Two members of Shorecrest Preparatory School’s Class of 2019, Renice Dacres and Graham Heckert, were recipients of the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg’s 81st Outstanding Youth Awards. The students were selected by Upper School faculty/staff on the basis of scholarship, character, and service. They were celebrated along with 12 other students from seven St. Petersburg-area public and private high schools at a luncheon sponsored by the Club and received a cash prize.
The St. Petersburg Rotary Club Youth Awards were established in 1938, to honor outstanding high school seniors in our community. Both Charger honorees exemplify our school’s core values of Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Knowledge and Compassion.
Renice Dacres ‘19 joined Shorecrest in ninth grade from Academy Prep. She comes from a proud family that encourages hard work and instills confidence as well as a vibrant sense of humor. In her four year career at Shorecrest, she has progressively challenged herself, taking on more difficult curricular choices as her high school years progressed. One colleague aptly described her as having a “humble hunger” for academia. She may stay after class to ask questions and to seek connections from what she learned to the real world. Renice has earned spots in honors level classes, including Shorecrest’s Center for Medical Sciences
, where she has excelled in her understanding of human anatomy and physiology and has even branched out to take on an independent study in the field of nutrition.
Health and physiology are indeed important to Renice, as she has been an incredible addition to our Chargers athletic program. She holds several Shorecrest basketball records, is a member of the 1000-Point Club
, and has earned state records in track and field
. What sets Renice apart from many elite athletes is the support and encouragement she bestows on her younger teammates. She epitomizes the statement, “There is no ‘i’ in the word TEAM.”
What our community especially admires about Renice is her unwavering positive attitude and contributions to our school community. When we have needed our students to be present for events and service projects, we have always been able to count on Renice to be there with a smile and a genuine sense of purpose. It is no wonder that she has been awarded Outstanding Citizen by our faculty.
Graham Heckert ‘19 came to Shorecrest in the middle of his ninth grade year after moving with his family back to the US from Scotland. Though he is admittedly a fan of the sciences with plans to study chemical engineering in college, all of his teachers have praised him for his inquisitive nature and genuine gratitude. Just this week, I received a note from his English teacher that read,
“Yesterday Graham came into my class to thank me. Not to ask me for a recommendation, not for help, but just to say thanks for showing him that there were teachers who cared about him as a person. He is that kind of kid. He loves to learn things for the sake of learning, and if he wanted to dig deeper during class discussions, he never hesitated to probe. We both enjoyed when he would challenge my instruction. It forced me to raise my game to satisfy his endless curiosity.”
As his chemistry teacher for two years, I agree will my colleague’s sentiments. In a college letter of recommendation that I wrote for Graham, I brought up another important side of Graham’s persona when I wrote:
“What can one expect from Graham Heckert? I learned to expect the unexpected. Polite, sincere and cooperative, Graham’s reverence will lull you into thinking you have him figured out. Then, when the tension in class it at its highest, he holds up a lit bunsen burner and belts out “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner at the top of his lungs. When it comes to curing low morale, Graham writes excellent prescriptions.”
We at Shorecrest will all miss Graham’s unwavering inquisitiveness and quirky sense of humor.
One unique connection between our two recipients is that both Renice and Graham were selected as All Stars in The Pinellas County All Star basketball games.
Please congratulate Renice and Graham on their deserving awards from Rotary Club of St. Petersburg!
Achievements: Fran Risser Female Student Athlete Award
; Scholastic Art Awards - Silver Key, 2 Honorable Mentions; Three time FHSAA Track and Field State Qualifier; All Pinellas County Girls Basketball - First Team; Three time Varsity Basketball MVP/1000 Points Club
Activities: Varsity Basketball; Varsity Track & Field; AAU Basketball; Black Student Union / Women of Color Enlightened; Spanish Club/ Multicultural Club
Community Service: Goodwill JAG Program; Church volunteer; Silver Raiders Little League Football volunteer; Burg Baseball Little League Baseball volunteer; Keep Pinellas Beautiful
Graham Heckert ‘19
Achievements: 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 Varsity Basketball Charger Award; 2018-2019 Varsity Basketball Team Captain; Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award; Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society), Spanish Honor Society and National Honor Society
Activities: Varsity Basketball; Spanish Club; National Honor Society; Key Club
Community Service: Ronald McDonald House; tutoring Middle School students through National Honor Society; Habitat for Humanity; Re-Member Pine Ridge Reservation; Charleston Freedom’s House Restoration