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Meet the 2021 valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas public schools

After a year like no other, this week’s graduations highlight those who have excelled.
After moving outdoors in 2020 because of the pandemic, most of the 2021 commencement ceremonies for Pinellas County public schools will return to Tropicana Field. Seen here is the Northeast HIgh class of 2018 waiting to ascend to the stage before getting their diplomas.
After moving outdoors in 2020 because of the pandemic, most of the 2021 commencement ceremonies for Pinellas County public schools will return to Tropicana Field. Seen here is the Northeast HIgh class of 2018 waiting to ascend to the stage before getting their diplomas. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times (2018) ]
Published Jun. 1

BOCA CIEGA HIGH

Valedictorian

Bryce Springfield, 18

Bryce Springfield
Bryce Springfield [ Courtesy of Bryce Springfield ]

GPA: 4.73

Parent: Sherri Springfield

College: Princeton University

Major: Economics

Salutatorian

Morgan Luff, 18

Morgan Luff
Morgan Luff [ Courtesy of Morgan Luff ]

GPA: 4.70

Parents: Julie and Michael Luff

College: University of Florida

Major: Pre-med

• • •

CLEARWATER HIGH

Valedictorian

Brian Ngo

Brian Ngo
Brian Ngo [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.72

College: St. Petersburg College

Salutatorian

Marinna Stopa, 18

Marinna Stopa
Marinna Stopa [ Courtesy of Marinna Stopa ]

GPA: 4.68

Parents: Patricia and Mark Stopa

College: University of Florida

Major: International Studies (pre-law)

• • •

COUNTRYSIDE HIGH

Valedictorian

Emelia LaCognata, 18

Emelia LaCognata
Emelia LaCognata [ Courtesy of Emelia LaCognata ]

GPA: 4.85

Parents: Joseph and Jennifer LaCognata

College: Florida State University

Majors: Pre-clinical professions/behavioral neuroscience

Salutatorian

Tia Walker, 18

Tia Walker
Tia Walker [ Courtesy of Tia Walker ]

GPA: 4.70

Parents: Jeff and Vanitha Walker

College: University of Tampa

Major: Actuarial science and finance

• • •

DUNEDIN HIGH

Valedictorian

Moshe Singerman, 18

Moshe Singerman
Moshe Singerman [ Courtesy of Moshe Singerman ]

GPA: 4.65

Parents: Jamie and Angela Singerman

College: University of Florida

Major: Biology

Salutatorian

Evan Michael Alberty, 18

Evan Michael Alberty
Evan Michael Alberty [ Courtesy of Evan Michael Alberty ]

GPA: 4.52

Parents: Michael Alberty and Mindy Smith

College: Undecided

Major: Undecided

• • •

EAST LAKE HIGH

Valedictorian

Ashley Wilson, 18

Ashley Wilson
Ashley Wilson [ Courtesy of Ashley Wilson ]

GPA: 4.70

Parents: Wendy and Timothy Wilson

College: Duke University

Major: Chemistry (biochemistry concentration)

Salutatorian

Jackie Wu

Jackie Wu
Jackie Wu [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.61

Parents: Tianhe Wu and Yinping Wang

College: University of Florida

Major: Engineering

• • •

ENGINEERING ACADEMY AT EAST LAKE HIGH

Valedictorian

Lorena Britton, 17

Lorena Britton
Lorena Britton [ Courtesy of Lorena Britton ]

GPA: 4.73

Parent: Rosa Britton

College: Harvard University

Major: Human developmental and regenerative biology

Salutatorian

Aidan Hogan, 17

Aidan Hogan
Aidan Hogan [ Courtesy of Aidan Hogan ]

GPA: 4.70

Parents: Patrick and Terri Hogan

College: United States Naval Academy

Major: Naval Architecture

• • •

GIBBS HIGH

Valedictorian

Emma Harrison, 18

Emma Harrison
Emma Harrison [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.45

Parent: Suzan Harrison

College: Mount Holyoke College

Major: Art history (museum studies)

Salutatorian

Maggie Tran, 18

Maggie Tran
Maggie Tran [ Courtesy of Maggie Tran ]

GPA: 4.44

Parents: Hoang Van Le and Tuan Tran

College: University of Florida

Major: Piano performance

• • •

HOLLINS HIGH

Valedictorian

Angie Muka, 18

Angie Muka
Angie Muka [ Courtesy of Angie Muka ]

GPA: 4.79

Parents: Irma and Joe Muka

College: University of Florida

Major: Biology (pre-med)

