Volume 19, Issue 6

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On board The highs and lows of life as a school board member Don’t yuck my yum Celebrating the worldwide culture of food Making it count Boys baseball earns trip to final four 2 18
Vol. 19 Issue 6 | May 16, 2024 | Hagerty High School | Oviedo, Florida 16 CELEBRATING SENIORS 7-14

Every day, students shuffle from class to class, from teacher to teacher without giving much thought to what it takes to keep the school running. There are many different teachers, officers and officials working each day, and a cost of cost of $1 million a day to make it happen. Facilitating this money and overall structure is the school board. They essentially make and adjust most of the rules, policies, and budget that directly impact their county. There are five districts each represented by a member, who serves a four-year term.

shooting in Des Moines, Iowa, when she was 15.

“No one was seriously hurt, but my chair had bullet holes in it,” said Kraus. This incident inspired her to take action to prevent anything like this happening again.

That’s the hardest part of the job. You’re holding that student’s fate in your hands. So I take [the hearing] very much to heart.
- Kristine Kraus, Vice Chair “

About the Board

Each of the five members of the board has been actively engaged in the community for years before running for board. Vice Chair Kristine Kraus in particular was inspired to get involved after surviving a school

When listing duties associated with the school board, attending disciplinary hearings is not usually one of the first responsibilities that comes to mind. Yet, it is one of the most important things they do.

“That’s the hardest part of the job. You’re holding that student’s fate in your hands. So I take [the hearing] very much to heart and I understand the weight of the decision that gets made,” Kraus said.

The rules and policies staff and students have to adhere to is determined by laws made by the legislature and can be changed based on public need. The creation or change of a policy happens over

School Board members work to better connect with students

the course of school board meetings where anyone who attends can get a chance to speak on the issue at hand before the board votes on a decision.

“There are many times when I disagree with the decision, but you

“They should be looking at it more from a student perspective, since these are the people who are the people who are going to be directly impacted.

room and based on their comments they were not going to support that. So, I pulled the motion knowing that it

The Disconnect

All of the laws and policy makings are for the supposed benefit of students and staff within Seminole County, yet public opinion of the board never seems to be that high.

“I think that the school board consists of a bunch of people who are trying to do their jobs, but personally are only out for their own interests. A lot of the policies are harming students more than helping them,” sophomore Finn Mielke said.

However, school board members would argue the opposite is true.

“We are here for the kids, not for some political gain. So if people take anything away, I hope they know that,” said Kraus.

The reason for this disconnect is simply that student and teacher voices are not being heard or represented in the decisions and laws that affect them. Every non-board member interviewed listed some issue they had with not having their real needs met, most even going as far as to say the decisions made had a net negative impact.

“I think this district has become very micromanaging and controlling of teachers. Unfortunately, there are


a lot of people in positions where they are focused more on their, for lack of a better word, power than doing what’s right,” film teacher Lisa Gendreau said.

The negative opinion doesn’t stop at restrictions; many students felt betrayed by certain decisions.

- Zarah Ateeq, 12

“I do admire that they’re trying but I feel like a lot of the policies are coming from a parent perspective. They should be looking at it more from a student perspective, since these are the people who are the people who are going to be directly impacted,” senior Zarah Ateeq said.

The Solution

The school board rarely gets any student responses, emails or board meeting attendance. Both Kraus and board member Autumn Garick listed the request for an interview for this article to be one of the only cases of a student reaching out in a while.

“I very rarely hear from students. I would say, maybe once a month. When students come to the board meetings and speak I try to reach out afterwards to make sure that they know they’ve been heard. I mostly just hear from parents and community members,” Garick said.

The issue itself is not just with the members of the school board, it is with the lack of the right people reaching out. In order for students and teachers to be represented, school board members need to hear from them.

“Individually, we can meet with students and talk and listen. I am open to coming to any club for a class. I’m happy to, I’d even meet up at Starbucks over the summer, or at Barnes and Noble. As individuals, we can have private conversations any time,” Garick said.



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Holly Smyers | Staff Reporter
Illustration | Ava Strzalko

Vikram’s AI research goes international

Once May hits, students can be found cramming for AP exams, playing mindless games in empty classrooms or waiting for the last bell of the school year to ring, but not junior Vikram. She has been preparing to head off to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California, which kicked off on May 11.

After being selected as an alternate for ISEF at a previous competition, Vikram secured her spot by placing third at the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair in February. Due to both her placement and the results of her peers, Vikram earned a spot at ISEF along with six other Florida students.

tested the success rate of a learning algorithm, created through computer developer OpenAI’s Generative Pretrained Transformer 4, in catching vulnerabilities within program code. As GPT-4 recently became available to the public through OpenAI’s popular chatbot product, ChatGPT, Vikram saw the importance and timeliness of conducting her research, using artificial intelligence for good.

- Meghna Vikram, 11 “
I’m definitely excited to meet the youngest and smartest minds of the entire world in one place.

“I wanted to research this because hacking and data breaches are becoming such a big part of day-to-day life, and there are very few ways to prevent and mitigate the issue as of now,” Vikram said.

“I’m definitely excited to meet basically the youngest and smartest minds of the entire world in one place—it is going to be such a fulfilling experience,” Vikram said.

Vikram’s award-winning research focuses on the issues of hacking and data breaches. She

In addition to Vikram’s attendance at ISEF, she was invited to BSides Salt Lake City and BSides Knoxville, two prominent cybersecurity conferences held around the globe. Vikram attended the conference in Salt Lake last month to present her research to conference attendees, which included professionals from Adobe, Google, the DBI, Cisco and many more top-tier companies in the field of technology.


Husky Pups students graduate

On Tuesday, May 7, the Husky Pups Preschool celebrated the graduation of 16 students in the auditorium. The early childhood education class organized the event and met with parents, before saying goodbye to the preschoolers.

The ceremony began with a welcome message from Early Childhood Education teacher Jennifer Hennessy, emphasizing the importance of kindness to her preschoolers. She also introduced the topics that students learned over the year, which included songs that the preschoolers performed after her speech.

“[The preschoolers] did a really good job. They’ve changed a lot over the year because they grow so rapidly at that age, but I’m very proud of everything that’s been done,” Hennessy said.

Principal Robert Frasca presented the diplomas to the Husky Pups.

“Many [Husky Pups] end up becoming our future Huskies,” Frasca said. “Being a principal is really about supporting the community, not just the students at the school and the staff…this is a part of our community.”

At the end of May, Vikram will be attending the conference at Knoxville, and she looks forward to presenting her findings once more.

“I was extremely nervous at BSides, there was a lot of pressure and expectations,” Vikram said. “I gained a lot of insight as to how these people all started off as the little guy and the steps they took to become the people they are today.”

Vikram’s success also landed her an invitation to compete at the

Forensics welcomes lecturer


scene analyzer’s job can be pretty tough, so sometimes Allison Boza takes a break from her stomachturning tasks by looking at some pictures of kittens, horses and even a snake that she’s seen on the job. Boza shared this and plenty of other facts about her job when she guest lectured for the Forensic Science classes on April 24.

ILockheed Martin Science Challenge, where she took home first place in the category of Intelligent Machines, Robotics, and Systems Software.

As if Vikram’s schedule was not busy enough, she will also be speaking at ISC2 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada this upcoming October, which is the largest cybersecurity company in the world. After spending 10 months conducting her research, it looks like Vikram will have another 10 to show off her work.

Drama holds senior cabaret

n the final performance of the year, and one last chance to celebrate its senior talent, the Theater Department hosted the Senior Cabaret on May 6. The showcase highlighted all the graduating thespians as well as several underclass pieces from the Competition Theater class.

The three-hour event started at 6 p.m. and tickets cost $5. Chorus teacher Chris Hickey filled in to oversee the show as director Jamaal Solomon had to leave town unexpectedly the day of the show to deal with family matters.

“I wanted to help students understand what goes into a career in the forensics field,” Boza said. “But it’s important for them to know that we are not like the TV shows that we all watch. The CSI effect is real, and I’m here to tell you it’s nothing like what you see on TV.”

But why would students take forensics? What interests them about forensics and the scientific study of death?

Senior Bradley Barton took away more from Boza than just the physical requirements.

“I learned a lot about the field,” Barton said. “It’s a job that needs to be done, and not everyone is made out to be in the forensic science field.”

Forensic Science teacher Mark Benedict hopes that students can use the information.

“My hope is that students take what they learned from Boza and see that it applies in real life scenarios,” Benedict said.

Extra sound checks and some technical hurdles did not stop the show, as performers entertained the crowd with dancing, singing, skits and monologues.

“It was definitely a struggle,” senior Katana Henderson said. “Without Solomon, there was no one there to keep us together, and it didn’t get better until a few people stepped up and reminded everyone that cabaret was meant to be fun.”

To end the show, the entire class performed “Let the Sunshine” from Hair before leaving the seniors on stage for one last round of applause.

