1. The Education Gradebook

Plant City 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.

Carley Cotnoir

Carley Cotnoir [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Senior Class Council Treasurer

2. National Honors Society

3. Interact Girls Service Club

4. Raider Buddies Club Officer

5. Yearbook Staff: Editor In Chief

6. Varsity Flag Football Team Captain

College or other post-high school plans: Attend Florida State University to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Attend Dental school to pursue a career as a pediatric dentist.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Climate change in Florida is causing sea levels to rise about one inch every decade, and heavy rainstorms are becoming more severe. These rising sea levels and weather changes could cause flooding in the future to Florida’s communities. Flood control and prevention is vital to Florida because flooding can occur when we least expect it. In prevention, Florida should armor their shores against rising waters. Armoring shorelines is the use of physical structures to protect shorelines from coastal erosion. They are beneficial because they prevent intertidal areas from moving inland. Even though armoring shores is not 100% beneficial in preventing flooding; communities should not have to retreat from parts of the coast unless other prevention techniques are not working. The only downside to all of the prevention is the cost. Armoring shores can be expensive. I believe that property owners and government jurisdiction should split the cost of the work because rising water is effecting private and public parts of the coast. Living on the coast of Florida is something that residents enjoy; therefore, it should not be taken away from them. When property on the coast of Florida is bought, the owner is aware of potential flooding. Therefore the government should not buy out property owners in flood-prone areas because they were aware of potential flooding and flood-prone areas can change yearly. In conclusion, if prevention techniques are done throughout Florida and along the coast there should be less issues involving flooding due to rising waters and climate change.

Christian Bentrovato

School activities and accomplishments:

1. President of Plant City Sr. FFA

2. Treasurer for Interact Boys Service Club

3. Member of The National Honors Society

4. Member of the National Technical Honors Society

5. Member of the National Society of High School Honors

6. Vice President of the Hillsborough FFA Federation

College or other post-high school plans: I am going to attend Hillsborough Community College then transfer to The University of Florida and attain a degree in Food and Resource Economics with a minor in Political Science.

Tribune Scholars Essay

It is undeniable that Florida’s coastline is in jeopardy of being destroyed by rising waters. In these trying times it would be in our community’s best interest to armor our shores against the rising waters where it is possible to do so; to retreat from those areas that cannot be fortified. Right here in our own state, the City of Miami is spending millions of dollars to raise the roads that are close to the water’s edge and to also install pumping stations to keep floodwaters out of the city. This practice should be adopted across the state and could be funded by either a new tourism tax or budgeted into the department of transportation’s annual budget. While many areas of the state will be able to be protected from rising waters if proper measures are taken, like raising the roads and surrounding land, some properties will not be able to be protected. In these cases, the government will have to step in to buy these properties. Places like the keys are the most susceptible to rising sea levels as they are very remote and it would be very difficult to raise the land on the small islands. In situations where the only choice is for the government to buy the properties, the state government and local governments could turn these new properties into more parks. In the coming decades, the state of Florida will need to use all of these resources to combat rising sea levels.

Kyle Hamilton

Kyle Hamilton [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Class of 2020 Salutatorian

2. Class of 2020 Senior Class President

3. Troop 5 Eagle Scout

4. Varsity Boys Swim Captain

5. AP Scholar with Honor

6. Optimist Club Youth of the Year Award

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan to attend the University of Florida to double major in Women and Gender studies and Cellular and Molecular Biology and minoring in Art History. After obtaining my undergraduate degrees, I plan to attend medical school at Columbia University to become a Disease Specialist with a focus on HIV/AIDS research. I hope to one day be apart of the research team that puts an end to the atrocity known as AIDS.

Tribune Scholars Essay

As an Eagle Scout, one of the first things they teach us about scouting is to “leave no trace.” This environmentalist derived motto perfectly encapsulates my perspective on the rising rates of climate change on Earth currently. I feel that the combination of protective measures coupled with the relocation of parts of the shoreline would drastically benefit Florida’s natural ecosystems. To generate funds for the necessary services, a half-a-penny sales tax could be implemented on non-essential items being sold on Florida’s coastal areas. For example, this tax could be applied towards items commonly purchased by tourists such as swim floaties or goggles. The generated funds could provide enough monetary income to provide jobs for Florida’s unemployed homeless or even immigrant population. I believe that this would be the best approach because it would provide the necessary services to protect the coasts, while also providing work for those who need it most. Although I feel that the protection of our shorelines is vital in ensuring the safety and future of Florida’s economy, I do not believe that the government should “buy-out” at-risk flood areas. Property owners of areas that could potentially flood are already aware of the dangers that come with owning such beautiful pieces of land. Instead of wasting money attempting to buy out flood-risk areas, I feel that those funds should be allocated towards the preservation of local marine life and surrounding flora on the coastal regions.

