The seniors in Palm Beach Central High School’s Class of 2023 will walk in celebration of their accomplishments on Wednesday, May 17 at 8 a.m. The South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center will be teeming with students and their families as they receive diplomas and accolades acknowledging their hard work over the past four years.
“My speech will focus on the district theme of ‘Educate, Affirm and Inspire.’ This is truly a special senior class that has overcome many barriers. They had to pivot during the pandemic and adjust to virtual learning. Finally, they led the way to us returning back to a new normal,” Principal Darren Edgecomb said. “I’m extremely excited and honored to celebrate their success.
Ryan Fingeret will serve as valedictorian for the Class of 2023, with a 4.0 GPA and a weighted GPA of 5.5. He made the Principal’s Honor Roll with straight A grades every nine weeks for three years. As though being a Bright Futures Scholar and in the National Honor Society isn’t enough, Fingeret is also an AICE diploma recipient with distinction and an MS Office Specialist in Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
The future University of Florida student is also in the Rho Kappa History Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society. Fingeret is the founder and vice president of Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT).
When asked what advice he might give to his fellow students, he said, “Life is like a roller coaster — sometimes all you can do is scream and hold on.”
Salutatorian Amanda Schinina also plans to attend the University of Florida. She will major in finance.
“I have been very good at math and managing money. I currently hope to become a financial advisor, so I can help people manage their money and make sure they are setting themselves up for success,” she said. “Some of my favorite classes in high school were my personal finance class during my freshman year and my AICE business class sophomore year. Those classes taught me so many important lessons about finances and sparked an interest in a career in finance.”
Schinina will finish high school with a 4.0 GPA and a weighted GPA of 5.4. She is a member of the National Honor Society, an AICE Advisory Committee member and will receive her AICE diploma with distinction. She is looking forward to spending time with her friends this summer while working to save money for college.
“The biggest challenge over these past four years of high school was going through the pandemic at the end of our freshman and sophomore years, because we were unsure if we would ever go back to normal, and if we would be able to have a normal high school experience. Then once we got back to school, we had to learn what the new normal would be,” Schinina said. “The advice I have for my fellow graduates is to not take any of the milestones in the next chapter for granted.”
Palm Beach Central’s Class of 2023 has approximately 120 AICE diploma recipients and another 50 AICE diploma candidates. “I am so impressed by this group’s tenacity in pursuing their goals,” PBCHS AICE coordinator Evana Tamayo said. “They have also expressed a great concern with becoming self-sufficient. Many are pursuing the AICE diploma to earn the Bright Futures scholarship so that they don’t have to burden their parents with the cost of college. Many are employed part-time.”
Her advice to the graduating class is to create a list of experiences they desire, such as travel or taking up a hobby, and do them. The list should evolve as they grow, too. “Experiences will add richness to your life and give you a break from the fast-paced and intense workload,” Tamayo said. “Many students in the Class of 2023 are leaders. They are demonstrating the ability to collaborate in and coordinate Palm Beach Central events from freshman orientation to Palm Beach Central’s Acceleration Night and the AICE Senior Celebration. They are actively contributing to creating the school environment they want for themselves.”