“This was my first and last full year, but it was so fun and I loved performing on stage one last time,” senior Alyssa Leardi said.

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Nadia Knoblauch | Editor in Chief HACKING THE SYSTEM Junior Meghna Vikram stands in front of her research at the BSides Salt Lake City conference. After 10 months of research, Vikram qualified for the International Science and Engineering Fair. Photo | Meghna Vikram Lillie Overton | Staff Reporter Grace Hilton | Staff Reporter Francesca Salas | Yearbook staff Allison Boza speaks to the Forensic Science class. Photo | Lillie Overton Principal Robert Frasca hands a diploma to a Husky Pup graudate. Photo | Brooke Bohan Playing a Disney princess, junior Madalena Agosto sings in the Senior Cabaret. Photo | Francesca Salas


Seniors gathered on the football field after their last day of school on Monday, May 13 for Senior Sunset, an evening of fun, games and yearbook signing.

The three-hour event, which was combined

with Backyard Bash, was free to attend.

LEFT: Amari Patel signs a friend’s yearbook. RIGHT: Benjamin Demorange dances with friends.

Photos | Francesca Salas

Best buddies participates in annual Friendship Walk

amazing experience. So I wanted to go again.”

Clubs, businesses and individuals came together to set up tents, dance to music, play games and of course, walk.

On Saturday, April 27, members of Best Buddies clubs from across Central Florida gathered in Lake Eola Park for the Friendship Walk, taking a walk around the lake side by side.

According to the event’s official website, the Friendship Walk occurs in locations all over the world to raise funds and awareness for inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Hagerty’s Best Buddies chapter has participated in it for nearly as long as they have existed.

Even though the money doesn’t go to us, it helps the cause that we all care about

The first members arrived just before 8 a.m., and check-in began at 9 a.m.. Most of the participants had registered online, so after checking in and receiving a wristband that granted them access to the food and activities, students and adults explored the variety of booths, posed for photos, met up with old friends and made new ones with members of other Best Buddies chapters. The walk itself started at 10 a.m. after a round of speeches and performances.

- Madison Swan, president

“I really loved the walk [around the lake],” member Kiera McDermott said. “It was really fun: talking with everyone, meeting new people, just having a good time.”

“This is my third year going,” Best Buddies president Madison Swan said. “My freshman year there wasn’t a Friendship Walk because of COVID, which is really sad. But sophomore year I went, and it was the most

Fashion Club also joined the walk, attending the event and handing out bracelets as a show of support, a gesture Swan appreciated. Going forward, the hope is that more clubs will collaborate in similar events.

“This year we were able to raise

over $1,200, which was able to get us a tent [to gather under before the walk began]. We were really proud about that because even though the money doesn’t go to us, it helps the cause that we all care about,” Swan said.

These funds go primarily towards the Jobs and Community Living programs run by the international Best Buddies organization. The Jobs program specifically focuses on

providing employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, while the Community Living program supports finding inclusive areas for them to live.

The club welcomes new members, and support from students, other clubs and the Central Florida community at their events.

“I’d say to anyone who reads [this] article, join Best Buddies next year,” Swan said. “It’s a great club.”

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Lia Miller | Opinions Editor HAND IN HAND Members of Best Buddies and Fashion Club celebrate with handmade bracelets before the beginning of the Friendship Walk. This event brought together Best Buddies clubs from all over Central Florida. Photo | Lia Miller

opinions stressed, depressed, just


Two math worksheets due on Tuesday. Seven World History packets due on Wednesday. A Conjuguemos assignment along with grammar notes due Friday.

When most students think of the end of the school year, they think of saying goodbye to their teachers and classmates, making exciting plans for their summer vacation, or even finally being able to get a good night of sleep—but the long list of assignments that are due back-to-back is a lot closer to the stressful and time-consuming reality. From the miserable exams to unnecessary extra assignments, the final quarter of the school year is an absolute mess that is merely disguised as an easy means to the end, and this time of year only causes the exhausted students more anguish.

difficult exam.

Some AP teachers assign study guides and quizzes to help their students familiarize themselves even more with the material, and while the AP exam itself might not affect the overall grade in the class, those assignments certainly will. Students who have these classes cannot just drop everything and work on something for a different class if they have to review for their exam. The exam study guides AP teachers typically assign are several pages to cover multiple units, and they take a long time to finish. Plus, not every student benefits from that way of studying, so some have to find their own way to study on top of completing the reviews.

From the miserable exams to unnecessary extra assignments, the final quarter of the school year is an absolute mess that is merely disguised as an easy means to the end, and this time of year only causes students more anguish.

Advanced Placement exams started May 6, but even as those classes wrapped up, there are other classes with many loose ends that teachers like to smooth over before final exams happen. It is easier for teachers to assign more student-led assignments like a presentation or a creative poster that takes multiple days to work on than to give a short, one page worksheet, but with the exam season, this tactic quickly causes many issues.

For starters, the make-up work policy allows for students who are absent to get however many days they’re gone plus one extra day to complete their assignments, but this doesn’t apply to the longterm projects that are being assigned. Students who have exams are simply expected to work around their absence and keep up with the work on time, even if they won’t be in school to complete it.

Now, there is nothing wrong with a few extra assignments at the end of the year. There are definitely students who could benefit from an easy assignment or two to boost their overall grade—but not everyone is in that situation. Not everyone has the time, or quite frankly, the energy to do dozens of assignments all while studying and preparing for a

On actual exam days, students get an excused absence for their remaining classes that day, but time management can be tricky when teachers assign different projects due the very week of these soulcrushing exams. How are these AP students expected to work on their other assignments when they’ll be testing that day? It is not fair to expect burnt-out students who have been testing for four hours to complete all the projects and assignments of their non-test taking peers, nor would it be beneficial to the produced work’s quality.

Sure, AP courses are optional. Students don’t have to enroll in them. However, colleges are getting harder to get into, with the acceptance rate for Florida schools such as FSU and UF dropping steadily. AP classes show a student’s willingness to pursue a rigorous education, and naturally, that looks good to college admission officers. The school also receives money from the AP program, so these students are only allowing the school to benefit from their suffering. While AP classes are not required, they might as well be.

Even though it’s a stressful situation for teachers and students, teachers need to take into account the number of students out for testing, as well as the exam schedule. End of the year assignments happen, but when students are out testing, the work rules have to be more lenient, so AP students have the best chance to succeed.


University protests cause alarm

“So, what’s your second choice school?”

This is a question I have gotten a lot recently. It has come in different forms and in different tones, ranging from concern, to humor, to judgment. As an incoming freshman at Columbia University’s Barnard College, I will be honest: I’m nervous. With recent protests on Columbia’s campus resulting in police intervention, a lot of eyes have been on students’ arrests, but not on their beliefs.

The right to protest is one embedded in American philosophy. Not only is it protected in the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but it has been practiced and celebrated since the birth of our country.

So, where do we draw the line between peaceful protest and intentional harm?

Over the past few months, tensions have escalated over the war in Gaza, and the most visible examples have been student protests. College and university campuses across the nation, from UCLA to Columbia, have been speaking out against university leaders and administration, calling for divestment from companies profiting or engaging in the Israeli economy.

While violence has been present on campuses, the majority of protests have been marches, sit-ins and tent encampments, all with the goal of engaging in peaceful political activism. However, not all of them have been met with peaceful measures.

After Columbia students occupied Hamilton Hall on April 23, the New York Police Department was called into campus to dismantle the protest. At the University of Southern California, police appeared to shoot rubber bullets to break up an encampment on campus.

These arrests and responses have painted protesters as dangerous and defiant, when really, according to New York City officials, nearly half of those arrested at protests at Columbia and City College of New York in late April were not even affiliated with the schools.

So, to the universities that claim to excel in social progress and action, why are graduation ceremonies being canceled, students being suspended or even expelled for upholding their own mission statements? For a graduating class that already lost one ceremony to a pandemic, why are they now being punished for raising their voices and defending their beliefs?

Yes, if a student performs acts of violence or harm, especially if there are tones of antisemitism, there should be repercussions. But painting all student protesters as violent, antisemitic vigilantes is simply unfair. Being in favor of peace and the freedom of Palestinians is not equal to being antisemitic, and peacefully protesting is not equal to insubordination.

College is where young adults should feel empowered to speak up and be supported in doing so. Just as the First Amendment establishes the freedoms of speech and protest in our nation, universities need to develop an environment where difficult social discourse can happen without fear.

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Hagerty High School

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Phone: (407) 871-0750


The BluePrint is a studentproduced newspaper in which the student editors make all content decisions. The newspaper belongs to the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the National Scholastic Press Association and the Florida Scholastic Press Association.

Opinions expressed within the newspaper do not represent the staff’s views as a whole, the views of Seminole County Public Schools’ or Hagerty High School’s administration and staff.



