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Palmetto & Pine

Palmetto & Pine

Looking Ahead with the Seniors

The Palmetto & Pine conducted interviews with five seniors to discover their favorite memories and events from their high school experiences, and their hopes and dreams for the years to follow.
Mallory Holden
Tuyen Nguyen (IB): “My most memorable high school experience was probably showing up to school the first time. I feel like everyone remembers their first day of school. I was a virtual student for a while, so showing up to school was a little scary, but I eventually found my place and the people that matter to me.”

Senior year marks the end of an era for our St. Petersburg High School students. Our senior class attends the homecoming dance in the school gym and enters the Coliseum for prom for the last time. Seniors will dance on the auditorium stage for the Goldfever production once more. They will come together for senior sunrise and senior celebration to reminisce on the past four years spent together. Then, on May 18th, our senior class will walk the graduation stage at Tropicana Field for the first and last time. 

Despite the many endings our seniors are facing, there are many new adventures on the horizon. Whether they plan on attending college, going to work, or joining the military, there is an array of opportunities for our soon-to-be graduates.

The Palmetto & Pine interviewed five seniors from St. Petersburg High School’s traditional and International Baccalaureate programs. When asked to reminisce on their most memorable experience from high school, the responses were surprisingly diverse. 

Luis Carranza (IB): “Something that was memorable was going to the State Championships for tennis. It was so fun to be able to stay in a hotel with all my tennis teammates and support them on the court!”

Tuyen Nguyen (IB): “My most memorable high school experience was probably showing up to school the first time. I feel like everyone remembers their first day of school. I was a virtual student for a while, so showing up to school was a little scary, but I eventually found my place and the people that matter to me.”

Zoei Johnson (IB): “My most memorable high school experience was the 10th-grade homecoming dance when I got in the middle of the circle and broke out into Rihanna energy.”

Cali Lambridis (T): “Honestly, submitting my AP Seminar portfolio to CollegeBoard. That class had a lot of collaborations and was so necessary and draining. It felt freeing to finally submit it.”

Aiman Baydoun (T): “Probably two days ago when everyone sang happy birthday to me in the courtyard.”

Then, the seniors were asked how they spent most of their time during high school, whether it be playing sports, doing homework, or participating in school clubs.

Luis: “The main things I focused on in high school were sports, academics, clubs, and my friends. I have been on the soccer, football, lacrosse, and tennis teams for SPHS, and I am a part of Interact, the National Honor Society, the Spanish Honor Society, the Feminist Club, the Book Club, and more! Moving from Chicago, I was able to have lots of new experiences. I was part of so many clubs and made so many friends that I wouldn’t have expected to. I’m so happy to have gone to St. Pete High!”

Tuyen: “I spend a lot of time in clubs and doing sports. I like trying things out. I did cross country for three years and track for one year. I’m also really involved in Key Club and Speech and Debate.”

Zoei: “I’ve been cheering since 9th grade, so most of my time after school was dedicated to cheer practice, and I joined flag football second semester. I also joined the debate team a few times and liked it.”

Cali: “Freshman year, I feel like I dedicated my life to dance. It was the only thing I did. I would even leave school early to be there, and it felt as if it was prioritized above school. After freshman year, I narrowed down what I wanted to do and focused my time on debate, school work, and studying.”

Aiman: “Mainly sports. I was always doing something to keep myself busy, whether that’s golf, working out, or lacrosse.

Reflecting on experiences can make a person wonder what they could have done differently, so the News asked the seniors what they would have done differently if they could go back to the first day of their freshman year.

Luis: “Since I started at SPHS as a sophomore, my experience was a little different. I don’t think I would have done anything differently because I’m very happy about how things have turned out!”

Tuyen: “I would probably try not to worry because everybody has their own thing going on, and you don’t have to put your value in something or someone else. I learned that you should learn to value yourself and find things you enjoy because you only have four years.

Zoei: “I wouldn’t spend so much time in my mom’s room. Every time during lunch, I would sit in her office with the same friend. I wish I made more friends during that time.”

