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Suncoast Community High School

Volume 23 Issue 1|October 2019


Neha pakala learns to accept the condition she once despised pages 12-13



Adviser Traci Lowe “The Legend” is a news magazine Editor-in-Chief Kenjela Mullings produced entirely by Suncoast Managing Editor Samirah Abellard students from all grade levels. Business Manager Yashna We publish six issues per year, 3 Chowdhury each semester. Any opinions that News Editor Jessy Aramouni are printed in “The Legend” are Lifestyle Editor Diana Devine not necessarily the opinions of Features Editor Samirah Abellard Opinion Editor Sophie Kvarnstein the adviser, administration, or the Sports Editor Jack Swank school district. Unsigned editorials Design Editor Zarin Ismail reflect the opinions of the editorial Copy Editors Alex Skolnick, Shivani board. Shah Website Manager Kevin Yang Do You Have A Business? Social Media Manager Diana Advertise with us! Stop by room 3-117 Devine, Zarin Ismail or check out our website for more Staff Writers Artchard Jacquet, Adrianna Estrada, Lauren Brensel, information. Jacki Eckstein, Grace Sergent, Maya Calderon, Ashley Labbe, Skyler Elkin, Valentina Jaramillo, Cedrick Charles

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Bahamas Relief

Summer Ends When?

4 5

Meeting Senator Rubio 6


National Merit



Mark Anthony Curls 17 Mario Kart Euphoria Makeup


Shut-Eye Sabotage 19



Pink Tax


8 ACT vs. SAT 9 Locker Integration 10

The Legend Athlete 21

Principal Rotation

Going, Going, Gone! 23


Knight Vision



“Why Won’t They Go Away?” 12

Principal Koerner


Mr. and Mrs. Suncoast

15 16

TENTS Dynamic Duo

4 News

Bahamas Relief mission students and faculty are helping the Bahamas post Hurricane Dorian. Photo Sourced by

Maya Calderon Staff Writer

Before After



n September 1, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Elbow Cay in the Bahamas. It landed as a Category five and brought mass destruction to most of the island and every resident in need of help. Since then, mission trips, boats and planes of doctors and volunteers have been sent over to bring supplies and their skills to help the Bahamians affected. During the weekend of September 7, senior Cassandra Messinger travelled over to the island to lend a hand to those in need. Messinger left out of the port of Palm Beach on the Bahamas Paradise Cruise. However instead of it being a vacation cruise as normal, it was a humanitarian cruise full of over hundreds of doctors and volunteers with supplies like water and food. Messinger said, “There were over a hundred different doctors, nurses, surgeons and just everything you can imagine.” The ship docked in Freeport, Grand Bahama and unloaded the supplies that were brought. Because the destruction from the hurricane was so horrible many volunteers were unsure if there was even going to be dock left to load onto. Once all of the supplies were unloaded, they were then transported to different warehouses throughout the islands so they could be evenly distributed. Messinger said, “When we got there we unloaded the supplies immediately, but there were a lot of Bahamians waiting there who wanted to come back to Florida with us. We ended up bringing 1,000 Bahamians back with us.” Because of the large amount of people who wanted to leave the island and seek shelter in Florida, there was an immigration and customs center near the dock where Bahamians waited for hours just to get through the extensive lines, hoping to return with the volunteers. Since Hurricane Dorian was so recent, the most essential resources for the Bahamians are food and water. Messinger remembers that in many of the most eastern parts of the island the destruction is so massive that most of the buildings are completely knocked down and the residents’ belongings are lost.


Messinger said, “The most important thing they need right now is 100 percent water, because all their water is contaminated, none of their sewage or pipes work, they don’t have any drinking water and are unable to take showers… and obviously water is the first thing that people need to survive.” Although this trip was successful in helping the Bahamians, there is much more that needs to be done in order to relieve the Bahamas from the mass disaster. Many students and faculty are taking the initiative to help after the horrible events, and some believe donating supplies is not enough. Assistant Principal Attallah McLawrence said, “Right now we should focus our attention on the Bahamas because they need us more than anything. I just wish I could be there, to be in the trenches. Yes, of course I’m gonna donate resources and do what I can, but I would love to be there helping them directly.” Supplies drives for diapers and other necessities for many Bahamian residents have occurred schoolwide, however the help doesn’t stop there. Student Government President, Kaitlynn Adams has organized a schoolwide plan to collect resources and fundraise for the Bahamas. The first meeting to address the plan was September 5, and consisted of a large group of students, all presidents of various clubs around the campus. Adams goal is to, not only help the residents of the Bahamas as soon as possible and provide as much as possible, but to also continue the plan in the future. Adams said, “We’re going to continue fundraising for the Bahamas, but our most important goal is to connect with an IB school in the Bahamas, because even though most of their houses and schools are destroyed, they’re still going to have their exams when we do, which really sucks” As many students may know the International Baccalaureate program has the same exam dates all over the world, meaning the students in the Bahamas have to continue learning through these hard times. Being Suncoast students, many understand the struggles of having to learn everything before the test date, which is why Adams’ club is aiming to do everything they can to help the neighboring IB students.

5 News


The Palm Beach School District sets Aug. 10 as the start date for 2020-21 . Grace Sergent Staff Writer


t was amid contentious outcry that “My frustration in this is this [meeting] was For chorus teacher Stephanie Nixdorf, it the Palm Beach County School Board nothing more than responding to special makes more sense to start later in the year. approved the proposed calendar for interests,” board member Chuck Shaw “I think there are just too many pros and the 2020-21 school year. Included in complained, as per the Palm Beach Post. not enough cons [for a later start date]. the calendar, alongside a week off Proponents of the new start date say that By the time we come back in that time of for Thanksgiving, two election days and starting any later would put some of the August, it’s hurricane season. It seems these numerous Jewish and Christian holidays, was lowest-paid workers in Palm Beach County, last few years, we’re always missing school the earliest start date in 15 years: Aug. 10. such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers, in from the storms. Also, August is the hottest Previously, Florida schools could not a vulnerable position. These workers do not month in South Florida, and I think it would start more than two weeks before Labor get paid over the summer and pushing back make more sense, from a cost-efficient Day, but a 2015 measure changed the law the start date would extend their paycheck standpoint, that we’re not here during the to allow schools to start gap from eight to ten weeks. hottest month. It would as early as Aug. 10. Palm save money on utilities for Beach County, along the district,” Nixdorf said. with 57 other school Nixdorf, a native of districts in Florida, New York, also pointed utilized this law for their out that “it’s very hard 2020-21 calendars. to coordinate family The new calendar vacations and reunions was far from universally when we come back received, having only to school a full month passed by a 4-3 vote earlier than the rest of by the school board. A the country.” vote on the proposed Sophomore Adriana 2021-22 calendar, which Piland is also against the also starts on Aug.10, new start date. “I went was postponed. to camp in Georgia and Many parents argue it almost ran through that the start date August 10...pushing [the conflicts with family start date] back interferes vacations and sleepaway with all summer camps and camps in the Northeast, The first month of the 2020-21 calendar, per the Palm Beach County interferes with plans.” where schools typically For the time being, start closer to Labor Day, School District. however, the school board and puts families out of sync with their To this, opponents say the issue can be seems set on their approved calendar. Northern counterparts. negated by either providing better pay to There is a chance for detractors to change “I’m speaking on behalf of hundreds, even make up for the gap or by moving both the dates for the 2021-22 calendar, but the thousands,” parent Paige Axel of Delray the start and end date so the gap between negotiations have yet to come to fruition. Beach said, according to the Sun-Sentinel. paychecks remains the same. The Palm Beach County School District “As little as one extra week [later] would Another concern brought up by discusses these issues in their board address all the concerns.” proponents is that changing the approved meetings, which fall on the third Wednesday Some of the school board members, calendar will extend the first semester of each month. School Board meetings are however, dismiss these problems as trivial over winter break, causing midterm exams held at the Fulton-Holland Educational and exclusive to a rich minority. to occur after the holidays. Services Center.

