Brevard County high school seniors show they’ve got what it takes to succeed

In a couple of weeks hundreds of caps will be tossed in the air at high school graduation ceremonies all over the Space Coast.  As the intrepid members of the Class of 2010 make their way into the world we want to take a moment to pay tribute to some local standouts. Guidance Directors from throughout Brevard County submitted the names of several outstanding seniors to SpaceCoast Living for consideration, here are just a few of them.

In the words of essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

To all members of the class of 2010, we too toss our caps in the air and salute you for a job well done.

Taylor Zimmerman

West Shore Jr./Sr. High School

Yearbook Editor-in-Chief Taylor says creating this year’s yearbook has been a major accomplishment: “everything that goes along with it-managing the staff, planning workdays and meeting deadlines.”  She is a member of the Dance Zone Serenade Dance Company and a children’s dance instructor in addition to volunteering for the Master’s Workshop, vacation bible school and mission work.  Guidance Director Charles Keener says Taylor possesses “a straightforward approach to people, is a diplomatic problem solver and capable of working with individuals of all ages in a poised, self assured manner.” She plans to study Mechanical Engineering and hopes one day to not only become an engineer, but a Disney “Imagineer.”

Katie Stengel

Viera High School

Katie has always been very good at achieving goals.  As a four-year varsity soccer player for Viera she scored 170 goals and had 44 assists in 79 games.  She had 15 hat trick games, three games during which she scored six goals and one game when she scored an astonishing eight goals.  But it was one goal this year she most proud of. In January Katie was invited to the United States Under 18 Women’s National Soccer Team camp, then scored her first international goal against Sweden while competing with the team in Spain during the Ten Nations Cup. A member of the National Honor Society and Student Government, Katie has performed more than 250 hours of community service, including fundraising for Haiti and STAND (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur).  Katie will study Health and Exercise Science while continuing to play Soccer when she attends Wake Forest University this fall.

Matthew Younger

Cocoa High School

As quarterback for the Cocoa football team Matt led the Tigers to two consecutive state championships.  Playing football and also winning a state basketball title are Matt’s best high school memories. He will attend Illinois State University on a full scholarship where he plans to major in Construction Management and play NCAA Division 1 football for the Redbirds. “In addition to athletics, Matt is enrolled full time at Brevard Community College,” says Guidance Director Nicole Flesher.  “His entire schedule consists solely of college coursework.  Matt exemplifies the importance of being a student first, then an athlete.  He has earned the respect not only of his teammates, but the rest of the students and faculty at Cocoa High.  Matt is truly what it means to show ‘Tiger Pride’.”

Joshua Emison

Bayside High School

Joshua’s Guidance Director Lynnette Thorstensen calls him “the perfect mix of athletic ability, academic intelligence and personality.  Captain of the varsity soccer team, a punter on the football team and a member of the school’s first BETA (Bayside Engineering and Technology Academy) graduating class, Joshua trained for an entire summer to compete in an Olympic Distance triathlon, where he finished second in his age group.  Joshua plans to study Mechanical Engineering in college, and then join the Navy as an officer.  “I want to become a Navy SEAL, because it will challenge me mentally and physically while I defend the freedom I have enjoyed my entire life.”

Stacey Steele

Merritt Island High School

Stacey believes balancing schoolwork and athletics has been her biggest accomplishment so far.  As president of the National Honor Society and Captain of the State Champion Varsity Soccer team Stacey has also served as captain of the Central Brevard Cyclones and Space Coast United.  She was selected as a member of the All State of Florida East Squad and All Space Coast First Team and was named the Region 11, 4A Player of the Year.  Stacey will attend the University of Florida where “I plan to study engineering.  I don’t know what field yet, but hopefully something involving more math than science.  I enjoy doing math and am pretty good at it.”

Hannah Smouse

Edgewood Jr./Sr. High School

Hannah wants to study Pre-Med OB/GYN while attending Brevard Community College/University of Central Florida with plans to become a missionary in Southeast Asia to “help deliver babies and provide medical help to those in need.”

A viola player and orchestra section leader who also involved in chorus, Hannah has already traveled to Albania and Nepal on mission trips, participating in more than 450 hours of community service.  Her fondest high school memory is “Spirit Week this year.  Our school had more spirit than I’ve ever seen before.  It was so much fun to just go all out and seen the seniors really get into it.  It was a great way to end our time at Edgewood.”

Tyler Davidson

Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School

Tyler says the day signed his National Letter of Intent to run track and cross-country for the University of Florida stands out as his best high school memory.  As captain of the school’s varsity cross-country and track teams he has balanced “academics, extracurricular and athletic activities with wonderful precision” according to Guidance Director Wendy Gordon.  An IB (International Baccalaureate) “Senior of Distinction”, Tyler says his biggest accomplishment was organizing the “Rafe Maccarone 5K Fundraiser.” during which 350 people participated and raised more than $4,000 to benefit his school’s soccer team.  Tyler plans to study Pre-Med and become an orthopedic surgeon.

Laura Hebert

Astronaut High School

Laura likes math so much her fondest high school memory is of her AP Calculus class.  “It was a really fun class with lots of funny people, even if it was really challenging.”  She plans to channel her enthusiasm for math into an engineering major at Auburn University.  Guidance Director Greg Hostetler says “Laura has such an incredible spirit about her She is always smiling and always willing to help anyone.  Astronaut has the reputation of being a family.  We help each other.  Laura does that…She truly defines the spirit of Astronaut High School by caring for and helping her classmates and teachers.”

Rebekah Renfro

Eau Gallie High School

Rebekah plans to major in Biology and attend medical school to become an obstetrician because “the miracle of life is fascinating to me.”  Captain of the varsity swim team, Rebekah’s best high school memory is during her junior year when “for every race I would make a new personal best time.  Nothing compares to that kind of victory when you are competing.” A gifted performer who has starred in “Into the Woods” and “Guys and Dolls”, Rebekah is also loves the idea of being fluent in other languages. “If I could have everything that I love in the future I would enjoy being a traveling French/German/Italian/English speaking doctor who performs in community theaters and coaches a high school swim team.”

Evan Griffith

Rockledge High School

Evan will study English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “After college I plan on finding a job at a publishing house, eventually establishing myself as a writer.  Writing has always been really important to me, so it would be great to make a career out of something that I love.”  Evan entered the prestigious Cambridge AICE Diploma program as a freshman and earned his diploma from the University of Cambridge UK his junior year.  While excelling in academics he has also been involved in the community:  volunteering at the hospital and Humane Society, participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life as well as teaching third graders and establishing a book club for high school students and their families.

All In The Family


Zachary Field

Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School

Son of SpaceCoast Living/SpaceCoast Business Editor-in-Chief Josh and Jamie Field

Zach will attend the University of Florida, majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry.  He plans to attend medical school and one day become a surgeon.  Zach says brother Adam (who just finished his freshman year at UF) “has had a big influence on my high school career and future goals.  As an aspiring doctor as well he has definitely helped lay the path for me.”

Ellie Piersall

Viera High School

Daughter of SCB Marketing Vice President of Sales Jeff and Judy Piersall

This fall Ellie will attend the University of North Florida where she plans to study Physical Therapy/Sports Medicine.  Ellie says dad Jeff has had the most influence on her “because he’s so optimistic and fun and he coaches me through everything I do.”

Congratulations on graduating! May you be successful in all your future endeavors! Good luck Ellie and Zach!

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