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  1. The Education Gradebook

Leto 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.

Ethan Skidmore

School activities and accomplishments:

1. President of Leto Marine Science Club

2. Goalkeeper for Leto Boys Soccer Team

3. Vice President of Leto Rho Kappa (National Social Studies Honor Society)

4. Historian of Leto NSHS (National Science Honors Society)

5. Participant in the Big Brothers Big Sisters School-To-Work Program

6. Member of the School Advisory Committee and Parent Teacher Student Association

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan to go the the University of Tampa with my major undeclared to further explore my interests and then choose my major after a year or two. I look forward to the many opportunities that await me in college such as new friendships, internships, study abroad programs, and other volunteer, educational, and recreational opportunities. During (if possible) and after college, I would like to go back to the recreational soccer league where I grew up playing, and volunteer as a youth soccer coach.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Florida is in a unique position, as most of the state is surrounded by water. With much of Florida having coastlines with beachfront communities and ecosystems, Florida is especially vulnerable to sea level rise caused by global climate change. To protect our communities from flooding and our ecosystems from beach erosion, actions such as improving coastal resiliency must be taken against climate change.

Armoring our shores is vital to dealing with the rising waters, but it would be impractical to suggest that people retreat from all parts of the coast. While state and local governments may be able to buy out owners of certain properties in low-lying coastal areas, this is not the best solution. However, if there are undeveloped or abandoned properties in flood-prone areas, these properties should be purchased. New development and residential homes should follow updated guidelines and be built beyond (above) the coastal high hazard zone, while existing coastal developments should be armored, where possible, in accordance with updated shoreline standards.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection should bear primary responsibility for organizing and funding Florida’s coastal resiliency efforts. However, coastal communities should also contribute funding through taxpayer dollars. Moreover, to avoid raising taxes, budgets may need to be altered and funds could possibly be diverted from other programs. In summary, it will take a combined effort from Florida’s residents and government in order to better prepare our state for rising waters and the impacts brought along with them.

Jacob Copeland

Jacob Copeland
Jacob Copeland [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Accepted into the National Honor Society in 12th Grade

2. Accepted into the Beta club in 11th Grade

3. Achieved all of the requirements for one of the bright futures

4. Have done over 100 hours of community service for the school

5. Taken dual enrollment and honors class all of my high school years

6. Have also been involved in the Tech Club and Anime Club

College or other post-high school plans: Enrolled into Florida Polytechnic University

Tribune Scholars Essay

Being an Environmental major, I believe that we should retreat from parts of the coast because climate change is our own undoing. There is no point in defending an area where the coast is disappearing because of sea level rising. If greenhouse emissions didn’t exist, the Earth would be in a much better situation. My goal is to reduce climate change so we can get back on track. People need to understand that the Earth comes first, not basic manufacturing resulting in greenhouse emissions. We are guests on Earth; therefore, climate change needs to end now in order for us to keep on living. Onto another topic, I believe all countries need to be part of the solution because this is not a single person problem, this is everyone’s problem. I believe that the government should use their money, while also collecting tax payer’s money, to pay for the work because if this doesn’t happen, then climate change will continue to change more areas than the coast. I believe that the government should buy out property owners in flood-prone areas because sea level rising will probably destroy them first when it reaches an extreme level. I hope we start listening to professionals about climate change because sea level rising is coming soon and no one is going to expect it. I am eager to go into environmental Engineering so I can be a part of the solution and not part of the problem!

Karen Rodriguez

Karen Rodriguez
Karen Rodriguez [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. I am the top seed position and the captain of the girl’s tennis team at Leto High School.

2. I am the president of The Outdoors Club at my school.

3. I am one of the runners in Leto’s cross country team.

4. The girls cross country team and I won an award for having the highest GPA in our district.

5. I am the valedictorian of the Leto Collegiate Academy class for the class of 2020.

6. I am very involved in the world of sports, so I help my schools ahteltics program by volunteering at sporting events such as Nash Higgins for track and field and many others. In addition, I also help tutor students at my school in math, so they can get good grades and continue to participate in school activities like clubs and sports.

