Steinbrenner 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.
Steinbrenner High School, 5575 W Lutz Lake Fern Road in Lutz, opened in 2009, the same year as Strawberry Crest High in Dover.
Steinbrenner High School, 5575 W Lutz Lake Fern Road in Lutz, opened in 2009, the same year as Strawberry Crest High in Dover. [ DENNIS JOYCE | Times ]
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.

Divyesh V. Nana

School Activities and Accomplishments:

1. 3 weeks, 420-hour volunteer experience at an orphanage in India (Uplift Humanity)

2. Earned a place at the HOSA National Competition in 2021 and FBLA States every year of High School

3. Lead Builder for Vex Robotics Club

4. Volunteered as a coach for middle school and elementary students on the bhangra dance team that I compete on (ASAP Bhangra)

5. Volunteered as an assistant coach for a U12 Ice Hockey Team.

6. Co-founder of the South Asian Student Association at my high school

College or other post-high school plans:

Biomedical Engineering major and Pre-Medicine track, University of South Florida


The most difficult part of the COVID-19 pandemic, from my analysis and experience, is not the fear of contracting the virus, but rather the struggle that comes with quarantine. Having to stay at home challenges our pre-COVID lifestyle which is then causing people to utterly disregard the advisory of well-reputed corporations such as the CDC in an attempt to achieve some “normality”.

The solution is to address a core issue that is being overlooked: individuals are having trouble staying motivated at home and hence productive in their daily routines because they are stuck in an environment that is traditionally laid back. To combat this newfound isolation, steps should be taken by corporations and individuals that involve creating and effectively advertising relevant products that will inspire people to adapt their routines to the situation at hand. Social interaction is a necessity for many, one idea to combat this and inspire these adaptations is a simple app that involves adhering to the interdependent society we live in through an in-depth calendar or task list that can be accessed by friends and family. Each member of the group will share their COVID-19 regulation following goals for the day, week, and month so that they can be held accountable.

These goals can include learning an instrument, reading a book, expanding your cooking repertoire, or anything that one finds interesting. Inspiring this personal growth through effective products such as the one I mentioned will benefit in stemming the spread of the virus as people will now be more inclined to stay at home in their bubble because they are discovering the positives of staying at home. The current level of technological development and creativity needs to be explored.

Emily Rogers

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School activities and accomplishments:

1. Salutatorian and National Merit Finalist

2. Led over 20 hours of AP Calculus and AP Physics tutoring

3. Chairman of the PTSA School of Excellence for 2 years, completing over 40 hours of community service as Chairman

4. HOSA Chapter Historian, created HOSA Happenings Newsletter for school, which won a competition at state level

5. Emergency Medical Responder Certification at USF through UEMSA

6. HOSA Competitor, competed at regionals 4 times, qualified for state competition 3 times, competed at states 2 times, placed 5th at state competition for HOSA Bowl

College or other post-high school plans:

Majoring in Engineering, while completing Pre-Med requirements, at Baylor University in Waco, TX.


The key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 lies in basic public health policies; it’s the concept of “Health in All Policies.” The Health in All Policies approach looks to improve the health of all people by incorporating health considerations into decision making across zones. One strategy could include promoting a healthy environment with free access to sanitizer, handwashing stations, masks, and vaccinations in communities. All of these proposals have a similar goal in mind: risk management. By having these items available to all for use, it reduces the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.

As shown by earlier pandemics and epidemics, developing herd immunity is crucial to eliminating the virus. Herd immunity occurs when enough people become resistant to a disease that the spread becomes unlikely. This also protects those who aren’t immune, like those who aren’t able to be vaccinated. One of the best, and safest, ways to build herd immunity is vaccinations, but it can also form through natural infection. As of April 5th, the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida is available to all residents 18 years old and up. Therefore, as more and more people become eligible to receive the vaccine, more and more people should receive the vaccine. This will help protect the entire population and could get us to a point where we do not have to wear masks because the virus has been eliminated. Get vaccinated, so that we can all move on from the turmoil brought about to Florida in March of 2020.

Kyla Clewis

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Harp—Florida All-State Orchestra 2020 and 2021 Harpist, Hillsborough All-County Orchestra 2020 and 2021 Harpist, three-time Superior Solo Performance Rating by the Florida Orchestra Association, and first chair in the high school chamber orchestra for three years.

2. National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student, AP Scholar with Distinction, and on track to receive the Florida Gold Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish.

3. Future Business Leaders of America President (previous Secretary and Vice President) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes President for three years.

4. Over 175 community service hours volunteering as an active member of National Honor Society, Beta Club, Letters of Hope Club, Environmental Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club, and by playing the harp at local senior homes, hospitals, and churches.

