Jefferson 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.
Maritime and marine environment studies are part of the leadership academy offered at Jefferson High School in Tampa.
Maritime and marine environment studies are part of the leadership academy offered at Jefferson High School in Tampa. [ Hillsborough County School District ]
Published May 19, 2020|Updated May 20, 2020

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.

Amine Rizk

School activities and accomplishments:

Class of 2020 Magnet Salutatorian

Former class president

President of Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society

Volunteer for Metropolitan Ministries, The Port of Palm Beach, and the Palm Beach Toy Drive

Active member of the National Technical Honor Society

Active member of the Florida Public Service Association

College or other post-high school plans: I plan on furthering my education at Florida State University in Tallahassee to focus my study on criminal justice and leadership abilities.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Sadly, Florida is one of the states that is at a high risk of flooding, and with the climate changing so rapidly, we must think about the future of our state and not live in the present. Due to this rising concern, Floridians in flood prone areas should invest into protecting our shores from these possible floods, and if floods continue to become a pressing issue with continued climate change, I would advise Floridians on the coast to think about retreating from the coast line in order to reduce possible damage and the disruption of life statewide. While I do believe the government should help in situations like this, we as Floridians cannot wait for the tragedy to strike and be unprepared, relying on the government to shelter our family and friends. Property owners in flood-prone areas must always be ready for the worst. We have to accept the fact that climate change is real and will not wait for us to be prepared against tragedy. The mindset that climate change is just a hoax or will not affect us in our lifetime is the naive mentality that will lead to us being swept off our feet, both literally and figuratively.

Daniel Pimienta

Daniel Pimienta
Daniel Pimienta [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. National Honor Society Member 2019-2020

2. French National Honor Society Member 2018-2020

3. Salutatorian of Jefferson High School

4. Certification in CIW Internet Business Associate

5. I have taken 4 AP classes with 5 more on the way!

6. English Honor Society Member 2020

College or other post-high school plans:

Follow what’s happening in Tampa Bay schools

Follow what’s happening in Tampa Bay schools

Subscribe to our free Gradebook newsletter

We’ll break down the local and state education developments you need to know every Thursday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

• Getting my driver's license

• 2 years of college at HCC and 2 years of college at USF or UT in my major of Cybersecurity.

Additional information for judges (will not be made public). This may include family, health, financial or other personal information (no more than 250 words).

Tribune Scholars Essay

Currently as sea levels keep rising amidst human induced climate change; There are now many homes and homeowners who are now at a greater risk for floods and catastrophic damage from tropical storms and hurricanes. The issue now is should homeowners and communities armor their shoreline against rising waters or retreat from parts of the coast to mitigate the amount of property damage. It would be in the best interest to balance the needs of our public system and the need of the public by implementing a careful mix of both policies. A carefully implemented and government regulated site stabilization for implementing BMP to prevent soil from eroding. In shorelines where this is impossible and armoring shorelines would hurt the marine habitats of organisms; homeowners and communities would have to retreat from parts of the coast in order to avoid property damage and allowing for the needs of people and nature to both be addressed.

The work will undoubtedly have a fiscal cost. The sole responsibility for managing the costs and paying for the work of the site stabilization of communities should fall onto the state government of Florida. In addition, if armoring a specific shoreline would be too environmentally costly, the state government of Florida should use eminent domain to buy out property owners in areas now in flood prone areas along the unarmored shoreline for the safety of the homeowners.

Jennifer Vazquez Chavez

Jennifer Vazquez Chavez
Jennifer Vazquez Chavez [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Thespian Honor Society

2. National English Honor Society

3. Teen Trendsetter

4. Student Government Association

5. Senior Class Club

6. Leadership Advisory Board

College or other post-high school plans:

University of South Florida for Psychology then getting my masters.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Some things are never certain. Do we for sure know what happened 65 million years ago that wiped out dinosaurs from the face of the Earth? Do we even know for sure what dinosaurs even looked like for all we know they could have been pulling off a Mohawk and we would never know? Although that seems highly unlikely these are just examples of the mysteries of our world. The world is always changing, people are always changing, one form of change came with the name global warming. Something that people claim today still is not even real is making the future for the new and older generations seem uncertain. For all we know just 25 years from now Florida could be underwater. Now just because there is a risk of something happening a couple years down the line does not mean we should just pack up and leave. There’s a reason Florida is so highly recognized and it’s not just because of the bad stuff that appears on the news. The people of Florida are very strong and no matter from what part of Florida one is from, we all form one very large community: with over 20 million people. This means that if all of us just took certain measures surely, we could make a difference for everyone. Now I’m not saying that only one state can make a difference an impact in something as global as climate change, but the battle of the many comes from the actions of the few. If the nation can come together for a common goal then we can all be able to both ensure that we are proactively ready for climate change so that everyone can remain happy and safe, exactly where they want to be, at home.

Leslie Facio-Aguiniga

School activities and accomplishments:

  • DECA
  • National Honor Society, Treasurer
  • Band
  • National Technical Honor Society
  • Teen Trendsetters
  • Valedictorian of Senior Class (Magnet)

College or other post-high school plans: University of Florida

Tribune Scholars Essay

As Florida faces a future with a changing climate those communities where the damage of rising water is inevitable should retreat from that area. However, in my opinion armoring their shores can encourage people to live in potentially dangerous areas which by no means is safe. In addition, the waters will continue to rise, so eventually those communities will no longer be habitable. If I am being honest, I do not think that the area of focus should be solely on what will happen to the communities, but rather how we can prevent waters from continuing to rise. If we do not find methods of preventing waters from rising, then armoring our shores will not do anything. In the state of Florida alone, there are around 22 million people, misplacing and or redirecting those people elsewhere is not the solution either. As for funding, those people who are or will be forced to evacuate should receive a fund from the government, enough so that they can relocate. Instead of the government buying out property owners in flood-prone areas, the government should invest that money into climate action and minimizing the causes of such climate changes. Additional funding can come through state taxes, fees that comes with using products that are harmful to the environment, and trade deals such as: cap-and-trade. Lastly, funding can come from “full” pricing, by using the additional money that is gained from this type of pricing towards climate action.

Radeja Addison

Radeja Addison
Radeja Addison [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Graduated from Hillsborough Community College by obtaining an Associates degree while being a Dual enrolled student.

2. Proudly ranked 3rd in my class with a GPA of 6.575

3. Participation in Naturally Aware Proud and Strong club (NAPS), and Historically Black Colleges and Universities Club (HBCU)

4. Member of National Honor Society, National French Honor Society, and National Technical Honor Society

5. My freshman year, I cheered on both JV & Varsity team all while being a Junior coach for Tampa Bay Youth Football League where I completes 100+ hours teaching young girls how to cheer.

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan to further my education by attending Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. I plan to Major in both Business Administration and Political Science on a Pre-Law track. I plan to get my JD and MBA and become a Business Lawyer.

Tribune Scholars Essay

I believe that communities should both armor their shores against rising waters and retreat from the coast. I believe that the government should fund majority of the expenses to armor the coast because taxpayers fund the government. Although the climate change is inevitable it is no ones fault. I don’t believe it will make a difference if the government buys out the flood prone areas because they would still want to make profit off the property that is affected. Therefore, they would still fund armoing the shores. I believe they would also increase the amount of insurance for the properties that lie on or relatively close to the coast. I believe they would also increase the amount of insurance for those properties that lie on or relatively close to the shores.

Samantha Groves

Samantha Groves
Samantha Groves [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. A member of National Honor Society

2.Captain of Jefferson High Schools varsity softball team

3. A member of National English honor society

4. Valedictorian of the traditional class

College or other post-high school plans:

attending University of New England to study marine biology and play college softball

Isabel Millan

School activities and accomplishments:

1. President of Kitty Hawk Society(2019-2020)

2.Vice President of Kitty Hawk Society(2018-2019)

3.Operations Officer of AFJROTC(2019-2020)

4.Scheduling Officer of AFJROTC (2018-2019)

5.Baton Death March Ribbon(2017)

6.Service Ribbon(2017-2020)

College or other post-high school plans: I will be attending the University of South Florida majoring in chemistry on a pre-med path in hopes of getting into medical school and becoming a pediatric surgeon.