Words from your C/O 2017 Valedictorian: Sam Politano

Samantha Politano

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I stay motivated out of necessity. There’s been plenty of instances when I wanted to put off completing my work, but I continually remind myself that my future success relies on the foundation I build now. Taking short, frequent breaks (YouTube, social media, or music) helps too.

I’ve fought multiple income and health related obstacles, but I’ve come to realize many of my academic obstacles were simply a matter of perception. I let go of limits. I took increasingly difficult courses, became the only person in Pasco to receive the Girl Scout Gold Award in 2016, pursued my AA, took a class at USF, created peer ACT/SAT Tutoring, and much more. When I encountered a roadblock, I pushed past it.

Becoming the Valedictorian has been my #1 goal since 3rd grade, when I first began my straight-A streak. I didn’t want it for college applications, my parents, or to impress people; I wanted it for personal satisfaction.  

My GPA is 4.7674 weighted, 4.0 unweighted. 

I took classes that intersected with my passions and my goals. I took APs and Honors classes that fulfilled graduation requirements and seemed interesting. Through Dual Enrollment (DE), I had more freedom to choose my classes but was restricted to AA-level courses, a maximum of 60 credit hours, certain times to allow for clubs and sports, and available courses. I had to meticulously plan my classes years ahead of time. Since I took DE English sophomore year, I also had to find a single English credit. I found it at the only place that offered a higher-level one: USF.

I was competitive with a small number of people over this, but it was mostly in my head. I love competition (it’s why I watch Jeopardy! nearly every night). Being friends with your competitors is also a delight.

I did as many extracurriculars as possible. Girl Scouts was my main outside one, but I was also an officer in the following high school organizations: Student Government Association, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, School Advisory Council, and the Parent Teacher Student Association. At PHSC, I’m also the Vice President of our Phi Theta Kappa chapter. I also enjoyed being a member of Envirothon, Varsity Tennis, Steering Committee, Spanish Honor Society, and the University of South Florida English Society.

I think everyone should try to break their boundaries. There’s often much more beyond our perceived walls than we think. Test the waters. Pursue a track that no one else has tried. You’ll surprise yourself!

Underclassmen: do the work. It’s a simple concept, but it’s often difficult to put into action. Submit your assignments, show up to class, go to club meetings, and care. Making yourself care about what you’re doing is hard, since it requires self-reflection, but it’s worth it.

Underclassmen: do the work. It’s a simple concept, but it’s often difficult to put into action. Submit your assignments, show up to class, go to club meetings, and care. Making yourself care about what you’re doing is hard, since it requires self-reflection, but it’s worth it.”

— Politano

I’d like to thank my parents, my siblings, and every teacher or staff member I’ve ever come in contact with. Mrs. Wilson and Ms. Kiser wrote so many recommendation letters and offered an incredible amount of support throughout my high school years. I will remember and appreciate all that you have done for me no matter where I go.

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