Multi-Talented scholar and athlete who was just accepted to The College of Engineering at UCF where he will major in Aerospace Engineering
John is a Senior at Fernandina Beach High School. You may know him from his exploits on the football field, but he’s the definition of a student-athlete. He is a member of the National Honors Society, National League of Junior Cotillions, as well as Senior Men. John has carried a heavy course load taking on several AP and Honors levels course while maintaining a superior GPA, all while participating in 3 different sports.
John was named team MVP in his senior season of football as well as defensive MVP his junior season. He led Nassau County in tackles the past 2 years finishing with 95 in 9 games in his senior season. This had him ranked 3rd in the entire State of Florida for Division 4A.
Outside of school, John works at Arte Pizza. He is also a member of the Red Lights Band who have performed at several venues and recorded their first original songs recently. He’s appeared on stage at Amelia Musical Playhouse in both Fiddler on the Roof and Xanadu. He is also involved with other community volunteer opportunities such as the Hope House and the Katie Ride for Life.
John states that Mr. Weiser is his favorite teacher at Fernandina Beach. “Not only did Mr. Weiser keep me engaged through every lecture, he really made sure that every student understood what we were learning about,” says John. “I have a pretty solid understanding of United States History because of him. I also enjoyed making video projects for his class. Those assignments helped me fully understand certain topics.”
“The best advice I could give to a freshman would be to challenge yourself, but do not overload yourself,” John says.
Hard working Eagle Scout who was just selected for the University of Florida's Honors program!
Michael is proud of his commitment and drive, " I work hard in every assignment and work out I do. I don’t shy away from challenges. In school, I’ve taken some of the hardest classes I can along with playing sports, and have managed to stay on top of it all."
He has time to stay light-hearted however, "I take my work seriously, but have a pretty bright outlook in pretty much every other area."
"I am proud of completing my Eagle Scout project and becoming an Eagle Scout, especially while things like school and sports deter so many other scouts from making it that far."
Michael has really enjoyed his teachers and classes at FBHS. " I have had a few of my favorite teachers for multiple years, and they make learning so much more enjoyable. The teachers find a way to balance fun and learning that keeps students engaged. "
"My advice to underclassmen would be just to work hard, find good friends, and keep a positive outlook. Also, never be afraid to ask a teacher a question. Most of the teachers truly want to help students learn, and will do whatever they can to help. You just need to ask."
"One exceptional teacher is Mr. Weiser. I had him for AP US History my junior year, and behind his silly, lax exterior, he is truly devoted to the education of his students. About a month before last year’s AP exams, he said he was our resource for studying if we needed him. He would go above and beyond if a student did not understand a topic. If someone had a question about the Gilded Age, he would type up an entire document filled with way more information than you would ever need for the exam, all so his students could do better."
Good Luck at the University of Florida!
"My three biggest accomplishments would be having the chance to represent Florida student-athletes on the FHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, participating in student government, and being named a semifinalist for National Merit. I am most proud of my selection to the FHSAA committee because I feel like I have grown the most through this experience."
Brooke has a long list of exceptional teachers she has come across as a student at FBHS. "If I had to choose, Mr. Monaghan, Mr. Talbert, and Mr. Weiser would be at the top of the list. I was lucky enough to have Mr. Monaghan for first period my freshman year. He started the year by reciting poetry to the class, and after that, I knew I was going to love high school. His enthusiasm for literature is contagious, and somehow he has made English one of my favorite subjects. Now, I have Mr. Monaghan for AP Literature, which I’ve been excited to take since I left his class freshman year. I had Mr. Talbert for Biology Honors and AP Biology. There is something to be said about a teacher who seems to genuinely love what they teach—Mr. Talbert is one of those teachers. He always has his students’ best interests in mind, and whenever I have a question or need some advice, he drops what he’s doing and helps me. Some of my best high school memories are from his classes, and I can pinpoint the day when I sat in his class and realized my passion to study neuroscience. Mr. Weiser is no average teacher. I had him for AP U.S. History last year, and I have him for AP Government this year. Between the two classes, I don’t think a day has gone by where I haven’t nearly cried laughing at his jokes. Somehow, Mr. Weiser makes social studies into a comedy, and that is honestly the reason that I’ve grown to (dare I say) love history. Apart from being funny, Mr. Weiser truly goes the extra mile for his students. Last year, he agreed to spend many hours at a last-minute study session our class formed outside of Panera, and he was able to answer every single question we threw at him. He even sat with me after school on more than a few occasions to help me perfect my writing skills before the AP exam."
