The Blue and White

Keeping It Cool with Cayla

Keeping It Cool with Cayla, Staff Writer

The Blue and White met with Cayla Pitts, a Senior at Apopka High School. We discussed moments when she overcame setbacks and felt compassion from her friends. Additionally, we spoke about the actions she is taking toward college.

When COVID hit 9th grade, it was a huge setback for everyone. When I was in 8th grade, I was kind of in my shell. When I got to high school, I was kind of coming out of it, but then when COVID hit I had to go back inside of it.

I had to go back into my shell because we left, and I didn't have anyone to talk to anymore. So when I did get to 10th grade, I felt like I couldn't talk to people because I was nervous. When I didn't get that experience my first year, I missed a lot and wasn't able to grow as much as I wanted to. [I learned that] no matter the circumstances, I just had to find a way to talk to people. [I would] just say some random stuff and then they would start talking back until I’d finally be comfortable where I would be able to talk and not have to think about it.

[I recall the moment when I felt thankful in a surprising way.] I had this friend while I was having a really bad day, and he could tell [because] I wasn’t talking at all. I went home, and I ended up getting a call. He was asking me what was wrong, and we had a really good conversation. He told me that I was great, loved, and stuff like that. He made me feel a lot better. I was really happy because I had someone that cared enough to know that I was off and call. It was just nice to know that he was there and I could talk to him. [This gratitude] lets me know that I have people that are there for me, and if I ever feel like I need to talk, I have people.

[After] graduating from middle school and coming into high school, I realized that I had grown up. I had to think about decisions in life, like going to college and where I was going to go. It made me realize that I have to start thinking about my life and what I want to do. It just made a big change in my life because I wasn't ready to make those decisions, but I had to realize that I had to. [To prepare,] I started studying for the ACT and completing my volunteer hours. I got a job and started applying for scholarships in order to pay for college.

I want to attend UCF, FSU, [and] USF. I want to stay in Florida for college. I'll think about moving to another state further in the future. I want to get my bachelors degree in early childhood education to become an elementary


teacher. I love to teach kids and be around them, so I think it will be a great way to do what I love but also get paid.

I am applying for the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship,--full ride--and I have met all the criteria except the

SAT/ACT score, but I am working on it. I got my volunteer hours from Central Florida Zoo. It was a good experience; I got to teach about the animals. It was very fun. I also volunteered at The Lazy H. It is a horse farm, but [it] also has a bunch of other animals like goats, cows, and donkeys. It was also very fun to do, except for having to shovel the horse poop. It did pay off, though, because I did get my 100 hours!!

I have a job at Panda Express. It's okay. The coworkers are amazing people, and it has a family environment. It's really just the customers that make the job hard due to the constant attitudes they have. They have the idea of entitlement and have no manners at all. Even though that is the case, the job does pay well, and I need it right now.

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Keeping It Cool with Cayla