Best All Around: Valerie Thene and Bryan Fernandez
By Ella Hall
Key West High School (KWHS) has many amazing students, but the Best All-Around superlative names the two students are truly the “best of the best.” For the KWHS class of 2023, Valerie Thene and Bryan Fernandez have been honored with this superlative.
“I try to be the best version of myself every day, so I was very happy that my classmates thought the same,” explained Thene.
To be crowned Best All-Around, the recipients had to excel in many areas of the KWHS life, such as in extracurriculars, sports, schoolwork, etc.
Throughout high school, Thene had involvement with Student Council, the 2023 Executive Board, the girls basketball team, the KWHS band program, Beta club, the girls weightlifting team, girls track & field, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club. Later on, she became Student Council president, drum major for the marching band, and co-captain of the girls weightlifting team.
Like Thene, Fernandez was also highly involved around campus. He has been a part of Beta club, Mu Alpha Theta, the 2023 Executive Board, the KWHS cheer program, and the Student Council, where he is alongside Thene as vice president.
When receiving the superlative, Thene and Fernandez were both shocked that they got it. “I was in Mrs. Tiffany’s room working on a pep rally game when I [found out],” disclosed Thene. “I was [very much smiling].”
After graduation, Thene and Fernandez will be continuing their education at different universities.
In the summer of 2023, Thene will be attending Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University to major in International Business with dreams of becoming a U.S. ambassador to Haiti or France.
In the fall, Fernandez will be attending the University of South Florida to major in Psychology on the pre-Med track with hopes of becoming a psychiatrist.
Although they will be leaving their four-by-two-mile island, Thene and Fernandez won’t leave home without carrying their Conch Pride with them. “Conch Pride has always been a lifestyle to me,” said Thene. “It’s a phrase that some overlook but really should look at as a key to high school.” Fernandez elaborated on Thene’s response by saying that “it has honestly helped improve my high school experience and helped me accomplish so much more.”
Hardest Worker: Ella Hall and John Searcy
By Emma Scepkova
Conch PRIDE stands for perseverance, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence. Each superlative winner embodies all of these qualities; however, two were viewed as the most determined by the class of 2023. Ella Hall and John Searcy were the class of 2023’s hardest workers.
Both Hall and Searcy dedicated their time and effort to their academics, clubs, and sports. Throughout her four years at Key West High School (KWHS), Ella Hall served as the executive director of the morning announcements, president of Z-Club, 2023 Executive Board Vice President, co-editor in chief of The Snapper, Student Council Historian, a member of National Honor Society, captain of the Marching and Concert Band, co-captain of the girls’ weightlifting team, KWHS football social media specialist, and freelance sports photographer for Keys Weekly.
During his high school career, Searcy enriched the KWHS community by acting as swim team captain, tennis captain, technical director and joke co-host on the morning announcements, Spearfishing Club co-director, Team BLU board member, and Creative Writing Club member.
Being voted this particular superlative is a great honor. The Class of 2023 recognized these two seniors as two who have demonstrated a drive to achieve excellence and more. Hall remarked, “I was super happy and honored that people thought of me when they voted me as the hardest worker. 24/7, I feel like I’m always working on something, whether it is for a club, for work, or for creative content. I like to challenge myself, but sometimes I over-challenge.” She continued, “I have the drive to be the best version of myself. As a friend, daughter, member, or leader, I strive to be the best at it. But a fatal flaw about this is that I sometimes put others before myself to make them happy.”
Searcy shared Hall’s excitement. “I was pretty surprised when I heard I had won, but I was happy to hear Ella, and I won the hardest working together. I try to work hard on every assignment, and with everything I am involved in.”
Currently, Hall works for Keys Weekly as a freelance sports photographer. She will continue taking football photos as she attends Louisiana State University, where she will major in Mass Communications and minor in Digital Media Art, with the hope of one day becoming a content creator for the National Football League. Although undecided on his major at the moment, Searcy will attend the University of Florida to help guide him toward his future career path.
Wherever their future takes them, both Hall and Searcy plan to continue the hard-working traits they have developed at KWHS and show Conch PRIDE in every aspect of their lives.