Salutatorian

Sofia Sanchez, 18

Sofia Sanchez
Sofia Sanchez [ Courtesy of Alicia Rosario ]

GPA: 4.70

Parents: Alicia Rosario and Juan Sanchez

College: University of Central Florida

Major: Biology

• • •

LAKEWOOD HIGH

Valedictorian

Khyla Price, 18

Khyla Price
Khyla Price [ Courtesy of Khyla Price ]

GPA: 4.22

Parents: Linda Gaines, Shawn Price, Luciano Silipo

College: Undecided

Major: Undecided

Salutatorian

Muhammad Abdullah, 17

Muhammad Abdullah
Muhammad Abdullah [ Courtesy of Muhammad Abdullah ]

GPA: 3.82

Parent: Jennifer Wallace

College: St. Petersburg College

Major: Dentistry

• • •

CENTER FOR ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES AT LAKEWOOD HIGH

Valedictorian

Mateo Budan, 16

Mateo Budan
Mateo Budan [ Courtesy of Mateo Budan ]

GPA: 4.63

College: University of South Florida

Major: Undecided

Salutatorian

Ryan Smith, 18

Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith [ Courtesy of Ryan Smith ]

GPA: 4.59

Parents: Anne and Matthew Smith

College: University of Florida

Major: Aerospace engineering

• • •

LARGO HIGH

Valedictorian

Charlotte Meyers, 18

Charlotte Meyers
Charlotte Meyers [ Courtesy of Charlotte Meyers ]

GPA: 4.59

Parents: Amy and Mark Meyers

College: Georgia Tech

Majors: Mathematics/nuclear engineering

Salutatorian

Chase Richard Panish, 18

Chase Richard Panish
Chase Richard Panish [ Courtesy of Largo High ]

GPA: 4.54

Parent: Lisa Panish

College: Florida Gulf Coast University

Major: History

• • •

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAM AT LARGO HIGH

Valedictorian

Arya Naik, 17

Arya Naik
Arya Naik [ Courtesy of Arya Naik ]

GPA: 4.73

Parents: Hetalkumar and Zaranaben Naik

College: Georgia Tech

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Salutatorian

Neil Shah, 17

Neil Shah
Neil Shah [ Courtesy of Neil Shah ]

GPA: 4.70

Parents: Nilam and Deval Shah

College: Yale University

Major: Engineering

• • •

NORTHEAST HIGH

Valedictorian

Trevor Nicholas Taylor, 18

Trevor Nicholas Taylor
Trevor Nicholas Taylor [ Courtesy of Trevor Nicholas Taylor ]

GPA: 4.55

Parents: Karen and Chris Taylor

College: University of Florida

Major: Aerospace engineering

Salutatorian

Astrid Leola Melendez, 17

Astrid Melendez
Astrid Melendez [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.51

Parents: Leonardo Melendez and Daisy Mayorca

College: New Mexico Military Institute

Major: Law

• • •

OSCEOLA FUNDAMENTAL HIGH

Valedictorian

Aydan Soto, 17

Aydan Soto
Aydan Soto [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.79

Parents: Daniel and Jessica Soto

College: University of Florida

Major: Aerospace engineering

Salutatorian

Emma Zuercher, 18

Emma Zuercher
Emma Zuercher [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.75

Parents: Annie and Dennis Zuercher

College: University of Florida

Major: Sustainability studies

• • •

PALM HARBOR UNIVERSITY HIGH

Valedictorian

Alexandra Davidov, 17

Alexandra Davidov
Alexandra Davidov [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.70

Parents: Silvia Davidova and Vel Davidov

College: University of Florida

Major: Microbiology and cell sciences

Salutatorian

Veronique Beckers, 17

Veronique Beckers
Veronique Beckers [ Courtesy of Veronique Beckers ]

GPA: 4.65

Parents: Elizabeth and Thierry Beckers

College: University of Central Florida

Major: Forensic science

• • •

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAM AT PALM HARBOR UNIVERSITY HIGH

Valedictorian

Aabhas Jain, 18

Aabhas Jain
Aabhas Jain [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.72

Parents: Parul Garg and Kunal Jain

College: Johns Hopkins University

Major/minors: Mechanical engineering/robotics and entrepreneurship

Salutatorian

Vaarun Ramanathan, 18

Vaarun Ramanathan
Vaarun Ramanathan [ Courtesy of Vaarun Ramanathan ]