5. Founder, manager, and musician of Harp to Heart (harp performance business) for two years.

6. High school varsity soccer team for two years, Tampa Bay United soccer team for four years.

College or other post-high school plans:

Pursue a Major in Health Science at the University of Florida.


With over 31 million reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States, it is imperative for local authorities to engage in effective communication to decelerate the spread of the virus. Local governing officials must take the initiative to assess their community and to develop a phased plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Overall, the plan must include various guidelines appropriate to the number of cases reported in the area. For example, there will be the most restrictions (mandatory face coverings and quarantine, limited or no-capacity for non-essential businesses, for example) for when the cases are the highest. With such protective measures in place, the number of new reported cases is expected to drop, and the region can transition into the next phase. The second phase will demand fewer mandatory guidelines, given the cases do not spike again. If cases continue to fall, the area can progress into the least-restrictive phase, and eventually back into “normal” life—without coronavirus-induced precautions. This phased plan will provide structure and motivation for complying with the guidelines.

Most importantly, each local government must estimate a date to terminate the quarantine and restrictions. Although flexible, an end date in sight will encourage perseverance and hope for a time without such restrictions. It is essential for local governments to develop a defined, phased plan to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, a specific yet adjustable date to end the quarantine will inspire persistence and a vision for a more hopeful future.

Leah Mixon

School Activities and Accomplishments

1. Top-five student in my graduating class

2. 345 community service hours, primarily as an assistant middle school volleyball coach (four years)

3. Elected student government representative (four years) and elected student body president (one year)

4. Math Homework Hotline show anchor (one year)

5. Hillsborough County Youth Leadership Council; Council member (four years), Co-President (one year)

6. Young Independents Club Co-Founder and Co-President (one year)

College/Post-High School Plans

Combined pathway, bachelor’s degree in Real Estate and MBA, Florida State University


From authorities at various levels, people are hearing a variety of rules and guidelines arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these rules and guidelines even contradict one another. To stem the spread of coronavirus, I believe various steps need to be taken. The first and largest step is for everyone to receive vaccination. This ensures that every individual had the ability to fight the disease if needed, as well as increasing safety and protection for all.

After the population is vaccinated, a reassessment would need to be performed. If numbers continued to climb at staggering rates, a full two-week mandatory lockdown may be necessary. This would prevent anyone carrying the virus from spreading it. The lockdowns seemed to be an effective tool for slowing the spread dramatically in various European and Asian countries. Furthermore, I believe that research efforts should be continued, if not doubled, when it comes to learning about the coronavirus.

As stated in The Harvard Gazette, there are still too many unknowns and questions about this deadly disease which had plagued our world for a year. “One of the big unknowns with this virus is how it induces such a strong inflammatory response in the airway,” said David Knipe, a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. “We need to understand the mechanisms of this disease because that knowledge informs everything else.” Mandatory vaccination, potential lockdown, and further research are just a few steps I believe we should be taking to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Olivia A. Giovenco

School activities and accomplishments:

1. Yearbook business manager & editor, sophomore and junior years.

2. Over 100 hours assistant coaching volleyball at Farnell Middle School.

3. Co-founder and co-president of the Independent Club, senior year.

4. NHS member, three years.

5. BETA member, junior and senior years.

College or other post-high school plans:

English major on a pre-law track, University of Florida


In hopes of not sounding cliché, the first step that needs to be taken in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus is encouraging people to get the vaccine. I believe that the way this needs to be done is by emphasizing the morality of protecting your neighbors. Federal, state, and local governments need to advertise the vaccine as a way that we can personally maximize overall good in the country. Many people are concerned with right versus wrong. In fact, It’s the reason that we have a conscience. Explaining how getting the vaccine is the right and moral thing to do will convince people with a good conscience to do their part in stopping the spread.

Of course, there are always going to be people that don’t want to do the right thing for personal reasons, which is why the next step to stem the spread is making more resources available to those who are vaccinated. Just like some immunizations are necessary in order to enroll in school, the coronavirus vaccine should have incentives that will influence the people who are not fazed by the moral debate about helping their neighbors. I truly believe that this method will help stop the spread and protect the country.

Robert Cooper

School Activities and Accomplishments

1. NHS member for four years.

2. Placed in the FBLA state competition for Business Law.

3. Varsity golfer on the high school team for the past three years.

4. President’s Honor Roll for all 4 years of high school.

5. Scored a 4 or 5 on all eight AP exams taken.

6. National Merit Finalist

7. About 60 hours of volunteering as a gold coach with First Tee Tampa Bay.

8. Volunteered with SLAM Diabetes to raise money to allow children with Type 1 Diabetes to attend camps where they can learn to manage their condition and meet others with similar needs.

