More than 200 of Hillsborough County’s top high school seniors from 35 public and private schools accepted an invitation to share their accomplishments and take part in an essay contest through the 2021 R.F. “Red” Pittman Tribune Scholars program. Their profiles and essays are published here, just as the students submitted them. One Tampa Prep senior, Connor White, shared his accomplishments and an essay focused on beating the pandemic.

Connor White's Tribune Scholars Essay

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Connor White

School activities and accomplishments:

  • Captain of both my high school’s cross country and track and field teams, junior and senior years.
  • Director of my high school’s writing center, sophomore, junior, and senior years.
  • National Merit Finalist
  • Captain of one of my high school’s VEX robotics teams, freshman and sophomore years.
  • 240 hours volunteering at my high school’s summer camp
  • 180 hours volunteering at my high school’s robotics camp

College or other post-high school plans: Biomedical engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

ESSAY: Trust is an invaluable resource in the fight against COVID-19. Therefore, issues arise when local, state, and federal governments all contradict each other. The response to COVID-19 must be standardized. This can only be done at the federal level. Although state and local governments are still able to impose their will in certain ways upon people, the federal government can minimize these effects. Once the response is similar nationwide, we must begin to make normal life safe for Americans.

The issue with forcing business closures is that people become irritable and attempt to challenge safety protocols. Instead, a method must be found in which people can safely eat in restaurants and watch movies in theaters. Mask wearing and social distancing must be enforced. Restaurants should not be open at full capacity. People should still have the option to go, but they should not be crammed in with others. This return to a somewhat normal life should be done as quickly as possible to lower anger among citizens. 

These protocols should be the main focus of the response until vaccines are developed. Once there are safe vaccines, as many should be ordered as necessary to vaccinate every American citizen. Sites should be placed in every city where people can choose whatever vaccine they want to get without an appointment. After the citizens that want the vaccine have gotten it, there will be a greater trust that can entice even more people to get vaccinated that may not have in the beginning.