GPA: 4.70

College: University of California, Berkeley

Major: Economics/computer science

• • •

PINELLAS PARK HIGH

Valedictorian

Kurt Tran, 18

Kurt Tran
Kurt Tran [ Courtesy of Kurt Tran ]

GPA: 4.66

Parents: Minh Tran and Ngoc Dam

College: University of Florida

Major: Biochemistry

Salutatorian

Vincent Tran, 17

Vincent Tran
Vincent Tran [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.64

Parents: Cong Tran and Trang Nguyen

College: University of South Florida

Major: Computer science

• • •

RICHARD O. JACOBSON TECHNICAL HIGH

Valedictorian

Alyssa Franzini, 18

Alyssa Franzini
Alyssa Franzini [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.43

Parents: Isabel Franzini and Andrea Null

College: Eckerd College

Major: Marine sciences

Salutatorian

Nathan Price, 17

Nathan Price
Nathan Price [ Courtesy of Nathan Price ]

GPA: 4.31

Parents: Jeremy and Sarah Price

College: University of Central Florida

Major: Forensic Science — biochemistry

• • •

SEMINOLE HIGH

Co-Valedictorian

Erin Joyner, 17

Erin Joyner
Erin Joyner [ Courtesy of Erin Joyner ]

GPA: 4.6569

Parents: Andy and Jeanne Joyner

College: University of Florida

Major: Mechanical engineering

Co-Valedictorian

William Bradley, 19

William Bradley
William Bradley [ Courtesy of William Bradley ]

GPA: 4.6415

Parents: Matthew and Marta Bradley

College: University of Central Florida

Major: Mechanical engineering

Salutatorian

Andre Brensel, 18

Andre Brensel
Andre Brensel [ Courtesy of Andre Brensel ]

GPA: 4.58

Parents: Jarrod and Julia Brensel

College: University of Central Florida

Major: Clinical psychology

• • •

ST. PETERSBURG HIGH

Valedictorian

Jessica Halvorsen, 18

Jessica Halvorsen
Jessica Halvorsen [ Courtesy of Jessica Halvorsen ]

GPA: 4.60

Parents: Tom and Karen Halvorsen

College: University of Florida

Major: Computer science

Salutatorian

Ella Babb, 17

Ella Babb
Ella Babb [ Pinellas County Schools ]

GPA: 4.59

Parents: John and Tiffany Babb

College: Rhode Island School of Design

Major: Film/animation/video

• • •

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAM AT ST. PETERSBURG HIGH

Valedictorian

Victor Xie, 18

Victor Xie
Victor Xie [ Courtesy of Victor Xie ]

GPA: 4.6746

Parents: Lin Xie and Jing Shen

College: Rice University

Major: Computer science

Salutatorian

Amber Nguyen, 18

Amber Nguyen
Amber Nguyen [ Courtesy of Amber Nguyen ]

GPA: 4.6694

Parents: Karen and Jim Nguyen

College: University of South Florida

Major: Biomedical sciences

• • •

TARPON SPRINGS HIGH

Valedictorian

Maya Dunn, 18

Maya Dunn
Maya Dunn [ Courtesy of Maya Dunn ]

GPA: 4.73

Parents: Ann and Barry Dunn

College: University of Florida

Major: Computer engineering

Salutatorian

Lilly Burbank, 18

GPA: 4.55

Parents: Sara and Robert Burbank

College: Undecided

Major: Undecided

• • •

ST. PETERSBURG COLLEGIATE HIGH

Valedictorian

Troy Nguyen, 18

Troy Nguyen
Troy Nguyen [ Courtesy of St. Petersburg Collegiate High ]

GPA: 4.75

Parents: Trung and Thuong Nguyen

College: University of Florida

Major: Undecided

Salutatorian

Mary Huynh, 18

Mary Huynh
Mary Huynh [ Courtesy of St. Petersburg Collegiate High ]

GPA: 4.72

Parents: Hien Huynh and Hong Le

College: University of Florida

Major: Information systems

• • •

ST. PETERSBURG COLLEGIATE HIGH - TARPON SPRINGS

Valedictorian

Tristan Huynh, 17

Tristan Huynh
Tristan Huynh [ Courtesy of St. Petersburg Collegiate High ]

GPA: 4.65

Parents: Quyen Chan and Tom Huynh

College: Drexel University

Major: Computer science

Salutatorian

Cheyanne Mihalinec, 18

Cheyanne Mihalinec
Cheyanne Mihalinec [ Courtesy of Cheyanne Mihalinec ]

GPA: 4.64

Parents: Suzanne and Louis Mihalinec

College: University of Florida

Major: Elementary education