Categorized | Technology

Three local graduates look ahead to college, travel and careers – Sarasota Herald

About 2,600 Sarasota County high school seniors are graduating this year, most of them this weekend.

High school graduation marks the start of a new era.

Out come the caps, the gowns, the wave of graduation parties before the inevitable excitement and anticipation of college. This weekend marks the majority of the Sarasota County School District’s high school graduations, at locations as diverse as the Sarasota Opera House and Robarts Arena. About 2,600 students will graduate from Sarasota County high schools this year, according to district spokesman Scott Ferguson. 

And at each graduation, there will be parents with tears in their eyes, feeling as if they are waving goodbye to their child, at least for a little while. There will be a teacher wondering how the students they knew as freshmen have grown so fast. And there will, of course, be the excited students, ready to give the world everything they have to offer. 

While we couldn’t tell all of their stories, here are a few. 

Grace Gerdes, Booker High School

Grace Gerdes, 18, first pursued Booker High School’s Visual and Performing Arts program thinking she wanted to study theater. 

Gerdes calls herself an “art kid with a theater personality.” She performed in plays in middle school and has an enthusiastic air, often saying long chains of words before stopping quickly to take a breath. In eighth grade, she shadowed the theater and visual arts programs at Booker before settling firmly on the latter.

“I knew I didn’t want a career in theater, and art was a nice segue,” Gerdes said. “Because I did so much art, it just seemed kind of natural.” 

Her next challenge was determining how to balance her artistic passions with her interest in mathematics. It took a bit of research on Gerdes’ part, as she considered architecture and engineering. She chose industrial design, a career where the goal is to combine strategy and design to create the best product. 

“When I found out about industrial design, it was kind of that ‘aha moment’,” Gerdes said. “I thought, ‘that’s what I need to be doing.'” 

In her four years at Booker, Gerdes has harnessed that inventive thinking to create art projects that are both beautiful and functional. In one course, she used lenses re-purposed from the theater department to create a lamp. Her teacher, as well as some Youtube videos, helped her to make a lamp that worked. 

As she began to apply for college, her senior year brought many victories but also a significant heartbreak. She was one of only 15 students nationwide accepted to not one but two of her dream schools at the same time through the Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design dual-degree program. There, she would be able to study industrial design from both the art and engineering perspective. 

“When I found out, I literally screamed,” Gerdes said. 

The glow of acceptance was short-lived when her financial aid package arrived and she realized she had received nothing. Although Gerdes’ parents had offered her money for college, they could not afford the full tuition. Gerdes tried everything she could — she reached out to financial aid officers, top university administrators and scholarship programs. But she couldn’t muster enough money to make it work. At least for now, she was forced to give up one dream. 

But she’s making the best of it; she will attend a 10-month study in the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, with other Slovakian students through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. She may decide to stay in Europe or return to the states and pursue a degree in industrial design. For now, she’s excited to know where the next year will take her.

“Everything’s kind of fallen into place,” Gerdes said, having only learned the day before where she would be placed in Slovakia. “That’s really fun for me.” 

Jade Fischer, Pine View School

The summer before Jade Fischer entered high school, her father passed away. 

As she grieved that summer, she found comfort in a surprising place: computer science. Her father had always talked of wanting to be a computer scientist, and learning Python, a programming language, helped her feel closer to him. 

“I really just needed something to do with my time,” said Fischer, 18. “Computer science was something I used to connect with him.” 

Soon, she had found a passion. When she entered ninth grade at Pine View, her first year at the school, she took the advanced placement computer science course, one of few freshmen students allowed to do so. She also joined the school’s robotics team, serving as captain this year.

Fischer is a self-motivated student interested in a range of topics, but her real love lies in showing younger students that they, too, can achieve. As a volunteer at the Suncoast Science Center’s Faulhaber Fab Lab, she helped create the organization’s Remote Control Car Open race, which puts students into teams with remote-controlled cars they can modify to compete against each other. 

At a competition two years ago, Fischer was helping a group of middle-school boys make their car more aerodynamic by using a 3D-printed shelf. They had spent time designing the work, and Fischer had to break it to them that the shelf was likely too big to work. But she offered a solution. Create smaller sections and glue them together, she told them. They looked back at her, clearly in awe. 

“It still stuck with me that they seemed so amazed that they could come up with the idea,” Fischer said, smiling. 

To combine her interest in teaching and science, Fischer will pursue planetary science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall. Her dream job is to be an astronaut, but being a college professor is a day job she’d be more than happy with. 

Pine View principal Stephen Covert said that with Fischer, he believes there are no limits.

“Maybe she’ll invent a time machine or a way to travel to the nearest black hole,” Covert said. “I would not put anything past her.” 

Bailey Jordan, Venice High School

When Venice High School senior Bailey Jordan describes a passage in her International Baccalaureate Literature class, her teacher has a particular description for the way she interacts with the text.

“She sees things visually,” said Venice High School teacher Kara Mopps. “She is able to look at parts and synthesize in a way that others cannot. …She’s able to see tiny details and bring them together in a whole.”

Much like Gerdes, Jordan, 18, is a left-brain and right-brain person, a lover of visual art and physics. She always enjoyed courses in both subjects, but it wasn’t until her sophomore year that she realized there might be a way to dovetail them. For an assignment on perspective in her art class, she began drawing buildings in the background of her paintings. That’s when it hit her that there was a personal meaning to the mathematics involved in drafting the buildings within her art. 

“It just kind of clicked; it gives rules to art where there’s usually not rules, and I kind of appreciated that,” Jordan said. “From then on, it seemed like it was hard for me to even draw something and not have a building in the background. I thought, maybe I should do that purposefully.” 

Jordan has translated that revelation into a reality. In the fall, she will attend the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, a five-year program that will have her spending her third year in Rome to study Italian architecture. It’s obvious that she’s already excited for the time abroad, as she immediately lists places she’d like to travel and her schedule there.

But she’ll already have some architecture she can study right on campus thanks to her university. She calls the Notre Dame complex a cross between Hogwarts and Europe. 

Article source: http://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20170602/three-local-graduates-look-ahead-to-college-travel-and-careers

Comments are closed.

Call Now: 877-642-5321 ` ` . .