For senior Amanda Mayer, becoming valedictorian was not a goal, but simply the product of her desire to do her best in all her classes. That dedication helped Mayer achieve not only valedictorian, but also a full-ride National Merit Scholarship.

“I was very excited and thankful that I had a scholarship that would so generously pay for all four years,” Mayer said.

Mayer scored in the 99th percentile when she took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, becoming a semi-finalist. After that Mayer was chosen as a National Merit Scholar based on her Scholastic Aptitude Test score, 2150, and an essay she wrote.

Keeping up her grades was no small feat. Besides a heavy course load, Mayer was a member of Math Club, Key Club, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Spanish Honor Society, the historian for Mu Alpha Theta and played lacrosse for two years.

“My greatest struggle during high school was keeping up with a busy schedule and not getting caught up in the little snags of life,” Mayer said.

One of the classes Mayer struggled with was Advanced Placement Chemistry.

“Science is my weakest subject. I asked a lot of questions and made sure to do all of the homework,” Mayer said.

During high school, Mayer looked to her  American Sign Language teacher, Monica Bourret for inspiration.

“Ms. Bourret is a walking example of kindness and social graciousness,” Mayer said. “The way she lives her life, her social awareness and her dedication to her causes, it’s how I want to live my life.”

Mayer is attending the University of Central Florida in the fall and plans on studying political science.

“I’d like to do some internships and explore the field further, and in the future maybe work with state and local government on some level,” Mayer said.

By Renee Burke

I currently work as a Media Promotions Manager for OCPS. I taught at William R. Boone HS in Orlando for 22 years, and was JEA's 2015 H.L. Hall Yearbook Adviser of the Year, the 2012 OCPS Teacher of the Year, 2011 FSPA Journalism Teacher of the Year, and a 2011 Gold Key recipient from CSPA. I advised the Legend yearbook and Hi-Lights newspaper for 20 and 21 years, respectively. Both publications earned CSPA Crown awards and NSPA Pacemakers.

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