Rebecca Field

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. Secretary of Plant City High School Art Club
  2. A member of the 1290 club (scored above a 1290 – in my case, 1310 – on the SAT)
  3. Member of National Honor Society
  4. Over 120 community service hours
  5. Member of my schools Student Government
  6. Participant in various local art competitions/showcases, including recently being accepted into the Tampa Museum of Art’s Congressional Showcase

College or other post-high school plans:

I am attending the University of South Florida pursuing a digital art degree. I hope to get a job as a storyboard artist at a major cartoon network

Tribune Scholars Essay

Much of Florida’s economy is dependent on its beaches and coastal areas, and the scientific community is in agreement that global warming will lead to rising sea levels. To address this proactively, I believe communities should begin to retreat from those parts of the coast. Although armoring the shores can protect the beaches or wetlands as the sea levels rise, this can also have a negative effect on the marine life and the beach front by restricting the movement of sediments, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Moving centers of population away from the coasts, even slightly, would allow residents and visitors to continue to enjoy the natural beaches while ensuring the stability of the community and its infrastructure should sea levels rise. Although I am not certain in eminent domain can be used by the government in such cases, I believe the government should compensate affected home and business owners in making such a move. This could even happen in conjunction with the insurance industry, which would see a benefit from the state having fewer high-risk properties on the coast. Such actions, although expensive, could prevent more costly interventions in the future should sea level rises become catastrophic.

Taryn Storter

Taryn Storter [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. National FFA Organization- Current Plant City High School Vice President and Hillsborough County FFA Federation Vice President

2. Plant City Optimist Club Outstanding Youth (2020)

3. Florida Strawberry Grower’s Association Ambassador (2020)

4. Plant City Interact Girls Service Club Vice President

5. Hillsborough County Fair Junior Harvest Queen (2017)

6. Plant City Drama Club Outstanding Sophomore and Lead in Spring Musical (2018)

Community Service:

  • Relay for Life Team ToMarrow- raising money for the American Cancer Society and partnering with the National Bonemarrow Registry to find matches for bone marrow transplants.
  • Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine- I served as a buddy at this prom event for individuals with special needs.
  • Christmas Lane- I was selected to be a “celebrity elf” and the angel for the Living Nativity. I sang Christmas carols, made children smile, and helped showcase the true meaning of Christmas.
  • Feeding the Homeless- I helped serve the homeless of Plant City through Interact Girls at Plant City High School.
  • Fuge Summer Camps-I served the communities of Mobile, Alabama, Charleston, South Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina, and Jefferson City, Tennessee during summer camp. I mostly worked in day cares and sports camps serving the children of these areas.

College or other post-high school plans:

I will attend Liberty University in the fall to obtain a degree in Journalism.

Tampa Tribune Essay

Our changing climate will have an enormous impact on the state of Florida in the years to come. Not only is Florida very warm, but our seawaters are rising at a steady pace. It has been determined that the water surrounding Florida rises as much as one inch every three years ( Environmental writer, Jeff Goodell, predicts that Miami will be underwater by 2050. In addition, much closer to home, “current figures predict that by 2060, half the livable land of St. Pete’s Beach will be underwater, and that rises to 99.5% by the turn of the century” ( I believe that seaside communities should build and enforce preventative measures for the water that will continue to rise. There are several different ideas concerning this issue, such as building sea walls, planting trees and foliage, and establishing and enforcing no wake zones.

The question comes down to who should pay for these preventative measures. Ultimately, I think that everyone should share in these costs. The local, state, and even federal governments need to come together in these actions as the consequences of inaction are too great and affect us all. However, I do not believe the government should be obligated to buy out property owners in flood-prone areas. The tax payer’s dollars should not be used to purchase land owned by individuals. The issue of climate change and rising water is one that needs to be addressed immediately. Each of us can do our part to preserve our cherished shoreline.