Pasco's top graduates

In the end, they actually appreciated the lessons their parents taught them. They loved the teachers who went the extra mile. And they made plenty of friends and fond memories and good grades along the way. Here are this year's valedictorians from Pasco County.
Published June 2 2016

Academy at the Lakes, Land O'Lakes

Vijay Nilesh Prasad

GPA: 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: Georgia Institute of Technology with plans to major in electrical and computer engineering and minor in music.

Favorite read: 1984 by George Orwell because the dystopian elements make us contemplate ourselves and our society.

Extracurriculars: Varsity golf, principal trumpet in band, tutoring math and Spanish.

Great influence: My grandfather, who taught of imparting knowledge rather than flaunting wisdom.

Teacher shout-out: Dr. Gary Compton — my band director — whose guidance and passion for classical trumpet have allowed me to grow as an instrumentalist.

Best school-related memory: My greatest memory of Academy at the Lakes is exploring San Francisco with my peers freshman year.

Anclote High, Holiday

Rachel Morris

GPA: 4.61 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of Florida to study digital arts and sciences.

Favorite read: I've read the Harry Potter series an embarrassing amount of times.

Extracurriculars: Interact Club (president), Student Council, National Honor Society, altar server (captain).

Great influence: My sister, Alyssa, has always been my best friend and my role model. She's unbelievably kind, encouraging and an expert at giving advice. She's always there for me, whether it's to listen to my ramblings or to let me borrow her clothes.

Teacher shout-out: A big thank you to Mrs. Lanser for being an absolutely amazing Interact Club sponsor! She's completely dedicated to running the club smoothly, always willing to help out a student in distress, and responds to emails in record time.

Best school-related memory: Using the tablets and working with Photoshop in my freshman-year commercial arts class. That was when I was first introduced to digital art and design, and I've loved it ever since.

Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High, Spring Hill

Justin Mohr

GPA: 4.458 weighted: 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of South Florida to study finance.

Favorite read: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

Extracurriculars: Student Government Association, Key Club, swimming, track, intern at Crystal Springs Preserve.

Great influence: My dad. He went back to school to get his Ph.D. just as I was starting high school. It impressed upon me the importance of education and how much I should value and cherish it.

Teacher shout-out: Mr. Mayer. Thank you for all the help and guidance you have given me over the years.

Best school-­related memory: The first annual Bishop McLaughlin Ghost Hunting Lock­-in.

Elfers Christian School, New Port Richey

Katherine Kinnaird

GPA: 4.12 weighted; 3.83 unweighted.

Headed to: Stetson University to study biology.

Favorite read: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

Extracurriculars: Basketball, volleyball, volunteer at SPCA and Rocking Horse Farms. I am currently employed at First Baptist of Elfers in their housekeeping department.

Teacher shout-out: Ms. Peterson — my English teacher from seventh to 11th grade.

Best school-related memory: My senior trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Fivay High, Hudson

Alyssa Rutman

GPA: 4.5111 weighted; 3.9032 unweighted.

Headed to: Pasco-Hernando State College for the nursing program with plans to become a nurse anesthetist or anesthesiologist.

Favorite read: The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

Extracurriculars: National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Theta Kappa, Phi Theta Lambda (PHSC club), Phi Theta Kappa (PHSC club), varsity swimming (9th and 10th), varsity softball (9th and 10th), JV basketball (9th), volunteer at Regional Medical Center at Bayonet Point and after-school tutor for National Honor Society. Employment as student ambassador at PHSC.

Great influence: Both my parents have been a great influence on me. Together they have created my support system, which was vital to my success. They both have pushed me to be the best that I can be.

Teacher shout-out: Mr. Davis, because he has been an amazing teacher for the past two years. He has continuously helped me in pre-calculus and calculus and helped me every day as I prepared for the AP calculus test. Thank you for pushing me to succeed.

Best school-related memory: Senior trip to Universal Studios or my 10th- and 11th-grade proms.