6 News


Students attend a prestigious event with guest speaker Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Shivani Shah Copy Editor


oined by their former teacher, Roxann Weber, nine students got the chance to hear and meet Florida Senator Marco Rubio at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019. The juniors, who were invited by Weber, all earned fives on their AP U.S. Government & Politics exam, which they took in May of 2019 during their sophomore year. Weber, who is invited every year to attend similar events, explained how she chooses students. “I do a lottery. If [students are] interested in going, I put their names in a hat, and draw names [...] Or I’ll channel [invitations] to other teachers depending on who the guest speaker is most appropriate for,” Weber said. She hoped students who attended got a real-world experience of how the government works and impacts us. The juniors’ tables were sponsored by members of the Forum Club, who wished to spur students’ interests in politics and the government through this event. An attendee of Sen. Rubio’s speech, junior Mahirah Alam, expressed how grateful she was to attend this event. “It

was truly amazing that [the sponsors] gave students an opportunity to meet politicians face-to-face,” Alam said. After being treated to a lunch featuring a wide selection of foods, the students, along with Weber, went backstage, and got the chance to meet Sen. Rubio in person. They shook hands, had a small conversation and took pictures with him. Once they returned to their seats, Sen. Rubio gave his speech, which touched on multiple topics ranging from the economy, foreign policy and social media. He also made sure to include current issues like alleged sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide in jail and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Following his speech, Sen. Rubio answered questions from both students and audience members. On behalf of Suncoast, junior Lauren Brensel asked the senator about gun control, and what the Senate would do in regards to this issue. Sen. Rubio explained how he would like to enact Red Flag laws in more states. These laws would allow the government to seize weapons from anyone that is considered a threat to themselves or others. “The most memorable part [of this

trip] was Senator Rubio’s response to our question about safety against shootings. It was interesting hearing his response on how the Senate is working on a solution that will help decrease the number of shootings across the U.S.,” junior Sadat Uddin, another attendee, said. He highly encouraged any students invited in the future to go as “this is a once-ina-lifetime event that can have a huge impact on you.” About 700 people were present at the event. The audience included members of several political organizations, from both sides of the political spectrum, along with former politicians. Alam conveyed how she thinks “it’s important to provide students with these types of opportunities because it gives them an outlook on the real world, and an idea of some careers they might be interested in.” Sen. Rubio’s speech at the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches was the organization’s first major event of the 2019-2020 season. The club has hosted similar events involving authors, politicians and Supreme Court Justices.

TABLE OF FIVES: Weber’s AP Government students (from left to right), Elizabeth Tischuk, Shivani Shah, Lauren Brensel, Ashley Kung, Mahirah Alam, Yilin Li, Nakisha Paulin, Sadat Uddin, and Everett Costello (from left to right), gather around excitedly for Sen. Rubio’s speech. (photo courtesy of Roxann Weber)

HANDSHAKE OF HONOR: Roxann Weber proudly smiles as she shakes hands with Sen. Rubio. (photo source: The Forum Club of the Palm Beaches)

7 News

NATIONAL MERIT SEMI FINALISTS 18 Suncoast seniors became national merit scholar semifinalists.

Jack Swank Sports Editor


he National Merit Scholarship is awarded to students in the United States for their overall academic excellence. The following 18 Suncoast Seniors have managed to make it the the semifinalist stage of the competition: Nima Aria, Aidan Funicelli, Tristan Funicelli, Jonathan Hung, Subhash Kantamneni, Nicholas Kapsos, Alicia Kaufmann, Brandon Lee, Anthony Li, Shane Lunsford, Indu Malut, Jack Nathan, Santino Ramos, Caroline Rozzo, Alexander Ruehrmund, Michael Sauer, Matthew Schrank and Nicholas Sharpe.

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Russo All of the semi finalists after enjoying celebratory breakfast with Principal Koerner.

• Out of 1.6 million applicants, around 16,000 become Semifinalists • The selection Index for Florida was 219 • FinalistS will be announced in february

Products marketed towards women cost female consumers thousands. Zarin Ismail Design Editor


When shopping for a graphing calculator, one may see a navy colored calculator and a pink colored calculator, both with the same buttons, the same features and the same functions. The only difference, with the exception of the contrasting color of the two calculators, is their price. At Walmart, the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator, black colored, costs $142.67 online; the same model, but pink colored, costs $148.82. The purpose of the different colors is due to the generalized and stereotypical preference of pink for women and any color other than pink being for men. The price difference of $6.15 may be subtle, but the universal tendency to price women-targeted products higher than men-targeted products builds up the bill most women have to pay. The “pink tax,” also known as the “gender tax,” is a phenomenon that refers to the higher priced items that are typically targeted towards women, in comparison to products deemed for men. According to a 1994 study in California, on average, women pay an estimated $1,351 more annually. Items used for recreation or basic needs, such as razors, scooters, or jeans, have significant price differences, when both function the exact same way, except the packaging, size and/or color may not be the same.

WHY WOMEN’S PRODUCTS COST MORE The “pink tax” exists in the first place because women’s needs are seen as being more costly and demanding. The Psychology Today magazine states that labor costs for women’s clothing are more because of the variety of clothing. Men’s style of clothing is traditional, with a few number of styles, and there is less fabric used. Thus, consumers will find women’s clothing to be pricier than men’s clothing. However, not all items have the same circumstances in regards to production. Yet, the “pink tax” is applicable to almost every item in the market. In fact, the products made specially for women are smaller, meaning it takes fewer resources to produce them. Despite that, the prices of these women-specific items are still high compared to the same items advertised for men. The cost of basic necessities, along with pain medications and menstrual products can accumulate to over $8000 annually for women. “Women’s products are just as much of a need as food or water,” junior Saharah Alamgir said. “The products themselves are quite expensive… the price of these products monthly can be between $15 and $30 even without tax.” Markets create women-specific products to separate the entirety of the consumer population into gender-based divisions. This method, known as market segmentation, has shown a significant increase in sales from companies using it for years, so the “pink tax” will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

WILL IT ALWAYS BE THE “PINK TAX”? In the twenty-first century, social norms have begun to challenge traditional gender norms, including the assignment of gender to certain colors. Not all women love pink and hate blue, nor do all men love blue and hate pink. Actually, blue was once used as a market ploy to attract female buyers before

the 1950s, as said by financial news site Business Insider. “I do believe [gender stereotypes] persist,” Alamgir said. “Although society has moved on from a time where physical prowess was the most important part of being successful, society still finds these factors abundantly important and therefore views men as greater than women.” The truth is: the color marketing will always be relevant. It is in human nature to react differently to different colors, such as feeling optimistic when seeing the color yellow, feeling inspired when seeing the color purple, or feeling balanced seeing monochromatic color schemes. The market has rooted the effects of gender marketing so deeply into consumers’ perceptions, that regardless of the evolution of social norms, color stereotypes will remain in strategic advertising.