Nadia Knoblauch

Print Editor Kailey Calvo

Online Editor

Greta Carrasco-Garcia

News Editor

Josephine Lim

Features Editor

Gabriella Navarro

Opinions Editor Lia Miller

Sports Editor Ava West

Staff Reporters

Jolin Alcindor, Grace Hilton, Isaiah Macri, Lillie Overton, Holly Smyers, Ava Strzalko


Brit Taylor


Robert Frasca

OUR TAKE: Colleges need admissions date overhaul


This is the phrase seniors hope to see displayed on their laptop screens during college decisions time. While it may seem like the pressure, the anxiety and the wait is finally over, acceptance into a university is just the beginning. As students wait for financial aid packages, appeal results, and other acceptances, a jumble of conflicting dates and processes unravels, making a tough decision even more difficult.

Every year, the Federal Application for Financial Student Aid opens around October. By around November, students should be able to see a rough, but accurate, estimate for how much student aid they will be given for the following academic school year.

This was not the case this year.

First, the FAFSA results were pushed to December. Then, to January. A third time, pushed to March.

It is now May, and students continue to wait for FAFSA results, which play a large role in the college selection process for many students. Not only does this make students wait for results that they should have had five months ago, but it may very well influence the future of these students in regard to their student debt, career choice, and their future success.

FAFSA is the most prominent flaw in the college decision timeline for this year, but it is far from being the only one.

Another factor that adds to the

decision announcements, often with more expensive schools allotting even less time for students to decide. While FSU early action results were released in December, University of Florida did not release their results until February. Ivy League schools and other top universities did not release results until April. College decisions take time and often include outside factors, such as signing leases or renting apartments.

How can students take the steps toward committing to a college if they are still awaiting acceptances to other universities?

For example, the commitment day for University of Central Florida was May 16. However, the appeal date for Florida State University was May 17, where students would learn if their decision appeals were approved for FSU admission. While it is a small pool of cases, this still puts students in a bind between two schools with little opportunity to think through such an

The more prestigious the university, the lower the acceptance rate, pushing many students onto a waitlist. Releasing a decision of acceptance in April is already late, but having students wait until even later to learn if they were accepted into their top choice schools can be even more draining for families. This is another issue that impacts a select few, but with multiple conflicts adding up, almost every senior eventually feels the impact.

College application cycles are already stressful. Finding out where you will be spending the next four years of your life should be exciting, not confusing. In order to make the process of selecting college more organized and give students an opportunity to weigh factors of finances and programs, FAFSA and universities need to improve their turnaround time, work to create more aligning release schedules, and put the students first.

SCPS policy restricts more than just movies

At the conclusion of the 2010 film True Grit, an aged Mattie Ross reflects that “time just gets away from us.” Time, for many, is an enemy; it robs us of growing meaningful relationships, making striking societal change and diminishes our youth. It is for these reasons that the Seminole County School Board – and district officials – should be allowing students to get the most out of their education before time for them runs out. This need is most important in their recent decision to ban Rated R movies. Yes, I’m one of the Film teachers and yes, I’ve been teaching the course since it was developed through blood, sweat and tears in 2009. Of course, I have a personal stake in keeping the curriculum whole. But the most important reason is to give students

a complete education, not one that is rife with just standards, rote tests, and stale textbook exercises.

True, there are many Rated PG & PG-13 movies worthy of our time. But do any of them show the horrors of D-Day like Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan; the true influence on the psychological thriller like Hitchcock’s Psycho; or the need for satire like Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. Given what students (juniors and seniors with parental permission – what happened to parental rights?) watch on their own and hear in the hallways, isn’t it better to present them with these “subversive” movies under the guidance of teachers who have endlessly studied the contributions of cinema to our society? OR are we really just afraid to grow a student’s critical thinking skills – even though we claim they need it – because we are afraid of what their knowledge can


Of course, the issue here is a lack of trust – in teachers. Some have indeed irresponsibly used films in the classroom; but why are the masses –and our students – the ones to suffer courtesy of the micromanaging on which SCPS insists. Shockingly it is the norm that those making this latest decision have never developed notes on a film, discussed director’s purpose or created high-level test questions on film metaphors. And while all this can be done with (almost) any film, the American Film Institute clearly defines the greatest movies that reflect America and many of them are rated R. This is a student’s chance to see films he or she normally wouldn’t – a detriment to critically understanding American culture.

While the state has recently made changes to allow parents full transparency related to their children’s education and even have

a say in it, nowhere does it say specifically that rated R movies are banned. The laws are often left open to the interpretation and subjectivity of school districts; therefore, it is our district making the choice to narrowly interpret out of fear, fear of state reprisal or fear of parents (then don’t sign the permission slip) bringing the district to court. Rather than fear, our district should show bravery in trusting teachers to know best and allow students to have the complete education the powers that be claim to support – before time runs out.

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Lisa Gendreau | Film Teacher BluePrint staff Illustration | Areli Smith


As senior year comes to an end, many students take the opportunity to look back at the moments that shaped their high school careers. Some call to mind a special moment with friends, some remember winning a district game and some look back at a class that they absolutely loved.

For senior Angela Espenscheid, her golden experience came sophomore year in Art History class. While she had explored art and history as separate topics, the class helped her narrow down her career search and interests. She plans to study Art History at Florida State University next year.

started high school that he was able to participate in a program that gave him the resources and creative space to expand his interest. In the class, he studied every phase of the production process: filming, editing, directing and writing. However, the section he gained the most interest in was special effects.


- Giovanni Sciuli, 12 “

At the end of the day, we’re all here to support each other and we watch each other grow.

“TV Production has a bunch of avenues and a bunch of ways to approach the medium, which I find really interesting. Right now I’ve been doing experimental assignments specifically with visual effects, which I might study in college as well,” Salinas said.

At the start of high school, Priore had no interest in programming. When he joined the programming class his sophomore year, former programming teacher Chuck Haibel encouraged him to join the club after school. Now president of the programming club, Priore credits the club for teaching him how to be a leader and adapt to the unexpected. After the unforeseen passing of Haibel earlier this year, Priore was forced to take full responsibility of the club.

“I’ve always liked art, and I like history, but I never really considered putting the two together until that class,” Espenscheid said.

Espenscheid took Art History before former teacher Maria Garcia retired. She recalls the class as one of her favorite curriculums mixed with education and fun.

“We were always the favorites. We were Mrs. Garcia’s last class before she retired. She gave us trinkets and computer stickers and let us have a lot of fun,” Espenscheid said

Senior Daniel Salinas had a similar experience when he joined TV Production in his freshman year. Salinas had always known he wanted to study film, but it was not until he

For senior Giovanni Sciuli, theater was her high school golden moment. She was introduced to theater when she was a freshman, and while she does not plan to continue acting after high school, she appreciates the people she has met through the program.

“My favorite theater production was All Shook Up…nothing beats All Shook Up. I was a freshman at the time so it was really inspiring to watch my upperclassmen make something beautiful,” Sciuli said. “At the end of the day, we’re all here to support each other and we watch each other grow.”

While many seniors believed a school program or class changed their high school experience, some, like senior Aidan Priore, look back on the after school activities they took part in as the highlight of their high school


"ASL class for sure—I just got out of that class and we were all bawling our eyes out because it’s our last class together. It really had a big impact on me.

In freshman year I was really socially awkward and I had so much anxiety, but when I got into that class, all of that just went away. Throughout the years, it’s just gotten so much better because of the class."

-Angelina Brunson, 12

“It was one of the first times I experienced loss, and it was one of the first times I had people relying on me to get through this.”

Priore said.

“The week he died, I had to get the club into a competition.

been able to

“Being the swim captain is something that I’ll remember forever. It has been one of the best high school experiences, and I’m really grateful that I got to do it for three years. We are all so close and it has been fun meeting after school every day and swimming,” Guiterrez said.

Similarly, senior Joelle Jackson has been able to grow with her cross country teammates through her four years of high school.

It was one of the first times I experienced loss, and it was one of the first times I had people relying on me to get through this.

- Aidan Priore, 12

People were looking at me like, ‘Hey, I know you’re grieving, but we need this.’ The experience taught me how to adapt,” Priore said.

Senior Lori Guiterrez also learned how to be a leader in her high school community. She joined the swim team her sophomore year and became captain as a senior. The sport has become a community that she has

"I would definitely say Culinary as a class, just because it’s something that has interested me since I was young, and I was cooking with my family. There’s so many fun memories that I have in Culinary, like naming our dishes and making a wide diversity of dishes."

-Gregory Thomas, 12

“I’d say something that definitely changed my high school experience was my Law period. That was an interesting experience. My table was a riot this whole year."

-Ryan Raatz, 12

“I did [cross country] originally so I could play soccer, but then I stuck around because I was like, ‘Wait, this is kind of fun.’ The thing about cross country is that it's mainly an individual sport. So over the last four years, I saw myself getting stronger and stronger,” Jackson said. “I learned a lot of things about being an athlete and being a better person overall.”

While no single experience for seniors is the same, many will still look back at activities and groups they took part of during the past four years, and remember the successes, failures and growth they experienced.

