Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
On Sunday, May 17, the 85-member Class of 2020 was the first at Shorecrest Preparatory School to receive their diplomas through "carline." Among the graduating class are 5 National Merit Commended Scholars, a National Hispanic Scholar, 10 committed student-athletes, many thespians, at least 2 pilots and 2 Eagle Scouts. Collectively the Class of 2020 completed nearly 11,000 service hours during their four years of high school through roles close to home with NOAA dolphin research, The Kind Mouse and Guardian ad Litem, nationally through Re-Member and Relay For Life and internationally with the Simunye Project among others.

Deep down the class simply wants to be known as the spirited, athletic group of Chargers who managed to win Homecoming Class Competition Day in both their junior and senior years.

Before receiving their diplomas, these Chargers were able to put a momento from 2020 into a time capsule that will be buried on campus. Ten years from now when they return for their first official reunion, the capsule will be opened and the items revealed there are bound to create some laughs, tears and incredible memories of their historic time spent together.

Soon after Commencement, Headmaster Mike Murphy retired after 15 years of leadership at Shorecrest. He received an honorary Class of 2020 diploma, and graduated along with the students who started at Shorecrest in Alpha class the same year he began his tenure on campus. 

Valedictorian, Aliyah Samuelson

The name Aliyah means to rise, and Aliyah Samuelson rose to the top of the Class of 2020 as this year’s Valedictorian. This came as no surprise to many of her peers. Each year Shorecrest Upper School awards “Top Scholar” to the individual with the highest GPA in the grade. Aliyah Samuelson received the award the last three years before being named Valedictorian.

The Shorecrest Lifer has an innate brilliance and intellectual curiosity. Her academic accomplishments include: maxing out the Shorecrest AP curriculum (we limit students to 10 AP courses), maxing out all higher level science courses (doubled up sophomore year, tripled junior year, and doubled senior year), and enrolling in 7 out of 7 courses every year of high school (not one free block!) At the same time Aliyah also participated in competitively vetted research projects and Upper School Performing Arts - which some may argue is a full time job in and of itself. 
On stage in the Janet Root Theatre, Aliyah acts, sings and dances. Her creative pursuits also led to her drawing and painting project,, which started as a Shorecrest eighth grade passion project. Aliyah paints clients’ pet portraits and donates the funds raised to a local no-kill animal shelter. She understands that being open to creative pursuits can help her find innovative solutions to analytical problems.
Aliyah broadened her passion for animals by attending a 3-week summer abroad program in Costa Rica.

“I went to Costa Rica on a trip with GLA (Global Leadership Adventures) for 21 days the summer before eleventh grade,” Aliyah told Shorecrest. “We worked with a local dog shelter in Orosi where we painted, arranged for microfunding, and made collars and toys for the dogs. We also worked with an organization called VIDA and helped set up clinics where we assisted in surgery and did anesthesia for dogs and cats who were getting spayed or neutered.” The group also conducted home visits where they surveyed the living conditions of pets and taught their owners the importance of spaying and neutering their pets.

Aliyah was interested in the trip’s combination of animals and psychology. “I am really interested in learning how different types of animals think and how their thought processes differ from our own.”

Salutatorian, Cecilia Garcia

Ask anyone at Shorecrest about Cecilia (Ceci) Garcia and themes of academic achievement, respect, kindness, and determination immediately arise. “Ceci is an extraordinary young woman-- hard-working, humble, talented, infinitely professional,” sayid Bill Leavongood ‘78, Ceci’s Theater Instructor. “She not only brings a smile to everyone's face, but she is always available to help others while still maintaining the beat of her own drum.”

Like many of her classmates, she has left an indelible imprint throughout the campus. In the classroom, she has achieved great success in a variety of different classes but also adds a passion and curiosity that creates an amazing tone for the class. Ceci was named the Class of 2020’s Salutatorian.

Ceci was born and essentially raised in central, rural Kansas before moving to Florida to begin her sophomore year at high school. When she transferred to Shorecrest she already maintained a strong GPA. She comes from a close knit and supportive family of five where education receives top priority. 

Ceci is gifted with a sharp intellect, but she is also very perceptive. Add to that an ability to comprehend material and situations and it brings us to astute. Ceci has the ability to accurately assess information, situations and people and turn this to her advantage in the classroom and in life. While most students struggle to make the transition to Shorecrest’s rigorous curriculum, Ceci excelled. Notably, junior year was one of her best, where she earned a near-perfect GPA, all without taking any free periods (something very few students choose to do at Shorecrest). 

Ceci has found her passion in musical theatre. Being a part of Upper School Performing Arts is a 24/7 commitment; and rehearsal schedules rival those of working professionals in the industry. Even when she isn’t working on a show, Ceci participates in dance and vocal lessons outside of Shorecrest. Using the stage as a platform to convey messages is a key reason that Ceci wants to pursue a degree in Musical Theatre.

Homecoming Cheers through the Years

By the Numbers

2020 Matriculation List

Allegheny College
American University
Appalachian State University
Auburn University
Bard College
Bates College
Boston College
Bryn Mawr College
Colorado College
Colorado State University
Columbia University
Dartmouth College
Davidson College
Elon University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida State University
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Ithaca College
James Madison University
Johns Hopkins University
Loyola Chicago
Manhattan College
New York University
Northeastern University
Notre Dame University
Ohio State University
Penn State University
Purdue University
Rhode Island School of Design
Saint Petersburg College
Sewanee: The University of the South
St. Joseph's University
St. Thomas University
University of Alabama
University of Alabama Blount Scholars Program
University of Central Florida
University of Central Florida, Honors College
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Florida
University of Florida, Honors Program
University of Miami
University of Miami Hammond Scholar
University of Michigan
University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg
University of Richmond
University of South Florida, Tampa
University of Tampa
Ursinus College
Valencia College
Vanderbilt University
Washington University in St. Louis

More about College Decision Day

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.