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  1. The Education Gradebook

Sickles 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 Pham

Andrew Pham
Andrew Pham [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Principal's Honor Roll (2016-Present)

2. National Honor Society Member

3. Mu Alpha Theta Calculus Competitor (Placed 13th individually and 5th in team competition at 2019 Math Bowl)

4. Junior Varsity Hockey Player

5. Quarter-finalist for 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

6. Rank 11 in the Sickle's senior class

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan to get a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at either the University of Central Florida or the University of Florida and I am hoping to get a career in automotive engineering, because I have an obsession with cars, problem-solving, and applied math/physics.

Tribune Scholars Essay:

In order to combat climate change, communities in Florida should look to defend the shores and migrate away from the coast. Retreat from the coast only serves as a short-term solution, essentially avoiding the problem and setting the communities up for more drastic repercussions in the future, thus communities should also proceed with armoring the shores to address the problem immediately. Legislature at both the national level and at the state level has been inadequate in dealing with climate change and has prioritized delaying its effects rather than preparing for its consequences and, as a result, it is quintessential that both of these methods be implemented in order to prevent complacency in procrastination and to provide a tangible contribution towards combating climate change in the future. Using both methods would require a significant amount of capital and that would come from the residents of Florida themselves. Everyone living in Florida should contribute to the work required, most likely through taxes, because everyone contributes to climate change whether it be through automobile emissions or waste production and rising waters is a developing concern for the safety of everyone in Florida, not just the people living on the coast. Although I believe the government should attempt to help property owners in these areas, it must be a relief fund and not a full-on bail out. These owners knew the risks of buying homes on the coast and the money from the government could be used more efficiently in implementation of aforementioned methods.

Anna Kate Hamann

Anna Kate Hamann
Anna Kate Hamann [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

  • Second violin section leader for Sickles High School Orchestra
  • Teen volunteer for the Safety Harbor library (children’s division)
  • Involved in multiple honors societies: Science Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Math Honor Society, National Honor Society
  • Maintained a 4.0 throughout high school with ten AP’s and seven dual enrollment courses while having passed all AP exams taken, scoring a five on all but two
  • Secretary for the school’s orchestra
  • Participated in the school’s Statistics team with attending multiple regional and state competitions

College or other post-high school plans:

I will be attending the University of South Florida honors college. I will be majoring in Biomedical Sciences possibly double majoring in psychology. I will hopefully get into medical school to become an optometrist.

Tribune Scholars Essay

As the shores continue to rise, there is little “armor” that will be a complete solution. In the current climate, protection will not stop the waters from rising to a point when it is no longer safe to continue living by flood-prone regions. Individual households may consider buying flood insurance or elevating their houses to prevent flooding from ruining a home. As far as government involvement, multiple cities in the United States have already created plans to slow the dramatic effect of increased flooding. One suggestion is making beaches larger by placing more sand on the current beaches. Beaches provide a natural barrier to lessen the effect of storm surges. As many at-risk cities in Florida have a beach, it may be both an environmentally conscious and a strong protective measure to enact the extension of beaches. Another idea similar to lengthening beaches is creating other natural barriers. This would entail actions such as planting mangroves, establishing barrier reefs, and strengthening marshes, therefore, acting as walls and improving the ecosystems around the area. Although ideas like these are a good way to slow flooding, those in high-risk flooding areas should move inland as the water level rises. These projects will cost money in addition to if the people relocating have the government buy the land from the owners. As Flordia has one of the lowest tax rates of any state, I would advise bringing back personal income taxes to fund these programs.

Arthur Berry

Arthur Berry
Arthur Berry [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Sickles High School Varsity Tennis Captain

2. National English Honor Society Officer

3. Spanish Honor Society member

4. National Honor Society

College or other post-high school plans:

University of Florida

Brian Pholvichitr

Brian Pholvichitr
Brian Pholvichitr [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

Vice President of National Honor Society (NHS)

President of Spanish Honor Society (SHS)

Sickles High School, School Board Forum Representative

Sickles High School, West Pointe Leadership Conference Representative

Sickles High School, Future Health Professionals (HOSA) Representative

Salutatorian for Sickles High School

College or other post-high school plans: I plan on attending USF in the fall. I will be majoring in a science field, most like biomedical sciences. After obtaining my Bachelor’s, I will apply to different dentistry programs, with the hope of becoming a dentist in the future

