Tag Archives: senior feature

Senior Spotlight: Sydney Miller

By Tori Kitchens

Senior Sydney Miller has pursued several passions during her time at Oak Hall School (OHS). As a lifer (a student that has consecutively attended OHS since kindergarten), Miller has immersed herself in activities such as cross country, track and field, basketball, Student Government Association (SGA), the Arts Conservatory Program (ACP), and many more. 

Miller has been a member of the cross country team since sixth grade. She started as a JV/middle school runner and was advanced to the varsity team the next year. Succeeding those who came before her, Miller quickly became the cross country teams number one runner this year. “For me personally, I looked up to girls like Grace Blair (Class of 2018). And Lauren [Jones] (Class of 2022) was an amazing runner, too,” she complimented. This season, Miller has achieved a 5k time of 19:07. 

As she improved her times throughout her sixth-grade season, Miller naturally gravitated toward the track team. Although she does not specialize in a specific event, she has had profuse success. Miller was the state runner-up in the 800m in 2022. The runner stated that the state meet at the University of Florida last year was one of her favorite memories due to the great turnout Oak Hall drew. 

Wanting to play a sport in the winter season during middle school, Miller joined the middle school basketball team. “I feel like, back then, middle school girls’ basketball was the thing to do,” she explained. Going into her final season as a basketball player, she is really excited for the team aspect of the sport.

Following the lead of her older sister Sophie (Class of 2021), she joined the band program when she started middle school. “I’ve been playing piano since I was little, so I’ve obviously had music in my life,” she noted. Miller audition for and was accepted into ACP going into her freshman year. She credits music teacher Jason Stahl for her musical journey thus far, as he invited her to join jazz band in middle school. 

Miller has been a leader in many activities she has participated in during her time at OHS. She served as Vice President of the middle school student council in eighth grade. At the Upper School, she became heavily involved in SGA, serving as treasurer, secretary, and now president. As SGA President this year, Miller is looking ahead to Homecoming planning for this October. “We’re trying to be more involved this year, make it more exciting and spirited,” she said.

Going into this next chapter of her life, Miller is hoping to attend the University of Florida. As she has many interests, she has many options of career paths. She is leaning more toward biology and business but wants to find a way to incorporate Christian studies and music. 

A to Z with Sydney

A – Advice you’d give your freshman-self? To not care what other people think.
B – Best pre-race meal? Pizza.
C– Coach’s best words of advice? Relax my shoulders.
D – Favorite dessert? Ice cream.
E – Most entertaining class? Probably band.
F – Favorite high school moment? Probably like volleyball games and football games. Probably that.
G – Goals for your senior year? Make sure that I get through it and have a good time and get into college.
H – Hoping to attend what college? University of Florida.
I – Interesting thing you do outside of arts and athletics? I love puzzles!
J – Favorite joke? I don’t say a lot of jokes, but my laugh makes other people laugh, so I guess that’s my joke.
K – Key to maintaining homework? Just making sure I stay on schedule with everything and not get distracted.
L – Least favorite music style to play? Probably hard rock.
M – Music you listen to? It’s more like contemporary jazz music.
N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix.
O – What other sport would you like to try? Lacrosse.
P – Preparations for a big meet or performance? Just making sure I get sleep and eat right and everything.
Q – Question you’d ask your future self? What is my current occupation?
R – Most relaxing part of your day? Probably just being in bed and going to sleep.
S – What would your senior superlative be? Probably…probably most stressed, I guess.
T – Favorite TV show? The Crown.
U – Most underrated music genre? I think jazz.
V – Favorite vacation spot? I’m actually going to say the lake.
W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? Being able to be involved in so many different things and have a good time doing them.
X – How many x-rays have you had? Probably, maybe three or four, maybe.
Y – What do you want your impact to younger students, athletes, and musicians be? I want people to know that you need to do what you love and not what other people say you need to do or what your friends are doing. Do what you love and be the person who you want to be.
Z – What is your zodiac sign? Capricorn.

Student Spotlight: Asher Dobrin

By Tori Kitchens

Senior Arts Conservatory Program (ACP) member and student-athlete Asher Dobrin has been part of the Oak Hall community since the beginning of his academic career. As a lifer*, Dobrin has participated in several extra curriculars, including cross country, soccer, track and field, band, and numerous clubs. “For me, the most important thing and the definition of a student-athlete is probably just being able to incorporate those two parts of my life together, and I like to blend it together and relate my academics and my athletics. I think it makes it more enjoyable,” he said. 

Dobrin began running cross country going into his sixth-grade year. Many athletes do cross country to stay in shape for another sport, and his parents wanted him to run to prepare for soccer. As he kept practicing, Dobrin became of Oak Hall’s strongest runners, and achieved a personal best time of 16:24 for a 5K. Dobrin has been a part of the state runner-up team for the past three cross country seasons. “While this is more of an on-paper accomplishment, I think it’s representative of what I am really proud of the most, which is just being a part of one of the best groups of people I could ask for,” he noted. Out of 227 runners at the state finals this year, Dobrin placed 26.