College Plans:

Pre-Law track at the University of Tampa


We live in a world that revolves around the exchange of information. This has never been more prevalent than during the age of COVID-19. The worldwide pandemic has created a panic across the entire world as efforts are made to manage it. This widespread effort has given rise to a variety of different, and sometimes contradictory, guidelines and recommendations on how prevent the spread of COVID.

Because of this, it can be difficult to determine what will truly help. Based on my own private research, I believe that there are several key steps that need to be taken to help stem the spread of the virus. Now that we have vaccines, the first step that should be taken is to coordinate with companies who have the necessary infrastructure to quickly distribute vaccines, such as Amazon and UPS. The next step should be to identify high risk areas. These could include low-income neighborhoods or large cities. These areas should be the focus of a majority of federal vaccine distribution.

On a local level, more steps need to be taken to promote social distancing and other safe practices. This week alone I have seen students from my school posting videos of parties and celebrations. I believe that I final step that should be taken is to promote the institution of mandatory local guidelines that are tailored to individual areas. By taking these steps, we can effectively end this pandemic and set an example for future generations.

Samuel Glickman

School Activities and Accomplishments:

1. National Merit Finalist

2. 2020 Sunshine State Scholar

3. AP Scholar with Distinction

4. Gold Seal of Biliteracy

5. Member of Mu Alpha Theta from ninth grade to present

6. Member of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) from tenth grade to present

College Plans:

Majoring in physics. I am not sure which college yet, I am currently choosing between University of Central Florida, University of Florida, and Penn State University. (I can update you on my decision once it is made. If you would like me to do that, please let me know)


Most public health officials agree wearing face masks and socially distancing by six feet are important steps in mitigating the spread of coronavirus. These steps have been implemented in smaller countries like New Zealand and Taiwan with great success. However, people in the United States seem much less willing to follow these guidelines. For many Americans, resisting these rules is a form of protest against what they consider overreaching laws. Whether or not you agree, the spread can only be stopped if everyone’s willing to participate in following restrictions.

I believe the way to effectively handle this is through private businesses. When businesses implement these same guidelines, there’s much less backlash. This is because entering a business is a choice. Those who see the laws as an issue of freedom are now given the freedom to choose following the policies versus shopping elsewhere. Both options help mitigate the spread of coronavirus, as either a person is now following guidelines, or they have left the public area which makes it safer for others.

This doesn’t mean the government should do nothing. They should incentivize businesses and individuals to follow guidelines without enforcing it. The government can easily influence private choices, from tax credits to funding education and research on coronavirus.

There obviously will always be those unwilling to follow the guidelines. However, I believe this is the best way to get the greatest number of people in the U.S. to wear masks and socially distance.

• • •

McKenzie Kane

School activities and accomplishments:

Class Rank: 14th of 634, District GPA: 7.02

AP Scholar with Honors

Positive Coaching Alliance

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

National Honor Society

LPGA*USGA*Girls Golf Member (2013-present)

Future Business Leaders of America

-FBLA District Secretary

-Club Committee Chair

-1st place finish in Public Speaking

Young Republicans - Vice President 2018-20

President 2021

Turning Point USA Chapter President

First Tee Tampa -(2010-present) Junior Advisory Council, Senior Team, Player’s Club Member

National Opportunities:

2017: Life Skills & Leadership Academy

IJGA Junior Golf Camp

2018: College Prep Academy

2019: Perfect Sense Unified Challenge

LPGA-USGA Leadership Academy

2021: First Tee of Tampa $10,000 Scholarship Recipient.

Varsity Golf Team – 4 years -

Team District Championship: 2017 (78), 2018 (79), 2019 (77),2020 (77)

Team Regional Championship: 2017 (77), 2018 (76), 2019 (79),2020, (80)

FL 3A State Championship Appearance: 2017, 2018 ,2019, 2020 (82-73)

FLHS Western golf conference first team 2018 2019 second team 2017 2020

US Kids Teen World Championship qualifier 2018

First Tee of Tampa Bay player of the year 2018

Notah Begay III National Community Service Award

Volunteer Opportunities – (488 Hours)

- Miles for Tiles Fundraiser

- First Tee of Connecticut Travelers Championships Commercial

- LPGA-USGA - Golf Clinic

- Old Memorial & Avila First Tee of Tampa Bay Fundraiser

- Joshua Kern Golf Tournament - Cheval G.C

- Valspar PGA Tournament Sign Bearer/Junior Reporter

- Tampa First Tee group lessons instructor (2015-Present Day)

- Girls Golf eLeader (LPGA Girl’s Golf Academy) Daytona, FL

- Drive Chip & Putt – Rogers Park

- Buster Golf Tournament – Rogers Par G.C

- Steinbrenner Boys/Girls basketball camp

- St Timothy Community events

Post High School Plans:

To attend Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. McKenzie plans to major in Strategic Communications and has committed to play golf.