AVOIDING THE “PINK TAX” Gender marketing may never go away, but avoiding the strategies corporations use makes the “pink tax” phenomenon less… phenomenal. For starters, women should attempt to buy their basic needs through men-targeted items. “I use men’s products probably once a day because I use men’s shaving cream,” junior Juliana Poblano said. Using men’s products as a woman is not a big deal, nor should society look down on the idea. Fabric softeners, tissues, toothpaste, and most famously, razors, will be advertised specially for men for a lower price when it is just as similar as the “women’s version,” if not, exactly the same. Corporations may find it risky to resort to gender marketing tactics because of the fact that one gender will not buy a product if they advertise it for the opposite gender; however, they have found that an influx of people from the gender they promote are buying that product because of this strategy. If women continue to boycott the sale of womenspecific products, these corporations will be compelled to discard the tactic, and just one corporation doing so may change the entire gender stereotyping culture in the market.


9 Opinions

STANDARDIZED TESTING NO MORE Are the SAT and the ACT still reliable measures of knowledge?

Sophie Karbstein Staff Writer


tudents sit rigidly in straight rows, nervous faces the same pale shade as their test booklets. As the proctor in the front of the room reads instructions in a monotone voice, fingers fidget with their pencils and more than one test-taker takes a couple of deep, shaky breaths. The process of taking standardized examinations such as the SAT or the ACT is one of the most stressful, taxing experiences in the life of a high school student. The score a student receives could determine acceptance or rejection from the college of their choice. Recent controversies surrounding these testing programs, however, have signaled the end of their reliability, fairness, and even legitimacy in measuring college readiness. The SAT was initially used in 1926 as a supplement test to the standard College Board university exams. It was meant to measure intelligence and aptitude for learning, and was only administered to a handful of applicants. When James Bryant Conant became the president of Harvard University in 1933, he decided to create a program to allow less wealthy students to apply to and attend Harvard. Conant began to use the SAT to identify academically talented high schoolers for admission regardless of economic standing. By the end of World War II, the SAT was the standard college readiness examination in the United States. Since these equitable beginnings, the SAT and similar standardized testing programs have transformed into ways for certain students to get ahead. Take the recent college admissions bribery scandal. In the scandal, several wealthy families, including those of high-profile celebrities like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, paid hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of dollars in cheating schemes to ensure that their children were accepted into top American universities. Methods included falsifying evidence of athletic prowess, bribing college athletic coaches to gain entrance through athletic recruitment, bribing standardized testing proctors, or dishonestly claiming a learning disability to receive extra time on a standardized test. According to the unsealed

federal indictment, there were 16 cases of cheating on the ACT, SAT, or other college entrance exams. This recent scandal was only one instance. Directly cheating and breaking the law aside, wealthy students already have advantages when it comes to the SAT and ACT because they can afford expensive personal tutors, prep courses and other practice materials that many others cannot. A National Center for Fair and Open Testing chart showed that the SAT scores of 2016 collegebound seniors increased depending on family income, from an average score of 1314 for income under $20,000, to an average score of 1717 for income over $200,000. In addition, the fact that practicing for the SAT is associated with higher scores indicates that the exam is not even an accurate test of college readiness, but simply a measure of how much time and resources one has to study. In recent years, there has accordingly been less of a reliance on SAT or ACT scores for college admissions. Over 1,000 colleges and universities in the United States have stopped using scores as an admissions requirement, including selective institutions like the University of Chicago, George Washington University, Wake Forest University and Wesleyan University. As soon as an Ivy League or equivalent university takes the step to do the same, thousands more will surely follow in their lead. Many proponents of standardized testing have argued that having a standard measure of academic knowledge like the SAT or ACT is important to actually ensure that wealthy students do not cheat the grading system. According to a study done by the American University, grading inflation, which is when students receive high grades regardless of what they have actually learned, is far more common in high-income high schools. When both grade point average and standardized examination scores can be influenced by wealth, it is evident that there is a deeper problem present in the American educational system, and eliminating unfair college readiness tests like the SAT and ACT are the first steps to making a positive change.

10 Opinions

Suncoast L cker Integration a newly implemented locker system, students have declared that it has gone too far.

Lauren Brensel Staff Writer


mong changes in staff and curriculum for the 20192020 school year, there came a surprising change Suncoast has never seen before. This year, students have integrated lockers, meaning students of each grade are dispersed throughout the hallways, unlike years past, where each grade level was assigned a specific floor of the main building for their lockers. While this is an easier system for administration, many Chargers are disappointed with the multiple downsides to locker integration. “A lot of students are not using the lockers,” Aaron Keevey, Assistant Principal said. “Instead of having lockers assigned to all students, we started assigning lockers to students that purchased one,” said Keevey. He further explained that “the system we used for the lockers crashed and the technology was not able to support the program anymore.” Historically, each grade level is assigned their floor based on the types of teachers located in the nearby hallway. For example, most freshman teachers have rooms on the third floor, so the new Chargers had lockers accordingly. The same could be said for sophomores, who had second floor lockers, and seniors who had first. The juniors, however, were an exception to this rule, as they tended to have classes throughout the main building. This is why they had a mix of first and second floor lockers. However, this system is now one of the past. Students of all grades have shared their oppositions following this recent change. “It’s actually quite annoying. I have one single class on the first floor, where my locker is, so I actually have to carry everything in my backpack anyway,” freshman Matthew Lind said. Lind is not alone in his struggle, though. Sara Kessel, a senior at Suncoast, shares her frustrations with her last locker she will

ever have at Suncoast. “The lockers being separated by grade not only gave seniors something to look forward to but also was a social aspect of our time at Suncoast. I understand why the lockers were mixed, I just don’t think they should have been,” Kessel said. Administration has recognized these same flaws that Kessel expressed, though, and they plan to fix them in the next school year. “It is first come, first serve, but I will put it out to seniors first as an email during the summer,” Keevey said. Aside from problems with lockers and how they correspond to students’ schedules, many are frustrated that they do not see students of the same grade during bell breaks or even before school starts. The assigned hallways gave the grades a sense of community, and unity among themselves. Taking that community away from each individual grade has cut ties between the students who only see each other in the mornings before school, or the students who share a quick conversation between classes. If anything else, the integrated lockers pose a difficult question for Chargers: How will homecoming hallways be assigned by class? Decorating hallways has traditionally been one of the most festive parts of Homecoming Week. However, with an updated change to locker locations, students have been left confused and worried in regards to the future of these sacred hallway decorations. As an extremely diverse school, Suncoast is not one to turn away change. However, when that change threatens our daily schedules, friendships and favorite traditions, one can not help but wonder if that change was necessary.

