Bloomingdale 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.
The colorful cafeteria gets a thorough cleaning at Bloomingdale High School, 1700 E Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico.
The colorful cafeteria gets a thorough cleaning at Bloomingdale High School, 1700 E Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. [ Hillsborough County School District ]
Published May 19, 2021|Updated May 19, 2021

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 2021 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.

Gabrielle Pignataro

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Was a major leader of planning and coordinating the Relay for Life fundraiser at my school for the first three years of school 2. Was a member of the Steering club all four years and was president Freshman year (student government specific to each grade level)

3.Was in band for all four years and was on the leadership team junior and senior year 4. Was in the Student Government Association on the executive board junior and senior year I was the Historian 5. Varsity Lacrosse all four years 6. A member of the National Honor society Junior and Senior year

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan to attend the University of Florida to get a degree in environmental science


I believe the best course of action to stem Coronavirus is to listen to medical professionals and scientists. While it is also important to consider the advice and laws from authorities at all levels and the experiences of the general populous, medical professionals and scientists have specialized knowledge that extends further than anyone else.

As I have come to notice, when some people contract COVID-19 they seem to think they are an expert after experiencing the virus firsthand. However, that is not the case. I myself contracted the virus as well as some of my family and friends and we all experienced different symptoms. This is the perfect example of how listening to the experts is necessary, they can better understand why the virus may be different for each person and are able to mold their advice for adverse reactions.

The CDC provides guidelines on how to stay safe and I believe they are important to follow. They expel simple prevention techniques that have been proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through extensive scientific research. The CDC guidelines are separate from any political bias so in my opinion they are the most trustworthy organization to receive information.

Wearing a mask, standing six feet apart, getting the vaccine, staying in areas with capacities that abide by the guidelines whenever possible, and disinfecting yourself and the things around you are all ways to protect yourself and the other people around you, which in turn stems the spread of coronavirus.

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Jude Delikat

School activities and accomplishments (no more than six):

  • Valedictorian of Bloomingdale Senior High School
  • National Merit Scholar
  • Co-Founder and President of the Mental Health Awareness Club
  • Varsity Lacrosse
  • Treasurer of National Honor Society
  • President of the non-profit, JD Global Foundation Inc.

College or other post-high school plans:

After college, I am attending the University of South Florida and will be enrolled in the Judy Genshaft Honors College with a full scholarship. I plan on majoring in Biomedical Sciences so that I can one day become a doctor. During college, I plan on pursuing research opportunities, getting involved with campus leadership, and studying abroad.


I have always had a passion for academics, but the one subject that has always stood out to me is math. Although math can be brutal, different strategies, thought processes, and steps can be taken to arrive at a single solution. I believe the coronavirus should be treated the same way-- as a math problem.

Each state has their own unique perspectives and techniques to eliminate the problem of the coronavirus. While policies from the federal, state, and local levels are continuously changing and often contradict one another, I believe that it is important to understand that society is fighting a common enemy: the virus. Just like in math, some approaches may take longer than others, and some may not work in certain circumstances. Thus, it is important to have a broad understanding and to learn from failures and successes around the world. Rather than being hostile towards each other, society should unite to solve one problem.

There is more than one way to get to the answer, as the solution as of now is unknown. Different strategies should be welcomed and tried since we are all one people. To stem the spread of the virus, regions must understand what has worked and apply these methods if possible in the given circumstances. In the end, no matter what the route, the whole world can agree on one answer -- end the coronavirus

Kaitlyn Nguyen

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Member of the orchestra program since 6th grade, currently a member in Bloomingdale Senior High’s chamber orchestra. 2. Member of the National Honor Society, Tri-M honor society, BETA, and Mu Alpha Theta. 3. All county orchestra member of 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. 4. Graduating high school with 42 completed college credits received through 16 dual enrollment classes.

College or other post-high school plans:

Admitted to USF to pursue nursing or pre-medical track. I hope to specialize in trauma or emergency medicine.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused controversy with the initiation of lockdowns, economic recessions, and regulations. With the acts implemented, the government hoped citizens would abide by these precautions to prevent the spread of the virus; nevertheless, we have reached 31 million cases and 559,000 deaths in America as of April 2021.

Our federal government allowed state governments to decide how to proceed with the virus. In contrast, countries such as New Zealand, Iceland, and Singapore had their national government take critical measures. These countries have successfully demonstrated the containment of COVID-19; therefore, our national government should be in control, not state governments. The United States cannot necessarily proceed exactly like these countries because of our differing demographics; it is nearly impossible due to the dichotomy of protecting public health and maintaining the economy.

