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  1. The Education Gradebook

Tampa Bay Technical 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.

Manya Bhandary

Manya Bhandary [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. I am an active member of HOSA- Future Health Professionals. I was a local officer my junior year and am the regional secretary this year. I love competing and have been to three regional conferences, two state conferences, and placed at one international conference!
  2. My junior year, my HOSA team and I were able to meet with a member of the House of Representatives (Ross Spano) to propose a bill that would aid survivors of human trafficking. This bill has now been introduced.
  3. I am an active member of the National Honor Society and was its Vice President my sophomore year and its President my junior year.
  4. I have 175 community service hours from volunteering at several places, such as Moffitt, Westchase Music School, Revive Rehab, Skigen & Henley Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Metropolitan Ministries, as well as events such as Light the Night to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
  5. I will be receiving my Associates in Arts degree from Hillsborough Community College through dual enrollment this semester.
  6. I am an active member of Key Club.

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan to attend the University of South Florida to obtain a degree in biomedical engineering. Once completed, I aspire to go to Emory University to obtain my masters in biomedical engineering.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Climate change- it’s a term we often hear. We know that it has detrimental consequences for not only our generation, but also for those to come. Even then, what are we doing about it?

As we know, most of Florida is at or near sea level, thus making it especially susceptible to flooding (a consequence of climate change). This begs the question of how we should combat this issue. Some suggestions include armoring our shores against rising waters, having the government buy out property owners in high risk areas, or simply retreating from parts of the coast. These are all valid options that, with taxpayer money, should be employed together. However, these tactics can only work for so long. Eventually, we will run out of ways to protect our shores. Citizens may begin to resent paying taxes to fund these efforts when the problem continues to worsen. Nevertheless, the only plausible solution is battling climate change itself. We can start small by using public transportation a couple times a week or consuming less cattle in order to reduce emissions. Eventually, government intervention will be vital. Politics aside, climate change determines our future. Our government must enforce regulations on the practices that emit greenhouse gases and protect carbon sinks.

Inevitably, not everyone is going to agree to these actions, which is why compromise is key. It will be arduous. However, it is an uphill battle and no matter how difficult it may seem, change is possible.

Peyton Potter

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. Secretary (2018-2019) of Tampa Bay Technical High School’s National Honor Society (NHS) and NHS President (2019-2020)
  2. SNHS (Spanish National Honor Society) officer in the following roles: Secretary (2016-2017 and 2018-2019), Treasurer (2017-2018), and Co-President (2019-2020)
  3. HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) chapter’s Historian (2018-2020)
  4. Completed over 475 hours of community service through several service organizations including:

· South Bay Hospital

· Advent Health Hospital, Tampa

· Bay Life Church

· Metropolitan Ministries

· Tampa Bay History Center

· Tampa Bay Technical High School

· Boy Scouts of America

5. Historian (December of 2017-May of 2018) for the Tampa Bay History Center’s Teen Council

College or other post-high school plans:

This Fall, I will attend the University of North Florida. At the University of North Florida, I have been accepted to the Hicks Honors College and was chosen for the Freshman Admit Nursing program. Additionally, I plan to double minor in Public Health and Global Health.

Tribune Scholars Essay

“Florida has more to lose with sea rise than anywhere else in the U.S., new study says,” (Miami Herald, Harris). Aside from the breathtaking view and soothing ocean breeze, it is common knowledge to almost every Floridian that living near Florida’s shores comes with a price. Due to its close proximity to the sometimes-threatening ocean, beachfront homes are especially vulnerable to dangers that stem from rising sea levels including hurricanes, floods, and erosion.

Due to the high tourism revenue that is generated along beaches, such as beach rental homes, those areas should remain open to the public, but at the resident’s/visitor’s risk. To increase safety against rising sea levels, beachfront communities should take proper precautions to armor their properties. This includes building a beachfront property a safe distance from the water's edge, maintaining a buffer between the property and the property line, planting salt tolerant vegetation to minimize erosion, elevating the boiler, buying flood insurance, and elevating the property itself (Coastal Erosion Hazards, Hilton Head Island and 7 Ways to Flood-Proof Your House, Talbot).

Some would argue that it is the government’s place to step in and manage risky areas, thereby having taxpayers pay to relocate citizens away from the dangerous shores. While that is a possible solution, the right should be left to the American people to evaluate their safety. As the resident or property owner chooses to own a property along the shore, they should be the responsible party to pay for the protection of their property.