Most Likely to Succeed: Serena Sander and Christopher ‘Andre’ Otto
By Grayson Acevedo
The Most Likely to Succeed superlative is one of the more highly regarded superlatives that is handed out each year. It highlights two students who have shown qualities and actions that lead their peers to believe that they will at some point do great things in this world. This year’s winners of this award are Christopher ‘Andre’ Otto and Serena Sander.
Andre Otto has a long list of things that he has participated in throughout his high school career, including being captain of the football team, captain of the wrestling team, a member of the national honor society, student council, the spearfishing club, a unified partner for the Special Olympics, a volunteer for the Tropic cinema, and a sports anchor and member for Conch 5 Studios. Andre will be going to Florida State University to pursue football and filmmaking. Andre said that he expected to get more athletic due to him being a tri-sport athlete, but that he was “honored and overjoyed to have been given the superlative.” Andre said that the reason he thinks he was chosen for the award is due to his “dedication to the grind and love for hard work,” and that he believes his peers around him have noticed the work he has put in throughout his years at KWHS. Finally, I asked Andre what Conch Pride meant to him, to which he said, “I think Conch Pride means to love everyone like a family since this town is so tight-knit and the strengths brought to this community as a family.”
Serena Sander also has a long and impressive list of activities and groups that she has been involved in through high school, those being, swim team captain, Mu Alpha Theta president, academic challenge captain, National Honor Society, Zonta, student council, Beta, as well as being a tutor after school at the keys tutoring and the learning center. Serena after high school plans to go to college and pursue a neuroscience and mathematics degree, and then later get a PhD in neuroscience to try and become a medical researcher. Serena said she “didn’t expect to get any superlatives” but she didn’t think any superlatives fit better than this one. Serena said that what qualified her for this superlative was “all the things I’ve been involved in through high school, and how I always try my best to be successful in whatever I do.” The final thing I asked Serena was what Conch Pride meant to her, she said to me that it “means to not only make your community proud but also make yourself proud of all the things you have been able to accomplish.”
Andre and Serena have done a lot throughout high school and both have very bright futures ahead of them. So let’s say a big congratulations to the both of them on earning this superlative and wish them nothing but success in their future ventures in life!
Most School Spirit: Madelyn Perusse and Liam Flores
By Ella Hall
At Key West High School (KWHS) a majority of students show their Conch Pride in school events, but Liam Flores and Maddy Perusse have gone above and beyond to show theirs. And because of their dedication, the senior Class of 2023 recognized it by nominating them as the Most School Spirited. “I think that a lot of different qualifications can go into ‘most spirited,’ ” disclosed Flores. “But my main thoughts that come to mind are the pep rallies, and showing the most conch pride of the senior class.”
When the two found out that they got the superlative, they were both shocked. “I was a little surprised about it, seeing as I didn’t think I would win any superlatives,” disclosed Flores. However, Flores stated that he doesn’t think another award would have fit Perusse and him better.
Flores and Perusse have been extremely involved throughout their four years at KWHS. Flores was president of the 2023 Executive Board, member of the KWHS Spearfishing Club, vice president of Florida Future Educators of America, member of the Student Council, member of the track & field team, and flight sergeant of the Civil Air Patrol Key West Squadron.
Perusse was a member of the 2023 Executive Board, the Lady Conchs softball team, and the KWHS student athletic trainers. You would also see her occasionally being “conchy,” KWHS’s mascot, at home games such as basketball and swim.
After graduation, Flores and Perusse aspire to attain their Bachelor’s degrees. Flores will be attending the University of South Florida to major in Communications in hopes of finding an ideal career path. Perusse will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Both of them can take the lessons learned from KWHS and apply them to their new lives. “Conch Pride can and has followed a lot of definitions,” said Flores. Whatever the future has in store for them, Flores and Perusse will be well equipped with their Conch Pride to guide them in the right direction.
Most Athletic: Savannah Chadic and Kevon Mills
By Grayson Acevedo
Key West High School has an array of very talented athletes, many of whom have their own commitments to colleges up to this point for their respective sports. But only two have the honor of attaining this year’s Most Athletic Superlative: Kevon Mills and Savannah Chadic.
