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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 the President of the Beowulf Players and the International Thespian Society, the Vice President of the Latin Club, and the Secretary of the National Honors Society.


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 Roll since my junior year, and have gotten three Superior scores at Regional Theatre Festivals


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I applied to Brown, SCAD, RISD, WashU, and FSU, and have been accepted to SCAD, RISD, and FSU.

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

I’d like to work in publishing and be a graphic novelist.

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

I received the May and Paul Poetter Full-Tuition Scholarship from SCAD.


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

I really love all of my teachers, and they’ve all made an impact in my life in some way or another, but if I had to choose one, I’d probably say Mr. Tizzano is my absolute favorite. He’s such an insightful and wise human being and I appreciate how he delivers all of his material with fantastic analysis and great humor. Seriously, though—HUGE shoutout to all my teachers!


Colton Maddux

ABOUT ME

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

WolfBotics – lead engineer and robot driver 


HONORS & AWARDS

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

I have gotten awards for STEM/engineering excellence 


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I have applied to University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, Florida Polytechnic, and the University of Florida and have been accepted to to University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, and Florida Polytechnic.

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

I would like to study mechanical engineering and eventually work as a mechanical engineer for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, or NASA 

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

I have received scholarships for being on the Autism Spectrum 


How has SFCA impacted you or made a difference in your life? How has SFCA prepared you for life after graduation?

ISFCA has made me more appreciative of the world around me. I’ve learned what I want to do in my life and SFCA helped guide me. 


Ashley Spencer

ABOUT ME

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

I am a member of the softball team, Student Ambassador Club, Spanish club, peer ministry, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Spanish National Honor Society. I am the president of the National Honor Society as well as captain of the volleyball team.


HONORS & AWARDS

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

First Honors (Freshman and Junior Year), Second Honors (Sophomore and Senior Year), Meldon Law Scholar Athlete of the week (Senior Year), Selected to play in the Prepzone Allstar volleyball game (Senior Year), Citizenship Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, Homecoming Queen (Senior Year)


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I have applied to and have been accepted by the University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, and Florida Atlantic University.

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

I plan to study Architecture Engineering at the University of Central Florida starting in the fall.

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

I have received the USF scholars award from University of South Florida. I also received a scholarship to Harriet L. Wilkes at Florida Atlantic University.


How has SFCA impacted you or made a difference in your life? How has SFCA prepared you for life after graduation?

SFCA has made an impact on my life because it has introduced me to the best people I have ever met. The friends I have made over the past four years are the friends that I will have forever. I have learned so much in the classroom and have had the opportunity to work with all kinds of new technology. The smaller school setting has given me the confidence to take on the larger world.


Ellie Muir

ABOUT ME

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

I am involved in Cross Country, Track, and Run Club. I volunteer at North Florida Regional Hospital and have a summer job at Queen of Peace as a Camp Counselor.


HONORS & AWARDS

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

I am an AP Scholar with Honor


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I applied and been accepted to University of North Florida, Appalachian State, University of Alabama, Florida State, and University of Florida

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

I am planning on majoring in English on a pre-law track and hope to become a company or contract lawyer. 


Who are some of your favorite teachers at SFCA? 

My favorite teachers at SFCA are Coach Maggie, Mr. Chalifoux, and Mr. Bell


Mia Nieves

ABOUT ME

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

I am actively involved with Concert Band, Pep Band, the Beowulf Players, Women’s Support and Advocacy Group, National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and La Sociedad Honoria Hispanica at Saint Francis Catholic Academy. I am currently the Vice President of the Tri M Music Honors Society and the Secretary of the school’s chapter of the International Thespian Society. 


HONORS & AWARDS

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

I have earned academic honors awards every single year in Band and have earned an academic honor award last year in Algebra II Honors. I have also received a letter from the Congress of Future Medical Leaders asking me to join them in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the summer for a 3 day seminar ever since 2018. I took the opportunity to go to this event upon my first year receiving the letter, and it has definitely been something that has greatly influenced what I would like my career to look like in the future. 