"I’ve been doing theater since my freshman year. Ever since that year I’ve definitely grown as a person and a leader. I gained multiple leader positions, and it’s taught me a lot about leadership in general. I’ve met so many great people in the class that I’ll have for the rest of my life."

-Mackenzie Roberts, 12

"My family is musical and they’ve always been that way, but I’ve never truly felt like I belonged with them in a sense, and so doing theater helped me realize that I’m not very musical, but I do like being behind the scenes. I kind of found my place, and what I want to do with my life through theater."

-Josephine Santana, 12

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Greta Carrasco| Online

TOP 10


GPA: 4.69


FUN FACT: “I have British citizenship.”



INSPIRATION: “Bridget Mendler because she has a Harvard Law Degree, MIT PhD and she’s my Disney Channel queen.”




GPA: 4.788

University of Florida

IN 10 YEARS: “I’ll be opening my own law firm.”

Due to a three-way tie for ninth, there are 11 students recognized in this year’s top 10



FAVORITE MOMENT: “Going to the World Championship for Robotics. We met a lot of people from different countries and were united through robotics.”



FUN FACT: “I’m undefeated in soccer tic tac toe.”

FAVORITE MEMORY: “Finishing 12th at the cross country state championship this year.”



GOLDEN GIFT: “I’d get a gold medal for the most second place victories.”


GPA: 4.638


FUN FACT: “My cat is named Ottomobile!”


GPA: 4.62


GOLDEN GIFT: “If I could win a gold medal, it would be for making people laugh.”


GPA: 4.621


FUN FACT: “I’ve moved a lot. I’ve lived in London, India, California, and now Florida.”


GPA: 4.62


GOLDEN GIFT: “I’d want to win a gold medal in procrastinating.”

