Middleton 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 current campus of Middleton High School in Tampa opened in 2002. The original school was established in 1935.
The current campus of Middleton High School in Tampa opened in 2002. The original school was established in 1935. [ 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.

Alisha Das

School Activities and Accomplishments:

  • Magnet Valedictorian (9.98 GPA)
  • Local HOSA Vice President of Competitive Resources (2020-21), Suncoast West HOSA Regional Treasurer (2020-21), 2018-2021 Regional Conference Champion, 2021 State Conference Champion, 2021 International Qualifier: I have been a member of HOSA for the past four years and have won multiple awards at the local and state level. I have also helped organize multiple blood drives and volunteering opportunities for other members and have managed our local budget. Through HOSA, I have received over 30 community service hours.
  • Local Technology Student Association (TSA) Reporter (2020-21), Hillsborough TSA Founder and President (2018-2020), 2021 Ralph V. Steeb Memorial Scholarship Receipt, 2021 State Biotechnology Design 2nd Place Winner, 2021 State Parliamentary Procedures Champion, 2017-2021 National Qualifier/Participant, 2019 National Parliamentary Procedures Finalist, 2017 National Website Design 3rd Place Winner: I have been a member of TSA for the past five years and have earned multiple awards at the local, state, and national level. I also started Hillsborough TSA in 2018 to better connect high school and middle students that participate in TSA and to encourage STEM education in Hillsborough County.
  • Sayfty Volunteer and Marketing Lead: Sayfty is an NGO based in India that works to support the victims of domestic and gender-based violence- an issue that is very close to my heart. I have received over 60 community service hours from Sayfty. As a volunteer, I have created social media and marketing content targeted towards helping these victims. Currently, I’m planning the self-care summit that we will be conducting in June.
  • Advent Health Hospital Volunteer: I was volunteering at my local hospital before the pandemic and during that time I helped with patient care, answered calls, and restocked supplies. It was an incredible experience that taught me that value of communication and exceptional patient care. I have received over 75 community service hours from Advent Health.
  • A member of FBLA, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society. 2021 FBLA Nationals Qualifier. These organizations have instilled in me the values of what it truly means to be a leader, community member, and volunteer.

College Plans:

I plan on attending the University of Florida in Fall through their Honors and Research Scholars Program. I will be double majoring in Biochemistry and Business and hope to go to medical school one day and become a physician. I also hope to get involved in social and climate advocacy.


There may be a shortage of vaccines, but there is no shortage of misinformation. We have not only been fighting a battle against COVID-19, but we’ve also been fighting one against misinformation. The contradictory nature of the information surrounding COVID-19 has exaggerated its spread, making it crucial for individuals to obtain information about COVID-19 from reliable sources.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been and continues to be a reliable, credible source for information regarding COVID-19. The information and data published by the CDC is backed by world-renowned scientists. Individuals should check the CDC guidelines first if they are unsure about what steps to take. Since COVID-19 restrictions vary from city to city, individuals should additionally check the guidance and executive orders published by their local governments. Local guidance has been adjusted for the spread of COVID-19 in the locality, but ,for the most part, follows the guidelines released by the CDC. If something in the local guidance contradicts the CDC, individuals should contact their local or state health department.

There is so much misinformation being feed to us daily from social media and cable news organizations that we must validate the information we see online by the CDC and our local government and only share information that we know to be accurate. If we can educate ourselves and others about COVID-19 from reliable sources, we will stop the spread of the virus!

Rishika Cherukuru

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School activities and accomplishments:

1. Current senior class Magnet Salutatorian.

2. Served as Vice President- Community Service of my Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter for three years to plan all chapter events, regulate member involvement, and lead multiple club committees. Earned District, State, and National Level recognition as a part of the chapter.

3. Earned approximately 250 hours of community service from volunteering at Johns Hopkins All-Children’s Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center, New Tampa Regional Library- Teen Advisory Board, Feeding America, and March of Dimes.

4. Certified Biotechnician Assistant from The University of Florida’s Center of Excellence for Regenerative Health Biotechnology. Qualified to practice in the laboratory.

5. Classically trained pianist and performer certified from The Royal Conservatory of Music in Repertoire and Theory at Level 5.

6. Team member of the high school Volleyball team, three years.

College or other post-high school plans:

Applied Physiology (Pre-Med track), University of Florida


Underneath the tranquil calm lies a sense that society is deranged. The pandemic has left us with rewritten rules, in the shadows of ones that no longer apply. As the Covid-19 story continues to unfold, we must follow measures to stop it from spreading.

Following months of record-breaking deaths, a real possibility for relief lies ahead. To stem the further spread of coronavirus, enforcing adherence to risk-mitigation guidelines is a critical step we can take. Restrictions such as wearing masks, social distancing, and consistently washing our hands, have been scientifically found effective in slowing down the development of new cases. In combination with other strategies, including testing and close contact tracing, these steps can help alleviate the escalation of the virus.

In addition, it is crucial to ensure that our sources of information are accurate and credible. While it can be confusing to tackle contradicting details, we should rely on experts who use well-accepted scientific analyses and have a mission to inform and protect the public, such as the CDC or WHO. Per their recommendations, we should strive to receive vaccinations as soon as they are available. Vaccines will help curb pathogen transmission, prioritize the vulnerable (including senior citizens), help achieve herd immunity, and are a substantial step in hindering the coronavirus.

Overall, it is our social responsibility to ensure that we are taking steps to reduce the effect of this virus. Together, we can certify that Covid-19 does not continue to be a crisis in our nation.

Violie Therameau

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Valedictorian class 2021 valedictorian

2. Volunteered over 100 hours in community services

3. BBS of Tampa bay program, two years

4. Women of vision

5. President of Art club

6. Future business leaders of America

College or other post-high school plans:

I will be attending the University of South Florida for nursing

Additional information for judges:

Receiving this scholarship would be at my greatest advantage. I understand and appreciate the opportunity to be considered to begin with. I am a first-generation, low-income student and any financial assistance given would have a tremendous impact on my financial burden. I would be grateful and being awarded with this scholarship would motivate me pursue my academic dreams. Thank you


As the cases of coronavirus continues to increase, it is important to have the necessary health guidelines implemented to help minimize the widespread of this virus. With an upsurge in cases over the past few months, Covid-19 has been declared a global health emergency. I believe that there are still ways to combat this illness and possibly lower the increasing rate of covid.

The virus is known to spread mainly between people who are in close contact, however contaminated surfaces and poor ventilated spaces are not excluded. With this being said, simply washing your hands, maintaining a reasonable distance from others, avoiding crowds and maintaining a healthy diet. Also making sure to manage cleanliness in your home setting can all lower your risk of contracting coronavirus and stem the spread overall.