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Scholars told 'go save the world'

A judge and former School Board member speaks to outstanding high school graduates at an awards dinner.

By PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 17, 2000


CITRUS SPRINGS -- Circuit Judge Patricia Thomas stood before an assembly of valedictorians, salutatorians, other high-achieving students, their parents and educators and told them she handles juvenile delinquency in her courtroom.

"Please know how happy I am to be here," she said Monday night at the 13th annual Senior Scholastic and Scholarship Awards Recognition Dinner.

Thomas, a former School Board member, founded the annual celebration in 1988 to thank students and their parents for their commitment and dedication to education.

"There are wonderful students out there," she said, "who are going to go out and save the world."

The students in attendance were given pins which Thomas instructed them to pin on their parents at the beginning of the ceremony. Thomas told the students to remember the country where they live and asked everyone to stand, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and sing America the Beautiful. She said, "We're all in this together, and we have need to stick together."

She also said students need to do things for others -- "Use your skills to make this world a better place."

The students were at Andre's of Citrus Hills on Monday night to receive plaques, roses and congratulatory balloons for outstanding academic performances and community service. Six students received $1,000 scholarships from the Citrus County and Homosassa Springs chambers of commerce.

These students were recognized at the 13th annual Senior Scholastic and Scholarship Awards Recognition Dinner; their grade point averages follow their names. (Averages over 4.0 include honors, advance placement and college-level dual enrollment classes and are weighted.)

Lecanto High School valedictorians: Michelle Humphries, 4.52, and Claire Wilker, 4.48; salutatorians: Swati Patel, 4.51, and Gary Becker, 4.51.

Subject awards went to Daire Seamon, English, 4.40; Swati Patel, mathematics; Rushi Patel, science, 4.49; and Claire Wilker, social studies.

The Homosassa Springs Chamber of Commerce scholarships were awarded to Joseph Patrick Murphy, 3.42, and Ashley Weick, 3.0.

New Testament Christian School valedictorian: Courtney Crews, 4.0; and salutatorian: Tristen Wachter, 3.8.

Seven Rivers Christian School valedictorian: Victoria Cardinali, 3.75; salutatorian: Tony Cortese, 3.3.

Withlacoochee Technical Institute valedictorian: Mary Thompson, 3.85; salutatorian: Brandise Reed, 3.0.

Citrus High School valedictorians: Diego Madrigal III, 4.48, and Kacie Whaley, 4.34; salutatorians: Kelly Gates, 3.97, and Amy Hanlon, 4.32.

Subject area awards went to Will Martin, English, 3.8; Jeff Denny-LaVere, mathematics, 4.16; Diego Madrigal III, science; and Ann Luce, social studies, 3.9.

Citrus County Chamber of Commerce scholarships went to Amanda Chester, 3.5, and Ann Luce.

Crystal River High School valedictorians: Annaliese Jo Brennan-Kupper, 4.42, and Megan Faulkenberry, 4.42; salutatorians: Shannon Lowe, 4.34, and Keri Owen, 4.4. The salutatorian is Amee Patel, 4.46.

The subject area awards were given to Tonya Heffner, English, 4.39; Chih-Shual "Andy" Wang, mathematics, 3.64; Christina Staton, science, 4.46; Shannon Lowe, social studies.

The Citrus County Chambers of Commerce scholarships were awarded to Tonya Heffner and Dustin Persinger, 3.62.

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