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Class of 2024 destinations

A list of graduating seniors and where they will be next year

AGabriel Abbate UF

Ryan Abbott

Osman Abdelrahim UCF

Mohab Abdou SSC

Chelsea Abo SSC

Anthony Acevedo FSU

Logan Acey-Kriegshauser Navy

Aniah Acuna SSC

Ashaz Ahmed

Brooke Ainsworth SSC

Mariam Al Lebban USF

Keinan Alaref UCF

Noah Albano UF

Alexander Alfaro SSC

Alayna Alfonso SSC

Mikayla Allocca UCF

Owen Amirault Virginia Tech

Aayush Anand

Faith Anderson SSC

Mateo Andocilla

Andrew Anslow

Dustin Arias Navy

Pranay Arora UF

Junior Arvizu

Zahra Ateeq undecided

Rylee Bader FAU

Naomi Bailey SSC

Tyler Baker

Justin Ballentine

Samuel Ballentine

Adrianna Barcia-Leslie

Skye Barnes UF

Logan Barry SSC

Lauren Bartelson

Annabelle Bartholomew Appalachian State

Bradley Barton work

Bayley Basco undecided

Olivia Beckenhaupt UCF

Emma Becker undecided

Marlene Bekheit UCF

Jasmine Belgrave SSC

Brett Beliech UCF

Logan Bell SSC

Talan Bell Clemson University

Chance Bennett Muskingum University

Inah Bergamo USF

Ariana Bermudez

Micaela Biggles

Cooper Bishop

Rohan Bisht UF

Luke Bland

Lauren Bliss Cornell University

Makenna Blonshine Stevenson University

Julia Bochkarev University of Pennsylvania

Iveigh Bock UCF

Aiden Boehringer UCF

Aubry Bogdany SSC

Brayden Bohren undecided

Jordan Bombard UCF

Eva Boord

Jake Borgon UCF

Alexis Botelho

James Bovaird UCF

Samuel Bowen

Jakob Branham

Makenzie Bray SSC

Connor Breen Universal Technical


Breleigh Brester

Benyamine Brito SSC


Dylan Brittain work

Korielle Brodsky St. Thomas University

Davonte Bromfield SSC

Cheyenne Brough UCF

Elliott Brown FAU

Luke Browning pilot academy

Carter Bruno UCF

Angelina Brunson SSC

Matthew Bunn undecided

Madeline Burrows UCF

Alexis Butler UCF

Mia Caccavale UCF or NC State

Levi Cal Rivera Florida International University

Jayden Calderon SSC

Mayte Camacho Georgia

Fernandez Southern University

Dawson Campo

Erin Canty UCF

Jones Carbon undecided

Mya Carman undecided

Thomas Carnicella SSC

Joseph Carpino

William Carr UCF

Kayla Carreras USF

Paige Carruthers University of Houston

Ariel Casadiego SSC

Marisa Castellano UCF

Christian Cervantes FSU or UCF

Jasmine Chapin UNF

Caden Chapman

Preston Charette USF

Nicole Chmilnitzky UF

Shyanne Christopher

Adam Ciccone UCF

Haylee Citty SCAD

Aaron Clarke SSC

Marcel Clemens UCF

Sophia Colton UCF

Jazlyn Compton

Alexander Conway

Isabel Cook-Rodriguez SSC

Casey Costa SSC

Courtney Cruden

Ariana Cruz UCF

Joshua Cruz undecided

Lyxander Cuadros

Brian Daigle

Stella Dakoulas Valencia

Stephen Dakoulas

Brendan Danish

Carson Darosa undecided

Grant Darty UCF

Kailyn David FSU

Victoria Davis Medina UCF

Nathaniel Davis UCF

Nathan Dawson undecided

Tatiana De Jesus USF

Mateus De Souza Teixeira Valencia

Grace Dean FSU

Ronald Deer Trade school

Alejandro Delgado Alvarez SSC

Benedict Delp USF

Ava Devries UCF

Devam Dholakia UCF

Adam Digregorio undecided

Alexander Dixon

Lauryn Donahey

Cameran Donnellon SSC

Jacob Donovan

Louis Dosal USF

Alyssa-May Douglas

Caden Douglass USCB

James Drehoble

Maedell Dudley SSC

Benjamin Dumorange FAC

Dillon Dunn

Nathan Dye FSU

Jayden Eales SSC

Peighton Eddy SSC to UCF

Alejandro Elizondo SSC

Jacob Ellmyer SSC

Ava Enrique UCF

David Erdmann-Dunlap work

Alejandro Escandell Pompa

Logan Escudero work

Angela Espenscheid FSU

Leonel Estupinan-Zuniga

Alexis Evans Lindenwood

Luke Everson

Luis Fajardo UCF

Isabella Fandozzi

David Faragalla

Franco Fernandez UCF

Ryan Fernandez

Luigi Feroce UCF

Sofiia Filonovska SSC

Clara Fiskerud UCF

Eli Fleming Pitt

Savannah Flores

Madalynn Flynn UF

Landon Ford SSC

Celina Forine

Jeremy Freedman work

Noah Froemmling SSC

Sofia Fuentes UCF

Vanessa Fuller UCF

Kylie Gaetan

Julianna Gallucci

Sophia Garbelman UW-Whitewater

Eddie Garcia

Kira Garrett Daytona State

Culinary Program

Trinity George SSC

Leah Getty UCF

Sabrina Gil UCF

Connor Gilliam Navy

Jadelyn Gonzales work

Mauro Gonzalez Astudillo

Gabriel Gonzalez Martinez UCF

Angel Gonzalez Tulsa Welding


Angela Gonzalez UCF

Daniel Gonzalez SSC

Jose Gonzalez

Patricia Gonzalez SSC

Duane Gooden undecided

Ashlyn Gorczany FSU

Jackson Graeber FSU

Kadyn Graham SSC

James Grebey

Grace Green undecided

Mason Green

Carson Greenier Air Force

Emma Greenier Limestone

Christine Grimm FSU

Daniel Guerrero SSC

Mikayla Guild Kennesaw State University

Caley Gustafson SSC

Bailey Gutierrez FSW

Lorena Gutierrez

Blake Hagman undecided

Shannon Hahn University of Alabama

Carter Hale SSC

Amariell Hall

Brooke Hallman

Razyaire Hamilton trade school

Emily Hanus FSU

Ireland Harkins FGCU

Selene Harris UCF

Samantha Hart FSU

Kylie Harvey

William Harvey

Devon Hawkins

Ethan Hazelton military

Christian Hearrell-Rivera

Joshua Heath UCF

Jenna Hecker UF

Sebastian Hedrick SSC

Abigail Heimendinger UF

Blake Henson Lynchburg University

Jackson Henson

Alexander Hernandez

Gustavo Hernandez

Makhi Hernandez undecided

Olman Hernandez FSU

Breanna Herrera UCF

Kaleb Heyliger UCF

Grace Hilton

John Hoang

Sydney Holtman FSU

Ansley Howell

Alexis Howes

Torin Hulshof

Alana Hunt

Adrien Iannuzzi SSC

Tatjana Ingenohl UCF

Teage Isla undecided

Aleksey Ivashyn

Joelle Jackson Rollins College

Nevaeh Jacob SSC

Austin Jacobs Clemson University

Jase Jacobs undecided

Maya Jakubowski UCF

Andrew Jennings SSC

Franco Jimenez-Torres SSC

Jenelia Johnpeter

Madison Johnson undecided

Naia Johnson Cedarville University

Alana Jones University of Kentucky

Calvin Jones

Gabriela Jones UCF

William Jordan Germanna Community College

Joseph Jupena

Neha Kabir Rutgers University

Danielle Kaminsky UCF

Ava Kaplan Auburn University

Haarini Karthik Avayambal UCF

Briana Keays Cosmetology

Catherine Keegan FSU

Kerry Keegan

Kacie Kelch

Aden Kennedy SSC

Miya Kenny

Cailin Kilkenny

Luke Kimball

Jayden King SSC

Rachel Kirkland Stetson University

Maren Kisner UNF

Kylee Kitts

Andrew Klopfenstein UF

Nadia Knoblauch Barnard College, Colombia University

Christie Knowles

Abby Koromilas UCF

Aidan Kovats SSC or Marines

Ryan Kratz UF


Anthony Demarchi

Doaa Desooki undecided

Amy Desroches UCF

Scott Krensavage undecided

Mason Kretzschmar

Ayden Krob SSC

Joshua Krob

Conrad Kushner

Mia Ladores

Andrew Lane UCF

10 senior destinations
Kylie Haeger SSC


To the 2023-2024 Unleashed Dance Team Seniors,

Thank you on behalf of the team, Coach Allyson and myself for all the hard work, dedication, and endless hours of devotion you have had to the team. We would not have been able to get through the season without your tireless efforts to provide the team with the best experiences this year. We wish each and every one of you the best in the future and the best of luck in the path you are choosing. You will be missed!

- Coach D, Coach Allyson and the 2023-2024 Unleashed Dance Team

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teacher farewells


Congratulations class of 2024! I’m so delighted to have known so many of you and sincerely wish you happy and illustrious futures. You all have made this year a great year for teaching. Hope you are all ready spaghettis because now is your time to shine and (please) make the world a better place. <3 Mrs. Rose

To the class of 2024, I am so proud of you and will miss you all so very much! I will leave you with my favorite quote from Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places you’ll go! You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know.” Ms. Decio

Shout out to my AP Lit seniors! Thank you all for your grace and kindness during my internship. You will forever have a special place in my heart for giving me such a wonderful first teaching experience. I look forward to hearing all the amazing things you do! Ms. Lechner

Well wishes that all your efforts will yield great rewards! Farewell and fine travel, leaders of tomorrow! Mrs. Hernandez

Embrace your future. Mr. Otero

“What did the acorn say when it grew up?”....”GEOMETRY!” Keep your sense of humor, strive for excellence, and remember all you learned in your math classes! Mrs. Arp

Be good, behave, enjoy your life, hope you fall in love, I love you all. Mr. Bordelon

Class of 2024, you did it! It’s been a fun four years and I am glad to have been able to be your sponsor for it. While I won’t miss sponsoring, it is bitter sweet. Thank you for a great four years! This place will always be your home. Special thanks to Ainsley and Megan for leading and helping make these past four years awesome for y’all. Best of luck and don’t be a stranger! Mr. Colquhoun

Congratulations and good luck. Some quick words of advice. “Don’t be afraid of a wildgoose chase, you never know where it will take you” and “If you are walking on thin ice, you might as well dance.” Mr. Stansbury

Just wanted to wish you a life of contentment, joy, and adventure. Stay true to yourself and don’t be afraid of the road less traveled. Stay in the moment- time is trickydon’t let it pass so quickly that you miss the little things. Always remember that life is a journey and it is one heck of a ride- enjoy every second! I’ll miss you-stay in touch. Mrs. Guzman

ConGRADulations Class of 2024!!!

Wishing you ALL the best as you conclude this chapter at HHS and start a new one wherever the road leads you. It has been a pleasure watching you grow into amazing humans and I can’t wait to see all of the great things you do!! Take care and come visit often!!

Mrs. Tibbits-Bryce

Congratulations Class of 2024! I am honored to be graduating (retiring) with you! Get busy living, or get busy dying! Mrs. Gendreau

Congratulations on your graduation! I enjoyed being your math teacher and I hope I made math a little fun for you! Good luck in your future! You will do great things! Mrs. Compher

Congratulations! Enjoy the moment, cherish it, and always remember what pride you feel with this accomplishment - it can help drive you to wealth and success in what follows. Trust your intuition and follow your talents. Mr. T

Congratulations to the NEHS Seniors! Best wishes on all your tomorrows. “Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” — Malala Yousafzai

Mrs. Babbington and Mrs. McHugh

Dear Seniors, It’s been a challenging, fun-filled four years here at Hagerty (for me, too!). We started our “Hagerty Era” during the pandemic, either behind face masks at school or computer screens from home. We figured out how to navigate tough obstacles and pursue our goals. Face each new challenge with patience, optimism, and the confidence that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS - because YOU HAVE! Be bold and resilient…and enjoy your adventures!

Mrs. Knoblauch

Dear Class of 2024,

Thank you for being an amazing group of students! Wishing all of you the best that life has to offer. Now is the time to make your dreams come true. “May the force be with you!”

Much Happiness, Excellent Health and Love, Mrs. Forza

To the class of 2024,

As you embark on this next chapter of your journey, I want to remind you to embrace this new era with courage. You are brilliant, creative, and undoubtedly capable. Hang on to your vibrant spirit, and use it as a guiding force to make the world a better place than you found it!

I am SO proud of you all. Shine bright!

Ms. Ollweiler

WOW. What a crazy time making it through the pandemic together. Our time in person and online for DIT and AP CSP were fun, and you performed well throughout! Programming Team and Mod Squad were a blast. In Mod & Sim, learning Maya, watching chairs/people fall, understanding what “drip” means, enjoying fun memes, UV’s, you name it . . . what great memories. I will miss you and am proud of you. Happy graduation! Mrs. Ramsey

Congratulations, Seniors! You did it! Go out into the world and be good, kind people. Work hard, try new things, and remember to call your parents. We are proud of you! As always, go Huskies! Mrs. Bearss


I wish you the best in life, you have reached a milestone and now you are on to the next step.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to see you grow on this journey, for some of you multiple classes over the years. As you move on to this next phase of your journey, remember to hold onto the lessons learned, the friendships you’ve made, and the memories you have created. Your potential is boundless, and the world eagerly awaits the contributions that only you can make. May your future be bright, your dreams be realized, and your journey be filled with endless possibilities.

Congratulations, Class of 2024! Mrs. Bingham

You made it through 4 years with me!!! That’s an accomplishment in itself! Seriously, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching each of you grow into responsible, confident, respectful and independent young men and women. I will miss you all more than you know and would love for you to touch base with me periodically so I can enjoy your future successes. I am so very proud of each of you and I can’t wait to see you receive your diploma that you worked so hard for. Best wishes to you all, I know you will do great things. Ms. Harris

To my seniors, Aaron, Ailinh, Areli, Carson, Carter, Nehemiah, James, Rachna, Tyler, and Wesley, it has been an absolute pleasure to really get to know your kind hearts. Thank you for accepting me. You, along with my other students, have made being your teacher so enjoyable! I wish much happiness in your life! Choose your path and follow your dreams! Reach for the stars, they’re yours for the taking! Enjoy your next chapter! Congratulations!

Mrs. Orlando

God Bless


of the senior class of 2024! -Coach Coffie

We congratulate our Career & Technical Education seniors who have achieved the highest level of their chosen educational pathway here at Hagerty High School in the areas of Television Production Technology, Early Childhood Education, Culinary and Modeling & Simulation

As you prepare to turn the page to a new chapter, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your dedication and camaraderie. Wishing each of you all the best in your future endeavors both on and off the tennis court. Farewell and best wishes!!

-Coach Maddie Escudero



Alexis Evans & Leah Getty

Varsity Dance Team Captains, Two National Titles

"All of our tremendous honors and awards would not have been possible without their drive and focus from day one when we were learning routines. My wish for them both is to continue that drive and determination and to be the strong female leaders that they are."

- Coach D


Julia Register Olman Hernandez

Thespian Troupe President, Applause Award Winner

"Julia is a true team player as well as dedicated leader. She is superbly talented and humble. I know that she will go far in life and make the world a better place not just through what she has learned in leadership but through the arts as well. I cannot wait to see where her journey takes her next!"

- Jamaal K. Solomon

Drum Major, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble

"Olman Hernandez has been an exceptional musician and leader. His dedication is admirable; balancing academics, music, and leadership roles isn't easy, but it's clear Olman was up to the task. He is a pivotal part of the Hagerty High School band program, and will be missed."

- The Kupermans

Four-Year Chorus Student

"In the five years that I’ve been teaching here, Trevor Sasso has been one of the ultimate chorus students. He is an active participant in class, and he has helped me immensely with all of the minutiae of the program. The chorus program and I will miss you so much Trevor!"