Kevon has been a multi-sport athlete throughout his high school career, playing football, basketball, and track and field. He also prides himself on being a mentor and a motivational figure. Kevon plans on playing football and track in college while pursuing to be a financial advisor as well. When asked if he believed the superlative fit him, Kevon said he felt “It was screaming my name” and that no superlative fit him better. Still, Kevon said he was surprised to win the superlative, only because “I wasn’t paying much attention to it at the time.” When I asked him my final question about what conch pride meant to him, he said it meant “to be a figure of inspiration for others and doing things for yourself is conch pride.”
Savannah has not only been an athlete on the field —being on the basketball team, track team, and weightlifting team— but she has also done lots off the field, such as participating in Student Council, Executive Board, and French Club. Savannah plans to major in business marketing and later will pursue working in real estate, while also hopefully running track in college. Savannah said this superlative fits her due to “how physically active I am whether I am in season or not.” She also said she didn’t think any other superlative would have fit her better than this one. When asked what qualities qualified Savannah for the superlative she stated, “Hard work, dedication, and persistence go a long way. Having that drive for something that you’re passionate about is the best feeling. To qualify for this superlative, you must be a team player.” When finally asked how she displays conch pride, Savannah said she does it by “setting an example and impacting others positively by giving them a safe space.”
Congratulations once again to these two stellar athletes for earning this award, which many are always in the running for. The best of luck to Kevon Mills and Savannah Chadic in whatever their sure-to-be bright future holds!
Unsung Hero: Isabela Barr and Adrian Horner
By: Alan Domagala
The “Unsung Hero” Superlative is a huge honor for a pair of students whose hard work has gone under the radar for much too long. This Superlative allows these two lesser-known students of Key West High School (KWHS) to know their efforts behind the scenes haven’t gone unnoticed. This year, the winners are Adrian Horner and Isabela Barr.
Barr has been involved in countless activities throughout her high school career, including leadership roles as president of the National Honor Society (NHS), vice president of the Keys Tutoring nonprofit organization, the poetry editor of the Creative Writing Club, and immense involvement as a member of the executive board as well as the lacrosse and swim team. Yet, while she may have been extremely involved in various activities, Barr was still surprised when she received the news that she had won the superlative. “I was happy and surprised to receive this superlative,” stated Barr. “I think my character qualifies me for this superlative. I do my best to be collaborative, kind, honest, and dedicated to my commitments. “
After graduation, Barr plans on attending the University of Miami (UM) where she will study neuroscience. She hopes to follow a career as a neuroscience researcher.
Horner has also been very involved ever since the start of his high school journey. He’s been on the KWHS football team and in NJROTC all four years. He also served as a long-distance runner for the boys track and field team during his junior and senior years.
After high school, Horner plans on joining the military, enrolling in West Point Academy in New York since his father was in the Coastguard.
However, while these two will be leaving our school at the end of the school year, they will still take their Conch Pride with them wherever they go. “To me, Conch Pride represents an attitude that one holds throughout high school. It sets a personal standard for KWHS students to become dedicated and respectful leaders who pursue their goals and care for their community,” said Barr. Best of luck to them and their future aspirations!
Most Intellectual: Devan and Dale Bittner
By Emma Scepkova
Excellence is one of the defining qualities every Key West High School student strives to achieve. Two students stood out among their peers for their demonstration of Conch PRIDE, specifically excellence. The class of 2023 recognized Devan and Dale Bittner’s academic excellence and voted them as the most intellectual girl and boy of the class of 2023.
Each of the twins is ranked at the top of their class and prioritizes their grades, but that never stopped them from participating in various extracurricular activities on campus.
Over the course of her four years at KWHS, Devan has made a significant impact as co-captain of the academic challenge team, secretary of the class of 2023 executive board, treasurer of the Creative Writing Club, secretary of the Keys Tutoring nonprofit organization, historian of National Honor Society, and a member of Z-Club, Mu Alpha Theta, and Student Council. For the past three years, she also has started for the varsity girls’ lacrosse team.
Dale has also made a name for himself at KWHS; during high school, he was involved in concert, marching, and jazz band, as well as soccer, cross country, and track. In his freshman year, he served as vice president of the class of 2023 executive board; through junior and senior years, Dale held a leadership position as alto saxophone section leader. Most recently, he earned the highest points in Mu Alpha Theta this year.