Tribune Scholars Essay

Climate change is having a huge impact on Florida coasts. As climates are getting hotter and storms are getting stronger, Floridians live in a peninsula where water is always near and coasts are flooded often. Communities along the shores of Florida are greatly impacted because communities are being flooded and these floods are getting worse. There is no, single solution to solve this issue, but the government and the communities around these areas need to work together to ensure that rising water does not impact their lives further. Areas that are already flood-prone should retreat from those parts of the coast to protect themselves in the future. However, areas that are not heavily affected by floods still have time to armor their shores. Some ways these areas can fight rising water are to create better flooding systems and planting trees to help absorb water. These ideas are harder than they seem, financing these projects will not be cheap and revenue will need to be raised. The people that should help pay for these works are the ones that live in the communities and the government. In flood-prone areas, the government should offer to purchase the property from the owners, if they allow it. If the owners choose to keep the property than it is their responsibility for damages to the property when it floods. This is a very prevalent issue in Florida, but it will take a team effort from the communities and the government to overcome these obstacles.

Hannah Jacob

Hannah Jacob
Hannah Jacob [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Founder/President, Speech & Debate Team Fall 2018-Present Set weekly agendas, train new members, preside over meetings, and assist with organizing competitions. Membership doubled in 2nd year.

2. Co-President, Environmental Club Organize volunteering opportunities, engage/inform members about current environmental issues, & run club affairs for 41 members.

3. Vice President, National English Honors Society Coordinate annual book drive for the Boys and Girls Club Tampa, foster awareness during literacy week, and liaison with the sponsor.

4. Researcher, Ap Capstone Program Conducted content analysis of Biblical Allusions/Christian themes found in John Steinbeck’s books. Only one in school to do a literature-based project.

5. FSA English Tutor at Sickles High School. Explain reading concepts and assist in mastering skills to ultimately pass the Florida Standardized Assessment (FSA), a graduation requirement.

6. Multidisciplinary Volunteer with Exchangettes Service Club Volunteer at Bakas Equestrian Center (provides Equine therapy for those in the disabled community), cleaning horse stalls and acting sidewalker on trails. Also assist at food banks, community gardens, and walks.

College or other post-high school plans: Public Health Major at USF and desire to be a Pediatric Dentist

Tribune Scholars Essay

Climate change has many disastrous impacts including an increase in natural disasters. Often, the coastal areas are most influenced by these climate-induced changes, leading to severe damage to surrounding properties and the natural landscapes. Under the current FEMA buyout system, homeowners faced with a natural disaster can have their home bought at market value to assist financial recovery time. However, this buyout system is often lengthy and only effective after the damage is incurred. Understanding the limitations of the current system cements that the best solution for communities is to combine retreating from the coast and armoring shores. A simple avenue to combine both is through the utilization of Eminent Domain. Eminent Domain is defined as the ability for the government to acquire private property to transfer for public service with compensation. The armored shores such as seawalls and vegetation will count as a public service as it protects the community at large. This would allow the combination strategy to be justified as Eminent Domain and allow the government to pay for the work. Ideally, an increased tax either nationwide or specifically on those in coastal areas would need to be applied to generate enough revenue for the Federal government to pay for the work. Otherwise, the Federal budget would need to allocate more money towards the EPA and the Eminent Domain Bureau, which will lower the spending budgets of other departments. The impacts of climate change are predicted to become worse, so a long-term solution is vital.

Josh Francis Ngoboc

Josh Francis Ngoboc
Josh Francis Ngoboc [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. Gardening and Volunteering at State Parks
  2. Intern at Metropolitan Ministries
  3. Debate Leader for Political Club
  4. Mu Alpha Theta Competitor
  5. National Honor Society Member
  6. Kaggle Competitor

College or other post-high school plans: Enrolling at the University of Southern California

Megan Norstrud

Megan Norstrud
Megan Norstrud [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. Secretary of the NHS; this year we were able to pull off a Zombie 5k in which we hosted at our school to raise money for charity, as we leave the school we have helped create a long lasting event that will help raise money for charities every year.
  2. Played varsity soccer all four years of high school as well as was captain for two years.
  3. Brought the HOSA club to Sickles my freshman year and have helped run the club as well as be secretary this year.
  4. Volunteered at St. Josephs hospital in different areas and was able to help peoples stays at the hospital be a little less dull by making arts and crafts with children and playing games with them so they were able to get their mind off of being there.
  5. A Night to Shine is an event that I participated in in which I was able to help Autistic and disabled children have a special Prom night. I was able to connect with many of them and it made both of our nights extremely special.

