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Top of the class

Mitchell junior an all-star

Doug Cantwell, 16, seems to be a standout in just about everything he becomes involved in.

By MICHELE MILLER
Published April 6, 2005


TRINITY - Doug Cantwell may be only 16 years old but already his resume runs the gamut. From academics, to sports and school clubs, to community service, the kid seems to have already done it all.

Here's a sampling:

The junior from Mitchell High School is vice president of the Student Council and is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Interact Service Club and School Advisory Council. He has competed for the debate team and Academic Bowl Challenge Team. In sports, he's done varsity track and basketball. Cantwell recently earned some attention when he, along with seven other Mitchell basketball players, were featured in an article in the Pasco Times for their academic and athletic prowess. In his spare time, Cantwell has helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity, been involved in the Relay for Life, Pasco Bowling for Life and the New Port Richey Fraternal Order of Eagles.

The list goes on...and on.

In addition, he takes three advanced placement classes, two college-level dual-enrollment classes and has a 5.0 weighted grade point average. That puts him first in his class and in contention for being the valedictorian for 2006.

"I enjoy being involved in a lot of things. I don't want to limit myself to one activity," said Cantwell of his busy schedule. "If I wasn't this involved I'd have too much time on my hands."

His accomplishments recently garnered him the Governor's High School All-Star Award for Pasco County, which Cantwell was scheduled to get over the weekend in Tallahassee.

While Cantwell says he does enjoy school, just like any other kid he admits that, "Some days I don't enjoy it too much. Sometimes I'll postpone an assignment."

Still, he credits his focus and drive to traits inherited from his parents, Celia and Ray Cantwell, who have led "just by their example."

"I want to gain as much knowledge as I can so I'm prepared for college," said Cantwell, who is considering Yale, Duke and Princeton as future possibilities.

Besides his parents, Cantwell has a list of mentors, though he frets, "I know I'm forgetting someone." There's family friends, Dewey and Becky Mitchell and Joe and Debra Urgo; Susan Jacobs and Cynthia Reyes, his teachers in the gifted program from Seven Springs Middle School; math teachers Jennifer Kaelin and Michelle Williams; language arts teacher Allison Hamilton; his basketball coaches, Andy Schmitz, Andy Maggio and Jeff Ford; Bev Jones, the director of Sunday School Education at St. Thomas Aquinas Church; and career specialist Michele Chamberlin, who was among those on the scholarship committee to nominate Cantwell for the award.

"Doug has a lot of charisma," Chamberlin said. "On paper, he looks the same as a lot of the other kids. But when you talk to him he's very impressive, very articulate. He fits the criteria of being the well-rounded student."

"He's athletic, he's social, he has the academics," said his mom, Celia Cantwell. "He really has the whole package."

Cantwell says he is pleased, but nonetheless humble, about receiving the governor's award. "I'm glad that I was chosen - not only on the county level but also on the school level," he said. "There's a lot of talented kids at Mitchell."

Thursday, Doug and his family were headed to Tallahassee to collect his award along with winners from throughout the state. One of the scheduled activities he was looking forward to was a round-table discussion with Gov. Jeb Bush where he hoped topics would include Terri Schiavo, the governor's plans for a special election about the class-size amendment and public education funding "or the lack of."

Cantwell also plans to catch up with friends and two of his siblings who are attending Florida State University.

And a special outing to Mo Mo's Pizza in Tallahassee is at the top of his list.

"Oh it's good," he said of the pizza. "Nice big slices."

[Last modified April 6, 2005, 01:07:18]


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