11 Columns


Palm Beach County principals are graduating from their old job, but not for the best. Grace Sergent Staff Writer


raditionally, a principal is supposed to lead a school. They are supposed to enact long-term administrative changes and set policies that have a positive benefit on the school and its student body. For Suncoast, specifically, parents hope that a principal can raise test scores and provide enriching opportunities for academic growth that fulfill their hopes from when their children first applied; but how are principals supposed to do that when they only last as long as the students themselves? Of the four principals Suncoast has had over the last 15 years, only one has so far outlasted a graduating class. The lifespan of principals started to deteriorate soon after the departure of long-term Suncoast Principal Kay Carnes, who piloted Suncoast during its transition into a magnet school from 1989-2004. Carnes’s successor, Gloria Crutchfield, lasted four years, from 2004-08. Linda Cartlidge came soon after, serving until 2016. Principal Karen Whetsell, who left Suncoast this year, had her tenure last three years. It is not yet known how much time Kathyrn Koerner, Suncoast’s current principal, will spend in her role.




This wheel of rotating principals is not helping Suncoast; it is damaging it. It creates an air of instability and uncertainty. Parents who want to send younger siblings do not know if their child will receive the same experience, and teachers have to constantly readjust to new standards that may limit their own growth in their roles. Regardless of a principal’s qualifications and good ideas, it is hard to suggest that a mere three or four years can impactfully change a school that has been around for over 40. Suncoast, however, is hardly the only school with a high turnover rate for principals. The Palm Beach Post reports that 16 different Palm Beach County schools, including Suncoast, have entered the 2019-20 school year with new principals. Many of these new principals, like Koerner, were formerly principals at another Palm Beach County school before taking up their current position. Their departure then leaves another principal slot to be filled, which is often filled with another principal from another school. The nature of this is becoming cyclical. One principal replaces another who replaces another and so on and so forth. What stands to be gained from this venture other

Karen Whetsell

than uncertainty and confusion? A principal from elementary will hardly have the time to adjust to middle before they then leave for high school, as is the transition for many. The district justifies this by saying they are moving principals who have proved successful at their school to another so they can then help that school. What about the school they left? What if the transition is not as successful as they hoped? Environment is a big factor in job performance, yet principals are moved around callously regardless of that fact. For schools to reap the benefits of a good principal, there needs to be time. Time for adjustments, time for change, time for improvement. The district is not providing that, and, ultimately, schools will suffer from this cycle of uncertainty. It is just a matter of when the district recognizes that this policy is doing more harm than good.

Kathr yn Ko


12 Features Neha Pakala learns to accept the incurable condition she once despised.


andering eyes turned to prolonged stares as the young girl walked through the grocery aisle. Mothers covered their children’s eyes as they attempted to make out the young girl’s unusual features. Knowing the reason for such behaviour, her heart began aching as she questioned whether or not the world could ever accept her. What was once an innocent day of grocery shopping now became a haunting memory. The moments of her childhood when classmates and strangers judged her on a condition that she could not help forever changed Neha Pakala’s life. This condition, Vitiligo, is an incurable disease that causes parts of an individual’s natural skin to lose color. According to the United States National Library of Medicine, vitiligo affects “between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of the population worldwide.” With respect to the small percentage of affected individuals, the American Vitiligo Research Foundation claims that “in half of all vitiligo cases, onset occurs between the ages of 10 and 30.” For Pakala, her exposure to pigmentation occurred after coming back from a summer trip at age 7. What seemed like a small white spot began expanding. “At first, it was just a tiny white spot on my left foot around the bone area so I thought it was no big deal. However, a week or two later, it started getting larger and a spot around the same area showed up on my right foot,” Pakala recounted. With fear and concern, she was taken to a dermatologist, where she—for the first time—was informed about the disease. From her visit she learned about the incurable nature of vitiligo and how hers was subject to expansion by stress. “I got vitiligo by dry skin and heredity according to the dermatologist, but I started stressing myself out for my entire elementary years, middle school years, and a few years of high school. Little did I know that the stress aggravated my spots, making even more appear everywhere. I started seeing spots on my arms, legs, and even my face. I got terrified,” Pakala explained. Due to the expansion of her spots, and the rarity of her condition, Pakala found herself discouraged and scared for the future to come. She faced judgement from classmates and strangers, prompting her to become increasingly insecure and self-conscious. “...a new girl came to my elementary school and the first thing she did was make a comment about my vitiligo. She made several kids shame me for my spots and made me feel little...This girl went to my middle school and continued to bully me up until my freshman year of high school when we parted ways. However, that still didn’t stop all of the constant dirty and terrified looks I got from strangers. I felt like a monster or as if I didn’t belong,” Pakala shared.

Pakala even faced challenges within her culture, as the skin condition prevented her from consuming her traditional Indian dishes. “Since my family is from India, the main course we eat is Indian food. Almost every single Indian dish is made with a plant called turmeric. Turmeric irritates my [vitiligo], causing it to progressively spread. Not being able to eat traditional Indian dishes like my other family members and friends made it a real struggle, even today,” explained Pakala. The constant judgement and fear of not being accepted within society quickly consumed Pakala’s mind. For years she battled with accepting the condition that weighed on her selfesteem. It was not until she discovered Canadian fashion model, Winnie Harlow, when her appreciation for vitiligo was ignited. “I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw a modeling picture of Winnie Harlow. I was genuinely happy to see another person with vitiligo expressing their unique skin rather than hiding it. In one interview, she was asked how she dealt with vitiligo. In response, she expressed how it took time, but she needed to learn self-love in order for things to get better. I slowly began to realize that she was right and that I needed to learn to love myself before anyone else could. It took about [two to three] years of my high school career to finally accept myself for who I am” Pakala emphasized. helped her not only develop a greater love for her skin, but also for the world surrounding. Remaining stress-free has been a key component of her confidence, further diminishing the severity of her spots. “ Not stressing about my vitiligo has caused it to reduce[,] and now the ones on my hands are almost brown spots, the ones on my face are close to becoming brown, and the ones on my feet are beginning to turn brown. But not going to lie, I love my vitiligo and I wouldn’t want it all to go away,” Pakala expressed. No longer ashamed by the pigmentation, Pakala walks with her head held high, spreading nothing but positivity and happiness. Regardless of her past and the current societal

beauty standards, Pakala now appreciates her skin and uses her experiences to positively influence those around her. “I think it’s important to realize that as long as you love yourself enough, society can’t change you no matter how hard they try. I’m in this body for the rest of my life. There is absolutely no point in shaming myself for who and what I was meant to be. I might as well learn to love myself because I’m never leaving this body to become somebody else. It’s been a real struggle growing up with vitiligo, but in the end, it’s the main thing I’m most thankful for in my life because it helped shape who I am today,” Pakala positively replied.

Photos by: Kenjela Mullings

“In half of all vitiligo cases, onset occurs between the ages of 10 and 30.” American Vitiligo Research Foundation

“The risk for children of affected individuals is unknown, but may be less than

14 Features

Our newest charger An inside scoop on the new Suncoast principal.