- Christopher Hickey

Senior Jonathon Leon participated in both cross country and track. Leon was the cross country state runner-up and qualified for states with the 3200 meter and 4x800 relay events for track. Senior Abby Mas participated in beach volleyball and volleyball. Mas is an outside hitter for volleyball and won second team all conference. For beach volleyball, she won first team all conference. BOYS TEAM OF THE YEAR: Bowling GIRLS TEAM OF THE YEAR: Beach Volleyball MULTI SPORT ATHLETES OF THE YEAR FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR While on the girls soccer team, O’Donnell held a 4.480 weighted and 3.961 unweighted GPA and is senior vice president. She will graduate with honors and is president of the National Athletic Honors Society. While on the boys cross country team, Abbate held a 4.620 weighted and 3.963 unweighted GPA placing in the top ten of his class. Abbate will graduate with honors and has successfully completed 15 AP courses. ACADEMIC ATHLETES OF THE YEAR Megan O'Donnell Gabe Abbate Jonathan Leon Abby Mas
Weightlifting Third in state finals Four-Year varsity weightlifter MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Baseball Sac Player of the Year Night of Champions Winner
The boys varsity bowling team won the SAC and district championships this year and placed fourth in the state tournament. The team also went undefeated during the regular season. The girls varsity beach volleyball team won the SAC and district championships this year and made it to the elite eight. The team also only lost one game during the regular season.
Trevor Sasso
Elizabeth Ruplinger
senior superlatives

HIGH- $$


Picture working a full-time job, saving your money and still not having enough to afford rent—let alone become a homeowner. To some, this may seem like a situation only faced by those who are poor, uneducated or simply not hard working enough, but for many Floridians and even more people across the nation, it is a scary reality stemming from an issue that grows worse by the year. UCF professors and staff recently protested on the campus and called for raises due to the affordable housing crisis.

The average rent price in the Orlando metro area has gone up 38% in the last few years and currently sits at around $2,100, that number rises to $2,400 for Oviedo specifically. The price of a home is around $400K, which is up 9.5% in just the last year. There are two main factors contributing to this increase in price, with the main factor being supply and demand— Florida has a rapidly growing population due to an influx of people coming from northern states.

“We moved from New York and lived with my grandma until we could afford to rent our own place,” junior Ryan Morales said. With a high demand for homes and a limited number of housing, prices go up because no matter what, someone is willing to pay. Another secondary factor stems from the housing crash of 2008.

hasn’t happened. It makes it difficult because the investors are holding the homes and the actual people who need to move have less homes to buy,” broker associate Tim Veigle said.

Housing prices will naturally go up due to inflation. However, an issue arises when the price of housing increases much faster than the pay of those needing homes. These issues are often seen as just statistics without thinking of the people who are currently being affected and those who will be affected in the future. If this pattern of increase continues much of the younger generation may struggle to leave home and find affordable housing. This will affect students who plan on attending college as well as those who plan to enter the workforce after graduation.

Central Florida housing prices continue to increase, causing concerns about the future of affordable homes

person just for an application, and then if you put that money in and you don’t get the apartment you have to go and try again, that was just spending all our money. It was very stressful,” Ruth Mooring, a senior citizen who had trouble finding housing, said.

A possible solution to the issue is government regulation that could hold off large investors from buying these homes.

“The best way to do it would be if there was some sort of legislation saying that big company investors can’t put in an offer on the house for the first 30 days. If there’s a delay it would help people buy homes,” Veigle said.

“We’ve had a lot of investors, especially big investors, buy the homes. When they originally bought it, the idea was that at some point in time, they would be released to the market, [but] that

I find it crazy that if you don’t have a high paying job you can’t comfortably rent a home.

Student debt was listed as one of the major obstacles stopping Gen Z from becoming homeowners. As rent increases alongside housing prices, students who don’t plan on attending college will also run into issues.

- Ryan Morales, 11

While this would help potential homeowners, regulation on rental prices raises questions about government interference in a free market.

“A lot of the time in a free market when issues arise and consumers have issues, it’s because of over-regulation,” Veigle said.

If you are a property owner who has taken out a loan and the government caps what you can charge for rent, there could be a problem when you are paying more on the mortgage than you are making off of the rent.

“After high school I’m not planning on going to college, I’m planning on trying to save up and move out. It’s going to affect me personally because I’m going to be on my own and won’t have my parents to support me,” Morales said. “I find it crazy that if you don’t have a high paying job you can’t comfortably rent a home.”


While students worry about what the future may hold, older generations are currently facing the hardships of rising housing prices. Floridians who have been able to live at least semi-comfortably throughout their lives are now being harmed by increasing prices.

“Our rent used to be $1,500–now you can’t find anything under $1,800. It’s $50 to $100 for each

Many students worry that with the increasing cost of housing, moving out will be a greater challenge than it was for previous generations. Some have already started the process of planning for the future.

“I’m saving up money to rent a townhouse or a small apartment with one other person, I switched to FLVS so I could have more time to work,” student Bogdan Madonici said, “I probably won’t stay in Florida though because of the high prices.”

$83,000 or more per year on the Oviedo and Orlando housing market ON THE MONEY Rent and housing prices continue to rise across the nation, especially in Florida. This has raised questions about how Gen Z will be able to successfully support themselves if the market continues rising at the current rate.

All in all, the issue of affordable housing is complex and doesn’t have a simple solution. It’s a problem that millions of Americans struggle with and millions more will struggle with in the future.

“I’m planning on becoming a homeowner, I think it’s going to be way harder than it was for previous generations but if I manage my money correctly and put in enough work I think it’s possible,” Morales said.

In order to avoid becoming “rent burdened” as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, someone living in Orlando would need to make

15 features bpthe
$300 more than the national average information from Zillow.com and Fox35orlando.com
In Orlando, it costs per month on average to rent a home. $2,100
Oviedo, it costs
The average rent price per month for houses or apartments in Oviedo is



Dissecting the innate connection between food and culture

In third grade, senior Zahra Ateeq’s class held a world cultural day, one meant to celebrate the diversity of its students. Ateeq brought kheer, a Pakistani rice pudding dessert, to share.

Her excitement quickly turned to dread as her classmates began spitting.

“[Everyone started] saying it was gross or that they did not like it. It was isolating…I didn’t want to be seen as odd and different, [so] I pretended that I didn’t like it either,” Ateeq said.

Ateeq’s experience is not unique. Food, a love language every culture shares, can be an easy target for people’s snap judgments, no matter what age they are.

Chinese teacher Zhenzhen Zhang moved to America a few years ago. Despite mainstream Chinese dishes like orange chicken dominating the American palette, Zhang notes such acceptance does not extend to more niche tastes.

“Chicken feet, duck neck, stinky tofu…they’re so good, [but] people are always saying the food is gross,” Zhang said. “I just don’t take it to heart. They’ve never experienced it. They just have to learn a little bit more [about it].”

Despite the way food can be used to ostracize people, Ateeq has also found it as a connecting force. After years of growing up in a predominantly white school, Ateeq learned to spread her wings through her multicultural friend group.

“My friend group brings home-cooked meals to lunch…they definitely help me feel comfortable in my own skin and with bringing my own cultural food to school,” Ateeq said.

For senior Marlene Bekheit, one of Ateeq’s friends, food has always been a way for her to share her Egyptian culture and experiences. As president of the Coptic Youth Society, she hopes to encourage others to do the same.

“One of my favorite memories of the club was our Friendsgiving, where culture clubs like BSU, HSU and the Asian Culture Club joined together to share our foods with one another,” Bekheit said. “Food is more than just sustenance…it’s a symbol of my cultural identity that has been passed down through generations.”

PART OF THE COMMUNITY Food is one of the most integral parts of culture. Students from all around the world have felt its impact and ability to connect. Illustration | Josephine Lim

To junior Pablo Salinas, food has become especially important since he moved from Ecuador seven years ago. Despite the distance between him and the majority of his extended family, food always reminds him of home.

“We would always go to our grandma’s house on Fridays, and play a game called Treinta y Uno (31) [where] we’d bet with our grandmother with some cents she gave us. One time I got enough to go to the store around the corner and buy an empanada, which is a small thing, but it’s nice [to remember],” Salinas said. “Food just reminds me of where I’m from.”

“I didn’t think about [eating cultural food] before. But because of my son, I started prioritizing it more. I want to keep that part of our culture in my family for as long as I can, to make it as rich as it can be for my son,” Zhang said.

Sophomore Juliana Alvarez gives credit to her grandmother for keeping her family traditions alive.

“Every year, my family and I gather to make bread or empanadas together...my grandma teaches us how to make them,” Alvarez said.

Although these cultures and backgrounds may not always be accepted, junior Ysabella PierreLouis believes that intolerance has only drawn her closer to her Haitian family.

On the other hand, Zhang also sees food as a reminder of the future. Ever since the birth of her son, Zhang has emphasized eating cultural food so her son can stay connected to his Chinese roots. To her, it is not only a matter of cultural pride, but survival.

