High school seniors prepare to get serious after graduation while pursuing new careers.
As seniors at Lakewood Ranch High School prepare to graduate 7 p.m., June 1 at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, many will be changing their focus for the future.
Hobbies dear to them through their high school careers often will be pushed into the background as they prepare for their new careers. Here is a look at three Lakewood Ranch seniors who are about to make some major changes in their lives.
Current hobby: Playing "Klumpy" the school mascot
Future: U.S. Marines
Advice to underclassmen: Lourent asks the underclassmen to treat their teachers with respect and to not take them for granted. He said teachers, "want to see the future generation do something good.”
Lance Lourent is probably best known on campus for his antics as Klumpy, the Mustangs' mascot. He is so good he won Mascot of the Year for Manatee County, a contest hosted by Brighthouse Networks.
Originally, he signed up to be Klumpy to impress a girl.
“She liked horses," he said. "I thought if I was the mascot maybe she would like me.”
The two dated for a while but it didn’t work out. Lance stayed on as Klumpy, though, because he loved it.
“Every time you go out there, you see someone smile because of my silliness,” he said. “It’s priceless.”
Lance is not yet a U.S. citizen. He left Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and came to the U.S. to join his mother, Sulatana, who was already living in Bradenton.
Despite living through that nightmare, Lance lives by a proverb: “If you’re not making someone’s life better, you’re wasting your time.”
Life is different for him in the U.S. He has joined lots of sports teams and clubs to get involved. He no longer has to ride his bike 10 miles to get to school.
The opportunities here are something he thinks his current classmates take for granted.
“I try not to judge people, but they take life for granted,” he said. “Everything I have, I appreciate. I wish they could go (to Haiti) one day and realize how good they have it.”
After watching members of the U.S. military come to aid Haiti, Lourent has known what he wants to do.
“I was watching them save lives, and they were happy and willing to do it,” he said.
His dream is to become a U.S. Marine. He joined the junior ROTC at Lakewood Ranch and works out with other Marines that he has befriended. They help motivate him, but one man in particular inspires him, Sgt. Gustavo Debreto.
“He thinks I can do so much more than I do,” he said.
Lourent said he appreciates everyone at his school for the guidance and support he’s received.
“The whole athletic department, the school, each have their own way to motivate me to better myself,” he said. “They see things in me I don’t see in myself. I don’t want to disappoint them.”
Current hobby: Ceramics
Future: University of Florida
Advice to underclassmen: “Get the ACT and SAT done early. People say you have plenty of time but it goes by quick.”
Chloe Gingerich finally finished one of her goals in the last weeks of school ... making a tea set for her mom in ceramics class.
Gingerich is an accomplished ceramicist and an artist. She even formed her own club while at school, the mural club. She and other members raised money to paint the walls of a school courtyard. The colorful patio is her legacy at the school, with panels painted with different themes.
During middle school, she didn’t have the opportunity to take art classes, so when she came to Lakewood Ranch, she signed up for as many art classes as she could.
“Painting on a wall was weird, but I got more confident,” she said. “It’s large-scale, so it made me less detail oriented. Now I can look at the ‘big picture.’”
She’s baked her Asian-inspired tea set and painted it, and it will be her final foray in the art world for a while.
“I wanted to make something really special,” she said, in reference to the gift to her mother.
In college, however, her goals won’t be focused on art.
An owner of two dogs, she wants to be a veterinarian.
While her passion in school may have been art, she was also strong in science. She said she was one of the few students who actually enjoyed chemistry.
Her two dogs, Nalani and Niña, are getting older and have experienced medical issues over the years, which piqued her interest in becoming a vet. She plans to study biology for her undergraduate degree before going into veterinary medical school.
“I’ve never been disgusted by gore,” she said.
Current hobby: Basketball captain
Future: University of Florida
Advice: “Get involved. It made my experience so much better.”
Kailyn Scully is known as the "Athlete," and she doesn’t mind the label.
As a four-year starter and two-year team captain of the Lakewood Ranch High girl’s varsity basketball team and a three-year member of the track team, she’s definitely earned the designation.
“Most people, that’s just what they see, ‘She’s the athlete,’” Scully said. “I’m glad to be known for that, but I have a lot of attributes outside that, too.”
Scully led the Mustangs to the state finals this past season for the first time in the school’s history. She also has been captain of the team for the past three seasons, which has taught her about being a leader. She said it was tough at times during her sophomore and junior years to get the older students to listen to her.
“You're always working to get everyone together,” she said.
The most successful leadership style for her was to adapt to individual players.
“Every person reacts to things differently. You have to change the method for each teammate to impact them beneficially,” she said.
Even though the team lost its state championship game, Scully said getting the team that far was her proudest moment in high school.
“It was awesome to see the hard work pay off over the last four years,” she said.
Her senior year will be the end of the line for her basketball career.
In the fall, she’s attending University of Florida, and not for basketball.
“I chose a school for academics,” she said.
As a student in the top 10% of the class, her academic game is strong, too. She said she didn’t want to sacrifice a good education to play basketball at a small school, and she couldn’t see herself liking a smaller school, either.
“Academics will help me more,” she said. She hasn’t picked a major yet.
“I’ll be sad to graduate,” she said. “I’ve invested so much time here. It’s a huge part of me that will be hard to let go.”