to conserve and protect a percentage of our state shoreline. It is a balanced, public and private response that is required to preserve and protect as well as to ultimately save money and generate revenue.

Jean Andrew Valencia

School activities and accomplishments:

  • Vice President of Mu Alpha Theta
  • Blake High School Sunshine Scholar
  • National Hispanic Recognition Scholar
  • Blake Marching Yellow Jackets Band Captain

Richard Kearney

Richard Kearney
Richard Kearney [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. 5.1 GPA

2. Four-year varsity letterman Football

3. Two-year varsity letterman Wrestling

4. Three year Blake Football Scholar athlete

College or other post-high school plans:

I signed to St. Ambrose University to play football and pursue a degree in education.

Tribune Scholars Essay

As the climate changes and things like a rising sea level become a problem, we will have to find a solution. Obviously, we need to work to stop or slow the rise of sea levels by lowering carbon emissions and other pollutants. If the water levels do rise, it is important that Florida is protected. The cheapest and simplest way of dealing with this is to build barriers on land bordering coastal waters. Along with that, it is even more important that we protect estuaries and wetlands such as the Everglades. Although population will bounce back from sea levels rising, this could be a catastrophic blow to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world; this would destroy the biodiversity of Florida and likely cause even more environmental disasters. To pay for this protection, it will cost billions of dollars but that is nothing compared to how much it will cost if we just let it happen. The most affordable way to do this is to add one cent to the sales tax for all 21.5 million Floridians. This money will be able to fund the Florida Resilient Coastlines Program to protect us and our ecosystems.

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