Genesis Preparatory, New Port Richey

Amena Mughni

GPA: 4.36 weighted: 3.95 unweighted.

Headed to: University of South Florida (Honors) to study pre-med/pediatrics.

Favorite read: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Extracurriculars: Interact Service Club (treasurer, president), Student Council (treasurer, secretary, president), Junior State of America (treasurer, vice president), Spanish Honor Society, commended Merit Scholar, AP Scholar.

Great influence: Both my parents have been a great influence on me. Their selfless sacrifices for others and the unparalleled compassion and grace with which they carry out their lives inspires me every day. The passion and kindness with which my father practices medicine is also a great inspiration for me to follow in his footsteps in medicine.

Teacher shout-out: To my middle school English teacher, Mrs. Lees, for showing me the power of kindness and imbuing me with a lasting love for service.

Best school-related memory: In eighth grade, I went on a school trip to Italy. The experience forever widened my perspective of the world and endowed me with a greater appreciation for culture and history, which I carry to this day.

Gulf High, New Port Richey

Juan Leis-Pretto, IB program

GPA: 4.81 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: Stanford University to study computer science.

Favorite read: Stumptown Kid by Carol Gorman and Ron J. Findley

Extracurriculars: Spanish Honor Society (president), National Honor Society (president), Science Honor Society (vice president), Leo Club (web master), History Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Interact Club, varsity tennis, volunteer at Salvation Army Childcare Center, nursing home visits, Habitat for Humanity, West Pasco Historical Museum Society, IB mentor, altar server, math tutor, Spanish tutor, science tutor.

Great influence: My mother, for always pushing me to succeed and reminding me what hard work and dedication can help you achieve.

Teacher shout-out: Mr. Griffith and Mrs. Alwood. I could not have achieved any of what I did without the help of these two wonderful teachers.

Best school-related memory: Mr. Griffith's AP calculus class. He would infuse humor with every lesson and somehow manage to make math an entertaining subject to learn.

Gulf High, New Port Richey

Lyndsy Nieder, traditional program

GPA: 4.22 weighted; 3.92 unweighted.

Headed to: Pasco-Hernando State College (in order to stay close to family and pets) with aspirations to become a registered nurse.

Favorite read: No favorite book. I really enjoy Shakespeare's thoughts on the human life throughout the playwright's Hamlet.

Extracurriculars: Health Occupations Students of America, Florida Future Educators of America, participant in Gulf High School's cultural World Fair. Volunteer at Morton Plant Mease.

Great influences: Both parents. My mother and father are like Ying-Yang; my mother is the joy and positivity of my life, while my father fuels my determination to succeed and challenge anything that I may face in the future.

Teacher shout-out: Phyllis Butler, the sponsor of the Health Careers Academy, the nursing academy at Gulf High and HOSA. Mrs. Butler and I have connected wonderfully over the past four years. She is an amazing instructor and a wonderful friend, who I respect as teacher. She always wants the best for her students both emotionally and academically.

Favorite school-related memory: I don't truly have a favorite memory. It is more like my memories over the past four years scrunched into one photo album. My friends, my teachers and the smiles I have created are more than enough compared to a single point in time. However, I was really excited when I found out that our class would have a new principal entering Gulf High School the same time we would. The bond between our class and our principal, Kim Davis, is unimaginable. Every year when the school held the honors ceremony, she would tear up and would talk about graduation. Now that graduation is less than a month away, I can truly understand the bittersweet feeling Mrs. Davis felt during the ceremonies.

Hudson High, Hudson

Logan Mancini

GPA: 4.6428 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of South Florida, Tampa.

Favorite read: The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.

Extracurriculars: tutoring

Greatest influence: My parents. I was raised well with good morals. Always raised to do my best.

Teacher shout out: Mr. Buono, chemistry. He helped us understand complicated material.

Best school-related memory: Finding out I passed the AP chemistry test. I was the only student in many, many years to ever pass the test at HHS.