“It was hard to hear someone call me ‘dirty’ and my food ‘disgusting.’ But as I got older, I began to embrace the fact I was different. [In the end] it helped bring me closer to my culture,” Pierre-Louis said.

STARTING OFF STRONG Math teacher Agalaia Christodoulides shows what a typical Cyprus breakfast looks like. Photo | Agalaia Christodoulides

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RUNS IN THE FAMILY A plate of empanadas sits on sophomore Juliana Alvarez’s dinner table. Cooking the dish is a family tradition. Photo | Juliana Alvarez STICKING TO OUR ROOTS Senior Zahra Ateeq and her sister pose with chaat, a South Asian snack. It reminds her of her childhood. Photo | Zahra Ateeq


Campus groups celebrate Earth Day

Gabriela Navarro | Features Editor

Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, serves as a reminder for our collective responsibility to preserve the planet we call home. Originating in 1970, Earth Day has since evolved into a rallying cry for environmental activism and consciousness, encouraging people worldwide to take action in pressing environmental challenges.

In an effort to celebrate Earth Day and contribute to environmental conservation, the Girl Up club and the Science National Honor Society joined forces to host a shoreline cleanup. Supported by a generous donation of $250 from Ocean Wise, a global conservation organization with a mission to rid our oceans of pollution, the event was a major success.

Senior Anouska Seal emphasized society’s role in protecting our environment and safeguarding animal habitats.

moved to help pick up litter along MitchellHammock road. By day’s end, their effort resulted in more than four bags of trash collected, ranging from fast food leftovers, plastic bags and tire rubber.

“I never liked how dirty the side of the roads look as I drive so it was nice to be able to fix this for our community,” junior Alexis Williamson said.

For sophomore Lavinia Washkies, the journey into the world of plants goes beyond being a picked up hobby and instead as a homage to cherished memories. As a child, she would accompany her grandmother to her garden, helping her take care of her flowers and fruits. Now, drawing inspiration from her grandmother, Washkies tends to her own garden.

12,000 pound trucks, wheels with a height of 66 inches and width of 43 inches, a frame strong enough to sustain landings from over 45-foot jumps but light enough to prevent rear axles and suspension rods from breaking amidst the fall.

Monster Jam features 47 trucks and 83 drivers, 24 who compete at the Monster Jam World Finals. This high-intensity motorsport keeps the audience thrilled with the complex performances from high jumps to backflips.

It kind of clears my consciousness knowing that I’m helping the Earth.
- Anouska Seal, 12 “

“Every piece of trash picked up contributed to bigger problems and helped clean our environment for the wildlife here,” senior Anouska Seal said.

In total, the collaborated effort collected 3.7 pounds of trash including cigarettes and plastic bottles.

“I feel better when I help during [cleanups],” Seal said. “It kind of clears my consciousness knowing that I’m helping the Earth.”

Echoing the same sentiment, Key Club hosted a cleanup initiative in honor of Earth Day.

“For me, [gardening is] reliving my childhood memories,” Washkies said. “Every flower I water reminds me of her. Like she is still teaching me how to plant and feed different plants.”

On the other hand, freshman Keano Vega’s fascination with plants stemmed unexpectedly during a leisurely stroll through his old neighborhood. Captivated by the beauty of a front lawn mini-garden, Vega’s love for plants sprouted, prompting his desire to start his own botanical journey.

“I’ve always thought plants were pretty cool,” Vega said. “It wasn’t until I randomly went by someone’s outdoor mini-garden that I really wanted to start my own.”

Junior Sebastian Acosta was introduced to Monster Jam through a casual hangout with his cousin when he was 11. His cousin had extra tickets for a show and called Acosta’s parents at the last minute.

“I didn’t really know where I was going. My dad just told me to quickly get ready and we were out the door,” Acosta said. “When we got there I had already missed one of the competitions but what I saw gave me a thrill that I hadn’t experienced before.”

Acosta showed interest in motor sports like dirt bikes and car racing, however, Monster Jam quickly became his favorite motor sport.

Attracted by the natural art and diversity of flowers, Vega’s appreciation goes beyond their aesthetic appeal, extending to an admiration of growth. He found that plants were more than random decorations on a sidewalk.

“I mean, they are like the art of nature, and every flower is vibrant and unique. I can’t get enough of it,” Vega said. “I love wildflowers the most, I think. They aren’t purposely planted, it’s like they are just meant to be there and I really like that.”

In their shared stories, there is a common thread of admiration for nature as a testament to the impact of our Earth.

on nature, they of

From shoreline cleanups to personal reflections, Earth Day serves as a spark for engagement and commitment to preserving our planet. Moving forward, Washkies encourages our community to channel these practices into everyday life to help nurture the planet.

“Water a plant, or pick some weeds—any step no matter

how small makes an impact, especially when it’s focused on more than one day,” Washkies said.

Monster Jam consists of three main types of competitions: racing, freestyle, and two-wheel skills. The racing category sends two monster trucks into the arena to finish laps around the obstacle courses that include ramps, barriers, and puddles of mud. Each category has its own specialized skills and driving maneuvers, but freestyle category is where drivers get to put on a show.

“It’s cool seeing these trucks practically fly around and do flips and tricks that seem impossible,” Acosta said.

Acosta has gone to 10 Monster Jam shows, including three World Finals. Each year the finals have a different location with the 2023 finals taking place in Nashville, Tennessee. Acosta and his dad traveled to Tennessee for the finals, but their travel plans were more turbulent than expected.

“It’s funny looking back at it but it was really stressful at the time. Our flight kept getting delayed and we were sure we were going to make it,” Acosta said. “It was chaotic, my dad and I were freaking out the whole time but we ended up making it just in time for the competition.”

Apart from going to shows, Acosta also collects miniature trucks that resemble the ones at Monster Jam. So far, Acosta has collected over 170 trucks with a price tag of $1,000.

“I’m going to keep collecting these trucks until the day I die,” Acosta said.

17 features bpthe
Gathered on April 20, members of the Key Club BAG IT UP Senior Jensen Miller bags up trash during Girl Up’s shoreline cleanup. The group’s efforts went towards cleaning the Little Econ Wilderness Area. Photo | Gretchen Knoblauch


SHUTTING IT DOWN Pitcher Brayden Toro throws a complete game shutout against Oakleaf. The team won three games in a row to earn a regional championship and a berth in the final four this weekend.

Varsity baseball dominates regional playoffs with power pitching

Two games, zero runs allowed. Baseball’s postseason run has been dominant, and the team is one win away from a third trip to the final four.

In the regional semifinal last weekend, Saturday’s game against Chiles was postponed after severe weather and tornados moved through Talahassee on Friday. The team drove up Saturday morning, shutting out Chiles 4-0 behind six innings from Eli Fleming and one inning from Max Murray. The pitchers combined to give up only two hits and two walks.

Offensively it was a balanced effort, as Brandon Levy went 2-3 with an RBI, and Carlos Morales, Stephan Chucka and Brayden Toro each had hits in the game.

Before the playoffs began, the team had their roughest streatch of the season, with three losses in a row, two to Windermere, 4-3 and 2-0, and then a first-round exit in the district playoffs against New Smyrna Beach, losing 2-0 on April 30.

Despite the streak, however, the team’s schedule was strong enough to earn a number

three seed in the region, and since the loss to New Smyrna, the team has been dominating offensively and defensively in the regional playoffs, as they took a 5-0 victory over the Oakleaf Knights in the regional quarterfinals, with the help of a complete game shutout from senior Brayden Toro.

At home on Tuesday, May 7, Toro scattered only three hits across seven scoreless innings and fanned 10 batters while walking only one. The righthanded pitcher also helped himself with run support by doubling in the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning.

only to finally win again, but also take that feeling and build on it for the rest of the playoffs,” Foscolo explained. “Everyone on the team knows we have to win five in a row to achieve our goal, however we are all only focused on winning one game at a time.”

Everyone on the team knows we have to win five in a row to achieve our goal, however we are all only focused on winning one game at a time.

That was all the team would need, but they would go on to add four more runs. Two of those runs were batted in by outfielder Stephen Chucka (1-for-2 with 2 RBIs) and one was knocked in by outfielder Ryan Foscolo (1-for-2 with 1 RBI). The team capitalized on the five Knights errors, while also maintaining solid defense throughout the game.

“Tuesday’s win was huge for the team. Not

The playoff run means a lot to the program as they continue to strive toward their goal of a state championship. They have been to the state finals twice in program history, but have never been able to come through with the final win. The team is 21-8 on the season, with two games to go for a possible state title.

“To win states it would mean the world to not only me, but also the team and coaches. Many of us this will be our last time ever playing together and we know each of these playoff games is life or death,” Foscolo said. “Winning a state title has been all I have thought about for years now and it has been all we have worked for all season.”

*Monday’s playoff game against top-seed Buchholz was postponed because of weather and not completed in time for publication.