Brooke, like many other students looks forward to Homecoming. "It is a week when the entire class comes together for a common goal, and despite the long hours spent preparing lip sync, escapades, and the float, those are events that I will never forget. I will also always cherish the memories of representing FBHS playing soccer and track with some of my best friends. Go Pirates! "
Brooke's advice to incoming freshman: "Take advantage of all that FBHS has to offer, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and strive for things that may seem out of reach at first. You never know what you’ll be able to accomplish. What sets FBHS apart from other schools is the freedom it gives to students to succeed in all aspects of life. From academics to sports to volunteering and more, there are so many ways for us to become involved and create an impact in our own lives and those of others. And if I haven’t already mentioned it enough, FBHS is lucky to have a lot of amazing teachers. They spend countless hours working to ensure that we have a bright future ahead of us, and I personally owe a whole lot to those whose classes I’ve had the privilege to attend."
After graduation, Brooke plans to study neuroscience and Spanish and eventually earn a Doctorate degree. I hope to have the chance to research and practice clinically in the field of neuroscience and one day take my skills overseas for mission work.
Cole has some words of wisdom for incoming freshmen as they start their high school journey. “Definitely get involved, but don’t overburden yourself too quickly. Grades make an impact right away for college, and college can change your life”. Cole worked hard from the beginning which recently earned him the privilege of marshaling the 2018 FBHS graduation ceremony by keeping a 4.0 in challenging classes. He considers this his greatest achievement so far. “I really enjoyed helping with graduation. I had a front row seat to this big moment in their lives and it was really exciting!”
Cole wasn’t able to state a favorite teacher because “there are too many great ones to name just one. They are all unique”. However, Cole credits his top 1% PSAT score last year to his outstanding math teachers, Haley Vonnoh and Dr. Glackin, as well as his fabulous English teacher, Mr. Monaghan. He is thankful for the many years spent with Mrs. Landtroop and Ms. French. They both seem to give students a lot of freedom in their assignments to be creative but offer constructive criticism as well as support for students to grow.
Along with working at the Y, volunteering, tennis and school, Cole tries to take advantage of all the extra time FBHS teachers devote to their students and believes underclassmen definitely should. “Dr. Glackin had an SAT review after school that really helped me” and “Mr. Monaghan is helping with our college applications and essays”. “Mr. Weiser had an AP US History review after school last year which I wasn’t able to attend. I think they went to Dunkin Donuts!” Luckily for Cole, Mr. Weiser was such a strong teacher throughout the year Cole scored a 5 without the review and doughnut. After taking AP World History with Mr. Rathmann in 10th grade, Cole decided to find a job so he could go on the yearly trip to Europe that Mr. Rathmann arranges for spring break. Cole found it to be such a fantastic learning experience, one he will never forget, and is so grateful that Mr. Rathmann continues that tradition for other students. Cole says the bonus was finding a job that he loves, lifeguarding at the Y. That motivated him to start a “help with electronics” class at the Y , combining his love of the Y, computers and helping the community.
Looking back now that he is a senior, Cole is thankful for FBHS and all that he has achieved there so far. He is looking forward to participating in the Homecoming activities again this year and has this one final thought “Freshmen should definitely dress up for Homecoming even if they don’t have time to contribute to other activities. It is something that is easy to do and it is so much fun!” GO PIRATES!
Jessica is extremely involved in school and in the community and finds herself thankful she is able to balance her activities while maintaining a 4.0 and an open mind. "I think this school has helped me develop both of these traits while a challenging course load is provided, the faculty are always there to help you stay on top of things."
