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.”