Jacki Eckstein Staff Writer


job position was open as the new principal of Suncoast High School and a lot of people were in pursuit, including Kathryn Koerner. After the first round of interviews it was announced that they had picked two finalists, one of which was Koerner. Despite being nervous, Koerner was hopeful that she would get the job. During her final interview with Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy, Koerner was told that they wanted her for the position. Taking on the role of a High School principal is no easy task. It requires patience, motivation and you have to be able to make tough decisions even if students may not like you for it. Despite all this, Koerner stepped up to the plate. She was previously a principal at Independence Middle School. After the former principal at Suncoast, Karen Whetsell, was promoted to a higher position, Koerner was asked to step in not knowing what was in store. “I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know the routines, and I didn’t know the systems. Being new and having a lot to learn, brings with it a little bit of fear,” Koerner said. Formerly being a principal of a middle school and elementary school before that, a lot was different than what Koerner had previously known. For instance, Suncoast is a busy school. The school offers many student run clubs that range from school focused to clubs just for entertainment. A variety of courses are also offered at the school meaning no student has the same schedule. Staying on top of thousands of different schedules and one hundred clubs is one of the many tasks Koerner has to do on a daily basis. Even if the task is a difficult one, students believe she is handling the change very well. “You can tell she’s trying to make her transition to principal as easy and smooth as she can and we appreciate that,” Daniela Orozco, a Suncoast junior said. After getting through the first week as the new principal, Koerner said that without a single question, the students are the best part of working at the high school. “They have been so welcoming. The staff is a close second but the students have been amazing.” Koerner wants her students to know that she is always here for them to help them grow and stretch beyond their limits. Koerner encourages students to learn to balance their academics, extracurriculars and their personal lives. Even though she urges students to keep pushing to work harder, she wants them to also find their personal outlets to give themselves downtime. “Sometimes it’s only a few minutes like playing a song or walking away from something and getting involved with a family member or friend,” Koerner said. She is going into the future with many projects in the works and is looking forward to her time at Suncoast.

Principal Koerner smiling for her yearbook photo.

“Suncoast is unique, incredible and diverse.” -Kathryn koerner

Photo Credits: Stephanie Russo

15 Features


THE ICONIC SUNCOAST DUO A look into the lives behind the face of Suncoast spirit.

Diana Devine Social Media Manager he students started packing in. The bleachers went from empty to filled in just minutes. It was finally time for the first pep rally of the 2019 school year. Seniors Marlee Marquez and Gavin Smith were getting themselves pumped up to become the new faces of Charger Pride. They were ready for their first appearance as Mr. and Miss Suncoast. For Smith and Marquez, being Mr. and Miss Suncoast was always an aspiration early on in their high school experience. They looked up to previous Mr. and Miss Suncoasts as underclassmen. “Ever since the first pep rally of freshman year, I’ve had the vision of becoming Miss Suncoast. The pure charisma that the role stood for and the emulation of school spirit was something that was fascinating to me. Being that kind of leader was something I wanted to take up,” Marquez said. They were also motivated by their peers to try out for the position of Mr. and Miss Suncoast. “I’ve known Marlee and Gavin since freshman year and I definitely could never picture anyone else as Mr. and Miss Suncoast when we became seniors,” senior Dakota Brisco said. Some of their responsibilities as the faces of Suncoast include hyping up the students during the pep rallies and leading the Charger Pride club during football games and other school activities. “We want to advocate more widely for events throughout the school and make sure that people know things in advance so that we can express the most school spirit possible,” Marquez said. She included that they even “have a ‘Game of the Week’ project in the works to get students more involved with all the sports at school.” Their jobs are not as easy as it seems,

though. Beneath all of the hype, being Mr. and Miss Suncoast requires hard work and discipline. “One thing students may not know is how many extra hours we are putting in, in and outside of school planning and organizing events that everyone can enjoy,” Smith said. Marquez added, “Planning the pep rallies can be time consuming and stressful, and making sure that everyone is on the same page for the event takes a lot.” Smith and Marquez must work together as well as with members of Student Government to plan events such as Homecoming and pep rally activities. They also organize the student section, or “Hype Squad,” at home football games and encourage students to come support the Chargers. Smith said, “The main reason why I wanted to become Mr. Suncoast was so I could help improve everyone’s Suncoast experience, especially when it comes to pep rallies and sporting events.” Having to hype up over

1,500 students, Smith and Marquez have some big shoes to fill. With this responsibility always comes some backlash. They are constantly receiving criticism and opinions on how the pep rallies should have been run or the activities that took place. However, they are always open-minded and welcome the suggestions of the student body to try to please as many people as possible. “Come to our Charger Pride meetings and get involved,” Marquez said. “We want input, so if you want change get involved!” Amongst all of the backlash, though, being Mr. and Miss Suncoast comes with great satisfaction. Smith said that his favorite part about becoming Mr. Suncoast was “the pep rallies and seeing everyone get really hyped up and excited when we run around with the spirit stick.” Marquez enjoys “making the vision that we have for the pep rallies come to life” because it brings a good time to the student body. Additionally, as Mr. and Miss Suncoast, Smith and Marquez must be role models for the Suncoast student body. They have good relationships with the Suncoast staff, are friendly to students of any grade level and maintain good grades. The future of Suncoast spirit lies in the hands of Smith and Marquez. There are still many pep rallies to come and the hype never stops for the two. They have big plans for the 2019 school year and hope to make it a memorable one for all classes. “This year for the pep rallies we want to make them bigger and better than they have been before. We want to try new things that people haven’t seen before and make it more enjoyable for everyone,” Smith said.

16 Features

DYNAMIC DUO Hanson and Spencer have forged a friendship through education.

Cedrick Charles Staff Writer


he school day is always drab. But with your best friend by your side, your day brightens up. When Suncoast High School moved to its new location, lone International Baccalaureate Psychology teacher Brian Hanson and Advanced Placement Psychology teacher Dennis Spencer decided to join forces. This dynamic duo has taken the psych world by storm as they are the only two Psychology teachers at Suncoast. With these two teaching together, a brand new friendship was formed. Brian Hanson and Dennis Spencer have been psychology teachers at Suncoast for the past nine years. Their friendship goes beyond their love for psychology and teaching the course. It has allowed them to grow into great friends outside of work. “We went fishing one time but we didn’t catch many fish. However, we were able to collect some grasshoppers together for one of our experiments in class. We made the dead grasshoppers move their legs using a kit called “spiker box.” This was the introduction to neuroscience.” Hanson said. This is just one of the activities that Hanson and Spencer partake in outside of school. Over the years, they have made many memories together. “My favorite memory with Brian is getting to meet Zimbardo together. He’s a well known psychologist that we both hold in high regards. We got a chance to go see him when he published his new book,” Spencer said. Hanson and Spencer’s bond over the subject is one that many Suncoast teachers have witnessed and envy when the two speak about psychology. “They naturally gravitate towards each other because they are the only two teaching psychology. It helps to have somebody who understands what you’re talking about because the rest of us just look at them blankly,” History teacher David Traill said. But their bond over the subject does not end at just talking about it. For many years, Hanson

“I think that we’ll be friends forever. Friends to the end.” -Dennis Spencer

Photo By: Cedrick Charles

and Spencer taught IB Psychology to a class of juniors together. Unfortunately, they stopped this dual teaching class this year because they are not teaching the same IB Psych class during the same period. This is actually the first year in a long time that the two are not teaching together. “It’s great to have somebody to be able to team teach with you and make it more interesting, offering two perspectives. One person can be stronger than the other on a specific topic and vice versa. We can keep a dynamic the way we did this, so I think that it worked out well,” Hanson said. Assuming that they will not be teaching together forever, it is hard to imagine where this friendship will go. “I think that we’ll be friends forever. Friends to the end,” Spencer said.

