Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Meet Tanner Wall

If you ask many 18 year-olds where they see themselves in five or ten years, many just aren’t sure yet. But Tanner Wall knows exactly where he sees himself in the future - as an architect. A math enthusiast with a love for design, Tanner says he’d love to draft plans for schools or libraries. And some might say doing so is in Tanner’s DNA.
Tanner practically bleeds green and gold. His great-great aunt Sophia Daily owned the beach-front property where Shorecrest began in 1923. When real estate prices soared in the mid 1960s, Ms. Daily was given an offer for her beach-front parcel that was too good to pass up. She sold her property, but then provided the monetary backing to help re-establish the school in the location where it exists to this day. Tanner’s mother, aunts and uncle attended Shorecrest, and Tanner’s mother and aunt teach and coach at the school. Tanner himself has attended the school since kindergarten.

One of the things Tanner loves about Shorecrest is his tight-knit group of best friends, many of whom have been together since Lower School. “They’re like my family!” he says. Yet despite Tanner’s long history with Shorecrest and his close group of friends, for years, a widespread apathy for school traditions seemed to prevail in the Class of 2016. That is, until last summer.

After a very poor showing in the Homecoming competition junior year and low class morale, Tanner and his classmates decided that senior year would be different. Tanner helped spearhead an effort to turn things around. To the amazement of many administrators, that’s exactly what the Class of 2016 did!

Tanner smiles, “As silly as it sounds, winning Homecoming is probably my favorite Shorecrest memory. Our class worked so hard preparing for the Homecoming competitions, and as we worked together, we became really close. I’m so proud of what we did as a class!”

As the Class of 2016 prepared to graduate, faculty member after faculty member echoed this sentiment, none having ever seen such a remarkable turnaround in class morale. Many point to Tanner as one of the students who led his peers in this effort. One teacher explains, “Tanner’s demeanor is always so positive!” This positivity is downright contagious, and when talking with him, it is not hard to see why he was able to help rally his class.

But Tanner didn’t spend all fall of his Senior year planning Homecoming strategy with his classmates. Along with a slate of challenging classes, and a demanding cross country schedule, Tanner decided to pursue his passion for architecture in an independent study on the history of architecture with art teacher Charla Gaglio. Ms. Gaglio introduced Tanner to a school in New York, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and through the school’s admission department, Tanner heard about The Cooper Hewitt Student Design Challenge.
The contest, open to teenagers in high school in the USA, challenged students to design an outdoor chair inspired by Cooper Hewitt’s world-renowned collection. Designs were meant to be functional, comfortable and unexpected. Tanner recalls “I asked Mrs. Gaglio if I could work on this contest during my independent study, and she said, ‘Go for it!’"

After working for over a month on his design, Tanner submitted his design for a garden chair. Tanner was inspired by a lamp housed in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum to create a chair shape that flows smoothly as its leaves unfold from a standard seating position. In March, Tanner was chosen as one of the competition’s five finalists.

As a finalist, Tanner (and his mother, Upper School math teacher Beth Bartlett '85) flew to New York City where he participated in a workshop with Target designers, who sponsored the competition, and presented his design to a panel of judges. Although he did not ultimately win the competition, Tanner was quite pleased to be a finalist. “I was so thrilled to have my work recognized and win a trip to New York. Before I even went before the panelists to present my design, I felt like I had already won!”

What’s perhaps most remarkable about Tanner is that in addition to all his Shorecrest commitments, he also manages to work a very full schedule as a busboy at Harvey’s 4th Street Grill, a local restaurant. “I try to pick up shifts whatever I can, Tanner says. “I really appreciate my job, it humbles me.”

Former Shorecrest math teacher Dave Field adds “I believe Tanner’s experience working at [this job] has helped him realize the value of an education.” When he heads to the University of Miami to pursue a degree in architecture in the fall, Tanner knows it will be difficult, but four years of balancing academics, athletics, a demanding work schedule, and a social life have helped him hone the skills he’ll need to delve into the challenging curriculum at the University of Miami. “I know it’s going to be long nights and hard work, but I’m really excited for it,” he says. “I know what I’m getting myself into!”

Tanner continues, “Shorecrest has provided me with so many meaningful opportunities - from faculty who have taught me wonderful life lessons each and every year... to Service Week opportunities in foreign countries. There have just been so many opportunities for me here at Shorecrest.” And Tanner has surely taken advantage of them all.

For someone so young, Tanner has thought a lot about what he wants out of his future, well past the next four years of college. “I may not come back to St. Pete right after college,” he says, “but I would love to end up back here eventually, start my own firm and work to build relationships here in the place I grew up. And of course, one day when I have kids of my own, I’ll want them to go to Shorecrest.” After all, he adds, “Shorecrest is in my blood.”
    • Tanner presents his progressive chair design before a panel of experts

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.