Seeing the bright side of situations seems to help in her accomplishments as well, as she has many. Her favorites include "placing in the top 5 with my team at NCA Cheerleading High School Nationals, being inducted into national honors society, being elected president of little women of Fernandina Beach (an organization that I have seen first hand do so much for the community), graduating from Youth Leadership Nassau with new organizational and leadership skills, and being a Marshal at the 2018 graduation. "
Jessica, now a senior,can reflect on FBHS's impact on her life "I enjoy how close knit the entire school is, not only are the teachers extremely supportive and approachable, the classes are close as well. My advice to underclassmen would be to go to your teachers when something is hard for you, they are there to help you but they can’t do anything if they don’t know you are struggling." Many teachers have influenced her along her journey. " Ms. French, the gifted teacher at FBHS, is one of the most amazing teachers I have ever had. I had never considered myself to be artistic but Ms. French taught me that everyone can be an artist if they want to be. She is so passionate about what she teaches and really cares about her students. These qualities Ms. French possesses have allowed many students including myself to love learning about art and the humanities. Another exceptional teacher I’ve had is Mr. Talbert. I had him freshman year for Biology Honors and again junior year for AP Biology. Mr. Talbert brought science to life by teaching through both lab experiments and lectures rather than just from the textbook. I also went to Europe with Mr. Rathmann over Spring Break of Junior year. This experience not only added context to the historical events I had learned in AP World History, it also broadened my perception of people from different cultures. "
Katie is a busy young lady. Along with her all AP course load she is captain of the girls’ weightlifting team, president of Political Club, and works part time at Fantastic Fudge. "If there’s something I want to participate in or try, there’s no reason for me not to!" She feels getting involved in school activities is important because that is what has made high school enjoyable for her. " I wouldn’t have nearly as many fun memories without my sports, clubs, and job." Katie placed 2nd in the district in weightlifting after winning every meet last season. " I had so much fun during that time and could feel myself growing stronger both mentally and physically while I enjoyed the sport I love with my friends."
"I enjoy creating pieces with important messages behind them rather than just drawing something that sparks my interest. The majority of my pieces have either moral or historical meaning to them. This year I am working towards my AP Drawing portfolio." "The Wings of Change" , pictured right and "Squash Your Lemons" below.
"My weightlifting coach and AP Language and Composition teacher last year, Mrs. Porter, has by far made the most impact on me out of all my teachers. She has inspired me through her strong character and unique personality to be the best I can be both inside and outside of the weight room, and her success as a teacher and coach has shown through my growth in weightlifting and my receiving the highest score I could on the AP Language test."
Katie is looking forward to Homecoming and dressing up!
You can help us continue this tradition by attending one of our events! TRIVIA NIGHT , September 28th!! Reserve your spot now- FBHSFoundationTrivia@gmail.com
I would consider my three largest achievements in high school to be my involvement in student government, acceptance into National Honors Society, and nomination to attend the Province IV youth delegate conference, in which I was able to meet with kids from across the southeast to discuss topics and decisions about the Episcopal church. The one that I am most proud of, however, is becoming involved with SGA. As members, we’re able to help lead the school and exchange ideas on possible ways to benefit the student body as a whole. I served as the vice president of my class freshman and sophomore year and am now on the executive board as student body treasurer. I thinks it’s truly important that schools have outlets in which students are able to represent themselves to enforce needed changes within their schools and that’s exactly the role that SGA serves at FBHS.
Bryce is in the top 10 of his class and received highest honors award this year as well as other junior class awards!
My 3 biggest achievements while at fbhs would be being secretary of my class, participating in Youth Leadership Nassau, which has taught me new leadership skills and has strengthened my understand of our community as a whole, and being girls golf district champ two years in a row. Being able to say that I was district champ 2 years in a row is a huge honor after all the hard work and time put in on the golf course.