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I have applied to the University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, University of South Florida, Stetson University, Cornell University, Harvard University, and John Hopkins University.

I have only heard back from four schools thus far, and luckily I have been accepted to all four; Florida Atlantic University, Stetson University, Florida Gulf Coast University, and the University of South Florida. 

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

I would definitely like to study medicine in college, and would like to major in biomedical engineering or psychology working my way up to Pre-Med. When I am done in Pre-Med and go off to medical school, I would like to specialize in emergency medicine and work the graveyard shift in the E.R.. Medicine is such a fascinating subject that I really feel like I could not pick just one area to focus on, so emergency medicine is perfect due to the fact that it encompasses everything. Plus, it also has an aspect of dealing with criminology, which is something that I am very interested in as well. 

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

I have applied for scholarships in every single college I have submitted an application for. I am so grateful to have received such amazing offers from three universities thus far. These include the USF Scholars Gold Award from the University of South Florida, the Presidential Scholarship and Stetson Achievement Award from Stetson University, the Spirit of Atlantic Scholarship from Florida Atlantic University, and Bright Futures. 


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

My favorite teacher at this school is Mr. Boehlein. I have been in his Band class for all four years now, and I can firmly say that he has helped me not only to develop as a musician, but as a person and a leader. Mr. Boehlein has shown me how much “fun” learning can be, and that we can work hard and be productive while still laughing and joking from time to time. He has become one of my biggest role models, and I strive to one day have the patience, passion, and optimism that he so effortlessly carries from day to day.

A couple of honorable mentions go to Ms. Montrowl, Mr. Chalifoux, and Ms. McCloskey.

Even though I have known Ms. Montrowl for a little over half a year now, I absolutely love her personality and the way she lectures. I absolutely adore her spunk and how supportive she is towards all her students. She also helped a couple of girls and I start the Women’s Club at our school, which is something that I will always be grateful for. I wish I had had the opportunity to take more classes with her.

While being one of the most relatable teachers I have ever met, Mr. Chailfoux has also been able to teach me the most here at Saint Francis. I never thought I would develop a deep interest in psychology, but taking his class this year has definitely proven me wrong. On top of being a great psychology and history teacher, Mr. Chalifoux also actively participated in the Saint Francis Pep Band playing the tenor saxophone at our home football games. Now that I am leaving soon, he can finally have his spot playing the baritone saxophone like he has always wanted!

Last but certainly not least, Ms. McCloskey. I had taken English II Honors my sophomore year and AP English Language and Composition with her last year, and all I have to say is that my writing skills have strengthened because of her. All the essays and annotations that she makes her students write are all worth it in the end when they are fully capable of writing synthesis essays like pros and creating argumentative essays on any topic possible. She is a teacher that I can come to with anything and she will just listen and respond kindly. I will miss her positive, energetic attitude towards everyday life and her smile that is so amazingly plastered on her face at all times. 


Matthew Dicairano

ABOUT ME

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

Wolfbotics, Latin Club, Soccer, Track, Cross Country, Marathon running, Triathlon running


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I have been accepted to Florida Tech, Florida State University, and Embry Riddle.

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

Astrophysics has been a life long enjoyment of mine and I’m excited to be able to study it at a college level.

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

Panther Scholarship at Florida Tech


What are your favorite subjects at SFCA and why? 

Physics and Chemistry have always been my favorites. The interactive sciences have always drawn my curiosity making me question the functions of the universe.

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

Coach Maggie has always had faith in me in everything I do. From helping me write papers to running 26.2 miles with me for fun, she has always seen the best in me and pushed me to be the best I can.

How has SFCA impacted you or made a difference in your life? How has SFCA prepared you for life after graduation?

I would not be where I am today without this school. It is because of the teachers/staff and the friends I’ve made here that has shaped where I want to go in life. The friends I’ve made here will stay with me where ever I go.


Erin McEwan

ABOUT ME

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

Some of my extracurricular activities include SGA, Vice President of the senior class and girls soccer team captain. 


