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  1. The Education Gradebook

Steinbrenner 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.

Cole Aiken

Cole Aiken [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. High School Band: I participated in both marching and concert band for all four years of high school, attaining the leadership roles of section leader and Percussion Captain.
  2. Vice President and previous treasurer of my school’s chapter of the Science National Honors Society, earning a spot on the Steinbrenner High School Quiz Team for the past three years at local and state competitions.
  3. Made my school’s jazz band and played in it for three years.
  4. National AP Scholar Recipient after my junior year.
  5. Placed in the top 8 of my class of 604 academically with a weighted GPA of 7.14
  6. Over 200 hours of community service logged, volunteering at special needs events, helping the local middle school (Martinez Middle School) with several musical productions, helping facilitate charity runs, and participating in the BikeMS Citrus Tour for the past three years in support of research for Multiple Sclerosis.

College or other post-high school plans:

After high school, I plan to double major in Electrical Engineering and Music performance at the University of Florida as a member of their Honors College.

Tribune Scholars Essay

The sheer size of the obstacles we face as a species with regard to global climate change are enough to frighten any concerned citizen, but simply throwing money at the problem directly will not alleviate the hazards of what is to come entirely. A combination of efforts surrounding the ways in which federal funds are allocated must be made in order to tackle the challenge of our generation.

Given that the effects of global warming and rising sea levels are already beginning to appear in many places around the globe, there must be a step in the solution that deals in more immediate action being taken. Effective approaches to a more short-term resolution include the raising of roads, the further protection of sewer systems, and the implementation of seawalls along the coasts where the effects of flooding would be the most severe. In order to attain this goal, the state and national government must break the pattern of a declining budget for public infrastructure. Not only would this adjustment ensure the safety of millions of Floridians, but it would also provide a very large number of job opportunities to the American public.

Additionally, it must also be noted that the only way to solve the problem of rising sea levels is by minimizing the effects of climate change as a whole. The most effective way to do this is by delineating more funds to the education sector, spurring innovation in a larger number of communities and income levels.

Drishti More

Drishti More [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. Secretary-General of the first middle school Model UN conference hosted by a high school in Hillsborough County, known as WarriorMUN, also President of Steinbrenner High School’s Model United Nations Chapter
  2. Gave a Speech at the United Nations Headquarters (in New York) as a part of NHSMUN for the IAEA Committee
  3. 1st Place FBLA District champion for Healthcare Administration 3 years in a row (2018, 2019 and, 2020)
  4. 1st place and Critic’s Choice at Florida State Fair for Youth Painting
  5. 1st Place at Florida Strawberry Festival Youth Photo Contest
  6. Served on Florida State Thespians Work Crew that runs the largest youth theatre festival in the world (12,000+ people)

College or other post-high school plans:

Pursue a Major in Health Science and a minor in Public Health or Business at the University of Florida

Tribune Scholars Essay

The most important course of action Florida must take is retreating from parts of the coast. Florida must warn people on the coast to move inland. In a given period of years, determined by environmentalists, taxes on tourist industries should be raised so that the state government can purchase the coastline properties owned by private citizens at fair market value. By the end of the given period of time, citizens should have evacuated the coast. If they do not evacuate the coast by the end of the time period, they will not receive government compensation for any damages. Any extra revenue that is generated by the taxes will be used to fortify the shores.

For example, Florida generates roughly $40 billion per year from tourism. A 2% increase on the tourism revenue generates $800 million. This can cover the 1.6 million properties, when each property averages at $500,000. Which means that each year, roughly 1.6 million properties can be purchased by the government at fair market value. This is the most promising plan for the future of the Florida coast.

Jada Kamuf

Jada Kamuf [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Steinbrenner High School Varsity Swimming (District and State Championship qualifier)

2. Steinbrenner Mckitrick Academic Club Historian

3. Steinbrenner Peacemakers Club

4. National Honor Society & National Beta Club

5. Steinbrenner High School Varsity Lacrosse

6. Relay for Life committee member

College or other post-high school plans: Attend the University of Florida and major in health sciences on the pre-med track

Tribune Scholars Essay

As Florida faces the consequences of climate change, various measures are being taken to mitigate these problematic effects. However, these measures should not include armoring shores against rising waters. This is an expensive task that proposes a short-term solution to a long-term issue and will only succeed in depleting Florida of its economic resources while the floods continue to become more prevalent. Building this type of infrastructure is not the answer, as the construction will only serve to impair recreation, enhance erosion, and degrade water quality. Instead of destroying coastal habitats and interfering with nature, the government should focus on pushing the use of renewable energy and building effective policies to lower severe climate impacts. In addition, communities should be made more aware of these rising waters. Many do not see, or refuse to believe, the devastating impacts of climate change Florida is facing. Written warnings about the risk of floods should be clearly outlined to citizens looking to purchase coastal homes, and members of communities that are most susceptible to these floods should be given the option to retreat from parts of the coast. Furthermore, the government should offer to buy out property owners in flood-prone areas, which would save owners the trouble of rebuilding damaged property and high flood-insurance rates. It is imperative that both the government and Floridian communities take action to lower the impacts of climate change before the consequences are irreversible.

Jonathan Barbara

Jonathan Barbara [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. Valedictorian
  2. Co-President of National Honors Society (2019-2020)
  3. Class Treasurer (2016-2020)
  4. Principal’s Honor Roll (2016-2020)
  5. Key Club President (2019-2020)
  6. National AP Scholar

College or other post-high school plans: University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Undergrad)

Tribune Scholars Essay Question

Florida is known for its vast beaches that both residents and visitors alike flock to year-round. Yet, rising sea levels pose a major threat to communities across the coast, and due to Florida’s unique foundation, the solution is not simple.