Land O'Lakes High, Land O'Lakes

Alejandra Vasquez, traditional program

GPA: 4.66 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of South Florida to study biomedical science.

Favorite book: The Bible.

Extracurriculars: Volunteer with the Council for Exceptional Children and Special Olympics, varsity golf, varsity soccer, club soccer (West Pasco Futbol Club), National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Key Club.

Great influences: My parents, John and Yngrid Vasquez, because they have led by example and taught me to love God, love my family, respect others and work hard.

Teacher shout-out: Ms. Coss, who helped me learn how to survive AP classes and dress up for spirit week.

Best school-related memory: High school has been full of great memories, including making it to states for golf and soccer, going to football games and spirit week.

Albert Brotgandel, IB program

GPA: 4.7857 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of Florida with plans for a career in cardiology or hematology.

Favorite read: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Extracurriculars: Relay for Life (co-captain/event leadership team), State Science Olympiad medalist, hospital volunteer.

Great influence: My grandfather. As I have grown older, and maybe even a little bit wiser, I have come to understand the hardship he has endured and the sacrifices he has made in the best interest of me and my family. I aspire to have the same reassuring presence as he exudes on those around him.

Teacher shout-out: Mr. Johansen, my English teacher, for teaching me the value of patience.

Best school-related memory: Luminaria ceremony at Relay for Life 2015.

Aimee Fernandez, IB

GPA: 4.7857 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of South Florida with plans to study biochemistry.

Favorite read: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Extracurriculars: swimming, Red Cross, Science Olympiad, Relay for Life, Mu Alpha Theta.

Great influence: My older brother, because even in the midst of his own challenges, he always has time for family. He never lets anything stop him from reaching his goal, and he inspires others with his determination and compassion. I would not be where I am today without him.

Teacher shout-out: All of them!

Best school-related memory: Walking into first-period English with my class and realizing someone had flipped all the desks upside down. To this day, no one has admitted who did it.

Jeffrey Gu, IB

GPA: 4.7857 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: Duke University to study neuroscience.

Favorite read: Zorro by Isabel Allende.

Extracurriculars: Mu Alpha Theta, Tri-M, National Honor Society, marching and concert bands, tennis, math tutor, volunteer at Medical Center of Trinity.

Great influence: My mother, Jing Ruan, truly defines what it means to be a selfless and loving parent, mentor and friend. She has taught me positivity through her contagious laughs and smiles, and compassion through her undying love. She has been the solid rock in my life, getting me through even the toughest of situations.

Teacher shout-out: Congrats on your female child, Mr. Jordan!

Best school-related memory: Winning the first-ever district tennis championship with my doubles partner, Kenta Xu.

Maya Henning, IB

GPA: 4.7857 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of South Florida to study biomedical science

Favorite read: The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith.

Extracurriculars: Junior State of America, Science National Honor Society, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, track/pole vaulting, volunteer at animal shelter and geriatrics care clinic.

Great influence: Nicki Minaj has been a great influence on my life because she encourages me to stay in school and do all my work.

Teacher shout-out: Dr. Larry Skeens.

Best school-related memory: Going to Washington, D.C., to attend a debate convention called Winter Congress for the JSA club.

Emily Luo, IB

GPA: 4.7857 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: Johns Hopkins University to study neuroscience.

Favorite read: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle.

Extracurriculars: Marching band, varsity girls weightlifting, Science Olympiad, Future Business Leaders of America, Tampa Bay Red Cross.

Great influence: My mom. Not only has she taught me to be a better human being; she has been my rock-solid support system for everything that I've done. Plus, she has mad bargaining skills I can only hope to inherit.

Teacher shout-out: Terry Stanley (science)

Favorite school-related memory: "Wahhh!"

Saloni Mehra, IB

GPA: 4.7857 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of Florida — biochemistry/molecular biology.

Favorite read(s): Hunger Games (trilogy) by Suzanne Collins.