17 Lifestyle



The hair product that social media is raving about.

Adrianna Estrada Staff Writer eople with hair that ranges from simply wavy, or tight coils are all sharing their experience using Marc Anthony: Strictly Curls. This product is giving curly hair a new dimension and users of all different hair types are pleased with the results after usage. Marc Anthony has various products under his hairline. His most popular products are his curl lotion and curl cream. The Curl Defining Lotion is mostly used by people with naturally curly hair. The curl lotion is a non-sticky yellow substance that has the consistency of regular hand lotion. The formula is enriched with Vitamin E and Silk Protein, which helps to define curls, while still keeping them soft to the touch. Unlike gel, the curl lotion is light weight on the hair, and adds shine while keeping your curls as bouncy as ever. The lotion is Paraben-free and Sulfatefree, while also being Phthalate-free, which are ingredients that can potentially damage your hair over a period of time. “Gel usually made my hair super sticky and felt heavy, but when I used the curl lotion, my hair looked light weight and just looked and felt better,” junior Kelsea Frederick said. The product is simple to use, and can be used alone. To use it, simply apply a dollop of the product onto damp hair. Spread the lotion thoroughly through your hair. Use a diffuser to dry the hair and help shape your curls. To create spiraling curls, gently twist

small random sections with your fingers. The Curl Envy Curl Cream is another popular product from the Strictly Curls hairline. Dozens of review videos have been put onto Youtube because it can turn straight hair, into wavy curls. The curl cream is formulated with Shea Butter and Avocado Oil. It also contains Vitamin E just like the curl lotion previously mentioned. This product helps add shine and can be used for frizz control.. The curl cream can be applied just like the curl lotion and these products are only $6 and can be easily accessed from any store, including Walmart or beauty supply stores. The Strictly Curls hairline was created over 20 years ago by World Hair Styling Champion Marc Anthony. Today the Marc Anthony Professional Styling Team continues the mission of innovation, trends and the guarantee that each product must deliver superior results to be worthy of the seal “Salon Created-Salon Approved.” Their goal is to make your daily hair routine more efficient with a single product.

MARIO KART ARRIVES ON SMARTPHONES Mobile Mario Kart game hit app stores on September 25.

Jack Swank Sports Editor


hether you are a video game enthusiast or not too fond of video games, there is a big chance that you have at least heard about the Mario franchise. Although it is mostly known for its platform games, the Mario franchise has a large repertoire of spin-off games like the Mario Party Series, Mario Sports Series and most notably, the Mario Kart Series. “Mario Kart Tour” is the new addition to the series except there is a twist, it is a mobile game available on smartphones. Seventy-two percent of Suncoast students said that they were excited for the new game when surveyed on @thelegend on Instagram. Nintendo has managed to create many successful mobile games like “Pokemon Go,” “Animal Crossing: Pocket World” and “Super Mario Run.” However, “Mario Kart Tour” has the potential to blow all of these games out of the water. Besides being a mobile game, the aspect that makes “Mario Kart Tour” different is that it takes players on a tour of the world. Popular destinations like Tokyo, Paris and New York City are all featured in one of the official trailers. Some of the famous landmarks featured in the courses are the Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe,

Times Square and Central Park. In addition to these worldly locations, are new outfits that represent the culture of certain areas. Some examples include Princess Peach’s traditional kimono outfit and Shyguy dressed as a pastry chef with macaroons adorning his vehicle. Gameplay of “Mario Kart Tour” only requires one hand and has auto acceleration during the race. The game also features courses from previous titles with an updated look that can bring back nostalgia. Senior Maya Joseph recalled that “the first Mario game I played was on my Wii.” There are eight racer slots for races, but it is currently unknown if local multiplayer or multiplayer in general is part of the game due to the new point system, which can give players a rank worldwide. “Mario Kart Tour” was released on September 25 and is available for free download on the App Store and Google Play Store. photo source:

18 Lifestyle



A how to guide on HBO’s Euphoria makeup looks. Samirah Abellard Managing/Features Editor


BO’s tv series Euphoria, an adaptation of the Isreali show with the same name, follows the lives of a group of teenagers as they navigate through the world of high school with drugs, sex, friendships and trauma. Initially released on June 6, 2019, the series has amassed great acclaim for its accurate portrayal of the teenage experience. The series has also received great acclaim for the makeup looks that the characters have sported throughout the season. Characters such as Jules, Kat and Maddy wear looks that reflect the way they feel. For example, Jules wears bright eyeshadow and eyeliner as she searches for her place in the world. Maddy Perez wears bright colors and glitters to show her confidence and Kat wears dark reds and black looks as she explores her sexuality. Rue: 1x08 “And Salt the Earth Behind You” In this episode, the characters attend a winter formal and Rue attempts to mend her relationship with Jules. Steps to recreate this “starry” look: 1. Prep the eyes using primer 2. Apply a mix of purple and pink eyeshadow to the lid 3. Drag the eyeshadow around the outer lid and under the eye 4.Apply a white glitter to the lid, and the undereye and blend 5. Apply a black liner along the upper lid of the eye 6. Apply a black mascara to the lashes 7. Using a hot glue gun, make “tear drops,” 8. Once the “tear drops” have cooled off, apply an adhesive and apply it under the eye 9. Apply adhesive stars around the eye

Jules: 1x03 “Made You Look” In this episode, Jules begins to fall for, “Tyler,” a boy online, and Kat starts video camming for money. Steps to recreate this “cloud” look: 1. Using white eyeliner, make five dots starting at the crease of the eye 2. Using the liner, connect the dots forming semi-circles 3. Repeat steps 1-2 near the inner eye, and use four dots instead of five

Euphoria has received mixed reviews from critics who claim that the show accurately depicts the teenage experience. However, there are others who say otherwise. Despite these mixed reviews, the show has sparked recreations of the makeup looks that the characters wear throughout the series. The makeup from the show looks fairly complex, but they are quite simple to recreate. Here are the steps to create two of the looks from the show.

19 Lifestyle



Some foods may be causing your lack of quality sleep.

Alex Skolnick Copy Editor ost students know that studying is extremely important, and most students spend hours everynight doing homework, reading textbooks and preparing for tests and quizzes. A common addition to nighttime studying is the “midnight snack.” Some snack on pretzels, potato chips, pretzels or even just an apple. No matter the snack, students use them as a way to boost their attention span and help them

stay on track. What most students do not realize is that sleep is extremely important for their well being. A sufficient amount of sleep every night is needed to keep a student on track at school. Staying up late at night is not the only reason that students do not get enough quality sleep every night; the real killer to quality sleep is snacks. So which foods are sabotaging your sleep?