HONORS & AWARDS

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

National AP Scholar Award


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I’ve applied and been accepted to Florida State University, Auburn, LSU, USF and Alabama. I would like to attend FSU or Georgia Tech.

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

I intend to major in Biology on a pre-veterinary track. I hope to become a small animal vet and specialize in Oncology.

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

I have not applied for any specific scholarships yet.


What are your favorite subjects at SFCA and why? 

My favorite subject at SFCA is AP Research because it has pushed me to delve into my own interests while still pushing me out of my comfort zone. 


Akshayaa Sriharan

ABOUT ME

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

In School: Chaplain of the National Honors Society, Spanish National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honors Society, Student Ambassador, Spanish Club

Out of School: Dance (Bharatanatyam), Martial Arts (Taekwondo), Recreational Tennis, North Florida Regional Medical Center Volunteer


HONORS & AWARDS

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

AP Scholar with Distinction (11th grade), A Honor Roll (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grade), Biology Award (9th grade)


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I have applied and been accepted to University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, and Florida State University. I have also applied to University of Florida, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Duke University, and Yale University.

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

I would like to follow a biology-related major, most likely Microbiology or Biomedical Sciences. My long term career goal is to enter into medical school and become a pediatric surgeon.

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

I received the Presidential Award from University of South Florida and the University Freshman Scholarship from Florida State University.


What are your favorite subjects at SFCA and why? 

Some of my favourite subjects have been AP European History and AP Psychology. I loved AP European History because it was fascinating to discover and learn more about the development of these unique countries and cultures as well as how they influence other parts of the world. I also found AP Psychology to be really fascinating and it soon became one of my favorite classes. It delved into various and unique aspects of humans, cognition, and biology so it really helped me solidify my interest in the medical field.


Christina Castillo

ABOUT ME

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

I am a Girl Scout and member of the NHS. I spend time as part of the Spanish Club and Junior Civitan, and I have often spent my free time practicing an instrument, whether it be the clarinet, the marimba, or sometimes the saxophone. 


HONORS & AWARDS

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

 I am a National Merit Semifinalist and a National Hispanic Scholar.

I have received a score of Excellent for a clarinet solo I played at a state level Solo & Ensemble competition. I also auditioned for and got into Alachua County’s high school honor band in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade on the clarinet. 

For Girl Scouts, I received the 2019 Bruce Seldon Catholic Scout of the Year award.


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I applied for UCF and FSU and have been accepted into both of them. I have also applied to UF. 

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

I would like to study a subject related to either science or engineering in college, but I am not yet sure what I want to do as a career. 

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

I have received a scholarship from FSU. 


Favorite memory/experience at SFCA (academic or athletic) 

My favorite memory was when my AP Euro class taught Mr. Tizzano what a knock-knock joke was. 


Nelson Langley

ABOUT ME

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

Swim team (team captain), founding member of Running Club, Track (hurdle captain), Student Government (class treasurer), Student Council (student council president), founding member of Student Ambassadors, Latin club (treasurer), WolfBotics team (WolfBotics captain), Junior Civitan (treasurer), Peer Minister, and National Honor Society member.


HONORS & AWARDS

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

Letterman in Soccer, Track, and Swim 


COLLEGE & BEYOND

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

I have been accepted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and am waiting for an appointment from the United States Air Force Academy.

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

I would like to study either aerospace or mechanical engineering in college and would like to serve in the Air Force as a fighter pilot. 

Have you applied for/received any college scholarships? 

I’ve received a Dean’s Scholarship from Embry-Riddle. 


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

Some of my favorite teachers at Saint Francis are Mr. Tizzano and Miss McCloskey. Mr. Tizzano has been my teacher for all four years, and has also been a mentor and role model to me of how to be a better person and make the world a better place. He has also been my swim coach for three years, something I never did before but has now become my favorite sport. Miss McCloskey was my teacher for two years, and helped me become a better student and a better writer. She is also my track coach and running club coach, has pushed me to become a better athlete and has inspired me to try new things. 


Lexa Thompson

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.