Extracurriculars: Club synchronized swimming for 10 years (competing at Junior Olympics and U.S. Nationals), varsity swim team, swim instructor, volunteer with Relay of Life and volunteer coach with synchronized swim team.

Great influence: My mom has been a great influence on me as she is always there for me when I need her. My mom's intelligence, care, understanding and love has made me who I am today. Not only does she help me with organizing my busy schedule, but she always offers the best advice for any problem I have. She taught me life skills and how to carry myself and communicate with others. Most importantly, she taught me to be confident in myself and to love and respect others.

Teacher shout-out: Ms. Stanley. Thank you for everything and helping me realize my love for biology, and that is the path I want to pursue.

Best school-related memory: Finally finishing the IB program.

Elizabeth Olatunji, IB

GPA: 4.7857 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: Yale University, major in molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

Favorite read: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Extracurriculars: National Honor Society (president), Science National Honor Society (president), Junior State of America (treasurer), varsity weightlifting, varsity track and field, Science Olympiad, Teen Bible Quiz, private academic tutor.

Great influence: My parents have had an incredible influence on me, because of how incredibly hard they have worked to get us where we are today, My family came to America from Nigeria about 14 years ago, and since then my parents have worked to ensure that I and my siblings never lack anything we need. Their determination and strong will even against strong opposition greatly influenced me to do my best at everything that I do.

Teacher shout-out: Ms. Stanley, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Johansen. I wouldn't have made it this far without any of my teachers.

Best school-related memory: The field trip that I took with my IB peers for our Group 4 research project. Any time is a great time when I am with my IB family!

Grace Park, IB

GPA: 4.7857 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of Chicago to study biological sciences, oncology.

Favorite read: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

Extracurriculars: National Honor Society (vice president), National English Honor Society (vice president), Science Olympiad, volunteer teacher assistant at Tampa Korean United School, Red Cross, Relay for Life, hospital volunteer.

Great influence: As cliche as it may sound, my mom has been the most influential person in my life. In times of stress and intense pressure, she has, and will continue to be, the one who encourages me to do my best. Whether it is a small nudge in the right direction or a shoulder to lean on, my mom is always someone I can count on. Most or the time, we don't give enough credit to our moms, especially for all they do on our behalf.

Teacher shout-out: Ms. Terry Stanley.

Best school-related memory: Debating which story I prefer in Life of Pi.

Julia Thorner, IB

GPA: 4.7857 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business.

Favorite read: Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy.

Extracurriculars: Junior State of America (president), varsity tennis, online English tutor, volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Great influence: When I was young and in Sunday school, my initial connection to Pope John Paul II was "Hey! He's Polish and so am I!" But as I matured, I realized that he stood for a lot more than just his country. His strength, faith and language skills have continuously inspired me. I hope to serve others and have an impact on the world as he did.

Teacher shout-out: Mr. Melvin for teaching me to put my education in my own hands.

Best school-related memory: Attending the final JSA convention and seeing the hard work I put into my club pay off as our chapter brought home numerous best-speaker awards, and most notably the Chapter of the Year award.

J.W. Mitchell High, Trinity

Tharessa Anne Kehl

GPA: 4.6086 weighted; 3.9298 unweighted.

Headed to: University of South Florida to pursue nursing and become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Favorite read: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Extracurriculars: International Thespian Society. Volunteer for the Volunteer Way.

Great influence: The most influential people in my life are my parents. They have sacrificed so much in order to provide me with the tools I need in order to have the opportunities in life that they never had. They are my support system and have taught me numerous life lessons to prepare me for my future.

Teacher shout-out: I would like to give a shout-out to my theater teacher, Mr. O'Hara. He has helped me to become a greater performer than I ever thought possible, and he also taught me many skills that I will continue to use in life going forward.

Best school-related memory: The best memories of my high school experience would have to be the endless hours we spent rehearsing for any given performance. Whether it was for the one-act, the straight play, the district festival, the state festival or the musical, we rehearsed tirelessly in order to become the best we could be. Each moment created both lasting friendships and cherished memories.