Chocolate Sorry, but chocolate after dinner is not doing you any favors. Lisa Hayim, a registered dietitian and founder of TheWellNecessities stated, “As a nutritionist who also struggles with falling and staying asleep, I know firsthand what can wreak havoc on our sleep cycles.” Chocolate has a very high level of caffeine, which causes increased arousal and decreases the ability to develop and sustain deeper levels of sleep. “[T]aking a forkful of your favorite souffle or chocolate ice cream may be the very thing keeping you up,” Hayim said.

Chips As stated above, a common studying snack is potato chips. However, chips can be very harmful to your sleep, especially when eaten right before you go to bed. It is no secret that chips are extremely greasy, and grease can mess with the digestive tract, making it harder to stay in a restful state of sleep. In addition, greasy foods have been known to cause bad dreams, which for some people, can affect their morale the next day. “I absolutely love potato chips, but when I heard that they may be the reason I have not been able to sleep well lately, I was very upset,” sophomore Briyan Smith said.

Pizza Although pizza is not common when studying late at night, it is a very common food eaten for dinner. In fact, overconsumption of pizza at any time can be detrimental to your sleep. The combination of the acid in the tomato sauce and the fat in the cheese can have a negative impact on your sleep quality. High acid foods can cause acid reflux, especially when eaten close to bedtime. This might cause you to awaken partially from sleep, which will leave you tired the next day and distracted from important lessons and work at school.

20 Lifestyle

BRAINLESS! The making of an orginal clothing brand. Valentina Jaramillo Staff Writer


eginning as an aspiring artist on Soundcloud, Senior Logan Wiggins, has always displayed his creativity to the public. Not only does he have a passion for music, but for art as well. With his increasing interest in art and design, Wiggins decided to invest himself in another unique project. Taking his artistic talent to another level, Wiggins launched his very own clothing brand, Brainless!, with his original designs. “I have enjoyed drawing and making art since I was really young, but it wasn’t until I got into digital art that I started making designs that could go on shirts,” Wiggins said. As of August 2 0 1 9, Wiggins began making digital art, sparking the idea for his brand, Brainless!. “I had tried to make clothes before, but I felt like now my art had reached a point where it was good enough to put it on clothing,” he said. Wiggin’s exposure to different types of art primarily inspired him to start his clothing brand. He began with several sketches and eventually narrowed it down to the few he liked the most, and printed them on shirts. Then just as a business entails, h e had to wait and see if he would get customers. Soon enough, his friends were interested in his designs and the orders on shirts began rolling in. “The brand has gotten better reception than I initially thought… I originally didn’t think people were gonna like my designs so I just planned on making clothes for myself,” Wiggins revealed. Suncoast students have particularly supported Brainless!. Senior Gian Meza was one of the first to order a shirt from Wiggins, “The quality of the clothing is great and his designs are really creative; I love it, ” he said. “All the support I have gotten from my classmates and people has been great,” Wiggins said. Wiggins has utilized Instagram as a platform to

advertise his merchandise and his friends have eagerly modeled for the brand. Senior Jonah Jean-Baptiste is a proud model of Brainless!, “I love modeling for the brand, it’s a movement,” Jean-Baptiste expressed. He feels that Wiggins’ collection embodies those days where “your brain just can’t go anymore,” which can be relatable for many Suncoast students. In advertising and promoting the brand, Jean-Baptiste hopes this will be a stepping stone into becoming a fashion icon. The mutual support and encouragement from both Wiggins and his friends have undoubtedly helped his clothing line. With more people sporting the Brainless! collection, the brand is becoming increasingly popular on campus. Wiggins put a lot of hard work and dedication into the creation of this business and it has definitely not gone unnoticed. “I think what Wiggins did with creating a brand is super unique and a big accomplishment. No one at Suncoast has done it before,” Meza said. The majority of Brainless! sales have come from Suncoast students. “For now, I’m only making shirts, but the major goal is to be selling all types of clothing to people all around the world, but that might be a little ways off for now,” Wiggins said. Though this is just the beginning of Wiggins’ journey with Brainless!, he has gained valuable experience from it, “I have learned to express myself with a different medium and while it’s mainly fun, it has also increased my understanding of business, as well as the payoffs of hard work,” he said. Wiggins’ will continue to expand the Brainless! collection and try to achieve his goals. What started out as an idea has now become an outstanding reality for Wiggins. Now, who wants to order a shirt? Photos by Logan WIggins

24 Sports


21 21Lifestyle Sports

THE LEGEND ATHLETE Zuri Romeo, a volleyball star taking on her last season of high school.

Jessy Aramouni News Editor

ighting back her pre-game nerves, Senior Zuri Romeo began to pace back and forth in the locker room. Thinking back on all the games she played in middle school, nothing compared to being a freshman on varsity and competing against mostly upperclassmen. Ever since her early middle school years, her ambition to join a sport grew unbearable. Being a 5’9 sixth-grader, she knew it was going to be a sport that would be a benefit to her features. One day after school, Coach Steele, the coach for Howell L. Watkins girls’ volleyball team, invited Romeo to come out to one of the tryouts because she looked “built to play volleyball.” After her first day at tryouts, she automatically fit in as a middle hitter. Her mother had a great influence on her decision in choosing volleyball because she also used to play while she was in school. “Coach Steele was one of my favorite coaches because he always has seen potential in me ever since my first try out in middle school,” Romeo said. Romeos’ first travel team that she was recruited for was the Jupiter Elite during middle school. She began to focus on her flaws in order to perfect them, gaining skills that led her to thrive. She performed in over 15 games gaining experience with other talented players. “Jupiter Elite is where I officially got introduced to how volley goes, like in middle school we were limited to three sets and true volleyball has five,” Romeo stated. During the summer entering freshmen year, Romeo trained with Coach Karen at Suncoast. She would participate in conditioning with other students, then stay after practice to work out in the weight room with a few others. “ I strived to be a starter, I did extra hours of practice, trained in the mornings, and had a personal trainer, in order to have a chance to be a starter,” Romeo stated. As she entered high school, the coaches have already seen her dedication and ambitions to be a part of the team. During tryouts, it was no surprise her skills granted her a position on the girls’ varsity volleyball team. “Zuri is a beast! She does so many things as a hitter and a blocker. She’s a power hitter and inspires her

teammates,” Coach Bowman said. During her freshman year season, she was challenged with playing under pressure during games. She also felt as if she was not as experienced as other players even with her past experience with Jupiter Elite. This then motivated her to work 10 times harder than everyone else and refused to be anything less than great. “My biggest fear during my freshman year on varsity was competing against players who were more experienced than I was and losing against them,” Romeo said. Looking for opportunities to improve, Romeo joined the Vipers Volleyball Club during the spring of 2017. Always focusing on her hitting techniques and improving her plays, she was appointed captain of the Vipers due to her teammates’ admiration towards her hard work, her dedication and her never being satisfied. “I am a go-getter. I will not stop until I am satisfied,” Romeo stated. Then joining the Orlando Tampa Volleyball Academy (OTVA) in 20182019, which was her last year playing on a high school travel team. During her time with OTVA, she mastered her hitting form. She explained how it was her “best team” of travel and really impacted her to continue during college. Now in her senior year, captain of the Girls Volleyball team at Suncoast, Romeo is now looking into her future in college volleyball and is interested in playing for the University of Central Florida, Howard University and the University of Florida. “ I love being the captain of the team. It helps me help the team improve their individual skills. It helps me be a leader,” Romeo stated.