Taylor received math achievement award this year. Continued here
My three highest achievements are receiving the Take Stock in Children scholarship when I was in 7th grade; earning a 4.6 GPA on my report card for the first semester of 9th grade; and when I got the opportunity to go to Pensacola to attend the National Flight Academy for a week. Out of all three achievements, I am most proud of my Take Stock in Children scholarship because receiving this scholarship at the age 13 reminds me of the hard work I put into my academics, and the hard work I will continue to put forth.
In my opinion, the teachers at FBHS are what sets my school apart from others. This is because they are the most dedicated people when it comes to helping each student reach their full potential as an individual and academic student. They also are very supportive of every students dreams that they have for themselves, and they put in a lot of time and effort to help their students reach them.
My favorite teacher is Mrs. Hailey Vonnoh, who is my Geometry Honors teacher. She is my favorite because she constantly reminds me to always do my best, she is always telling me that I bring positive attributes to my community, and that I set forth a great example for my peers.
My aspirations for the future is to become the first black valedictorian at FBHS; attend a 4 year University for a bachelor's degree in Psychology; move to a big city; and to travel all around the world.
My friends are what keeps me smiling during the day at school because they are the funniest most comedic people that I have ever met, and they just keep me laughing and excited about school. Also, my friends are very supportive, and always congratulates me on my accomplishments in life.
I will always remember the teachers that always reminded me that I am special, and that I will accomplish many positive things on my journey to a successful life.
"Everyone has a story. Everyone has something to be proud of. Most happen to associate achievement with academic success and leadership. But just as valuable is the achievement of the student whose parent just died and he or she still makes an effort to show up everyday, to thrive in spite of being devastated with the loss. That, is just as worthy.
It feels good to have earned all As so far, to be part of the SGA Exec Board, and other clubs and organizations. But the one I’m proudest of, is that for the past few years, I have been able to donate my tips from playing guitar to feed hungry children in Haiti, Nicaragua, and other parts of the world. A few dollars can go a long way to providing meals through an organization called Feed My Starving Children. When I was at the UF Young Leaders Conference last month, kindness was repeatedly encouraged by the speakers. And in the aftermath of the recent shootings, kindness is one thing I believe my generation can do.
FBHS is special in that it is part of our small community with people who support it. There are still teachers who care and genuinely want to help their students succeed. All my teachers are great, Dr. Glackin especially. He still has that passion for teaching; loves the subjects he teaches; comes across as genuinely liking his students; and understands his role as more than teaching, but with the potential to make a huge impact on us. And it does.
My future plans? I’m still exploring. I’ve been chosen to go to West Point in June to be part of their Summer Leaders Experience and I’m very excited about it. Favorite part of the school day? When the bell rings at 3:35!"
- Nathan Pascual
"I graduated from FBHS in 2010, continued my education at The University of Florida on the pre-med track, and graduated in 2014 with a BS in Biology. I then took residence in the Palmetto State of South Carolina for medical school and I’m currently a fourth year medical student on clinical rotations with anticipated graduation of May this year. I’ve just completed residency interviews (pursuing a Pediatric residency) around the country and awaiting the upcoming Residency Match results in March. My first choice is UF Jacksonville Pediatric Residency Program at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. If I’m blessed to get this, I’ll have come full circle as I was born there and was a patient in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as a newborn."
Matt's favorite high school experiences were "Being involved in extracurricular activities - as in my case the ones that stand out were the tennis team, golf team, and student government - fit both my favorite and most impactful activities in high school. Sports teams exposed me to people that I would not have met with a routine schedule at school and I always consider the diversity of people you know a testament to how well rounded you are. Student government for me was a foray into the true work that goes on in the background for things like Homecoming. In addition, leadership, teamwork, and organizational skills are valuable assets learned with joining student government as well as any other extracurricular clubs and organizations.