Although Dale claimed he should’ve won “best looking,” the twins both agreed the “most intellectual” superlative suited them best and were proud to receive the title. Devan shared, “Dale and I are known around the school as the smart twins, so I was excited that my class chose me for this superlative and that Dale and I earned it together.”
Both of the Bittners will continue intellectual journeys as they attend the University of Florida, where Devan will major in biology on the pre-med track, with the hope of one day becoming a reproductive endocrinologist. Dale plans to major in computer science at UF to help guide him toward his future career.
Wherever their future takes them, the Bittners will continue to excel in any area they choose, just as they have at KWHS.
Most Courteous: Taryn Brogli and Morgan McPherson
By Lindsey Smith
Throughout life, school, and work, being respectful and considerate are arguably two of the biggest traits to have. At Key West High School (KWHS), respect is one of the five awards in the Conch Pride superlatives chosen by the senior class. As for the senior class of 2023, Taryn Brogli and Morgan McPherson were chosen as Most Courteous of the Class of 2023.
As being the most courteous, Taryn has also been involved in the KWHS Conchettes dance team, Executive Board, Student Council, and BETA club. Through which she has been the Captain of the Conchettes and the BETA club president.
Her respectful manner will help her succeed in life, and as she goes to college at University of Central Florida to major in Business.
As she is honored to have received this award, she states, “… Being courteous has been instilled in me growing up and I’m happy my class thinks that of me as well.”
Similar to Taryn, Morgan was voted most courteous of his senior class, and has been involved in the Executive Board for all four years of high school. As a freshman, he was vice president of the safe club. Morgan’s courteous traits have helped him in real-world experiences. “I have interned at Keys Energy through the move program at Key West High School since the beginning of junior year.”
Out of the classroom, he has participated in KWHS Football and the lacrosse team every year of high school. Once he graduates, he will attend Florida State University majoring in Physical Therapy.
After college, he states, “Upon completion of my bachelors degree I plan to attend higher education and eventually become a physical therapist.” As he displays the qualities of being courteous, “…considerate behavior and extending compassion to everyone daily.”, Morgan says that the superlative fits him the best. He states, “I think I received this superlative because I try my best to be as respectful to anyone I come into contact with.”
When the senior superlative awards were announced, Morgan was “…shocked and grateful at the same time.” Likewise, Taryn was surprised as well to receive it.
On or off the field or stage, Taryn and Morgan’s respectful and polite characteristics earned them the Most Courteous senior superlative award. Being courteous will be something that stays with them throughout their bright futures. Whether that is in business or as a physical therapist.
Most likely to become Famous: Maddox Lowe and Jackson Moore
By Emma Scepkova
Who knows what could make someone famous one day? Maybe it’s because of their lovely singing voices, their astounding acting ability, or their natural talent, but the class of 2023 believes that two conchs are bound to become stars. Jackson Moore and Maddox Lowe were voted most likely to become famous.
It’s not simply due to their good looks or kind smiles, but their character as well. Both Moore and Lowe show conch PRIDE through their incredible involvement at Key West High School (KWHS). Moore is a prominent member of the choir, the swim team, the tennis team, the class of 2023 executive board, the student council, and the KWHS Drama Club. Lowe is also a part of the choir, KWHS drama club, executive board, and student council, as well as sideline cheer, competition cheer, Beta Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and fashion club. Both of these students volunteer at various community events such as Children’s Day, homecoming, etc.
Moore and Lowe were co-stars in the KWHS Drama Club’s production of Mean Girls: The Musical. Lowe portrayed Regina George, while Moore performed as Damian.
Moore will continue developing his talent as he attends Berklee College of Music, where he will major in musical theater. Lowe is currently between two performing arts schools, where she will major in musical theater: Berklee College of Music or American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). After college, she hopes to perform on Broadway in New York City.
Moore and Lowe plan to continue to show Conch PRIDE wherever they go, even when they become successful in whatever field they choose. Good luck to Jackson and Maddox in their future endeavors, and KWHS reminds them to think of us when they are famous!
Best looking: Sophia Felini and Jonathan ‘Yoni’ Gvilli
By Molly Catena
Key West High School seniors voted for Best Looking for 2023 were Sophia Felini and Jonathan ‘Yoni’ Gvilli. These two students were voted by their peers as best-looking.
