1. The Education Gradebook

Bloomingdale 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.

Andrew Tidd

Andrew Tidd
Andrew Tidd [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Valedictorian of Bloomingdale High School

2. Captain of The Rajun’ Bull Marching Band

3. Co-Founder of the Bloomingdale High School Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Club

4. Captain of the Varsity Tennis Team

5. AP Scholar with Distinction

College or other post-high school plans:

I will be attending Stanford University in pursuit of a degree in Nuclear Chemistry.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Armoring our shores against rising sea levels will do nothing in delaying the rise of sea levels, and it will lead to extreme failure. In the fight of Man vs. Ocean, my money is always on the ocean. The more man tries to alter the environment the more the environment will fight back, and that is a fight that not even human ingenuity could sway. Because of this, we must show the damage climate change can cause to our beaches and to our economy which is built upon the foundation of our coasts. After presenting the negative projections faced by our state to the government, we must provide them an answer. Our answer . . . armor up. Why: you ask? I just said that man could never win in a fight against the ocean. Exactly, once the government is willing to allocate substantial resources to battling nature, we will show them that it would be easier to alter energy production and enforce policies that will help us work with the environment instead of against it. The world needs a leader in the fight to save the planet, and that leader must be bigger than one person. Once we show the positive effects that simple energy and climate-conscious policies could create. We can encourage the Federal Government to finally take a unified stand against climate change. Then, with political unity, the United States can be the leader that the planet is literally dying for.

Aryn Hill

Aryn Hill
Aryn Hill [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. AP Scholar with Distinction (July 2019)

· Awarded to students who “receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.”

2. Senior Department Award (February 2020)

· Chosen by all social studies teachers at Bloomingdale High School as the best social studies student for class of 2020

3. National Honor Society (January 2018 – May 2020) Active Member, Secretary of Records, Community Service Coordinator

· Secretary of Records 2018-2019. Responsibilities included organizing induction for new members, taking notes at meetings, and advertising upcoming events.

· Community Service Coordinator 2019-2020. Responsibilities include organizing events for members to participate in throughout the community by contacting local schools and non-profit organizations who need volunteers as well as attending all service projects.

4. National English Honor Society (November 2018 – May 2020) Active Member, Treasurer

· Treasurer 2019-2020 Responsibilities include collecting national dues, regulating the budget and spending, and ordering honor cords for graduating seniors.

5. Ambassadors Show Choir (July 2019 – May 2020) Choreographer

· Create and teach original dances for the school’s advanced show choir to perform.

· Assist with directing rehearsals and provide feedback on performances.

6. Steering Club (August 2017 – May 2018, August 2019 – May 2020) Sophomore Representative, Senior Representative, Senior Breakfast Committee Member

· Raise money for events for my graduating class.

· Organize and plan the Senior Breakfast to celebrate senior’s last day.

College or other post-high school plans: I will be attending the University of Florida where I plan to major in Biology or Pharmacy on a pre-medicine track.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Answer these questions (no more than 250 words): As Florida faces a future with a changing climate, should communities armor their shores against rising waters, retreat from parts of the coast, or both? Who should pay for the work? Should the government buy out property owners in flood-prone areas?

I believe that with rapidly developing climate change and rising water levels, it would be wise of people in Florida to armor their shores against rising waters where the shores are already populated. However, in areas that have not been developed, local governments need to create special precautions so that there are protected areas. Houses should be built with greater distances between the shore and the house. Also, homeowners need to ensure that their houses are built up to help prevent potential flooding situations. The cost of any steps towards protecting privately owned houses from rising waters should be paid by private property owners who built on the beach. However, if an area or building is positioned to provide public access to a beach, the costs should be covered by the government. I do not believe that the government should buy out property owners in flood-prone areas. Nevertheless, governments need to be prepared to intervene if there is an area that could potentially cause great destruction to communities. Also, if an area will benefit the public, the government needs to consider buying out property owners to better the usage of the land.

Audra Nikolajski

Audra Nikolajski
Audra Nikolajski [ COMPUTER - APPSRV21 : USER - APP | handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. I have been the Editor in Chief of the Bloomingdale Yearbook Staff for the past two years, and I was a staff member for one year prior. I have been the leader in making two excellent yearbooks, both from the student’s perspectives and in terms of journalistic standards.

2. I am the president of the BETA Club at my school this year and had the privilege of being a member the year prior. Beta Club is an honor society which focuses on leadership and academics. I have been able to volunteer with so many amazing organizations during my time with the club. A few examples include: A Kid’s Place, Relay for Life, and ECHO. In this position I was also able to implement a marker recycling program at Bloomingdale.

3. I was selected as the only Student Reporter for my community newspaper, The Bloomingdale Gazette. As I am the only student to write for the paper, I am able to provide a unique and insightful teenage perspective. I am so glad that I have been able to write for the paper, because I intend to major in journalism.