18 sports bpthe
Photo | Caydee Claps

19 sports

Girls lacrosse ends season 20-4

Ranked second in the state, the girls lacrosse team had their sights set on a first-ever state title, but a loss to Vero Beach on May 3 ended the team’s playoff run. Despite beating Vero Beach at the beginning of the season 15-8, the team fell to them on May 3, 5-6. Attacker Stacy Glover led the team with two goals, while seniors Madison Rogers, Ellie Wilkins, and Haley Thomas scored one goal each.


“We didn’t want the game or our season to end that way, and it was really difficult to accept that we had just lost after the great season we had. It was just really a disappointing and upsetting way to end our season, ” Glover said.

placement. Our communication was just off because of the pressure, and we rushed into a lot of our plays causing them to not work,” Glover said.

Goalie Emma Rasmussen had five saves during the game, but the team ultimately fell due to a shot with one second left by Vero.

think our bond this year was different than any year I have been playing here. It really showed on the field with how we played.

- Stacy Glover, attacker “

“It was really upsetting because it was the last game that we will ever play together, and it was a game that we could’ve won but crucial mistakes got the best of us. It was a make-or-break game and we fell short,” goalie Emma Rasmussen said. While little mistakes were the team’s downfall, the connection that they created on the field was unlike seasons previous.

It was a fast-paced and aggressive first half, leading to Hagerty getting four yellow cards. At halftime, the team was down 3-4.

Despite the fast-paced first half, the team was able to tie the game up 5-5 during the second half down a man, which only added to the poor conditions of the game.

“We needed to value possession of the ball and work on our shot

“Most of us have been playing together for multiple years and are genuinely friends with each other. We work so well together on the field and that connection made us stronger,” Rasmussen said.

This year, the team worked together during practice to create a strong chemistry on the field, which led to their record of 20-4.

“I think our bond this year was different than any year I have been playing here. It really showed on the


Softball rolls through region

field with how we played, and in turn, made us have a successful season because of it,” Glover said. Even though the season might not have ended how they would have liked, it was still one of the best seasons the team has ever had.

Track sends 10 to state meet

The““This team was significant because of their experience. We had a quality group of seniors that desired greatness and were willing to push themselves to make it far during the season. It’s a shame they came up short,” coach Mitch Whittington said.

Boys volleyball takes second

Flexing some muscle in the first round of the state playoffs, the varsity softball team run-ruled Tate, 15-0 at home on Thursday, May 9. The team, led by Alexandra Beldowicz and Ana Roman, scored 10 home playoff game on May 14, a regional semifinal against Oakleaf, another home playoff game, which was not played in time for print.

“By no stretch do we think they’re a bad team, we’re just preparing for what they do well, and we’re going to try to do it better than they do,” Kreahling said.

boys and girls track teams competed in the FHSAA 4A region 1 competition at the University of North Florida on Wednesday, May 8. The boys placed 14th overall with top performers being Jonathan Leon, who placed second in the 3,200 meter with a time of 9:06.78 and Gabriel Abate, who placed fourth in the 1600 meter with a time of 4:23.09.

The girls placed eighth overall, Alyssa Morley placed third in the high jump as well as the triple jump. Dakota Pacheco-Sanchez placed fourth in the high jump.

“The season overall went pretty well. It started off rough because we didn’t have a high jump mat,” Pacheco said, “but after we got the mat it went well. It helps to get your technique down.”

Other athletes that qualified included Jacob Leon (3200), Michael Smith (Pole Vault) and Luke Thomazin (Discus). The 4x800 relay team, the runners being Jacob Leon, Alexaiver Davis-Medina, Alex Madruga, and Julian Scanlon, placed fourth and qualified for states.

“I think it’s already an achievement to go to states, I want to get a PR (personal record). I think overall we’ll do good,” Pacheco said.

Afterfinishing the best regular season in years, the boys volleyball team finished runner-up in the district tournament and qualified for the postseason, facing Freedom high school on May 8 in the regional quarter-final. The team lost the first two sets to Freedom, 27-25, 25-21, and went into the third set needing a win to keep the game going.

The team won the third match 25-20 gaining some momentum going into the fourth, but Freedom pushed and won the final match 2519, making the final score 3-1.

Clemens had 240 kills, 357 receptions, 179 digs and averaged three kills per set this season. Outside hitter

Evan Lusher had 178 digs, 266 receptions, 232 digs and averaged 2.2 kills per set.

“Our hitting was not aggressive and since they had a good defense [they] were able to capitalize,” outside hitter Marcel Clemens said.

As well as beating Oviedo on senior night, beating Spruce Creek was a highlight of the season. Hagerty lost to Spruce Creek previously, 3-1, but won the rematch 3-2. This season the team continuously improved and for the first time in two years ended with a winning record.

“We have gone through a lot of growth and put in a lot of work to get better,” Clemens said.

Gabriella Navarro | Features Editor Setter Caden Houston serves the ball. Photo | Brooke Bohan Senior Jonathan Leon runs in the Trinity Prep meet. Photo | Brooke Bohan against Tate in the regional playoffs. Photo | Caydee Claps Kailey Calvo | Print Editor GROUND BALL Attacker Haley Thomas tries to grab the ball from the ground. The girls lacrosse team lost to Vero Beach 6-5 on Friday, May 3. Photo | Sydney Muchow


of the


Beach volleyball goes to Tallahasse to compete in the state championship for the third year in a row

The beach volleyball state competition has been held in Tallahassee for the past three years, and every year, Hagerty’s beach volleyball team has been there.

Beach volleyball became a state playoff sport in 2021 and head Coach Juanita Hitt fought to start the program at Hagerty and get a beach court added to the high school.

Most of the volleyball players started to train for beach volleyball and quickly became a top team in Florida and the nation.

we did last year, and we did it.”

The past two years the team only made it to the sweet sixteen and lost in the first round.

“I was so happy to win the first round and advance to the final eight,” senior Madelyn Scwartz said. “It feels good to be one of the top eight teams in the entire state.”

This season was our best one yet. We have practically the same team as last year but we all improved

so much.”

Madelyn Schwartz, 12

This trend continued into this season with the team only losing one game before playoffs began. After two home wins, the team advanced to the Tallahassee and the first round of the state tournament, where senior Madelyn Schwartz and junior Layla Miller had game point against Charlotte High.

Schwartz served and entered a long rally, diving, running and hustling everywhere to try and get the point.

Charlotte let the ball drop and the girls won the match, leading the team into the elite eight.

“When we got the point and won the set the energy was at an all time high, it was incredible,” Schwartz said.

“It was our goal to get farther than

Athletes of the issue

The team won against Charlotte 3-0 and moved on to compete in the elite eight against Gulf Breeze. In a hard fought match, the team lost 3-0 on May 11, ending their season. Gulf Breeze finished their season undefeated, winning the state championship.

“We did not have as much fight and grit as they did,” senior Mayte Camacho said. “They have had more experience with beach volleyball than us and they also just wanted it more and fought harder.”

To even get to Tallahassee, however, the team had to face Oviedo in the regional quarter-final.

The team previously beat Oviedo two times, 5-0 and 4-1, earlier in the season so they went into the match with confidence, and they won the match 4-1 with only the fifth line losing in their third set.

“For the match against Oviedo, me and Abby[Mas] mainly focused on mental practice instead of physical.

We prepared ourselves by telling each other positive things, and also making sure we both knew how important this match was to us and to completing our goal of making it to Tallahassee,” Camacho said.

The team ended their season with a record of 16-2 and won the SAC conference and district championships.


The female athlete of the issue is senior Alyssa Morley.

Morley is on the varsity track team and qualified for states with the events high jump, 1.67 meters, and triple jump, 11.44 meters.

“Track quickly became my passion,” Morley said. “The coaches helped me get into the sport and develop throughout time. I do a lot of events but mainly focus on field events.”

As well as field events Morley runs the 100 meter and 4x100 meter. Ten student athletes qualified to go to states after the district and regional finals.

“This season was our best one yet,” Schwartz said. “We have practically the same team as last year but we all improved so much. Being one of the top eight teams is a huge accomplishment for us.”

Unlike last year, the team will lose a couple of seniors, but they hope to continue the streak of going to Tallahassee next season.


The male athlete of the issue is shortstop Austin Jacobs.

Jacobs plays on the varsity baseball team and has 29 hits, 27 runs, 11 steals and two triples for the season.

“My experience with Hagerty baseball has been one-of-a-kind. I have made relationships that will last a long time. I have also been able to become a better person on and off the field from this program,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs has been on the varsity team for four years. The team is 19-8 and will move on to the regional final.

20 sports bpthe
PACK YOUR BAGS After beating Oviedo in regional play, the beach volleyball team celebrates. For the third year in a row, they traveled to Tallahassee for the state tournament. Photo | Shalyni Patel Shortstop Austin Jacobs Photo | Austin Jacobs Senior Alyssa Morley Photo | Michael Fullana

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