Lennard 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.
Lennard High School in Ruskin, opened in 2006, was named for Earl Lennard, who served as Hillsborough school superintendent until 2005.
Lennard High School in Ruskin, opened in 2006, was named for Earl Lennard, who served as Hillsborough school superintendent until 2005. [ Times (2006) ]
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.

Caitlin Brennan

School activities and accomplishments

1. Valedictorian of my graduating class

2. Will graduate high school with a high school diploma and an associates degree (AA)

3. 260 community service hours

4. I have danced for 15 years. The past four years, I have danced 20 hours a week with the Brandon Ballet while balancing my school work.

5. Member of Key club, National Honor Society (NHS), Student government (SGA), Junior and Senior government, and Collegiate ambassadors.

6. Recognized by local news station for successful fundraising projects for the Ronald McDonald House

College or other post-high school plans

Majoring in Biochemistry, minoring in finance, on a Pre- PA track at the University of Florida


Whenever a situation in my life arises that I haven’t experienced before, I like to know as much information about it as possible so that I can handle it accordingly. Therefore, I think the authorities at the federal, state and local levels should be transparent about the data they have collected about this pandemic and future vaccines.

This would allow the government to be consistent in their message and give reasoning to why they are setting certain guidelines for our “new normal”. The covid-19 pandemic is unlike anything anyone has experienced before which has caused panic in our society. If authorities are transparent with the public and back all their requests with research and data, I believe more people will be willing to listen.

For example, some people refuse to wear a mask and stand six feet apart from others at a grocery store because they believe that there is no evidence that states that these actions will keep them safe. However, if researchers release their evidence and explain to the public the importance of following the guidelines in a non- scientific way, so that someone who is thrown off by technical jargon understands the requests, I believe more people will take this pandemic seriously and help keep themselves and others safe.

Gabriela Antonio-Gonzalez

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School Activities and Accomplishments:

  • National Honors Society, Junior and Senior year.
  • Nine- day, Medicine and Health course at the University of Miami through National Student Leadership Conference.
  • Questbridge Scholar and National College Match Finalist.
  • 38 Community service hours at RCMA Wimauma Academy
  • Varsity Basketball, Junior and Senior year.
  • Top 5 in graduating class of 595 students, with a biliteracy seal and gpa of 6.43.

College or other post-high school plans:

Pursue a pre-med track with a major in either Mathematics or Psychology. I have not decided where I want to go but I will definitely have a decision in a week or two. I am leaning towards the University of Miami, where I have currently been accepted, but I have yet to make it my final decision.


In the past year coronavirus has really made changes in our lifestyles. With many rules and guidelines being given, the coronavirus was and still is spreading around the country. There are many steps I believe that could be taken to stem the spread of the coronavirus. One of the first steps I believe would help would be to stop the allowance of parties.

With gatherings like such, only one person is needed in order to start a chain of reaction. One person could have COVID-19 symptoms and still show up to a party and could have spread it to at least five other people who will then spread it to even more. I also believe that the stores should close down except for essential use, forcing everyone to stay home. This way, even someone with COVID-19 symptoms who would want to go out with friends, would not be able to, meaning they would not spread the virus onto more people.

At the end of the day, we could have so many rules and guidelines to slow down and possibly stop the spread of the coronavirus but it also depends on the people. Many people continue to choose not to comply with simple orders such as wearing a mask, or maintaining social distance. One of the biggest steps that should be taken should be giving consequences to those who choose not to comply. Eventually, if everyone were to comply, we would be able to stem the spread of this ongoing virus.

Makenzie L. Burke

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Valedictorian, graduating class of 2021.

2. Major role in High School, Theatre program all four years.

3. Volunteered 55 hours at My Warriors place, and 20 hours at Feeding Tampa Bay.

4. Completed Associates degree through Dual enrollment.

5. Finished Highschool a semester early.

College or other post-high school plans:

Bachelor’s degree in communications at Florida Atlantic University.


The COVID pandemic has been a completely unexpected turn of events for federal and local authorities. These are very confusing times and I do believe that the government is doing what they can during these times to get the situation solved as soon as possible. With that being said, I do have my own opinions on how things should be taken care of. Personally, I do agree that every state should be able to handle the pandemic as they see fit.

Every state has different morals and things they are willing to sacrifice. As an example, Florida is very lenient on COVID restrictions because we value the economy and the freedom of choice through our people. Florida’s approach aligns well with what I believe is a correct solution. Especially with the vaccine being released, I believe people should be cautious but not in fear. People who are high risk should protect themselves with appropriate measures, and those who are not should wear masks and continue to live their lives as they normally would and possibly build an immunity.

I work in a restaurant, so I understand the difficulties of COVID restrictions and how they affect different people. At the end of the day, I understand the dangers of the virus and the rapid spread of it, but I still believe that people are free to do what they want to do. People have the responsibility to understand their own risks and do what they can to lessen those risks, others who do not have risks should still wear masks in enclosed public spaces in order to keep the community as a whole safe.

Melissa Felix

School Activities and Accomplishments:

1. Salutatorian of my graduating class

2. President of the Choir Program

3. Secretary of NHS

4. ELP Tutoring

5. Tri-M Member

6. Honorary JROTC Member (through volunteer work)

College or other post-high school plans:

University of South Florida, on the Pre-Med track majoring in Biological Sciences


It’s a Matter of We, That Starts with Me

It is no question that with the hit of Covid-19 the world has had to undergo a drastic change that no one saw coming. This virus lives in the air and on our surfaces. Simply walking outside without a proper face covering could mean the difference between life and death for some, and even then, it might not be enough. Even with this information, why are cases and deaths still on the rise? It Stems from ignorance.

With those who believe that Covid is a personal issue, come people who willingly put others at risk of contracting this virus. With those who believe that if they can’t feel it then its not there, comes those parade around spreading the very thing we are trying to contain. This pandemic is more then just a matter of me, it’s a matter of we that begins with me. So, what do we do? The biggest thing would be to recognize that we are all facing this as one. It is a Global Pandemic. One countries success means nothing if others are still failing to thrive. Use our resources, scientist, and influence to move this pandemic in the right direction. Separately, we have the means to solve a few of the problems, but together we can end this Covid-19 Pandemic. In all of this change begins at the most basic level. Not with world leaders, or scientists, or a school board; but rather with me.

• • •

Timothy Kohl Terpening

School activities and accomplishments:

1. National Honor Society member

2. Two-time Scholar Athlete award recipient

3. 100+ community service hours

4. Ranked top 10 in the senior class

5. Varsity letter in Wrestling

College or other post-high school plans:

I plan to attend the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business to major in business marketing