Zephyrhills Free Press

Top Dogs

Taija McCullough Class of 2021 Valedictorian, Alexandria Poulimenos Salutatorian

In a special ceremony this morning at Zephyrhills High School that maintained COVID-19 protocols, Zephyrhills High School Principal Dr. Christina Stanley announced that Taija McCullough as the Class of 2021 Valedictorian and Alexandria Poulimenos as the Salutatorian.

“These two are incredibly driven and they have huge hearts for people in their community,” Dr. Stanley said of her top two members of the Class of 2021. “I cannot wait to see the great things they are going to go on and do.”

Doing everything to make sure the students get the recognition they earned during a pandemic, Dr. Stanley and administrators held the recognition ceremony during first period presenting the top 20 of the Class of 2021 with flowers and a special congratulatory ZHS Class of 2021 cupcake arrangement in the shape of a shirt.

A challenging school year in the middle of a pandemic didn’t detour the academic efforts of these seniors.

“This is a huge academic and huge life accomplishment,” Dr. Stanley said of the Top 20. “It brings my heart joy that I can celebrate kids and watch them just become amazing humans.”

The alphabetical listing of the top 20 of the ZHS Class of 2021 are Madison Aguilera (also chosen as ZHS Outstanding Senior), Rachel Bissett, McKenzie Cruz, Jenna Devin, Emily Franklin, Khyaara Grant, Laila Huffman, Stephanie Johnson, Amber Leach, Christian Mejia, Amy Nandan, Edgardo Perez-Soto, Jaiden Ryker, Kaycee Velez-Santiago, Marissa Shivers, Hannah Smith, Yahir Torres and Lauren Vo.

“Everything we’ve had to administer safe protocols for COVID, it is great to be able to bring them together and celebrate them,” Dr. Stanley said. “I wish their families could be present today. We had a couple of kids who couldn’t be here, but we zoomed them in. We wanted them to feel as special as possible.”

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