Soccer has always been one of those sports Asher could always come back to. He began playing soccer around the age of three or four on a community league team and as he reached middle school, Dobrin joined GSA, a travel soccer team. “I’ve played my whole life and [I] am not very good, but it’s nostalgic and comforting,” Dobrin joked. 

Although no one in his immediate family played an instrument, Dobrin was always interested in learning about music and seemed to gravitate toward it. “I thought it was cool and all my friends did it, so now I’m in it,” he pointed out. He began band in sixth grade, but he did not find his instrument, the bass, until eighth grade. Going into his sophomore year, Dobrin made the decision to audition for ACP. “I really wanted to challenge myself, and I put a lot of time into music in 9thgrade,” Dobrin explained. As a senior, Dobrin can play upright bass, electric bass, cello, piano, ukulele, and some guitar, but he has always preferred playing the upright bass. “I also love to dabble around on any instruments I can get my hands on,” Dobrin stated.

Dobrin wants younger student-athletes and ACP students to understand that enjoying what they are doing and not getting too stressed out are the most important things. “Always make sure you’re obviously enjoying it, but you’re putting your full effort into things because if you put more effort into it, you’re going to enjoy it more because you’ll enjoy the outcome more,” Dobrin stated. 

Hoping to attend the University of Georgia or the University of Colorado, Dobrin would like to study music composition or environmental studies. In addition, Dobrin would like to either sign with or walk on to a Division I Cross Country and Track team. 

* A “lifer” is a student that has consecutively attended Oak Hall from Pre-K, Junior Kindergarten, or Kindergarten through senior year.

A – Z with Asher Dobrin

A – Advice you’d give your freshman-self? Do your homework.
B – Best pre-race meal? Apples.
C – Coach’s best words of advice? Run fast, turn left.
D – Favorite dessert? Ice cream.
E – Most entertaining class? Freshman year geometry with Mr. L.
F – Favorite high school moment? I don’t know yet. The lounge freshman year with the carpet!
G – Goals for your senior year? Get into college and get into musical school.
H – Hoping to attend what college? Either University of Georgia or University of Colorado.
I – Interesting thing you do outside of arts and athletics? I volunteer with conservationist agencies. 
J – Favorite joke? What’s — oh I forgot! What’s blue and not very heavy? Light blue. 
K – Key to maintaining homework? Prioritizing assignments. 
L – Least favorite music style to play? Jazz.
M – Music you listen to? Indie, funk, and rock.
N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix. 
O – What other sport would you like to try? Volleyball. 
P – Preparations for a big meet or performance? I try to sleep, I drink a lot of water, and I eat sushi.
Q – Question you’d ask your future self? Am I still not sleeping enough?
R – Most relaxing part of your day? Going to bed.
S – What would your senior superlative be? Best hair. 
T – Favorite TV show? I don’t watch TV. 
U – Most underrated music genre? Anarbor funk. 
V – Favorite vacation spot? Anywhere with mountains. 
W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? A lot.
X – Have you ever had an x-ray? Yes, many. 
Y – What do you want your impact to younger athletes and musicians be? Have fun!
Z – What is your zodiac sign? Cancer. 

Student Spotlight: Sofia Guico

OHS senior hopes to inspire others through music, athletics and leadership

By Tori Kitchens

Having been inspired by upperclassmen throughout high school, senior Arts Conservatory Program (ACP) member and student-athlete Sofia Guico now has the opportunity to pay it forward to younger members of the Oak Hall community. Being a lifer*, Guico has been part of multiple extracurricular activities including band, golf, Chinese Club, Honor Council, and Environmental Club. “I think the most important thing that a student-athlete should consider and work on is having a healthy balance,” Guico explained. 

The senior has played violin for most of her life but did not join the Oak Hall music program until her eighth-grade year. Abbie Ringdahl (OHS class of 2018) convinced Guico to join the prestigious program. “She told me about all [of] these amazing opportunities I’d be given if I just kind of joined and talked to the music director, so I took a leap of faith,” Guico described. Once again, Guico was inspired by upperclassmen to join ACP going into the Upper School. “I just knew I wanted to be like them, so I tried to follow their path and do everything right,” she said.

Having played golf on and off for three years, Guico joined Oak Hall’s varsity girls golf team in sixth grade. As a senior, Guico is now the co-captain. She has enjoyed watching her teammates grow throughout her seven years in the program. “It’s really nice to see how we just kind of matured over the last couple [of] years,” Guico noted. 