Sophia Felini throughout her four years attending Key West highschool has been active in many clubs, sports, and organizations. Currently, she is the Commanding Officer of the NJROTC unit, Captain of the basketball cheerleaders, and President of the Fashion Club. Sophia has played on the Varsity lacrosse team all four years of high school and she was chosen for All-Monroe County Girls Lacrosse team. Other clubs she is actively involved in are the student council, executive board, Zonta club, Team BLU, NHS, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
After Highschool Sophia plans to attend Auburn University to major in Professional Flight, Fashion design, and merchandising.
When Sophia found out she had one best looking she said “I was humbled to be chosen as “best looking” for my senior superlative. True beauty from the inside is what I was most honored by with this superlative. The ability to show kindness, to make someone smile, or to be a good friend defines beauty to me. If I have been able to do this for others, then I suppose the superlative does fit.” She said she was honored to receive this superlative and she’s not sure if there’s another that fits her better. She also said her reaction was “complete humbleness and happiness that my classmates think of me in such a positive way. There are a lot of beautiful girls that go to KWHS, so of course I was surprised!”
Along with being involved in clubs and sports here at KWHS Sophia shows Conch Pride all the time. She said, “Conch Pride is everything at KWHS, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.”
Yoni, also being a heavily involved student here at KWHS has been a part of the varsity soccer, swim, and tennis teams. As well as being an active member of the student council, executive board, yoga club, and providing services to young athletes at local soccer camps.
After graduation, Yoni plans to attend FAU in the summer and study business or possibly sports medicine/management.
Yoni says this superlative fits him because “ I believe I am a nice genuine person and always respectful, so I do believe this superlative suits me.” And that there wasn’t another superlative that fit him better as all of the winners deserved what they won.
Yoni said, “What qualifies me for this superlative is how you act around everyone and how you treat people in general and always having a kind soul.”
He also said he thinks he received this superlative because of “how I treat the people that I know as well as treating the people I don’t know with respect and always being friendly to them.” The final thing he said about receiving this award was “ I was honored to receive this superlative and would like to thank my class for voting me for this superlative.”
While being a KWHS student Yoni has shown impressive conch pride. He says that “Conch pride to me is always being proud of where you come from and displaying it through the hard times. Playing soccer down here for our varsity team has had its ups and downs but by displaying conch pride we were able to come together as a team and conquer our hardships. this is how I display my conch pride, by wearing our school proudly.”
Wittiest: Bridget Bassett and Wyatt Kuhn
By Shane Miller
The winners of this year’s 2023 Wittiest superlatives are Wyatt Kuhn and Bridget Bassett! They were chosen because of their ability to light up a room and make everyone smile.
Both winners were surprised that they received the title because neither of them were really expecting it. “ I wasn’t too sure I was going to receive it because one of the funniest people I know is Sophie Bartak, and I thought she was also a great candidate for this superlative,” said Bassett. Kuhn also agreed, saying that he wasn’t expecting to win this superlative, but that he was happy he did. They both also agreed that this Superlative fit them well, and that they both believe they deserved the superlative.
Both of the winners of this superlative are active members of KWHS’s many clubs and sports teams. Wyatt is a member of the varsity baseball team, while Bridget is a member of the 2023 Executive Board, Beta Club, Environmental Club, Track and Field, the Varsity cheerleading team, the Girls basketball team, and the cheerleading team. Bridget was also the historian for Team BLU in her Junior year, and co-captain for the Competitive cheerleading team in her senior year.
With their active participation in school activities, both of these students say that they try to make the right decisions and be leading figures, with Wyatt saying he wants to be an example for new students at KWHS.
After they each graduate from KWHS, they both plan on attending college. Bridget plans to attend Florida Atlantic University (FAU) to get her major in Marketing and Business (and even hopefully become an FAU cheerleader).
Wyatt plans to go to Dyersburg State College (DSC), where he hopes to continue playing baseball for DSC.
These students are both great examples of Conch Pride, and we wish them the best of luck in their college endeavors and future careers. They try to express themselves and conch pride by being active participants in KWHS’s many sporting events and teams, while also being able to be the loudest voice in the room at any event. Bridget said that she believed that Conch Pride was the ability to stand up and speak for yourself.
