Celebrating the Top 10 Broncos

Marissa Ortiz, Layout/Social Media Editor

1. Rushik Sakamuri 

Planned University:  I am going to the University of Florida. I am privileged to be part of the Honors program as well as the University Research Scholars Program at UF. I am able to delve into the far corners of my study through the uncommon reads and the uncommon arts in which I am able to apply the interdisciplinary knowledge to the real world. Through the University Research Scholars Program I will be able to conduct research on the different aspects of economics that I am passionate about and have the chance to present at national-level research conferences, attend research seminars, and maybe even publish my research in a distinguished journal.

Major: I am going to major in Economics. Throughout high school, I have always been fascinated by money movement. Working with a nonprofit organization and seeing the financial aspect of business while also talking to professors at major universities sparked my interest in goods/services and the way the economy works. This could be through the perspective of a single business locally or on a much broader scale internationally. Economics is a comprehensive field, and I would like to explore and research as much as I can in college.

Advice to Freshman Self:  If I was able to give my freshman year self advice, it would probably be to stop procrastinating. While this piece of advice is something we have all heard constantly from our teachers, it really is a crucial part of your success. Instead of waiting to start a 10 page essay the day before it is due, starting it when your teacher actually tells you to start it will save you a lot of time that you could allocate to other things. It will also save you a lot of sleep in high school which is something you will appreciate sooner than later.

2. Billie Brightman

Planned University:  I will be attending the University of Miami because I am familiar with the school (my mom’s alma mater!) and it is a large hub for media activity.

Major: I will be majoring in broadcast journalism because I have always loved being in front of a camera, writing whenever I can, and watching NBC News Special Reports. One day, I want to become an anchor that the people can trust with facts and one who can create an informed society.

Advice to Freshman Self: I would tell my freshman year self to keep her head up high and not change for anyone else. At the end of the day, she’s the only one working towards her own future, so she shouldn’t worry about getting caught up in petty drama. Keep your head in the game, past Billie. It will take you far.

3. Christopher Mears

Planned University: I plan to attend the University of South Florida for a plethora of reasons. One reason is their seven year BS/MD program. This program guarantees that I am interviewed by the Morsani College of Medicine to potentially be admitted to their medical school as long as I complete all of the program requirements. I am, also, automatically considered for this program as a member of their Honors College. Furthermore, there are an abundance of clinical, shadowing, and research opportunities for pre-meds both on campus and in the surrounding Tampa area. Financially, USF has offered me up to $38,000 in scholarships for four years of attendance which would be very beneficial, especially when combined with Bright Futures and other scholarships I have applied for.

Major: I will major in Biomedical Sciences. One obvious reason for this is my interest in biology, chemistry, and other sciences covered by the coursework of this major. Another reason is that the major is a requirement for the University of South Florida’s BS/MD program, which would set me up well for medical school. I already have completed most requirements for the major through dual enrollment at Palm Beach State College, so it is likely that I take on another major, as well, to lengthen my time as an undergraduate and continue the program. However, my second major is currently undecided.

Advice to Freshman Self: The only advice I would give my freshman year self is to keep on track. I feel that I have been pretty successful in high school in terms of setting myself up for the years to come, and I do not feel that I would have changed anything in regard to how I went about doing so.

4. Griffin Dale

Planned University: I’m going to UF as I got into honors and was able to get a full ride so it is very affordable.

Major: I do not yet know what I am going to major in college.

Advice to Freshman Self: Stop procrastinating and get more sleep.






5. Arnold Parreco

Planned University: I am going to the University of Central Florida. I’m going there since they have a massive campus with a lot to offer. I was able to get good on-campus housing, and they have a lot of clubs for my field that I plan on studying. I also think that I will have a lot of opportunities in Orlando for internships and the chance to make connections. The school also gave me a scholarship.

Major: I plan on majoring in Computer Science. I wanted to go into a field that could change the world while also paying a good amount. I can also tap into my creative side with computer science as the tech industry is always growing and coming up with new ideas.

Advice to Freshman Self:  Everything that you are doing will pay off eventually. It might suck right now, but once you get through it you will be glad you did it.


6. Gilad Bauman

Planned University: UF. Close and affordable. 

Major: Not sure totally because I feel this to be a very major decision that I really need to think on in depth prior to beginning my studies.

Advice to Freshman Self: Be more outgoing, do more clubs and try to volunteer and help support and improve the lives of others, also don’t stress that much.





7. Sarah Garfield

Planned University:  I am attending the University of Florida because of its opportunities in undergraduate research and its resources to study interdisciplinary topics, like English and Biology. For example, there is a unique literature course called “Kafka and the Kafkaesque” that sounds really interesting.

Major: I’m either going to pursue a double major in Biology and English, or Biology and Behavioral/Cognitive Neuroscience.  I have a love for both literature and science, so I want to explore their interconnected nature at UF.

Advice to Freshman Self:Honestly I would tell myself to “Chill Out” because my freshman decisions and self will not always lead to my future self, as life is uncertain.




8. Teji Kari

Planned University: UF because it has good research opportunities

Major: Computer Engineering because it combines both software and hardware aspects of computers

Advice to Freshman Self:  Don’t overthink everything and take time to relax









9. David Vera

Planned University: I will attend the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign due to their prestigious Computer Science and Engineering department. UIUC offers major opportunities and connections for my career field due to their reputable history in Computer Science which I valued highly in my decision.

Major: I will major in Computer Science due to my passion, interest, and history with coding and programming. I have engaged in several coding projects and taken several programming courses throughout high school that helped reassure my genuine interest in this career field.

Advice to Freshman Self: Do research as early as possible to avoid missed valuable opportunities. Also, talk more and don’t expect a new JID album anytime soon.




10. Sofia Campos

Planned University: I am going to University of Central Florida because they are one of the top schools for the career I want to major in. I really enjoyed visiting the campus and fell in love with the city instantly.

Major: I am going to major in Industrial Engineering because I want to be involved in business practices. Additionally, I grew up around people in this field and it inspired me to take on this career after seeing their contributions.

Advice to Freshman Self:  The main advice I would give to my freshman year self is to not let anything or anyone hold you back from achieving your goals and doing your greatest.