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Sunday, Nov 18, 2018
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Top local grads, top schools are a perfect match

TAMPA - Savannah Bradley had a long list of prestigious colleges that wanted her as an incoming college freshman. Georgetown, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Notre Dame, even Princeton. Oh, and Harvard, too. “It was very exciting and a little overwhelming at times,” said Bradley, who will graduate Thursday from Strawberry Crest’s International Baccalaureate program. “To have to choose between all those wonderful schools, I have been blessed to have been given that opportunity.”
In the end, the 18-year-old senior — ranked No. 9 in her IB class — went with Harvard. Many Hillsborough County high school graduates will be heading to familiar and closer schools such as the University of Florida and Florida State University, but others will be traveling off the beaten path. As high school graduations conclude this week, students will be preparing for the next chapters of their lives. Bo Moon, the IB valedictorian of Hillsborough High, is headed to Princeton. Yuliya Kozina, the IB salutatorian, will be going to Duke. Alexander Lubeck, the magnet valedictorian at Blake High, is attending Georgetown. Samantha Schneider-Behen, the magnet salutatorian for Blake, is headed to Oklahoma City University. Bradley had narrowed her list to Princeton and Harvard, and visited the two within the same week. When she saw the campuses in person, she knew which was going to be her college of choice. “I immediately knew that Harvard was where I was going to be,” Bradley said. She loved the location most of all: near Boston. She wants to be a pediatrician and thought the city would have more opportunities for internships and jobs down the road. The biggest negative about going to Harvard is being so far away from her family and friends. “It’s a little bit scary, but it will be all right,” Bradley said. She’s more worried about how her parents will handle having her and her brother, who attends Notre Dame, out of the house. “I think it will be more rough for them,” she said. Bradley doesn’t know anyone else from Strawberry Crest who will be attending Harvard. There is one student who lives in Nebraska that she went to middle school with who will be there, and there’s a softball player from Chamberlain High who was recruited to play there. So she won’t be all alone. And, she said, she can make friends quickly. She could always look up Trenton Couture. The salutatorian of Lennard High School will be attending Northeastern University in Boston. The 18-year-old who received his diploma Friday had applied to a number of Ivy League schools, but had Northeastern in his sights as well. “It’s a really good school,” he said. He’s not sure what career path he will choose, as long as it helps the environment. “I just want to use my talents to benefit the world in the best way that I can,” Couture said. “That’s my goal.” Boston will be a tad different from where Couture grew up. “It’s going to be a huge change since I am from Ruskin,” he said. “I have never lived in the city before. “I’m more excited than scared and nervous,” Couture added. “I’m going to be glad to be independent and work for myself. As long as I am working for something I want to do, it’s never going to be too much.” Bradley thinks that being in the rigorous IB program at Strawberry Crest has prepared her well for college. “I have been set up pretty well,” she said. “I think I have somewhat of an advantage.”
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