Best Ride: Isabella Johnson and Grayson Acevedo
By Ella Hall
There may be a superlative for the smartest or the most athletic, but you know what the coolest superlative to get is: Best Ride. That being said, the senior class voted Isabella Johnson and Grayson Acevedo for having the best car throughout high school, and coincidentally, they both have Mustangs.
“I wasn’t really surprised as a lot of people told me they thought I would win that award,” disclosed Acevedo. “It was cool to win, however I would have rather won one that represents me a bit more.” He continued by explaining how he doesn’t feel this superlative fits him because his car doesn’t define him as a person.
Despite Acevedo’s point of view, Johnson was honored to have won the best car as she has quite a long history with her red Mustang.
Throughout the past four years, both Acevedo and Johnson were involved throughout Key West High School (KWHS).
Acevedo was a part of the Student Council, a member of the golf team, the announcer for Key West Little League Baseball games, the announcer for KWHS Varsity Baseball games, the announcer for the past two KWHS Powderpuff games, and the sports editor for The Snapper. He has also done radio work with Rick Lopez, a local sports commentator, for the Key West boat races and other athletic events.
Johnson was a part of the KWHS swim team, tennis team, Class of 2023 Executive Board, and Student Council. She is also known for being seen running miles around the island.
After high school graduation, both Acevedo and Johnson will be advancing their education.
Acevedo will be attending Tallahassee Community College for a year, later transferring to Florida State University to major in Sports Communications.
Johnson will be attending Louisiana State University to major in Mass Communications starting in Summer 2023.
No matter what their future has in store, Acevedo and Johnson will be taking something KWHS has taught them: Conch Pride.
Because of Acevedo’s family heritage in Key West, he practically came out of the womb as a KWHS supporter. “Conch Pride means supporting sports teams, participating in school events, and overall supporting the city.” Acevedo continued, “It means quite a lot to me as my friend group is very passionate about the Conchs, and we try to support them in any way possible.”
We wish Acevedo and Johnson the best of luck in their future endeavors, and we hope they take their shiny cars with them to their destinations.
Dynamic Duo: Ada Van Loon and Jacob Lavallee
By Molly Catena
The winners of the 2023 senior superlatives “Dynamic Duo” are Ada Van Loon and Jacob Lavallee. The students of Key West High School (KWHS) voted this couple as their favorite dynamic duo because of their amazing bond.
Ada Van Loon, during her years at Key West High School, has played soccer and been captain of the girls lacrosse team. She has also been on the executive board, student council, Zonta, beta club, and team blu. She has earned over 100 community service hours. After graduation, Ada plans on attending the University of Central Florida (UCF), where she wishes to major in Nursing and go on to pursue pediatric nursing.
To earn the title of dynamic duo, you have to be a team and work with each other. Ada said she believes the Dynamic Duo superlative fits her and Jacob well. “I don’t think there was another superlative that fits us better, everyone who got a superlative deserves and fits it,” said Ada. “I think we earned this superlative because Jacob and I work well together.”
Ada said when she found out that they had won this superlative she was “so surprised and happy that we got this superlative!”
Jacob Lavallee, while attending KWHS has been captain of varsity football since sophomore year, has been a varsity wrestler for three years, and joined track this year. “Throughout high school, I have been a part of the beta club, student council, and executive board,” stated Jacob. He has earned over 50 community service hours. Jacob says that in the future, his top options are the Coast Guard Academy or playing football at a college in Florida.
Jacob said he thinks this superlative fits him and Ada, and he believes that they earned this superlative because “we make a good team.” When he found out they had won, he was a little surprised, even though everyone knows Ada and Jacob.
This dynamic duo shows their conch pride each and every day at Key West High. Ada says “I display conch pride in school and on the field. I always put in effort into everything I do. Conch pride means hard work and dedication to the community.” And Jacob says “I display conch pride by wearing my jersey with pride and always giving it 110%.”
Most Changed Since Freshman Year: Dharma Murray and Watson Chery
By Ella Hall
Everyone at Key West High School (KWHS) has gone through stages of growth. However, the senior class of 2023 had seen the most change from Dharma Murray and Watson Chery, later awarding them the ‘Most Changed Since Freshman Year’ superlative.
“I was honestly surprised,” said Murray. “I didn’t realize enough people noticed my change and would think to pick me.”
