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

Meet Kyle Mullins - Salutatorian

Kyle Mullins walks out of his AP Literature exam with a smile on his face. When asked how it went, Kyle coolly responds, "It was better than I expected! But I can't talk details because that's against the College Board's rules. But let's just say I really enjoyed the poetry essay!" This, in a nutshell, is Kyle: calm but confident; smart and cheerful; ever the rule-follower.

Kyle's tenacious pursuit for the truth and knowledge seems to have defined his Shorecrest career. His second grade teacher, Marion O'Mullane, remembers Kyle as having a thirst for knowledge. "He was particularly interested in studying the seven continents and told me how much he wanted to explore them some day." But he wasn't just smart and inquisitive, "What touches me most about Kyle is that even years later, he stops by and says hello and asks me how I'm doing, with that same upbeat attitude and warm friendly smile. He is that special student a teacher never forgets."

His first grade teacher, Mrs. Whitecage, remembers him as "an adult trapped in a six-year-old's body. He looked six, but he behaved and spoke like a man in his 40s!"

Even today, Kyle seems much more mature than his 18 years. When asked about one of the most memorable parts of his high school career, Kyle begins speaking about his experience serving on the school's Honor Council. The Shorecrest Student Honor Council is an organization of students who promote and uphold personal and academic integrity within the Upper School community by advancing and enforcing the Honor Code. "I remember sitting in Freshman orientation. One of the goals of Orientation is to help students understand the expectations of them in the Upper School. I remember hearing from members of the Honor Council as they spoke to us about the importance of the honor code in the Upper School." Kyle says he knew right away that he wanted to run for Honor Council. "I've always been a stick-to-the-rules, stick-to-the-process kind of guy, and I'm sure that helped me get elected!"

Kyle jumped right into his Council service. He smiles as he remembers that very first Honor Council meeting. "My class was lucky because toward the end of our first year, there was a case in front of the Honor Council, so we got to sit in and learn before we were actually members of the Council. But I didn't quite realize it was a training session and I started asking questions of the student in front of the Council. Dean Sessions had to pull me aside to tell me to stop asking questions as I wasn't yet on the Council. I seemed to have missed that memo!"
From that very first overzealous training session, Kyle's experience on the Honor Council was a huge part of his high school career. "I love how student-driven the whole system is here." But Kyle is quick to point out that his experience on the Honor Council has not always been easy. "These decisions are not always black and white," he says. "And working with faculty leadership in these situations is not always easy."

Kyle describes an instance when the Administration made a decision, which at the time Kyle felt was a snap-decision. "In my process-oriented brain, the choice they made defied everything because the Administration made a decision without any sort of Council input." Kyle wrote an impassioned letter to members of the Upper School Leadership team, listing the reasons he felt the decision was unfair. "I then had the opportunity to sit down with [Upper School Head] Mr. Dillow who pointed out the central reasons behind the Administration's decision. Mr. Dillow also let me know that he had consulted with the President of the Honor Council, just not the whole Council." Kyle said he really appreciated the experience. "While I didn't see eye to eye with the Administration in this instance, I did see where they were coming from—it was definitely a learning experience."

When Kyle was elected President of the Honor Council in his Senior year, Kyle sought to keep the aforementioned situation from repeating itself. "I pushed for changes to the Honor Council bylaws. I found places we could compromise and wrote a mechanism by which the administration could make snap decisions, as long as they consulted the leadership of the Council." But this sort of passionate action was not isolated just to Kyle's experience on the Honor Council.
 
At the end of his freshman year, Kyle found himself faced with a bit of a dilemma. "Journalism is very important to me," says Kyle. "But our student newspaper, "The Chronicle," was on its deathbed." The situation for the school's newspaper, published by students at Shorecrest since 1967, did not look good. "The staff [my freshman year] was made up almost entirely of seniors, and every single one of them was graduating, as seniors tend to do! So, [faculty advisor] Mr. Henderson and I put "The Chronicle" on life support. Our goal was just to keep it alive as long as we could."
Kyle stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief as a sophomore, "Mr. Henderson and I didn't want "The Chronicle" to go the way many school newspapers are going nowadays. We converted it from a class to a club because there weren't enough registrations to get people invested in the actual journalism class." Their plan was successful, and in that sophomore year, Kyle and his team managed to publish two standard issues as well as the traditional end-of-the-school year issue which pays tributes to departing faculty members. During Kyle's junior year, four students enrolled in a media studies class. With the students and the club members, Kyle managed to cobble together a staff to once again keep the paper alive. "I believe I’m technically the longest-serving editor of "The Chronicle," because I was the only one who was there to say, yeah, I'll do it!"

Last summer, after some planning with his editorial board, Kyle and "The Chronicle" staff elected to move the publication online in an effort to save paper. "We started putting together the website, and went live last fall," thus launching "The Chronicle" into a whole new era.

Kyle pauses, "In high school, there are the activities you do because you enjoy them and the activities you do because it looks look good on your resume. I've really tried to get involved in things that are legitimately important to me. "The Chronicle" is definitely one of those things--journalism is really important to me."


When asked where he sees himself in ten years, Mullins is quick to say he's not quite sure yet. He's headed to Dartmouth College in the fall where he hopes to study economics and government. "I kind of just want to see where that takes me. I've got time. But I can see myself going into international relations, becoming an analyst, or maybe even an economic journalist."
 
As for next fall, "I don't think there's an Honor Council at Dartmouth, so as a near equivalent, I think I may try to run for Student Government, and yeah, I'll probably also find my way to the newspaper staff." Something tells us, Kyle will find success in whatever he sets his mind to.
    • An excerpt from Kyle's Commencement Address

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.