By Jill Fox
With graduation around the corner, students are awaiting their final grades—some more patiently than others.
This week, the top two students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were surprised with special visitors, parades, and one-of-a-kind yard signs at each of their Parkland homes.
When the Eagle (mascot) landed at valedictorian Julia Suconic’s house, it was a complete surprise and made her very emotional.
“I didn’t know I was officially the valedictorian, so it was a special moment, very meaningful,” she said.
Suconic, who will attend Johns Hopkins University, and study cellular molecular biology and pre-med, felt virtual learning was hard for everybody, but it was for the best.
She has one sister, Lara, in third grade at Heron Heights Elementary School, and said her family had had a major influence on her success.
“My parents came from Brazil to give me an opportunity to do better here,” she said.
Her graduation speech will explain how her parents always taught her to do her best and that she couldn’t have done it without them.
Salutatorian Daniel Bishop was thrilled when Principal Michelle Kefford, his guidance director, teacher, administrators, and the eagle mascot showed up in his driveway.
“It was a parade of seven or eight cars honking their horns; it was a whole thing,” he said.
Bishop, who has a sister, Julia studying pre-med at Tulane University, said it’s weird to be finishing high school on such an unusual note, but it feels good to have an accomplishment like this.
“It’s a nice way to wrap up my whole high school experience,” he said.
In addition to wanting to be close to home, Bishop chose to attend the University of Miami for mathematics because it was a good fit. He said he felt very connected to the people and the atmosphere there.
Bishop’s speech to his class will focus on how adversity will follow them, but it’s important to stay strong and make sure to do their own personal best.
“I like to hope and think I’m a solid representation of the adversities that our class has faced, and they made me that much stronger.”
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and now resides in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 10 and Randi, 7.
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