In most cases, sea walls are used to protect a coastal city’s foundation by creating a barrier between the foundation and the water. However, due to Florida’s porous limestone foundation, sea water seeps under the wall and into the ground, mitigating the effectiveness of this measure. Another proposed method to reduce sea levels is raising homes, but this can cost upwards of $130,000 per home. As most residents can’t afford relocation, the most reasonable solution is the creation of natural barriers. Using tools such as oyster bars or mangroves, communities can help protect their land while helping local ecosystems thrive. These methods are typically more cost-effective than their counterparts and tailor to the special needs of Florida’s foundation. Rather than buying property outright, the government should subsidize the construction of these natural barriers to protect Floridians.

When it comes to the cost of protecting our land, the burden often falls on taxpayers. As we move into the future, it is suggested that both subsidies and tax revenue be used as a preventative measure rather than disaster relief. Using this revenue along with subsidies to build natural protections dually ensures the protection of both human and animal life across Florida’s coasts as we move into an uncertain future.

Kylie Burcaw

Kylie Burcaw [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Art Club President

2. All County Orchestra violinist

3. Completed Korean Summer Immersion Program at Hanyang University

4. Chamber Orchestra violinist

5. National Honor Society member

6. Tri-M Honors Society member

College or other post-high school plans: I will be studying to become a Nurse Practitioner at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) this Fall 2020.

Tribune Scholars Essay

The environmental consequences of eating animal products can no longer be dismissed as we watch the sea level rising more and more rapidly every year. Coastal regions have taken the biggest hit with states like Florida getting closer and closer to becoming a modern-day Atlantis. As a community, we cannot blame large corporations when we are in fact the problem for supporting them. The animal agricultural industry is responsible for immense amounts of greenhouse gas emissions which heat the atmosphere and ultimately cause the rising of the sea levels that have put our state in this situation in the first place. As an individual, eliminating meat and other foods from your diet would decrease the demand for animal products and thus decrease the amount of harmful gases released into our atmosphere as businesses no longer have consumers to supply for. Instead of spending millions of potential tax-payer dollars on retreating from the coast or armoring the shores, opt instead to go green and save the earth on a personal level. Switch out steak for tofu, chicken for black beans, or dairy milk for almond or oat milk. Simple changes add up over time and prevention is the best medicine. If we can prevent

Kathy Matos

Kathy Matos [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. MORE HEALTH Bike and Pedestrian Safety Teen Coordinator

2. HOSA (Health Occupational Students of America) ----Secretary (12th) and Public Relations (11th)

3. Yearbook- The Odyssey 2018 and 2019 (Steinbrenner High Yearbook program) ---- Group Editor (11th) and Sports Editor (10th)

4. Buddy Baseball in Temple Terrace (3 seasons)

5. St. Joseph's Children Hospital Teen Volunteer (1 year)

6. First Place qualifier for the 2020 Pharmacy Science regional HOSA competition

College or other post-high school plans: I plan to attend University of South Florida

Tribune Scholars Essay

Since first reading the prompt, my preconceived notion was that we should not manipulate nature’s process and stay with the possibilities that sea level risings may decrease unexpectedly out of hope and faith. However, after researching various articles with differing perspectives on the issue of sea levels rising, I have come to a general conclusion that is due for further review. Out of the two options given, I ultimately would say that we should not retreat from the coast, but instead, work with the shores instead of resisting. I understand that it is the only option given, having eliminated the second option to retreat, however, resisting against rising waters will only result in more material usage as the levels increase at a faster rate. Materialism in general is the prime reason for climate change and rising CO2 levels, therefore this issue has led me to believe that we should begin managing the rising water levels as the Dutch have done. If the government creates such systems, I believe that it could eliminate or reduce flood-prone areas. These areas are very specific; therefore, I would not expect expenses to become outstandingly unreasonable, but funded by the government by vote. Though it is a timely process worth years of preparedness, as researchers mention, if we establish a different kind of water-flow system in the front lines and create buildings that benefit or are unharmed by rising water levels, it could result in preventing massive flood damage in the years to come.

Logan Hasselbach

Logan Hasselbach [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. 2-time DECA ICDC qualifier
  2. FFA Livestock Judging Team
  3. NHS and BETA member
  4. AP Scholar

College or other post-high school plans: Attending UCF to major in marketing and minor in political science

Tribune Scholars Essay

As a Floridian, climate change is much more than a topic learned just in school. Living in the Tampa Bay area, rising waters will have a tremendous impact on our daily lives. I do not believe there is one easy fix for the effects of climate change. Protection of the land and residents will require a mixture of both armoring the shores against rising waters and retreating from parts of the coast. The quickest fix of course is to move from the coast, with homeowners protecting themselves and the property they can take. Unfortunately, there is no way to protect the entire coastline and many homes were built in areas that were at risk decades ago. If the government is going to require homeowners to leave the coast, there must be some financial compensation. Displaced homeowners could be compensated for the homes they’ve lost in order to have funds to secure a new home. Funding the armoring of shores against the rising waters needs to be the responsibility of both the state and local governments. Technologies and methods to protect shorelines should be vetted and researched well before projects are started to avoid wasted money and time. Climate change is not “maybe” going to happen, it is happening and addressing the effects such as rising sea waters needs to be done before the waves are crashing into our homes.

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