Pasco eSchool

Kaley Hindes

GPA: 4.4 weighted; 3.9 unweighted.

Headed to: Pasco-Hernando State College on full scholarship, then to the University of South Florida to study law. I will attend law school to first become an attorney, but my future career goal is to someday become a judge.

Favorite read: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Extracurriculars: Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. I have volunteered numerous places throughout my school years, including Dr. John Long Middle School, Wesley Chapel Elementary School, the Joshua House, Kid's Place and vacation Bible school. I am employed with Big Apple Bagels. I am currently doing an internship with the law office of Amber Boles. I am also a dual-enrollment student with Pasco-Hernando State College and will graduate with my AA degree on June 20.

Great influence: It's hard to pick just one because I have many people who have influenced me through the years. If I had to pick just one, it would be my mom. She has always been my encourager, my motivator. She has always told me I can do and be anything I want to be if I work hard and stay focused on my goals.

Teacher shout-out: I would like to thank Ms. Wachtel for being a great teacher and always so willing to help her students.

Best school-related memory: My first day of my freshman year, the class was asked to write about a goal we had for high school. When my teacher asked about my goal I told her I wanted to be valedictorian. My teacher was impressed but told me that it was an ambitious goal. She told me that to reach this goal I would have to work hard and excel in my classes. It is an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment that I was able to complete this goal.

Pasco High, Dade City

Savannah Pierce

GPA: 4.67 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: Clemson University to major in business with a minor in modern languages.

Favorite read: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Extracurriculars: Chargers Club Soccer, senior class treasurer, National Honor Society (president), Science Club (treasurer), Florida Senate Page Program (grades 9 and 11), East Pasco YMCA zone attendant and soccer referee. Server at Beef 'O' Brady's.

Great influence: My mom has always been a great influence on me. She always pushed me to be better and believed in my dreams before I did. She supported all of my goals and has helped me reach them, Without her, I would not be graduating as valedictorian and going to my dream university.

Teacher shout-out: Mr. Charlick and Ms. Arellano have both been great teachers that I have had for two years, and they have pushed me to be a successful student and young adult. Mr. Charlick got me interested in a subject that I previously had no interest in (environmental science) and has always been a teacher I could talk to about anything. Ms. Arellano uses an interactive teaching style that has been very effective and has made learning interesting and fun.

Best school-related memory: Winning the homecoming float competition all four years! As a class, we all came together and put so much effort in to win. It was a blast working together and having our hard work pay off.

Ridgewood High, New Port Richey

Michelle Gallo

GPA: 4.51 weighted; 3.89 unweighted.

Headed to: University of Florida to study biomedical sciences/physical therapy.

Favorite read: The Circle Trilogy by Ted Dekker.

Extracurriculars: National Honor Society, Interact, sports manager of cross-country team. Volunteer at various places with Interact. Volunteer at Rockin' Horse Farm.

Great influence: My mom has been the greatest influence on me that I could have ever wished for. She has shown that I shouldn't settle for mediocrity and that hard work really does pay off. She has always been there to guide me down the correct path with unwavering patience. She truly has been my No. 1 supporter in everything I do and I couldn't be more thankful for all that she has done for me.

Teacher shout-out: I've had the fortune of having some of the best teachers Ridgewood has to offer. Coach Baker was one of those teachers, who also doubled as my cross-country coach. He never stopped pushing me to be my best. Another amazing teacher is Ms. Stagner. She got me to enjoy math and realize calculus isn't that bad.

Best school-related memory: My best school-related memories were during cross-country season. Everyone on the team was close like family, and we all looked out for and pushed each other to do our best. The 5 a.m. bus rides with all of us swaddled in our blankets watching the sunrise were the highlight of my weekends.

River Ridge High School, New Port Richey

Benjamin Hodgson

GPA: 4.67 weighted: 3.98 unweighted.

Headed to: Duke University with an intended physics major.