Cali: “I would tell myself that my entire life plan is going to change, and that’s okay. I would have told myself to learn to adapt quicker and establish a new routine.”

Aiman: “I would start working out twice as hard as I did and teach myself how to have rizz. I would also start studying for the SAT earlier.”

Next, we asked the seniors what they are looking forward to the most this year, from senior nights to prom to graduation.

Luis: “What aren’t I looking I looking forward to this year! I’m so ready to enjoy my final year of high school before furthering my educational journey at a university of my choice!”

Tuyen: “Definitely graduating, getting those college apps in, and finally being able to spend time with the people in my class and getting to know them since it’s our final year.”

Zoei: “All the senior activities, grad bash, seeing what college I get into.”

Cali: “I am most looking forward to all the senior activities at the end of the year, especially after application season is over. Also, I did Girl’s State at FSU, and it was a mock government. We had to write a bill to present to the staff. The bill supports the abolishment of anti-homeless infrastructure and hostile architecture. It is now going through the state to be amended and voted on, so I hope it passes through.”

Aiman: “I am looking forward to the Melon Bowl. It is the annual lacrosse game against Northeast High School. Three years ago, someone’s bird named Melon died right before the game, and the game is now in memory of Melon, the bird.

Our seniors have many great things in their future. The most common path for these seniors is to attend college, so we asked where they hope to see themselves in one year.

Luis: “I hope to have had many new experiences and made lots of new friendships. I hope to choose a school that is the right fit for me and hopefully start on a legal studies track.”

Tuyen: “I want to be able to study engineering and business. I want to be able to attend a Dual Degree program.

Zoei: “I see myself at a Florida university that offers a 3 for 3 law program that will let me major in pre-law for three years, and then I would be sent to their law school.”

Cali: “I would love to see myself at Rice or Georgetown University, double majoring in Political Science and Pre-Law with a minor in either Humanities or Psychology. I would also like to join the mock trial team of whatever school I attend.”

Aiman: “Hopefully, at the University of Florida studying neurology. I see myself benching 315 pounds.”

Following this, we asked the seniors where they hope to be in ten years, whether it be their dream job, dream city to live in, or other life aspirations.

Luis: “I hope to have gotten a degree in law and be using my education for something meaningful in 10 years.” 

Tuyen: “Hopefully, I’ll be able to work in the healthcare industry as an engineer. I like helping people, but I do not want to be a doctor, so I felt like engineering was the best choice for me.”

Zoei: “I see myself hopefully married and working my way up to be a big-time criminal defense lawyer. Hopefully, I have a little baby and a big house and a lot of money.”

Cali: “Hopefully, I will graduate from Georgetown Law or Columbia Law, having completed a study-abroad law program. I want to be an international lawyer, preferably in my home country, Greece. I would also be interested in pursuing a career as a Judge or another political position. I also want to be married!”

Aiman: “I see myself in residency for being a neurosurgeon. I want to go to UF medical school.”

On a smaller scale, we then asked the seniors what their plans and goals are for the remainder of their high school experience.

Luis: “I hope to write the best EE and IAs that I possibly can and complete all of my college applications in a timely manner. I also want to enjoy all the fun senior activities.”

Tuyen: “I’m hoping that our cross-country team will make it to States because it was really fun last year to run in Tallahassee.” 

Zoei: “Academically, I don’t want to procrastinate any more work. I aim to do good on my standardized tests. Socially, I don’t want to hang out with people that don’t give me any benefit. I want to cut out toxic people and toxic studying techniques. #ZoeiSaysNoToxicity2024”

Cali: “My first goal for this year is to get into my realistic dream school, Florida State University. I also want to finish the debate year strong and go to Nationals with my debate partner, Sasha Kelley. I want to receive my AP Capstone diploma, too.

Aiman: “To get accepted into UF, to get 100% Bright Futures scholarship, deadlift 405, and continue having good grades.”

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Paloma Welch, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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