Since freshman year, Guico has been a representative of Oak Hall’s Honor Council (the group elected by their peers that represents the voice of the community when it comes to issues of academic integrity). “I got to see what hearings were like [freshman year] and help enforce and instill the Honor Code throughout the student body,” Guico stated. She was elected the sophomore class representative and Vice Chair in her junior year. As a senior, Guico is now the Honor Council Chair. “I was inspired by past seniors [and] past upperclassmen to run for Chair, so I did because I think there’s a lot of cool things you can do with that,” Guico mentioned. 

She hopes younger students of OHS look up to her as she did to upperclassmen when she was younger and wants to ensure they feel welcomed and part of the OHS community. In addition, she wants them to pursue their passions while finding a healthy balance between activities and schoolwork. “While there are so many things you can pursue here, it’s so difficult to really find that perfect happy medium in everything,” Guico said. 

* A “lifer” is an OHS student that began their educational adventure in kindergarten or prior, and consecutively stay through graduation.

A to Z with Sofia Guico

A – Advice you’d give your freshman self? Do what you love and pursue all the passions that you have. 
B – Your best ACP moment? The one that I did online. I had to do all that basically by myself. 
C – Career goals? I don’t know. 
D – Favorite dessert? Ice cream. 
E – Most entertaining class? Band, obviously. 
F – Favorite high school moment? Today, being with you. 
G – Goals for your senior year? To sleep a lot more than I have in the past. 
H – Hoping to attend what college? It’s a surprise! 
I – Interesting thing you do outside of arts and athletics? I really like to meditate. 
J – Favorite joke? Knock knock. [Who’s there?] Me! Yeah, that’s pretty much it.
K – Keys to maintaining homework? Lock yourself in your room and don’t let your phone distract you. 
L – Least favorite music style to play? Jazz.
M – Music you listen to? Jazz.
N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix. 
O – What other sport would you like to try? Water Polo. 
P – Preparations for a big match or performance? For a big match, I have to eat Chic-Fil-A. For a big performance, doing my makeup really well. 
Q – Question you’d ask your future self? Did you grow?
R – Most relaxing part of your day? My free period. 
S – What would your senior superlative be? Worst driver! 
T – Favorite TV show? Manifest.
U – Most underrated music genre? Lofi jazz. 
V – Favorite vacation spot? My bed.
W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? To be honorable and to love what you’re doing. 
X – Have you ever had an x-ray? No. 
Y – Your impact to younger athletes and musicians? Try to find that really good balance.
Z – What is your zodiac sign? Virgo. 

Student Spotlight: Lavinia Petrella

Italian foreign exchange student fulfills life-long dream of studying in the states

By Lauren Cohen

When writing a letter to one of her closest friends in school, Oak Hall senior Lavinia Petrella from Milan, Italy shared her dreams of attending her fourth year of high school in America. Petrella learned of study abroad programs early in her life from her parents and their colleagues and knew from a young age that she would one day make it her reality.

With much research and consideration, Petrella knew she wanted to pursue her education at Oak Hall. “I thought it was the perfect place to have an experience like this,” she said. The senior was particularly excited about getting involved with the infamous Latin program at the school. This isn’t Petrella’s first time learning in America or even Gainesville. She and her family lived in Gator Nation years prior when she was about four years old. Twelve years later, while driving by museums and swimming pools she went to with her family, she is reminiscent of old memories. Petrella attended pre-kindergarten at Westminster Day School, not too far from where her parents were working at the University of Florida. As a student abroad this year, Petrella is living with fellow Oak Hall senior Reece Olinger. 

As the excitement for her senior year grows, Petrella noticed how different American high school was from what she expected. “In Milan, the academic system is very different; the schedules are not based on the students but [rather] on the teachers,” she shared. Petrella had class with the same 30 students year after year, and the primary changes revolved around the rotation of teachers. At the start of high school, students got to choose a classical, scientific, or more artistic academic route. Once chosen, students focused on the study of those particular disciplines. Petrella shared that she prefers that system but doesn’t necessarily miss it. “I’m experiencing something new that I’m finding out that I like.” She shared that she didn’t fully know what she was getting herself into by starting her last year of high school in a foreign country. “I did not expect it to be like this, but I really like it,” she mentioned. “I’ve been talking about this since I was in seventh grade.”

OHS senior, Italian foreign exchange student, Lavinia Petrella

Petrella will likely be back in Milan next year to finish her final credits for graduation. Many universities in Italy do not accept one year of study abroad despite receiving an American diploma. “I would just go back to Italy, finish my fifth year of high school, graduate, and then have two diplomas,” she shared. Petrella noted a significant difference between the European and American college systems; most European universities do not have undergraduate programs. “I would really like to study medicine but to enter the medicine course in Italy, you have to pass a test which has more or less a three percent acceptance rate so it’s really tough [and] competitive,” she said. Vita-Salute San Raffaele and Humanitas University are just two of the many schools that Petrella is interested in. With an interest in pursuing medicine, Petrella is attracted to universities that work in conjunction with hospitals, as those programs would provide remarkable work experience. When not studying, Petrella enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading crime books, playing sports, and biking. “I just walk around Milan because it’s always beautiful and you can always find something new that you did not know of,” she added. 