Because of her change in appearance since freshman year, Murray believed that is one of the reasons why she got this award. However, there is more to the story. “[When I started working out it] not only [changed] my features but my mentality,” disclosed Murray.
People have seen their growth throughout high school through their activities around campus. Murray is part of the Class of 2023 Executive Board, Student Council, HOSA, and varsity softball team. She has also been an active volunteer with a variety of organizations, obtaining over 200 hours of community service.
Chery is the captain of the varsity boys basketball team and an active member in the Key West community.
After high school, Murray and Chery hope to attain a higher level of education. Murray will be attending the University of South Florida to major in nursing and to play division one softball. She plans to become a labor and delivery nurse after earning her Bachelor’s degree.
Chery will be attending Santa Fe College next spring with the goal of walking on to the basketball team there. After two years, he plans to transfer to the University of Florida to major in Engineering.
Although they will be far away from the small island, Murray and Chery will take one thing with them to remember Key West: their Conch Pride. To Murray, Conch Pride is “attending almost all school events, cheering on teams, having respect for our school and teachers, and being a proud Conch.”
Best Eyes: Andris ‘Lucky’ Barroso and Haley Gertenmayer.
By Breana McKenney
Eyes are often referred to as the ‘window’ to one’s soul. Eyes come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Despite everyone’s eyes being beautiful in their own way, two seniors, Andris ‘Lucky’ Barroso, and Haley Gartenmayer, have been voted to have the best eyes of Key West High Schools (KWHS) class of 2023.
These students’ eyes have reached many people because of the activities they’ve participated in. Barroso has been on the varsity baseball team and the executive board for four years. Gertenmayer has been in a few clubs during her high school years, including Criminal Justice Club, and Student Council.
Gertenmayer expressed her surprise that she won this superlative, but was happy nonetheless that she did. Barroso wasn’t expecting to get any superlative, but said “When I received it I was glad I won it with one of my oldest friends.” They both believe the superlative fit them because they have pretty eyes and get plenty of compliments on them, though Barroso thinks “Best Ride” would have fit him better.
Barroso will attend Indian River State College and will continue playing baseball on an academic scholarship after high school. Gertenmayer will be attending Florida Atlantic University to start her career in real estate, “as soon as possible.”
Both of these students exhibit their Conch Pride every day, whether by showing up to the baseball field and putting on the uniform like Barroso, or participating in Criminal Justice like Gertenmayer. At least one thing they have in common, however, is their eyes conveying their Conch Pride during everything they do. “To me, Conch Pride means everything, I’ve always wanted to be called a Conch, especially if that meant I got to put on that uniform and place for the best athletics program at the school.” Barroso elaborated further on his statement saying, “Conch pride is more than just a sticker on your car or two words on a shirt. Conch pride is history, a heritage, a tradition. There is no other high school in the world who has a community like ours behind our backs and helps to make sure that the tradition continues.”
Best Dressed: Berkley Lindley and Nathan Montero
By Thomas Horvath
The winners of this year’s “Best Dressed” KWHS superlative are Berkley Lindley and Nathan Montero. These two were voted because of their effort and confidence in what they wear and how they present themselves to their peers.
Both winners were very humble about their wins. Berkley was surprised to get chosen for “Best Dressed,” let alone get a superlative at all. “I was definitely not expecting to receive an award and especially ‘best dressed.’ I view my outfits as an ‘eclectic’ style, but I feel very honored to have been awarded this superlative. It has made me appreciate what I have more and has gained me more confidence.”
Nathan was expecting his superlative and knew if he were to get any superlative, it would be “Best Dressed.” “I was happy and grateful when I received my superlative. I had a feeling I was going to win, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if I didn’t. “
Both students have also been active members of the school and community. Berkley has been in the marching band, Z-Club, Class of 2023 Executive Board, Student Council, Book Club, soccer, and has been working at the Key West Butterfly Conservatory.
Nathan has been on the soccer team and served on the Class of 2023 Executive Board during his junior and senior years.
These students display conch pride by having confidence and expressing themselves. “I display conch pride by trying to be a leader,” Nathan wrote. “Conch pride means to lead by example for others and be kind.”
After high school, Berkley plans on attending the University of Central Florida where she will major in Biology. Nathan would like to pursue a career as a realtor but is open to other plans as well.