College or other post-high school plans: I plan on attending the University of South Florida and earning my bachelors in mathematics. After that, I will like to further my studies in math by attending Massachusets Insititute of Technology and earning my masters and possibly my doctorates in mathematics. Furthermore, I plan on using my degree to work for the Federal Buerau of Investigation as an analysts in the counter-terrorism unit. Once I retire from the F.B.I., I would like to become a teacher at Leto High School and teach Algebra II.

Tribune Scholars Essay

It is no doubt that our environment is a problem that has been creeping up on humanity for the past years and will continue to make itself noticeable for the years to come. The state of Florida is now faced with the problem of rising sea levels and flooding due to climate change. Some communities in Florida are bigger than others and have more money to deal with future flooding by using adaption action areas; however, other communities are simply too small and will not have the money to afford armor against rising waters and will have no other option but to retreat from the coast. Therefore, both armoring and retreating from the coasts can be used to battle climate change. The work for all of this should be payed by the state governments and the communities themselves. Moreover, I do believe that government should buy out property owners in flood-prone areas because it causes debt for the government to continue to rebuild the properties after they have been flooded repeatedly. Also, it causes debt on the individuals who keep having to fix their homes after being flooded and some families do not get flood insurance. I believe that owners can use the money they obtain from buyouts to relocate somewhere safer. Of course, this calls into question people from rural areas that aren’t getting as many buyouts as those from wealthier areas and the government will have to come up with a way to help them as well.

Lorena Basulto

Lorena Basulto
Lorena Basulto [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. AVID peer tutor
  2. Student Mentor
  3. Mathematics Tutor
  4. ESOL Award Ceremony
  5. Freshman Orientation
  6. Henderson Hammock Uniform Distribution for those who can’t afford them

College or other post-high school plans: I will attend the University of South Florida and major in Computer Science. Afterwards, I will go on to law school.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Florida is currently facing many challenges as the weather changes, frequently causing shore waters to rise which threatens residents and business owners. To combat this, it’s important to armor shores and retreat when necessary; in addition to having the option of the government buying out property owners in flood prone areas.

Beaches are an important part of Florida, since the Sunshine State is popularly known for them. Because of this it is important for communities to know when to armor their shores and when to retreat. Else, there will be a loss of property as a result of coastal erosion which causes the loss of shoreline sediment. A large portion of Florida beaches are surrounded by businesses who would suffer tremendously if their property is threatened; the lost business would directly affect the state’s economy and eventually its residents. Additionally, to prevent the loss of land and business it is crucial to find a balance between the retreating and armoring. Moreover, the cost of armoring and retreating should be paid by the properties in the area where treatment is necessary.

Also, owners in flood prone areas should have the option of the government buying them out; however, it should not be a mandatory regulation. As owners, they should still have the right to decide. This option will offer the possibility of moving to a safer location, while the government would protect owners, and also benefit from having more land for community activities since homes bought out are typically torn down.

Michelle Velez

Michelle Velez
Michelle Velez [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. DECA- Vice President (3 years)

2. Awards-2nd place Districts: Start up Business plan (DECA) 2019 and 2nd place Districts : Start up Business plan (DECA) 2018

3. Social Studies National Honor Society club- Secretary (2 years)

4. I held a fashion show every year for 3 years at my school.

5. Volunteer at Life Treasure Hospice with 450+ hours (met some of the best people)

6. Nominated for a tradition award at Leto called “Leto’s finest senior”

College or other post-high school plans: USF for a degree in Marketing

Tribune Scholars Essay

Florida is home to the most breathtaking beaches in the world. Attracting millions of tourists each year, it comes to no surprise that people seek our shoreline as a place to call their “forever home”. Unfortunately, recent changes in our climate have put these dream destinations at risk due to the dangers of sea level rising.

With many individuals situated on our beautiful beaches, the question remains; should they move or stay? These communities should move as Florida is currently below sea level and staying is a risk. It comes down to the safety of the public and as hard as it will be for some to move, it is a beneficial necessity. Florida may be known as the sunshine state however, in the past couple years the most violent hurricanes and devastating floods come to mind.

Homeowners should evacuate their homes and the state government should fund these moves as it is their duty to protect the community. These beach homes are worth up to millions of dollars and a lot of people have put their whole life’s savings into them. It is only fair for homeowners to receive some compensation for their home’s worth in order to be able to buy a new home. At the end of the day it is not their fault but, it is the government’s job to be there to provide for the people and their safety.

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