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan on attending the University of South Florida in the fall, as well as continuing to volunteer at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Florida constantly faces many crisis’s which includes some that no one has control over, like the weather. As a state everyone should work together and armor the shores against rising waters, as most people in Florida use the beaches. People shouldn’t be forced to vacate their beach front properties if they feel comfortable, because of the amount of problems it would cause to relocate these people in an already highly populated area. The government should be in charge of putting up safeguards and barriers to protect these people. In order to armor the shores they will need some way to procure the money to afford the different methods to reduce the flooding and the damage it causes, one way may be for the government to impose a higher sales tax in problem areas or increase taxes of property owners in the higher risk areas. The government should try to buy out those properties that are in the highest flood risk area, if the property owners refuse, then it would be their own issue to resolve the problems created by the flooding and the erosion of their property. As a community, people should come together to form a solution to combat this detrimental problem and have provide ways to preserve the beautiful beaches and enhance tourism for the state of Florida.

Melissa Perotin

Melissa Perotin
Melissa Perotin [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. I was selected to be a Drum Major of the Sickles High School Wall of Sound as a junior. I have held this position in the Marching Band for the past two school years.

2. I have been playing the flute in my school’s top performing band since I began at Sickles. I earned first chair as a freshman and have maintained that position since. I have auditioned and made it into several honor bands, including All-County and All-State.

3. At the end of my junior year, I was selected to be president of my school’s chapter of the National Honors Society. This past year, we held a Zombie 5K at our school which raised money that was donated to Red Cross for those negatively impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

4. I am a member of an all-female service club called Exchangettes. I earned the reward of “Most Earned Hours” amongst members my junior year.

5. I usher at my local church at Sunday masses.

College or other post-high school plans:

I will be attending the University of Notre Dame this fall. I was accepted into the Mendoza College of Business and plan on studying Business Analytics.

Tribune Scholars Essay

For Florida to prepare for the natural consequences of a changing climate, it is necessary that communities both armor shores and retreat from parts of the coast. When deciding what of the two options work best for various parts of the coast, analytics would be of great use, such as using statistical data representative of future conditions. Ultimately, the process of armoring should be limited to protecting essential infrastructure, such as ports. After Hurricane Andrew, Florida set a new standard for wind resistant design. Florida too should set a new standard for flood resistant construction, of which all infrastructure on shores should meet. Community members should retreat from areas that are of high risk, either because of location or not having resilient infrastructure.

To help reduce the number of people living in flood-prone areas, the government should make effort to buy out property owners, with reward. An incentive program should be established to encourage and help make the relocation of community members possible. The property of which the government would obtain should not be used for further construction. No more construction should be taking place in flood-prone areas. Instead, the property should be open to the public. In addition, the incentive program could also award property owners of the essential infrastructure which would be armored. For example, the owner of an essential port would pay for the work to take place, however, they would receive an incentive from the government for doing so.

Sara Rusheidat

Sara Rusheidat
Sara Rusheidat [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Concertmaster of Sickles Chamber Orchestra for 3 years

2. Participated in All-County for all 4 years of high school

3. Participated in All-State Honors for 1 year

4. Completed over 250 hours of community service

5. Orchestra Representative Officer of Tri-M Honor Society

6. Vice President of Sickles Orchestra

College or other post-high school plans: Attending USF starting in the summer to pursue a Bachelor’s in Computer Science

Tribune Scholars Essay

As Florida faces an uncertain future with a changing climate, communities should retreat from parts of the coast from rising waters. Florida is highly prone to hurricanes, especially in the Key West region. Homeowners in these areas are at high risk of losing their houses and livelihood. As these homeowners go through riding out hurricanes such as Irma back in 2017, they face losing valuable items they may never financially recover from, or even their life. With these risks present, communities wishing to armor their shores against rising sea levels will most likely lose their property value that the government could buy out. So property owners can relocate from an area that is not worth saving or rebuilding. The government should be responsible for paying for the work because homeowners endure high stress as they attempt to look for new communities and neighborhoods they can afford and possibly a new job if they travel a great distance from their old, vulnerable homes. The government buying out property owners in flood-prone areas would also have a positive impact on the environment. Wildlife such as the endangered Key Deer can return to their old habitats once destroyed by humans. Water and air quality in these areas can lead to a drastic improvement as there would be a decrease in pollution from houses and cars. Buying out these areas would also decrease the chance of passing a vulnerable property site to someone else along with lowering the cost of flood insurance.

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