One thing Petrella particularly misses about living in Milan was how accessible everything was by foot. “I live in the center so it takes me like five minutes to go to the park or 12 minutes of walking to go to school, it’s really cool,” she commented. “[In] some aspects, I prefer city life.” While she shared that she is excited to go back and see her family and friends next year, Petrella also hopes this year goes as slowly as possible. “I want to experience everything and I don’t want it to go fast.”

Student Spotlight: Jennifer Berthy

By Tori Kitchens

Oak Hall Arts Conservatory Program (ACP) member and student-athlete, Jennifer Berthy is doing everything she can to enjoy her senior year after joining the Oak Hall community five years ago. She is the president of the Oak Hall Thespian troupe, Dance Marathon President, and the captain of the girl’s swimming, soccer, and lacrosse teams. To Berthy, being a student-athlete means her focus needs to be prioritized on her academics before participating in athletics. In addition, Berthy is a part of the ACP Theater program at Oak Hall, and she has been dedicated to the program for the past five years.

After moving to Clearwater when she was eight, Berthy joined a few athletic clubs which included swimming. When she transferred to Oak Hall, the three-sport athlete found that she was a talented competitor in swimming and became a leader on the team. In her freshman year, Berthy was given the chance to officially become a leader on her team by taking on the role of captain, which she has proudly served as for all four years. Berthy explained that having older girls on the team look up to her was a different, but enjoyable, experience.

For Berthy, joining soccer was not something she expected to do. Wanting to stay active during swimming’s offseason, she chose to spend the winter playing soccer alongside her friends. “I played soccer when I was in fifth through seventh grade. In sixth and seventh grade, I played on both [junior varsity] and varsity because varsity needed more girls in some of their games,” she explained. 

While living in Clearwater, Berthy also joined a club lacrosse team after being introduced to the sport by her middle school best friend. From 2016-2018 joined the varsity squad in her eighth-grade year, after some convincing from then-girls lacrosse coach Deanna Majeski. In contrast to her role on the swim team, “I was the youngest one there, and it was different than swimming because I wasn’t as good as the older girls,” she said. 

Jen Berthy (R) and Peyton Nembhard swing Carson Holley in “Matilda”

After doing theater for the first time in eighth grade, Berthy decided to enter high school theater by auditioning for ACP. Shocked that she had been accepted, Berthy was prepared to work hard. “I like the idea that we were tight, and it was a small community, and we were able to work well together,” she mentioned. In her time at OHS, Berthy has played the roles of a reporter and the dad in James and the Giant Peach and a Big Kid and Rudolpho in Matilda. The actress is most excited about playing the Cowardly Lion in this year’s fall production of The Wizard of Oz

As a senior, Berthy has set many goals for herself including a district championship in lacrosse and acceptance to the University of Florida, where she intends to pursue a degree in the sports industry or forensics. Berthy wants to leave behind a legacy of being a valuable supporter and role model for the younger members of the programs she is involved in. 

A-Z with Jennifer

A – Advice you’d give to your freshman-self? Don’t feel like you have to do everything.
B – Best pre-game or meet meal? Yogurt.
C – Career goals? To do something in sports. 
D – Favorite dessert? Key lime pie. 
E – Most entertaining class? My English class with Campbell last year.
F – Favorite high school moment? Our 9th grade field trip.
G – Goals for your senior year? To win districts for lacrosse. 
H – What college are you hoping to attend? UF.
I – Interesting thing you do outside of the arts and athletics? Read. 
J – Favorite joke? The one about waves waving to waves. 
K – Keys to maintaining homework? Make sure you have a schedule, and do it a couple days beforehand. 
L – Least favorite practice drill? Envelopes.
M – Music you listen to? Country, theater, and 90’s bands.
N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix.
O – What other sport would you like to try? Cheerleading. 
P – Preparations for a big game, meet, or performance? Sleeping, drinking orange juice, and having some fruit. 
Q – Question you would ask your future self? What do I end up majoring in?
R – Most relaxing part of your day? Sleeping. 
S – What would your senior superlative be? Most rounded, well-rounded student. 
T – Favorite TV show? “Vampire Diaries”. 
U – Most underrated musical? “Mean Girls”. 
V – Favorite vacation spot? The beach. 
W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? Always supporting your classmates and teammates.
X – Have you ever had an x-ray? Nope!
Y – What would you like your impact to younger athletes and thespians? For them to think of me as a role model and know that they can always come to me no matter what.
Z – What is your zodiac sign? Libra.