Hillsborough 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.
Completed in 1928, Hillsborough High School features walls, buttresses, spires, and window tracery decorated in cast stone.
Completed in 1928, Hillsborough High School features walls, buttresses, spires, and window tracery decorated in cast stone. [ DENNIS JOYCE | Times ]
Published May 19, 2021|Updated May 20, 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.

Akil Mohideen

School activities and Accomplishments:

  • Valedictorian of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Hillsborough High School
  • Served over 100 volunteer hours at Metropolitan Ministries and other non-profit organizations.
  • Team Captain at Hillsborough High School Tennis Team
  • Lead Game Developer at Hillsborough High School Gaming Club
  • Executive Music Producer at Hillsborough High School Gaming Club
  • Member at Hillsborough High School Speech and Debate Club

College or other post-high school plans:

I will be attending the University of Central Florida for Computer Science. I am interested in Artificial Intelligence.


It is well known that the COVID-19 virus has caused a worldwide pandemic. Normal day-to-day life has been altered due to the virus, and its spread must be halted. Many laws have been placed in order to combat the virus, yet in the United States, the situation is not being taken as seriously as it needs to be.

My belief is that most of the spreading arises from people not willing to take protective measures against the virus. This is due to the sizable amount of conflicting information and misinformation that was spread in the early stages of the virus when not much was known.

This confusion allowed for the people to distrust the policies the government placed to weaken the spread of COVID-19. In my opinion, the most logical approach, to stop the spread of the virus, is to inform the public about the negative impacts in an understandable and accessible way. Film is a very persuasive form of media since the viewer can easily become attached to the information presented. A well-made short movie or advertisement with an emotional narrative could be made by a reliable source such as the CDC.

It should demonstrate the negative impact of the disease on families and communities. Social media platforms could be used to spread the video and create more awareness. In theory, this message will resonate within the audience making them want to take more preemptive measures, thus hindering the spread of the virus.

Thomas Kaw

School activities and accomplishments:

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1. National Honor Society member

2. Mu Alpha Theta member- 3rd place with Geometry team for Math Bowl

3. National AP scholar with Distinction

4. Volunteer at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul

5. Principal’s Honor Roll

6. Top 5 in Class of 2021- 7.2654 GPA

College plans:

I will be attending the University of Florida and intend to major in Computer Science


With countries imposing different rules and guidelines, people are confused on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Among the various rules and guidelines, the mask mandate needs to be enforced on all levels of the government as it has been proven by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) that masks significantly reduce the spread of coronavirus when properly worn.

However, cooperation of the citizens is essential for the mask mandate to be effective. Masks reduce the spread of human respiratory droplets, so those without a mask or not properly wearing it would spread their droplets that may have COVID-19 to others. Additionally, the constant spread of misinformation during this pandemic has caused skepticism and hesitation among citizens. To reduce the spread of misinformation, a committee of doctors and scientists should be created to educate the citizens about COVID-19 and the best ways to reduce its spread such as properly wearing a mask and maintaining social distance of six feet.

This would also help educate those hesitant about the vaccine because many have fears of the side effects, or even lack trust in the government, but clinical trials done by the manufacturers such as Pfizer and Moderna have already proven that it is highly effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. In the end, it is the responsibility of the people and the government to act accordingly to prevent spread of COVID-19.

• • •

Natalia S. Hess

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Salutatorian

2. GSA, two years

3. Thespians, two years

College or other post high school plans:

Film and Media Arts, University of Tampa

Additional information for the judges:

I have always excelled in academics, but when the pandemic hit, staying focused became very challenging for me. My lack of motivation only worsened when my dad died later the same year. I really struggled to keep my grades up, but I managed to push through.

Nmesoma Ibewuike

School activities and accomplishments:

1, valedictorian of hillsborough high school

2, national honor society member

3,avid student of the year

4. I played soccer and tennis for 2 yrs

5, student government association member for 1 year

Dual enrollment student with over 70 credits.

College plans

Study nursing at the University of South Florida