Favorite read: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Extracurriculars: National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America. Volunteer through the school Interact Club. Work at Chick-fil-A.

Great influence: Besides my parents, these have been some of my greatest influences: Richard Feynman for encouraging curiosity and Noam Chomsky for inspiring fearless questioning.

Teacher shout-out: All of my past and present teachers, including Mr. Howery, Mr. Newman, Mrs. Evans, Mrs. Hallwas and, of course, Mr. Maynard.

Best school-related memory: That time I accidentally gave my friend Peter Benadryl instead of cold medicine and had to do the AP chemistry lab without him because he was passed out at my kitchen table.

Sunlake High, Land O'Lakes

Amy Deeb

GPA: 4.67 weighted; 3.92 unweighted.

Headed to: University of Florida to double major in nursing/international development and humanitarian aid with the hopes of becoming a nurse practitioner and working on development and public health projects abroad.

Favorite reads: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger

Extracurriculars: Junior Statesmen of America, National Honor Society, Student Government, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, American Sign Language Honor Society. I volunteer at Denham Oaks Elementary School twice a week with students who are part of their Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program. I use American Sign Language to build friendships with the deaf students and facilitate classroom learning. I have also volunteered abroad at schools for the deaf in India and Haiti. This summer, I will spend six weeks on a teaching internship in Cabaret, Haiti, at the Haiti Deaf Academy.

Great influence: While working at the Haiti Deaf Academy this past summer, I met Mary Watson Dard, a young woman who was a member of HDA's small but hard-working staff. Mary has dedicated herself to improving the lives of Haitian deaf children and adults through education, access to hearing health care and access to sign language. I am hopeful that throughout my life I will also get to use my skills and passions to help empower communities in the developing world like Mary does.

Teacher shout-out: Ms. Levison, our Class of 2016 sponsor, who I have worked with for three years on student government. Ms. Levison really helped our class come together for school events and make the most out of our high school experience. I owe so many of my great memories to her hard work!

Favorite school-related memory: I have so many amazing memories from high school, but I think my favorite is homecoming week of my senior year. I loved dressing up every day with my class, performing our skit and cheering in the Bird's Nest during our homecoming game. It's so sad to think I'll never get to stand on those bleachers and cheer as a Seahawk again!

Wesley Chapel High, Wesley Chapel

Symone Stanley

GPA: 4.6410, weighted.

Headed to: University of Florida to major in psychology/occupational therapy.

Favorite read: Divergent series.

Extracurriculars: National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Student Government Association.

Great influence: My mom. She has always been my No. 1 advocate and has continually taught me the importance of hard work.

Teacher shout-out: Mrs. Wilson, English.

Best school-related memory: Field trip to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and jail.

Wiregrass Ranch High School, Wesley Chapel

Ethan Munden

GPA: 4.67 weighted; 4.0 unweighted.

Headed to: Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study electrical engineering.

Favorite read: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

Extracurriculars: Science National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta. Volunteer at Harry Olsen Memorial Cup for approximately two years, tutor students in math and science. Employment at Kumon Learning Center in Wesley Chapel.

Great influence: My parents have been a great influence for always encouraging me to strive for excellence.

Teacher shout-out: Mr. Cuviello. Thank you for motivating me to have an interest in science!

Best school-related memory: My favorite time in high school was my experience performing in color guard and marching band from freshman to junior year.

Zephyrhills High, Zephyrhills

Stephanie Guadarrama

GPA: 4.5340 weighted; 38775 unweighted.

Headed to: University of Florida to study biology.

Favorite read: 1984 by George Orwell.

Extracurriculars: National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Key Club, JV soccer. Volunteer with Relay for Life, St. Anthony School and Thomas Promise.

Great influence: Lidia Guadarrama, my mother, has instilled perseverance in me by pushing me every day to become the best version of myself.

Teacher shout-out: Mr. Carroll and Mr. Pellegrino.

Best school related memory: Volunteering at Relay for Life with NHS peers. We were able to have fun while conducting a good cause.