4. I am a member of the Student Government Association Executive Board at Bloomingdale which has been so much fun. I was able to serve as the committee head of both the Spirit Committee and the Pep Rally committee while also being selected as part of an elite committee of only five members to run elections for class and SGA office from home due to distance learning. With the organization I have also been able to volunteer with some really incredible organizations, like Metropolitan Ministries, Relay for Life, and Incredibulls, which is a Special Olympics put on by the Student Government at Bloomingdale for schools all over the county.

5. Junior year I won 2nd place for fiction writing in all of Hillsborough County. My piece was titled “The Girl” and was narrated by a tree. It was a piece dedicated to spreading awareness of gun violence in schools in a non-violent way. With the 2nd place win, it was published in a book which each winner of every category has a copy of. "The Girl" was also adapted to be used as part of a local 5th grade curriculum. They spent several weeks analyzing the story and writing their own stories based on tree narrators. At the end of their unit, I was able to go in and talk to them about my story and their work; they even read me their stories. It was an incredible experience.

6. I was the Co-Captain and MVP of the Bloomingdale JV volleyball team my freshman and sophomore year, as well as Captain of my travel volleyball team for Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior year.

College or other post-high school plans:

I will be attending the University of South Florida as part of their Honors Program. I intend to triple major in Journalism, Psychology, and Education. Ultimately, I would like to be an author and a professor.

Tribune Scholars Essay

In a state like Florida, which is profoundly affected by climate change, there is not a simple solution which can reduce all threats that the state and its inhabitants will face. It will require a multi-faceted approach to effectively preserve the coastline and protect Florida’s inhabitants. In order to maintain tourism, which is vitally important to Florida, any effort to save the shoreline must be appealing and effective. Traditional shoreline armorings, like seawalls, are unpleasant to tourists as well as marine life. A more adequate armoring would be sea plants and dunes which not only protect the shoreline but also build it up in a natural and eco-friendly way. Sea plant root systems protect from erosion due to hurricane force winds as well as rising waters, both of which are threats of climate change.

Both individuals and corporations continue to invest in beach front property, but this will not continue to be profitable. We must refocus from producing new beach front property to naturally armoring property which is already in danger. While the state government continues to generate revenue from taxes and tourism, they can afford to fund this natural shoreline armor and invest in other resources, like coastal buildup. As well as shoreline armoring, in the long term, federal governments should allocate more funds to reaching lower emission goals nationwide, as greenhouse gas emissions are the greatest contributing factor to climate change. Individuals, state, and federal government must work together to protect Florida’s inhabitants and its famously beautiful shorelines.

Daniela Padron

Daniela Padron
Daniela Padron [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Rajun’ Bull Marching Band

· Part of the band 9th-12th grade

· Been on leadership for 3 years; 10th grade Historian and 11th-12th grade section leader

· Volunteer for the Bull’s 5k and the Marching MPA’s

2. UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund)

· Part of the club 10th-11th grade

· Been Historian 10th-11th grade

· Volunteered at A Kid’s Place, School Beautification, Special Olympics, and Relay for Life

3. National Beta Club

· Part of the club 10th-12th grade

· Volunteered at A Kid’s Place, Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and Bull’s 5k

4. Rho Kappa (History Honor Society)

· Member 12th grade

· Leadership position of treasurer

5. National Honor Society

· Part of the club 12th grade

· Volunteered with tutoring, Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and Bull’s 5k

6. Bloomingdale Swim and Dive team

· Part of team 9th-12th grade

· Made it to Districts 10th-12th grade

College or other post-high school plans:

After high school, I will be attending University of Florida St. Petersburg and obtaining my bachelor's in marine biology. After that, I will be obtaining my master’s in conservation biology and working in marine conservation research as well as marine animal rehabilitation.

Tribune Scholars Essay

We are currently faced with difficult decisions that if not acted on sooner rather than later, will lead to increasingly negative consequences. One of those decisions in Florida, would be to decide whether to move inland or try our best to armor our communities against the rising waters.

From the start, we should educate people on the risks and responsibilities that come with owning a home near the beach. Even with the rising waters, owners may be opposed to moving inland and leaving their homes behind. Because of this, we should do our best to prepare communities for these problems, such as building seawalls and groynes, building houses on higher land, or building stilt houses. If these measures fail, we can then begin to retreat.

When it comes to who should pay for the work, the government should allow private contractors to build the protective structures necessary for each community. The insurance companies covering these properties should pay for the reconstruction of these houses if their owners decide to move inland. Now, I do not believe the government should buy out property in flood prone areas. Previously, the government had not involved itself when it came to buying out these properties or paying owners for damages, and we should maintain that precedent. Instead, we should use a system, like FEMA, that has the government work as a back-up for the insurance companies. Thus, ensuring that homeowners will not have to bear the full burden of rising waters.

Jordan Chastain

Jordan Chastain
Jordan Chastain [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Bloomingdale Senior High School Band, Section Leader

2. Bloomingdale UNICEF Club, Co-Founder/Vice President/President

3. Bloomingdale SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) Promise Club, Co-Founder/Executive Board Member

4. Bloomingdale Senior High School AFJROTC, Recruiting Officer/Administrative Officer

5. Florida Sunshine State Scholar, 2019

· More information available at

6. National Merit Scholar Finalist

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan on studying Biochemistry at either University of California: Berkeley or Rice University, a decision which will be made once each school releases their final financial aid offers. During my first two years of undergraduate school, I plan to work at an on-campus chemistry lab during the school year and apply for every single NASA or space-related internship available during the summers. In my remaining two years, I will use my laboratory experience to apply for NASA or off-campus laboratory jobs.

