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Tampa Catholic 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.

Ashley Castaneda

Ashley Castaneda [handout]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. National Science Honor Society; President (2019-2020)

2. S.T.E.M. Club; Secretary (2018-2019), Vice President C

3. 2020 North Central Florida Regional Science Bowl; Team Captain

4. Spanish Honor Society; Member (2018-2020)

5. SHAPE Senior; Member (2019-2020)

6. National BETA Club; Member (2019-2020)

College or other post-high school plans:

I have committed to the University of South Florida and plan on majoring in biology on the pre-med track. After I get my undergraduate degree, I plan on attending medical school. Ultimately, I hope to work as a forensic pathologist for the FBI.

Cara Pamintuan

Cara Pamintuan [handout]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Varsity Cheerleading Captain and 2018 FHSAA Cheerleading State Champion

2. Mu Alpha Theta Vice President

3. Advanced Placement Scholar with Honors

4. New Tampa Parks and Recreation Junior Camp Counselor Volunteer

5. Tampa Catholic Flag Football

6. Member of Tampa Catholic Beta Club

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

Tribune Scholars Essay

Numerous groups debate whether climate change is an issue far beyond repair, or if it is a growing complication that must be addressed in order to stop this imminent threat. Nevertheless, the effect that climate change is having on the worldwide environment is evident; a myriad of islands in the Pacific and Caribbean are gradually being eroded by rising sea levels. It is not unimaginable to witness the same events occurring in Florida soon. With the issue escalating, Florida will have to take immediate measures.

Considering the extensive number of local governments, laws, ordinances, and jurisdictions, a comprehensive solution to the problem would require state-wide oversight. Water goes to the path of least resistance; the weakest link in the chain would be fatal to the success of the project. Moreover, Federal laws and regulations must be respected. The EPA has authority over waterways as it relates to water quality.

The cost of such a vast project is far too costly to have the state finance it; the Federal government would have to be involved in the construction of a project so large. The majority of land being threatened is in private hands. Homes, condominiums, hotels, restaurants, and businesses residing in low-lying areas on the coast should initiate a plan to retreat from shores. While this proposal is unfavorable, residents must take preemptive measures to avoid the impending danger. The government should buy out the property while simultaneously slowing the erosion of land through the construction of physical barriers.

Katherine O’Neal

Katherine O’Neal [handout]

School activities and accomplishments:

  1. VARSITY CROSS COUNTRY (CAPTAIN SENIOR YEAR): 10th-12th Grade
  2. STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT/STUDENT GOVERNMENT: 9th-12th Grade
  3. LEADERS CLUB OFFICER: 9th-12th Grade. I have been an officer of my YMCA’s Leaders Club for the past three years, and I help plan rallies, meetings, and volunteer opportunities. My Leaders Club has helped with YMCA initiatives and has volunteered at local community events such as Coastal Clean-Up, Gasparilla Races, and Trick-or-Treat Street at Riverview High School.
  4. CROSS OUT CANCER REPRESENTATIVE BOARD: 11th & 12th Grade. Cross Out Cancer is a student-run non-profit that raises money for families affected by pediatric cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital through an annual 5K. I have been on the representative board that hosts the 5K for the past two years.
  5. PALOMA FAMILY STUDENT-ATHLETE EXCELLENCE AWARD: 11th Grade. This award is granted to one female and one male who has demonstrated leadership and excellence in both athletics and academics.
  6. MIDDLE SCHOOL TUTOR: 11th Grade. I volunteered weekly as a tutor for middle school students struggling with pre-algebra, geometry, reading comprehension, and writing skills.

College or other post-high school plans: I plan to attend the University of Notre Dame majoring in International Economics and Spanish.

Tribune Scholars Essay

There are no simple solutions to climate change, but for the sake of future generations, we must enact change now.

Regarding rising sea levels, communities should both armor their shores and retreat from the coast. As sea levels threaten to rise above cities like Miami and St. Petersburg by the turn of the century, Florida should model the Dutch, who have sustainably lived below sea level since the nation’s founding. With funding from The Florida Resilient Coastlines Program, our coastal cities should engineer similar structures such as parking garages, basketball courts, and gardens that act as retention ponds or water reservoirs. Furthermore, physical barriers act as supplemental protection against rising waters. They have proven to be successful in Louisiana, where levees and other barriers have protected cities like Pierre Part and New Orleans. However, attempting to overpower nature is not a long-term solution. Therefore, the government should introduce a gradual “phasing-out” program that seeks to relocate communities that are at the greatest risk of rising sea levels. As residents move away, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development should purchase these homes at their fair-market price, which would lessen the population living near the water. As time goes on, this strategy may necessitate more aggressive action.

Of course, these solutions are simply band-aids over a larger problem: climate change. Unless we fundamentally alter how we live, we will continue to face issues like rising sea levels with no easy answers in sight.

Marianne Porras Bouzas

Marianne Porras Bouzas [handout]

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Varsity tennis, 4 years

2. Multiple honor societies, and president of Spanish Honor Society

3. National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar and National Merit Commended Scholar

4. Principles honor roll, 4 years

5. Student government secretary sophomore and senior year

6. AP scholar with distinction

College or other post-high school plans: attending Florida International in the Honors College majoring in Biomedical Engineering

Tribune Scholars Essay

The drastic changes in climate that we have been experiencing and will continue to experience could potentially have adverse effects on Florida and the whole world. In the case of Florida, rising water levels increase the amount of damage flooding can cause to both homes and businesses on waterfront locations. It is essential to combat and protect Floridians from this danger. Therefore our first defense should be armoring our shores. The planting of mangrove trees along the shoreline provides a natural defense against the damages of flooding. Not only would mangrove trees protect flooding, but they also intake high amounts of carbon, fighting against the causes of climate change. This prevention method should be paid for by the whole state of Florida through tax funding, even though not all counties are directly affected by coastal flooding. The counties who do not have access to the shore should still help pay for armoring the coast with mangrove trees because a large part of Florida’s economy comes from tourism generated by beaches and along the coast. Therefore, the coast is vital to all of Florida and should be protected by the whole state. Mangrove trees are an excellent first step, but they may not be able to protect everyone everywhere. In places where there is no other option, then the government should buy out owners in a flood-prone area. The whole state must come together to fight against rising water levels.

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