The Keys Weekly is pleased to honor the following senior graduates of Key West High School. They represent the full spectrum of students — not just the standout athletes and scholars — but the other types of students who make this such a spirited and well-rounded class. The students were chosen by the faculty at KWHS with best wishes; the Weekly also offers its congratulations to the Class of 2018.
Avery Zuelch is heading to University of California Los Angeles and says not having close-knit relationships with her teachers will take some time getting used to. “I have made great connections with my teachers and they have helped me so much along the way,” she said. “I do look forward to exploring the west coast.” Her plans include biology, biomedical research and eventually being a trauma surgeon. She says she will be miss Key West High School baseball games the most.
Camden Switzer is heading to Brown University to major in biochemistry and then head to medical school. She said it was a huge relief when her acceptance came in, but will miss her best friends who are staying in Florida as well as the ability to go out on the boat whenever she wants while at college. Her advice to underclassmen: “have fun, but prioritize your goals,” she said. “Do things with confidence, but not arrogance.”
Graduate Kalli Melilli spent her years at Key West High School playing lacrosse and marching in band. She’s heading off to University of Florida and will miss the friends she made, but is looking forward to new experiences and meeting new people. “I started bugging this girl in first period freshmen year, and now will be rooming with that same girl in college four years later,” she said. “I’ll miss hanging out with my childhood friends on this beautiful island the most.”
Before transferring to a university, Dylan Spencer will be attending Florida Keys Community College. He hopes to study in the field of sports medicine, since he is passionate about sports. As a member of the wakeboard club, lacrosse team, and cross country, he said he is looking forward to traveling since he visited Cuba. “No matter how big your dream is, if you work hard, you can achieve it,” he said.
Robert Feldman lit up the stage while at Key West High School and will be studying business in Gainesville. “Performing is a passion of mine,” he said and urges underclassmen to try things out of their comfort zone. “You’ll never find your passion if you are too afraid to try it.”
Gracie Meyer spent her high school career involved with marching band and drama club, with her favorite memory being the drum major. She couldn’t be in a better place to pursue her passion in music and plans on staying in Key West and attend Arizona State University via online classes. She will miss the accessibility to the opportunities she was afforded at Key West High School and her biggest piece of advice to underclassmen is “don’t quit band.”
One of the most involved students at Key West High School, Gabriela Sonzogni, said she is proud of all the clubs she was involved in that helped shape who she is. “Join the club and don’t procrastinate,” she wanted to let underclassmen know. She heads off to University of Central Florida to study business administration.
Mairelys Cabrera will be attending Florida Keys Community College to pursue a career in business. She loved the culinary arts program at Key West High School and is looking forward to more learning experiences in a different environment.
Joey Eppy will miss being on the ocean the most when he leaves for University of Central Florida to study mechanical engineering. “I love fishing and spearfishing, so the transition will be tough,” he said. “But, I am looking forward to living on my own and taking the next step towards becoming an adult. He said his biggest advice for underclassmen is for them to create their own opportunities. “Don’t wait for things to just come to you,” he said. “Make them happen.”
Finnian Valle is heading to the United States Military Academy at West Point and wants to pursue international relations. He thanked Coach Wise for the inspirational pep talks during swim team and will miss Kim’s Kuban while at school. “Keep your head up,” he said regarding swim team, and said he is proud to leaving knowing they beat Marathon for the last time at home while playing soccer.
Kieran Wevers will be heading to Gainesville to pursue writing and poetry. His favorite memories revolve around the high school newspaper, “The Snapper,” and filming videos with his friends in the TV production class. “I am looking forward to living on my own and dedicating time to my art,” he said. “I am grateful for the teachers who helped guide me to my passion.”
RaeAnn Valdes said she will miss the pep rallies and cheering for the Key West High School Conchs. “Live in the moment, because it all goes by so fast,” she said. Valdes heads off to Tallahassee to pursue nursing and will miss the spirited community she’s leaving.