Per contra, since we cannot effectuate a national lockdown, I believe our federal government should implement these precautions nationwide: mandated masks in indoor facilities, social distancing, necessary quarantines, and vaccination. Proper wearing of masks prevents our bodily fluids from contacting others; therefore, reducing the spread. Furthermore, everyone should get vaccinated – as vaccines produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes, which builds immunity. After vaccination, it is possible to acquire COVID, but the long-term effects, hospitalization, and virus spread are significantly reduced. Moreover, new innovative influenza plans are currently difficult to develop. Individuals should continue to follow CDC guidelines, even after vaccination, as each individual’s action affects public health. Reducing the virus requires a national effort, not a political division.

La’Tatiana Beasley

School activities and accomplishments:

1.Student Government Association (SGA) Treasurer (2 years)

2.National Senior Beta Club President

3.Mid-Florida Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Ambassador

4. Former Mount Pleasant AME Church Financial Secretary (4 years)

5. Recipient of the 2020 Hillsborough County Youth Excellence Achievement (YEA!) Award for Leadership

6.Student Government Association (SGA) Committee Chair / Officer Supervisor of Bloomingdale High School’s Incredibull Games (2 years)

College or other post-high school plans:

I aspire to earn my Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering at Florida State University. I look forward to researching, volunteering, pursuing leadership opportunities, mentoring, and designing and manufacturing medical devices and biologics to improve lives worldwide. I aim to go to medical school and eventually become a pediatric infectious disease specialist in the future.


Epidemics and pandemics have affected every person in every generation. Therefore, society’s financial and social investment in stopping the spread of the Coronavirus has become one of the most arguable topics in recent times due to emerging concerns regarding travel, vaccines, education, the economy, and expansion of benefits spanning from unemployment to emergency business loans among people all over the world.

The engrossment and perception of the global pandemic have led to a notable amount of false and contradicting news coverage and discussion recently. With a reliable vaccine limitedly available and increasing mutations, most of us will readily agree that preventing the pandemic is primarily reliant on individual and collective efforts. Where this argument usually ends, however, is where the two sides might disagree because many people have opposing viewpoints on how COVID-19 should be resolved.

My personal view is that we should continue to encourage people worldwide, including celebrities, politicians, and healthcare workers, to embrace the use of facemasks, vaccines, social distancing, and proper sanitization in their daily lives and through social media posts, pictures, and videos.

It is imperative that everyone follows Federal COVID-19 resources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH, and The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to find reliable information and updates on Coronavirus.

Luisa Navarette

School activities and accomplishments:

1. President of the National Honor Society

2. Member of the Science Honor Society

3. Member of the Spanish Honor Society

4. AP Capstone Certificate, a two-year research program.

5. Young Women of Promise Athena Award

6. Swim and Dive Team

College or other post-high school plans:

I would like to pursue engineering or computer science at the University of South Florida.


Communication to the public and the collaboration of such is essential to be able to stop the spread of the virus as well as the support of the local and/or federal authorities is necessary for the same reason. To mitigate the spread, it is important to listen to scientists, doctors, and authorities. Although the authorities did not respond quickly enough to the spread of the virus, we, as a community, must keep ourselves and everyone safe.

Following the guidelines of social distancing and applying safety measures such as using face coverage and keeping a proficient hygiene. It is important and a responsibility of the public to stay informed, gather accurate information from different, credible sources on news regarding the virus. As a community, we must be patient and understand the situation, support the people who are working for the community to be safe such as doctors, medical personnel, and any essential workers.

Furthermore, local authorities could ease access to facilities that allow improving hygiene and overcrowding conditions, especially for areas that lack resources. By reinforcing behavior guidelines, information must be provided on the follow-up of the protocols and accompany it with monitoring for compliance. Relying and applying these behavioral techniques can be key to ensuring that safety protocols are followed.

Overall, there are many solutions one can take to lessen the effects of the pandemic and its expansion, yet it comes down to be respectful and willing to step out of one’s perspective and hear the recommendations by medical organizations.

Madeleine Morin

School activities and accomplishments

1. Student Government Association (SGA)

I helped to plan and execute school events such as Homecoming and Leadership Lock-In, and I served as a committee head of Homecoming court, where I planned out the court ceremony during the halftime show.

2. Southeastern Guide Dogs

I co-raised a guide dog with my family, and we taught the dog basic commands and took him on outings to work on obedience in public.

3. National Honor Society

I served as Co-Community Service Liaison, where I found and sent out volunteer opportunities for members and communicated with service organizations.

4. Chamber Orchestra

I was a violinist in the highest level of orchestra.

5. Steering

I was a member of this group, in which we planned out and set up fundraiser events for our class.

6. Community Service

I volunteered with these organizations multiple times, many of them weekly or through summer programs (Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO), “IncrediBulls” Special Olympics, Metropolitan Ministries, Seeds of Hope, Relay for Life, church).

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan on attending either the University of Florida or Florida State University. I would currently like to major in biology, possibly on a pre-dental track, as well as minor in business.


