This year, Key West High School (KWHS) has had a multitude of more than successful students. From honor roll to sports commitment, KWHS students have taken Conch Pride to the next level and left an honorable legacy behind them. To start off, let’s talk about our two Best All Around students: Rosa Nafrere and Robert Malcom.
As one of the highest honors Key West High School (KWHS) can bestow, the Best All-Around superlative calls for the best of the best. This year, for the 2022 school year, the well-deserved recipients were Rosa Nafrere and Robert Malcom.
Throughout her high school career, Rosa Nafrere has been more than involved in multiple extracurricular activities such as Track, Girls Weightlifting, Marching Band, Conch Campus Restoration Club, Keys To Be the Change, Executive Board, Student Council, Beta Club, peer mentoring, and Z-Club. She is the president of not only the Executive Board but also the Beta Club while also holding the position of vice president of the Student Council. Outside of school, she is a part of the Candy Girls, a church group dedicated to bringing back old Key West Candies. She is also a part of the Chosen Generation Youth Choir and serves as a board member of the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors. Just to put the cherry on top, Rosa was named the 2021 homecoming queen.
Rosa plans on attending the University of South Florida (USF) where she will major in Business. After college, she plans on starting her own business “geared towards aiding underprivileged children.”
“I feel like this superlative fits me to an extent because as a person, I would definitely say that I’m well rounded. With the exception of sport,” she explained, “ I believe my involvement in my community and my school activities qualify me for this superlative.”
The only other superlative Rosa thought she would’ve had a shot for was Most School spirit because she is “super involved in the school and always goes all out during spirit weeks and pep rallies.”
Rosa hopes that her dedication and enthusiasm for Key West High School will inspire others to do the same. “Conch Pride to me means leading with the ideals of perseverance, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence.”
Next up, we have Robert Malcom, who has been playing tennis since his freshman year and is a captain this season. He has been a member of the Executive Board for all four years and has been hosting the morning announcements since his junior year.
Robert will either be attending Tallahassee Community College (and then transfer to Florida State University) where he will major in Digital Media Production in hopes of joining the film or television industry.
“I think my superlative fits me because I’m well rounded and I try my best to be the person anyone can go up to and have a good conversation with”, Robert explained, “I was originally hoping for the Most Likely to Succeed superlative, but I don’t know if that necessarily fit me better.”
“When my name was announced over the loudspeaker, I remember throwing my hand up in the air and everyone in class congratulating me. At that moment, I felt very proud and honored,” says Robert as he looks back on the day he was told the big news.
To Robert, Conch Pride means that “regardless of the situation, you give it your all, you never back down, and most importantly, you represent your school and community while doing so. Whether I’m on the tennis court, or in front of the camera, I always remind myself that I am not only doing this for myself but for the Key West High School community.”
Next up, two more students that made the cut for being successful are Alexander Wilson and Hunter Rogers-Leon. The two were nominated and won the Dynamic Duo superlative this year, while also paving a path of academic success along the way. Let’s meet them.
Whether it’s Tom and Jerry, Cheech and Chong, or even Spongebob and Patrick, everyone has their favorite dynamic duo. In 2022, Key West High School’s favorite seems to be Alexander Wilson and Hunter Rogers-Leon, the two securing the Dynamic Duo superlative. The two have an impressive bond as they have been friends for over 10 years and have remained close throughout all of them.
Alexander Wilson has racked up a list of impressive extracurriculars such as being the president of Interact club, a member of the district championship-winning and top five in the state Academic Challenge team, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, One World One Canvas, and Sydney’s Hope Project. Outside of school, he has been a tutor at the Keys Learning Center since freshman year, serving as head Tutor this year.
Alexander plans on attending the University of Florida where he will study cognitive/behavioral neuroscience so he can one day be a cognitive researcher.
“Considering Hunter and I have been pretty iconic best friends since 3rd grade, I feel like this superlative first for sure,” Alexander explained, “The comical pictures back from elementary school show how long we have been friends.”
“Although I originally was hoping to be voted Most Intellectual, I would say I’m definitely happy to be a part of Co’22’s Dynamic Duo,” he says, “When We found out we won Dynamic Duo, we were thrilled and quite surprised. There are a lot of really great students and duos here at KWHS, so we were definitely grateful.”
The other half of this duo is Hunter Rogers-Leon, who also spent a great deal of his time at KWHS participating in extracurricular activities. These include the same Academic Challenge team as Alexander, National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Chess Club, and he is the current secretary of Interact Club.
Hunter is fully committed to the University of Florida where he is undecided on his major but plans on minoring in music.
“I was ecstatic when they announced that Alexander and I won the title of Dynamic Duo. I felt as though there was no better-fitting superlative,” Hunter explained, “I figure people have seen us together in many social and academic places around campus even since we were freshmen.”
“I have [known] Alexander [as] my best friend since we were both in third grade at the Basilica School,” he shared, “We have truly come a long way as students and as people and have been there for each other through and every one of our successes and setbacks.”
For our school’s dynamic duo, “Conch Pride” has grown with them and to Alexander, it is, “trying to be good throughout the happy days and the sad ones.” To Hunter, it means “being able to own and live true to each and every part of yourself.”