Mrs. Barlow and Mr. Sapp were the two most influential and coincidently my two favorite teachers in high school. Mrs. Barlow’s enthusiasm for English Literature and my own love of books made for a great match. I still remember giving the“Hamlet Speech” in front of the class and making sure I said it with gusto. I still don’t like “Tale of Two Cities” though, just wasn’t my thing. Mr. Sapp’s emphasis on class discussion and thinking through why things are instead of simply accepting the way things are, brought thoughtful intellectual discussions in a high school classroom that rivaled that of big universities. The two aforementioned teachers share the quality of being exceptional with their means of conveying their subject material. I find that the ability to teach far outweighs the material you are teaching, and translates to in my case, better learning and genuine interest in what is being taught.
I will always remember the people, hands down. You never realize until later, the impact people have on your life, even from high school. I’m very grateful and blessed for the friends I still have today from FBHS as they are some of the closest people in my life now. Never underestimate what good friends are in your life and hold on to them."
College advice to FBHS students?
"Realizing that everyday you need to study, with or without homework, whether there are tests or not, will help you excel in college or at least you won’t feel overwhelmed. Any Advanced Placement or Dual Enrollment classes can lighten your burden and help prepare you for the caliber of material you will be expected to master at whatever university or college you wish to attend. "
FBHS Students attend the Youth Leadership Conference at the University of Florida. Pictured: Brody Mandelbaum, Nathan Pascual and Claire Cunningham.
The weekend consisted of team building and workshops all run by UF students. "We explored ideas of what it means to lead and what kind of leaders we are" says Brody. Claire is "grateful for the experience and I hope to bring what I've learned to my school." See more about the weekend HERE.
Brody is an active student who has achieved great success! He is the Junior class president , founded Key Club at the high school and has received recognition for his involvement in Future Business Leaders of America two years in a row.
Brody has many inspirations at FBHS that keep him going but he says "I always smile when I go into Mr. Monaghan's class because no matter what we do, I know it's going to be fun!"
"FBHS is different from other high schools because of the level of involvement and school spirit present in the students and faculty. Not only are there clubs and sports for everyone to be involved in, but the passion and commitment in each are overwhelming!"
Claire believes Christie Frahm is a guiding force at the high school. "She puts the utmost amount of time and effort into improving and encouraging every students’ high school experience to be the best it can be."
As a member of NHS, Vice President of the class of 19, and attending 2 different leadership seminars, Claire is quite busy! READ MORE ABOUT HER HERE
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Year after year we contribute to books, labs, art supplies, culinary classes, and more academic experiences that would not receive funding otherwise. Please help us make FBHS exceptional.
Brooke is a sophomore student at Fernandina Beach High School. Brooke moved to Fernandina Beach when she was in the 3rd grade and takes great pride in her community and schools. One way Brooke demonstrates dedication is through sports. The year Brooke moved to Fernandina Beach, she joined the YMCA flag football league as one of only a few girls playing a “boys” sport. Brooke’s flag football experience led her to seek out other competitive sports like swimming, volleyball and archery. Brooke has been swimming for Team Fernandina Beach Stingrays for the past 6 years. She played on FBHS’s JV volleyball team her freshman year and Sunsetters club volleyball team the past 2 years. When she isn’t in the pool or on the court, Brooke enjoys the sport of archery and is currently ranked #2 in the state for her age group with Traditional Bowhunters of Florida.
In addition to sports, music is a passion for Brooke. She started in the school band when she attended Emma Love Hardee elementary. She quickly fell in love with playing music and picked up playing guitar and ukulele. She is currently a member of FBHS’s Mighty Marching Pirates and symphonic band. Brooke had the unique opportunity to play bass guitar for the Mighty Marching Pirate half time show this past football season. At parades you will find Brooke playing and marching with her flute. Now that symphonic season is beginning, Brooke is learning to play the double bass with bow.
Above sports and music, Brooke’s #1 priority is academics. She loves to learn and approaches new subjects with a high degree of curiosity. Her favorite subjects are AP Psychology and Honors Chemistry. She’s also active in the school’s ecology club. When she graduates from FBHS, she hopes to attend the University of Florida to study zoology with a specialty in endangered species. In her off time, she enjoys spending time with friends, going to the beach, practicing special effects makeup designs, attending church youth group, and working part time at Tasty’s in downtown Fernandina Beach.
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