Throughout the pandemic, many people have questioned or ignored certain guidelines related to the prevention of COVID-19. People are growing weary of all of the burdens and changes that the pandemic has introduced, but it is important to continue to focus on reducing the spread of the virus before abandoning our year-long efforts.

I believe minimizing the coronavirus spread begins with raising awareness to the dangers of the virus and how to prevent it. For example, it should be highly emphasized in schools that a quarantine from school also includes a quarantine from all other activities. I also believe that one of the most basic, yet most important steps one can take to reduce the spread is to wear a mask.

Countless people assume wearing a mask below the nose is just as effective but wearing masks properly should be enforced in any public area. Another vital prevention method is to administer vaccines quickly and effectively. I believe the first distributions of vaccines going towards groups most at-risk has been an excellent idea.

Since vaccines are already being distributed to teenagers, I think the next step in the vaccine process is for colleges to require students to have the COVID-19 vaccine before enrollment, especially with most colleges transitioning back to in-person classes. I believe this would be simple and valuable because colleges already require proof of certain vaccines in order to enroll. To best protect against further spread of the coronavirus, the responsibility is placed on both individuals and schools.

Rosemarie Harrison

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Bloomingdale Marching Band Drum Major (grade 12), Junior Lieutenant (grade 11)

2. Bloomingdale High School Jazz Band (grades 10, 11, 12) and Wind Ensemble (11, 12)

3. Participation in various honor societies – National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and Beta Club

4. Worship Leader, New Hope United Methodist Church Youth Praise Band

5. Math Tutor, Mathnasium of Brandon, Feb. 2020 to present

6. Bloomingdale Women’s Lacrosse Team, grades 9, 10, 12

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan on attending Auburn University to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.


The fight against COVID-19 is a critical one, as we appear to be on a precipice. On the one hand, vaccinations are available and moving forward. On the other, we still have a sizable number of people who are unvaccinated and a fourth surge in cases seems to be on the horizon. The response must be handled with compassion but also with determination and cooperation. A solution involves a mix of vaccine education and availability, and an effort to de-politicize the fight against COVID-19.

In my opinion, the focus of fighting COVID-19 needs to be vaccines. In Florida, vaccines are widely available. An educational campaign regarding the safety and effectiveness of vaccines is essential, particularly among high-risk groups. A significant amount of misinformation surrounding vaccines has been spread on the television news and social media. We need all forms of media, of both political sides, to begin to promote the importance of vaccines. Additionally, creating pop-up vaccine sites at various community locations, ensuring that wait times are low and access is plentiful, is crucial.

Additionally, de-politicizing the wearing of masks and other remediation efforts is key. Again, a concerted media push to encourage people to be diligent, associating masks and social distancing with caring for others. I’m wondering if the statement, “not much longer,” needs to be incorporated into all that’s done. Yes, this has been a difficult and long process but it won’t last for much longer if we all work together, follow safety guidelines, and stay the course.

Trey Hydock

School Activities and Accomplishments:

1. SGA Vice President

2. National Merit Scholar Finalist

3. BSHS Chamber Orchestra (Vice President and Principal Violist)

4. 2020 Florida All-State Honors Orchestra (Principal Violist)

5. BSHS Peer Tutoring Program

6. Emergency Care and Help Organization (ECHO) Youth Leadership Program

College Plans:

I will most likely be attending Williams College, but I am also on waitlists to several top universities, so my college plans are not completely solidified. After getting my undergraduate degree I want to further my studies with at least a master’s degree and hopefully a doctorate, as I want to work at a university or in academia in the future.


The single most effective weapon humanity possesses against the coronavirus is scientific literacy. Yes, wearing a mask works, social distancing is great, and vaccines are a godsend, but the fact of the matter is that these measures will not work in a society that does not heed them. In order to truly neutralize the threat of disease, we have to start with the basics- having a population that is educated and informed about scientific issues and that knows better than to be swayed by internet rumors.

This is the necessary foundation that all other actions need to be successful. Without understanding why and how masks are effective, mask mandates will be ignored; as long as people continue to believe the unsubstantiated lies pushed by anti-vaxxers, they will refuse vaccines. This is a stark picture of a reality that unfortunately mirrors our own too often.

However, there is a brighter side to this, which is that we already have everything we need to beat the coronavirus. Vaccines are being administered as this is being written, social distancing has become commonplace, and masks are officially in vogue. All that is left to do is reverse the damage done by misinformation and convince people to trust the science. Once this is accomplished, additional health guidelines will achieve their maximum effectiveness, and normalcy will finally be within our grasp.

• • •

Gisselle N. Cruz

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Graduate of the Youth Leadership Conference

2. Girl’s State Delegate

3. Air Force JROTC Officer/Commander

4. Founder/President of the Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise Club

College or other post-high school plans:

I have been accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point