Look at those Devils Go! (College-Bound Edition)


Kenley Shible

Sara Abusulb (left) and Joanne Lioe (right).

Well, it’s that time of the year. One that is simultaneously dreaded and longed for: college decisions. For some seniors, it’s a time of celebration and recognition of years of hard work and dedication to academics, sports, and clubs. For others, it holds less significance and instead, simmers on the back burner, rather than at a roaring boil in the forefront of their mind. Almost unilaterally, though, the next few months will be a time of great joy, as well as disappointment. As a senior myself, I recognize the anxious anticipation to receive these decisions and wish the best for all reading this.


There are, however, a rare few who are already done with this process. Some students choose a different route in their college application process, called Early Decision (ED). Students who opt-in for this form of application pick one school to apply to, usually around November and are bound to it. That is to say, if they receive an acceptance from this school, they must accept it. Most students who choose to ED do so with prestigious universities, such as the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, or Brown University.


Seniors Sara Abusulb and Joanne Lioe are two Green Devils who opted in for this type of application. The results? An acceptance to Duke University for Sara, and Johns Hopkins University for Joanne. Not an easy feat by any means and one that deserves recognition.


For Joanne, deciding to ED to Johns Hopkins was relatively easy. After all, it checked off all the boxes: great medical school, the opportunity to network, close to the coast, etc. But, actually getting into the exclusive school was another thing altogether, as indicated by its formidable 11% acceptance rate. But, Joanne was not deterred and, with the help from her mentors at the Pinellas County College Planning Cohort, was accepted on December 10th at 3 o’clock that afternoon. Of course, it should come as no surprise that Joanne gained admission, considering her impressive resume. The IB senior is co-President of Key Club and, amongst many other clubs, is active in Pitchforks, the Pinellas Youth Symphony, piano, and volunteering at Suncoast Hospice. With this in mind, I for one was very interested in what her advice would be to future seniors and college applicants. Her vehement response? To get started on college essays early, rather than procrastinating them. Joanne said this made the process incredibly stressful and firmly advises against doing this. Now, though, looking to her future majoring in biology at Johns Hopkins, Joanne is most looking forward to experiencing new things and meeting new people. We here at Palmetto & Pine wish Joanne the best and can’t wait to see all that she achieves.


Sara Abusulb took a slightly different route, though was met with equally exciting results. She qualified for the QuestBridge program, a competitive scholarship for students that provides them with a full ride to a college if they become a finalist. Once a finalist, students can rank their top colleges (predominantly Ivy Leagues) by preference and will be “matched” to a school, similar to EDing, depending on which schools offer admission. Sara ranked Duke University as her top choice and, in early December, was successfully matched to it. Like Joanne, Sara is very active within the IB program. Undoubtedly, her biggest commitment is as the Division 13 Lieutenant Governor of Key Club, in which she oversees the goings-on of all Key Club chapters within our division. Sara also runs for St. Pete High’s track team and has since her freshman year. But beyond just her resume, Sara accredits much of her success to her resilience and the ability to work through hardships, which she says came from her parents’ support and encouragement. As she moves into this next chapter of her life at Duke in a biology major, Sara is looking forward to befriending individuals from all across the world with vastly different experiences and cultures. If her outstanding success in the IB program is any indication, we are sure that Sara will continue to accomplish her goals in college.

As more Green Devils gain college acceptances, please contact the Features team through email at [email protected]. Until then, best of luck!