Sarah Varon

Sarah Varon [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. National Honors Society (secretary and historian)

2. FFA

3. Part of the veterinary assisting magnet program at my school where I have earned my animal science degree and will test to become a certified veterinary assistant

4. 300+ hours volunteering at my local vet clinic (Keene’s Veterinary Hospital), Bakas Equestrian Center, and the Suncoast Primate Sancuary

5. Honor Roll every semester of high school with a weighted GPA of 7.0

6. Black Belt in mixed martial arts

College or other post-high school plans: I will be attending the University of Florida in the fall as a part of the pre-veterinary program.

Tribune Scholars Essay

The raising water levels in Florida is a very serious issue and action must be taken by the government as soon as possible. Ideally, communities should try to build away from coasts, but in many highly populated cities, this is simply not possible. The best and most practical way to combat rising coasts is to build protective infrastructure. Some examples are seawalls, raised roads, and storm water pumps. Some natural barriers can be used as well. Beaches, mangrove trees, and barrier islands can all be used to protect buildings from rising waters. These are only some of the many solutions. This should all be paid for by local and state governments. This infrastructure may be expensive, but the government will save money in the end. Rising coasts are inevitable and in the long run, the price to prevent disasters is significantly lower than the cost of disaster relief. If there is severe flooding that does damage to buildings, local and state government should request help from FEMA to offer to buyout properties on the coast that were damaged. If preventative actions are taken, there will be notably less properties the government would need to buyout. When it comes to natural disasters such as the rising coasts in Florida, it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive. The necessary infrastructure must be built immediately so Florida can be readily prepared for this growing issue.

Sibal Khakiyeva

School activities and accomplishments:

1. 100+ hours of community service hours at MOSI

2. 40 hours of volunteering at Orient Road Child Development Center

3. 15 credit hours of Dual Enrollment Courses at HCC

College or other post-high school plans: Enroll into University of South Florida for Psychology Degree. Minor in Early Childhood Education and Major in Psychology to hopefully become a Child Psychologist in the future.

Tribune Scholars Essay

Climate change is a major problem that’s continuing to arise with the lack of action that states have taken to stop the increase of global warming. This phenomenon affects both national security and human security across the world, but particularly in Florida. Florida residents who live near the shore are threatened by rising waters. Their homes are at risk of flooding, which is primarily why the government should enact a bill which protects owners of flood-prone homes by buying out the property in such areas. As temperatures increase because of climate change, the risk of hurricanes increases dramatically. Florida is known to have hurricanes, but the rising waters due to global warming will increase the frequency of hurricanes which can in return cause devastation within the entire state, not just coastal areas. To prevent this, the government should protect the property owners on coastal flood-prone areas by buying out the property and having them move to a safer place elsewhere, and the people have a responsibility to be more considerate and mindful of climate change and the contributions that are being made to minimize its impact on the world.

Sophia Alonso

Sophia Alonso [ handout ]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Valedictorian

2. Art Academy Club President

3. 3 Year member of the National Honor Society earning 40+ volunteer hours

4. Varsity Wrestler (2 years) and Manager (1 year) earning 100+ volunteer hours

5. Key Club (4 years) earning 50+ volunteer hours

6. Dual Enrolled all 4 years

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

Tribune Scholars Essay

I have seen first hand the impacts of rising waters from my bedroom window. I live in a house along the Alafia River where the weathering and erosion caused by coastal currents have torn through our seawall and are slowly stripping my backyard. Building safeguards against the increasing sea level is something that impacts my family and millions of others in Florida.

In the interest of the citizens of Florida, the best action the government can take is prevention. Our tax money should be channeled into funds for protecting the ecosystems that protect us. The wetlands that once covered our state served as the best defense against the erosion and rising waters we face on our coasts. The roots of mangrove trees hold soil in place while exposed dirt allowed for water to soak in. With heavy developments and increasing use of hard surfaces, rain and tides aren't allowed to percolate. This is what causes heavy flooding and disasters for the homeowners in Florida. Instead of retreating from the shores, homeowners should invest in vegetation in their yards to absorb water and prevent floods. Government intervention is necessary in the protection and expansion of wetland ecosystems along our coasts instead of replacing them with infrastructure.

If homeowners and the state officials were to come together and work to preserve our coasts with only the best interest of the citizens of Florida in mind, we could change the impending future of our homes underwater.

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