Upon graduation, I plan to have enough experience to earn a position at either an advanced biochemistry lab or, ideally, a NASA Space Center. I love biochemistry and astrobiology, and I want to spend my career studying organisms in extreme environments on Earth to predict what types of traits extraterrestrial life might need to survive on other celestial bodies. I plan to continue my education with my graduate and doctoral degrees while at this job. Once I have enough experience and meet the minimum requirements, I plan to apply to the Astronaut Training Program. Applicants do not usually make it all the way through the process on the first try, so I will continue to build my resume while I apply to every application cycle until I am accepted. My life goal is to further humanity’s understanding of the universe and those possibly sharing it with us, and every part of my post-high school plans is a step towards this goal.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Communities should partake in a multifaceted approach that involves both protecting shorelines and moving inland to respond to increasing flood risk. Seashore protection would need to involve erosion prevention and dike construction. Beach erosion moves shorelines inland without any rise in sea levels, so protections such as appropriate vegetation should be implemented. Dikes have also been proven to be successful in international flood protection, such as the iconic Dutch dikes protecting the Netherlands. However, the Netherlands only have a fraction of the coastline Florida has, and our state alone cannot stop all erosion, so communities in the most flood-prone areas must also be prepared to move inland so that the areas who will benefit the most from each dollar spent in protections can be the ones who receive them. If those property-owners in severely flood-prone areas want to stay where they are and protect their homes themselves, they should be allowed to do so after ample educational information has been provided. The state should not buy out these properties, for that is not a usual response to areas prone to natural property damage, such as sinkholes. The government would pay for the protection work, however, since this long-term investment would allow the state to continue thriving. Further research could even allow the dikes to act as dams and produce electricity. Overall, communities should be willing to acknowledge and protect areas that can be saved and make individual moving decisions about those that can’t.

Julia Salvo

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Being Junior Steering Secretary.

2. Being the Junior Steering Volunteer Chair.

3. Being involved in Relay for Life for all 4 years.

4. Being a part of 12 clubs at Bloomingdale High School.

5. Being a part of 5 honor societies including National Honor Society, National Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Kappa and Spanish Honor Society.

6. Being involved in the Incredibull games for all 4 years.

College or other post high school plans:

After graduation, I will be attending the University of Florida where I will be studying biology on a pre-medical track.

Tribune Scholars Essay

As florida faces a future with a changing climate, communities should not armor their shores against rising waters but rather retreat from the coasts because enforcing the shoreline would destroy the ecosystem and prevent new ones from forming in the future. By placing large walls or other armor on the coasts, the surrounding ecosystems will be completely altered and ultimately killed. But even after the ecosystem dies off, the resulting environment will be unable to respond to changes in sea level and other dynamic coastal processes. Climate change will inevitably result in a significant alteration of the environment, but by retreating from the coast rather than armoring it, we will leave the ecosystems with a fighting chance in adapting and readjusting to the new habitat. Similar to the duty humanity has towards the environment, the government has towards its people. The government should pay for any expenses because it’s role is to serve and protect the people. Thomas Jefferson once said “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness,” and with the threat of environmental collapse, this quote holds firm the true purpose of the government. As the ruling body, it should protect the people both physically and financially in such difficult times by both moving communities out of harms way and compensating its members for flood prone land. The government should not only buy out property owners in flood prone areas, but it should also federally protect that land.

Kendra Hacker

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Captain of the swim team

2. Violinist in Chamber Orchestra

3. Vice President of Orchestra

4. Member of National Honor Society

5. Received seal of biliteracy

6. Placed 5th in 2016 Algebra 2 math bowl

College or other post-high school plans:

I am going to attend the university of Florida in the fall and major in Electrical engineering and minor in mathematics.

Tribune Scholars Essay

With the world facing climate issues, Florida is the most vulnerable to the effects. The question everyone has is how we protect our land. I believe that the best we can do is try to protect the coast and put whatever is necessary to armor them up. Even if we tried to make people retreat from parts of the coast, there will be stubborn people that will refuse to leave because of the coast’s natural beauty. With that said, the issue with armoring the coast is how to pay for the cost. Everyone in the world is always thinking about money. In a perfect world everyone would want to chip in and help build the protection we need for our coasts. However, we don’t live in a perfect world. The best way to pay for it is by the government. If the government has enough money to pay every adult in the U.S. $1200, they can pay for the protection of our people. The problem with waiting for the government to pay is it’s not going to happen unless we push for it. The government likes to wait until the last second to go into action. Us Floridians need to show the people of the United States that there is something worth fighting for. We need to show the people that nobody wants to lose the beauty of our coast and we need to act now to ensure its protection.