KWHS is in the midst of a future Ivy league as Dekyus “Ky” Dickerson committed to Harvard in late March. Ky is new to Key West this year and took the community by storm with his brains and skills on the basketball court.
As graduation and move in day is nearing, most of KWHS is heading out. Ky Dickerson, has officially committed as a part of Harvard University’s, the number one university internationally, class of 2026. With an acceptance rate of only five percent, this achievement is beyond fantastic and extremely commemorable.
Dekyus moved to Key West for his senior year, coming from Liberty High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Based on his last high school’s grade point average (gpa) scale, Dekyus had a 4.78 gpa, but at the KWHS’s scale they consider it a 4.3. To prove his intellectual abilities, his SAT score is a whopping 1500. Dekyus plans on majoring in biological sciences and minoring in psychology so that one day he can become a doctor or psychiatrist.
“I found out I got accepted at the [little league] softball field right before my niece’s game and I was yelling to tell my brother that I got in,” Dekyus explained, “I celebrated with all the players and parents and my family. I didn’t expect to get into any ivy [league] schools let alone Harvard, so I was completely shocked.”
Dekyus is ready to explore all the opportunities that Harvard has to offer, and is enthusiastic to meet new people. “I’m literally going to be working with some of the smartest people in the world so I’m excited to see how I’ll evolve along with them,” disclosed Dekyus. I’ll also have access to some of the best professors and learning environments in the world, so I don’t think there’s a better university for me to study at.“
Dekyus has a lot waiting for him and his future is extremely bright. Good luck to you from the Snapper staff and the class of 2022!
Next up, we have one of KWHS’s most successful athletes, Jeremiah “Jay” Osborne. Our football team has four players headed towards the next level, and Jay is one of them.
Jay Osborne officially committed to Webber International University for football. The running back has been playing since he was six years old and all the way through high school. He plans on majoring in criminal justice so he can pursue a future as either a bounty hunter or in the security service agency.
“What helped me decide was that when I visited, it was a small school with nothing crazy around and not many distractions and also the support from the coaching staff,” he explains while talking about the decision process.
“Mekhi Sargent inspires me to keep pushing to the next level because we both went through the same program and played the same position,” he explains, “ so the same way he made it out, anyone else going through that program can as long as you put in the work.”
For his next four years, his main goal is to be able to maintain a good grade average while playing football while also, “continuing to be a leader on and off the field.”
During his time in high school, Jay impressed the Conch community by pursuing multiple sports during his four years. Other than football, Jay was a starting player on the Varsity Boys Basketball team and ran for the track team. He also was a part of the Firefightighting class where he learned hands-on experience in the field from professionals.
With all of his plans ahead of him, Jay has a bright future and the Snapper staff wishes him the best of luck!
Finally, we have a group of girls that started off as just a small church group and expanded into their own small business that has stretched all over the island. The “Candy Girls” have proven their success not only with their amazing sales, but with their influence of reviving back old traditions with their candies.
What started as a church activity in 2019, the Candy Girls has expanded from being a Saturday hobby to a growing business. One Saturday, a group of girls led by Adriene Lynne from the Christian Fellowship of Key West decided to try to recreate the candies from Lynne’s childhood. Some recipes have been rediscovered and are now sold all over the island.
Yahaira Williams, a senior at Key West High School (KWHS), is one of the original and senior members of the group. “Candy Girls doesn’t feel like a job you have to do, it’s fun and we have a good time,” Williams explained. Out of all of their flavors, her favorite is the Watermelon Glass Candy.
“We started off pulling 300-degree candy by hand and we eventually evolved a hook,” said Dazmine Jenkins, a sophomore at KWHS and one of the Candy Girls employees, as she described the candy-making process, “We start off deciding what we are going to make, first by adding all of the ingredients to a pot and mixing them until they are together.” As another original member, Dazmine is also in Take Stock, similarly to the rest of the group. “I like the togetherness that I feel around them and how it is like my second family. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime being in candy girls.”
Valerie Thene, a junior at KWHS and one of the original members of the business, listed the array of options they have available, including fudge, glass candy, and pulled candy. “Glass is the much more simpler one while the fridge and pulled candy come in a tie for the most technique needed,” Thene disclosed, “When pulling candy you’re trying to take the oxygen out in a way that the candy is still soft enough to cut so its between the taffy feeling and rock solid candy.”
Rosa Nafrere, another senior at KWHS, has been a part of the Candy Girls for many years and is proud of where they are now. “The message of the Candy girls resides with empowering while also bringing back old Key West traditions,” she stated. Rosa’s favorite flavor is strawberry and she has enjoyed making candy with her friends over the years.
After a lot of hard work and sugar sales, the overall goal of this group has been to distribute scholarships to high school seniors. As proud supporters of the Phyllis M. Allen Scholarship fund for youth at Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church, their profits will help the future generations of Key West achieve their goals. For more information on the history of the Candy Girls and to check what they are selling, click on their website here.
As the year rolls to an end, we can only celebrate the accomplishments of not only the class of 2022, but every student that has made a difference at KWHS. No matter the arena, all of these individuals have left their mark on our school and community. On a final note, one more group to mention are the departing Snapper seniors, who have been published authors since their start in 2019. They and their class will be greatly missed as we stride towards the 2022-2023 school year. Good Luck!