“Never give up because you never know your potential in what you can be.” -Zuri Romeo

22 Sports



Senior Aaron Adams’ Journey to westpoint.

Ashley Labbe Staff Writer Sitting in awe on the sidelines of his older brother’s football game at the young age of six, senior Aaron Adams knew that this was something he could envision in his future. As his older brother was the athlete of the family growing up, receiving college scholarships and awards, he always aspired to follow in his brother’s footsteps and, hopefully, surpass him in his accomplishments. It was Adams’ brother who inspired him to pursue a career in football and continually work to achieve his goals. Adams immediately fell in love with the sport before he even began playing. With his brother as a major influence in his life, he built a strong work ethic and determination earlier than most athletes. His ambition and drive led him to achieve his goal of not only shining on the Suncoast football team, but taking his career to the next level in college by committing to the West Point Army division one football team, as part of the class of 2024. According to West Point Academy, the acceptance rate of West Point is 10 percent. “I received offers from Jacksonville University and Ave Maria University but once Army came in and I weighed my options. I just felt like Army was the best choice for me,” Adams said. The commitment process for potential college athletes typically begins in their sophomore year and ends at the end of their junior year. The process is an ongoing communication between coaches and athletes looking to be scouted. Athletes are constantly updating their athletic and academic statistics and accolades to the coaches as well as their game schedules for scouting purposes. The stress that most seniors are experiencing with the college application process is what Adams experienced in his junior year when he made his commitment decision. “The commitment process itself was probably one of the most stressful times of my life,” Adams said. The recruitment process of an athlete is drastically different from the college application process of a non-athlete. Adams had to ensure that he would be a good fit not only for the team, but for the coaches in the athletic setting. Athletes often go on official and unofficial visits of the schools of their interest in which they can get a holistic view of the team and coaches in their natural training environment. “The whole team seems like one big family and a brotherhood as they have great chemistry, which was one of the major deciding factors in my commitment process,” Adams said. Another major factor that Adams had to consider in his commitment was the academic setting and the academic programs West Point has to offer. Adams had to ensure that the college of his choice fits his academic needs for the future. This process is very

Player Profile Name: Aaron Adams Height: 5’9” Weight: 159 lbs Position: Running Back

similar to what non-athletes go through to set them on the right track of their profession to reach their professional goals post undergraduate school. As soon as my football career is complete, I will have received a top notch education and great job opportunities as soon as I complete my undergraduate,” Adams said. Adams understands that he will be competing with individuals at a very high level, some with one to three more years of experience in the college setting than him, but he is willing to accept the challenge regardless. As the style of play from high school football to college football is drastically different, and at a much faster pace, Adams is aware of the amount of training and preparation he must go through to compete at the division one college level. When you get to the college level, there will be a lot of players who are better than you, very competitive and more knowledgeable. There will be a lot of hardworking people and it will be more difficult to make plays as I did in high school but I’m prepared to work even harder,” Adams said. As Suncoast Football Coach Jimmy Clark was able to watch Adams develop from his freshman year, Clark admires Adams’ commitment to the sport and what he can bring to the team. He believes that his hard work and dedication will allow him to fit into the college team very well. “Adams is a phenomenal leader and athlete as he always takes the game seriously and gives 100 percent every time. He is a great football player, but an even better person, which will make him very successful on the Army team,” Clark said. As Adams had many factors to consider in his commitment decision to West Point, it was very important to be a well rounded, top tier student athlete. The commitment process is a tasking journey for any athlete as they embark on planning their future to find the balance between sports and academics.

Class: 2020 High School: Suncoast Community High School Verbal Commitment: Army

23 Sports



Senior Bryn Van Horne to manage the baseball team at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Skyler Elkin Staff Writer


enior high school athletes all over the world are looking to make the leap to college as their days as high school students and players are coming to an end, with senior Bryn Van Horne being no different. While most of the recruitments that take place are to play a sport, Van Horne took a slightly different approach. “I’m in love with the business and coaching side of the game rather than the playing aspect,” Van Horne said. Van Horne practically grew up on a baseball field because of her family’s extensive baseball background. Having parents, grandparents, and siblings all involved in the sport, her love for the game was inevitable. “You can say that baseball is in my blood,” Van Horne said. As a child, Van Horne did not possess the same passion for baseball that she has now. She did not even play baseball, as it was gymnastics that took up her time. Her career in gymnastics was cut short due to a spinal fusion, so she decided to go back to the one thing she knew would always hold a special place in her heart: baseball. Her passion was never to play baseball; it was the behind the scenes action that she enjoyed the most. Coming to the realization that this was not a mere hobby to her, she found herself having a conversation with Jason Paré, the Head of Analytics and Statistics for the MLB team, the Miami Marlins. As someone who had made it as far as he could go, Van Horne took him up on his advice to ask her school’s baseball coach to see if a position like that would be available to her. “One day and one phone call later, I landed the job. I can easily say it was the best decision of my life,” Van Horne said. From an outsider’s perspective, her job may not seem that complicated, but it is just the opposite. From organizing the team’s game and practice uniforms, to collecting statistics from every game, home and away, she may have one of the hardest, most demanding jobs of them all. After collecting the data, sometimes by hand, she “inputs

them into a giant website database that’s open to everyone. That’s probably the biggest thing that I do.” This job is not commonly done to this extent and the players on the team understand the sacrifices Van Horne makes in order for everything to be perfect for them. “Believe it or not, she brings a family vibe to the team, she sets an example for the rest of the team by being the first one there and the last one to leave at each and every practice,” said senior varsity baseball player Charlie Nichols. Her work is like no other, which is why she received attention from multiple colleges. Throughout her high school experience as a team manager, she knew she wanted to continue throughout college as well. Soon, she was talking to top ranked schools such as Louisiana State University, Florida State University, Florida Gulf Coast University and other big name schools about agreeing to be their manager. When deciding what school she would manage, FGCU seemed like the obvious choice. “I want to make a bigger impact on a smaller program than a smaller impact on a bigger program,” Van Horne said. Probably the biggest impact one can have on a team is deciding who will be a part of it, and that is a main task in Van Horne’s job description. “I’ll get to do in-office recruiting, which I am super excited about,” Van Horne said. Trusting her knowledge for the game and her overall dedication to the job, they knew that she could handle such a vital task. Recruitment is one of the biggest jobs for anybody, let alone an incoming freshman. Recruitment will be just as challenging as it is enjoyable, because Van Horne understands that her decisions and selections in the recruitment process can be the deciding factor for a winning season. Overall, Van Horne has never regretted her decision to participate in baseball from the sidelines. Van Horne said, “I have so many phenomenal people and I’m eternally grateful.”

“Baseball is in my blood.” - Bryn Van Horne


october 2017

Profile for The Legend

The Legend Volume 23 Issue 1 (2019-2020)  

The Legend Volume 23 Issue 1 (2019-2020)