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The Senior Spotlight highlights members of the Class of 2020.

ABOUT ME

What extra-curricular or athletic activities are you involved with, including leadership roles, both in and out of school? 

I’m involved with volleyball, I’m the latin club president, the Vice President of Drama club, the Director of the Spring musical, and the Founder of the Women’s club.


HONORS & AWARDS

Have you earned any honors or awards (e.g. academic honors, honor rolls, athletic awards, fine arts honors, etc.)?

I’ve been on the honor role all four years here.


COLLEGE & BEYOND

To which colleges have you applied, and to which ones have you been accepted thus far? 

I’ve applied to Florida State University, University of Florida, University of South Florida, Harvard, and Princeton.  I’ve only been accepted to USF so far, but once the other admission letters arrive I can make my decision.

What would you like to study in college, and what might be your long-term career goals?

I’d like to study International Relations, and work for the U.N. or a human rights organization in different parts of the world.

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

So far I’ve received the USF Director’s Award.


Who are some of your favorite teachers at SFCA and why? 

My top two teachers are Ms. McCloskey and Ms. Montrowl.  I had Ms. McCloskey for two years in English II and AP Lang, and she taught me everything you need to know about rhetorical devices and Sierra Leone.  I’ve only been taught by Ms. Montrowl for one semester, but I can already say with certainty that she is one of the funniest and best teachers I’ve had. 


Ivan Landaeta

ABOUT ME

What extra-curricular or athletic activities are you involved with, including leadership roles, both in and out of school? 

National Honor Society, Latin Club, Latin Honor Society, Drama Club, Cross Country Team, Soccer Team, Young Leaders for Wild Florida (YLWF), Alachua County Commissioner Meetings, North Central Florida Regional Planning Council


HONORS & AWARDS

Have you earned any honors or awards (e.g. academic honors, honor rolls, athletic awards, fine arts honors, etc.)?

Academic Honors-4 Years


COLLEGE & BEYOND

To which colleges have you applied, and to which ones have you been accepted thus far? 

Davidson College, University of North Florida, Florida State University, Santa Fe College

What would you like to study in college, and what might be your long-term career goals?

I would like to study environmental science and political science. I would like to work environmental lawmakers in managing the environment.

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

• Belk Scholarship for Davidson College
• Santa Fe Honors Program


What are your favorite subjects at SFCA and why? 

Environmental Science, U.S. History and European History. It is fascinating to me to learn the effect people in the past had on the current state of the environment.


Valeria Zuluaga

ABOUT ME

What extra-curricular or athletic activities are you involved with, including leadership roles, both in and out of school? 

In-School Activities: Concert Band, Junior Civitan (President), Spanish Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (Captain), National Honor Society, Pep Band, Spanish Club, Student Ambassadors, Peer Ministry, Eucharistic Ministry, Golf

Out-of-School Activities: UF Health VolunTEEN, Gainesville Youth Chorus (Student Leadership Team), Baby Gator Child Development and Research Center Student Volunteer, St. Augustine Church Choir (Psalmist), Tony and Al’s Restaurant (Hostess), Breakthrough Junior Challenge (Quarterfinalist), French (Judges’ Choice Award)


HONORS & AWARDS

Have you earned any honors or awards (e.g. academic honors, honor rolls, athletic awards, fine arts honors, etc.)?

National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar (12th grade) • National Merit Commended Scholar (12th grade) • Bertie Green Junior National Travel Award (11th grade) • Holiday Traditions Spotlight Soloist (10th grade) • Le Congres de La Culture Francaise en Florida Outstanding Award (12th grade) • 3rd place individual talent award in regional Spanish competition (10th grade) • 2nd place overall team award in regional Spanish competition (10th grade) • 3rd place team poster contest award in regional Spanish competition (10th grade) • 1st place team poster contest award in regional Spanish competition (11th grade) • 1st place overall team award in regional Spanish competition (11th grade) • AP Scholar (10th grade, first in school to achieve this distinction in 10th grade) • AP Scholar with Distinction (11th grade) • 1st in class: Spanish IV Honors (11th grade) • Outstanding leadership award: Student Ambassador (11th grade) • 1st in class: Spanish III Honors (10th grade) • 1st in class: AP European History (10th grade) • Outstanding leadership award: Student Ambassador (10th grade) • Most Improved Saxophone Player (9th grade) • 1st in class: Biology Honors (9th grade) • 1st in class: Spanish II (9th grade) • First Honors (9th-12th grade)


COLLEGE & BEYOND

To which colleges have you applied, and to which ones have you been accepted thus far? 

I have been accepted to Converse College Honors Program and Princeton University so far and I have applied to:

• Yale University
• Dartmouth College
• University of Florida
• Florida State University
• Washington University (St. Louis)
• Cornell University
• Duke University
• Johns Hopkins University
• Georgetown University

What would you like to study in college, and what might be your long-term career goals?

My intended major is neuroscience, and I want to minor in music performance or creative writing. Long-term, I either want to be a pediatric oncologist or a pediatric neurosurgeon. 

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

• Coca-Cola Scholarship (Semifinalist, still in the competition)
• Hispanic Scholarship Fund
• Hispanic Heritage Scholarship
• Elks Most Valuable Student Competition (District Scholar, still in the competition)
• Bryan Cameron Scholarship
• Spanish Honor Society Scholarship
• National Honor Society Scholarship
• GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship
• Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship
• Burger King Scholarship
• Engebretson Scholarship
• Florida Bright Futures
• Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship


What are your favorite subjects at SFCA and why? 

Math, especially calculus, is probably one of the easiest subjects for me, as algebra and numbers have always made sense to me in a way. At first, I was scared out of my wits staring at the weird s-shaped symbols on the board in Mrs. Diblin’s class (those are called integrals, by the way) and at the y’s with the apostrophes next to them (a shorthand way to write derivative notation), but once I figured out that it was all just a bunch of applied algebra and patterns, I was able to let go of the fear and enjoy the fun of it. Having taken 6 math classes at St. Francis, while most people take 4, you’d assume that I’d be done with math after this, right? On the contrary, I can’t wait to take more math classes in college and expand on my knowledge. 

Science has always been my passion. Since I was little, I’ve always been oriented to science, especially the labs and the real-life applications of it. However, what’s surprising about my time at SFCA is that my favorite science class isn’t one that I originally thought it was going to be. I thought that biology and chemistry were going to be my favorites, since I love those areas and want to be a doctor in the future. It was physics honors that truly taught me to appreciate science. It motivated me to dig deep to understand the theory behind the concepts we were learning, and even motivated me to take the AP Physics I exam the year I took the class. 

AP Capstone, I love, love AP Capstone research. I walked into my AP Seminar class thinking ‘how am I going to get from writing simple five-paragraph essays to write a 20 page academic thesis?’ This and many other questions were quickly answered as I delved into the wonderful world of research. I’m going to be honest. It’s kind of scary sometimes because no one else has done what you’re doing and you have no guidance. You are the only expert in the tiny field that you are researching. However, it’s so exciting to see the fruits of my research come to light, even if it wasn’t what I expected them to be. Research at Saint Francis has helped me to hone my own interests and I know that I will continue to perform research throughout my college career. 

Psychology, I signed up for AP Psychology at the last minute my sophomore year and it was the best decision I ever made. Not only was the class exciting and engaging, but I also became deeply interested in the field of cognitive psychology, which influenced me in choosing to research on cognitive psychology and its development for my AP Research class and it also helped me to choose neuroscience as a likely major in college.