The Durant High School Paw Print

  • Send us your ideas on Instagram
  • Thank you sponsors for supporting the PawPrint!

Senior Smith Sees Leadership In Her Future

Madison+Smith

Durant Yearbook

Madison Smith

Madison Smith has truly left her mark on the Cougar family.

Smith spoke of the memories she has made at Durant, and how her experience at the school have allowed her to have a one-of-a-kind high school experience. One of her favorite memories, she said, is when she received a Diamond Award for her AP research project on sexual misconduct and rape culture in schools. This was a hard subject to tackle her junior year, and it required a lot of motivation from her peers and teachers. Mary Martin and Holley Kimble, Smith’s AP Research and AP Capstone teachers at Durant, helped Smith focus on such a mature topic and kept her motivated to complete the enormous project. Smith said receiving the Diamond Award for this endeavor was especially powerful because she was presented with the honor by Martin and Kimble. Additionally, as testament to Smith’s hard-working and determined character, she did not just submit her project to her teachers-rather, she created a policy plan that she will present to a state representative and to the school board at a later date.

Smith also holds titles as a nationally ranked creed speaker for Future Farmers of America, a finalist for United States Senate Youth Program, and AP Scholar with Distinction, and was additionally featured as a calendar girl her sophomore year. Smith also received an award for her work with Tampa Bay Beautiful. She was awarded this year’s National English Honors Society scholarship. Smith is also in the top ten of her graduating class.

Smith will be attending the University of Central Florida this fall, and will be majoring in both Political Science and Public Administration with a minor in Women’s and Gender studies. She hopes to maintain a Pre-Law degree track and attend graduate school to become a lawyer.

“Sometimes you make more of a difference behind the scenes.””

— Madison Smith

One of Smith’s favorite quotes from Ruth Bader Ginsburg that she takes to heart is “Fight for the things you care about but do so in a way that will lead others to join you.” This has made Smith have such confidence in her abilities.

When talking to Madison many of her peers have made the comment of her being president someday and that could be so. She mentioned that many times when dealing with politics from talking to senators and presenting her own bills, to holding town halls and working on campaigns, that mid-conversation she has had the thought of “I could literally do a better job than them”. Which has empowered her to try and do so and helped her realize that “sometimes you make more of a difference behind the scenes” which will help her find where she needs to be.

When looking back on her years as a Durant Cougar there are a lot of people to thank. Being extremely thankful towards her teachers who have given her the knowledge she needs to succeed and her parents who have provided for her and of course her friends who have supported her, she has received many blessings that have helped her to senior year. Another person she really thanks is her boyfriend Caleb Stenger, who every time she doubted herself he would act as if it was so foreign and unacceptable that she was unable to accomplish something that enforced her to believe the same which pushed her to her goals. When she was nervous about something, he would act like it was crazy because of the kind of person she was, which helped her realize how capable she is. Most important she shared that he always brought her down to earth and showed her that there can be so much more outside of just school in order to have her achieve in areas other than being a student.

For her following peers at Durant she reminds them to remember the importance of being humble and staying kind. She shares that there will always be someone smarter no matter how hard you push yourself so don’t focus on the competition of things but be proud of your accomplishments you have received.

About the Contributor
Photo of Marina Hawkins
Marina Hawkins, Social Media Coordinator, Photo Editor

Marina Hawkins is a junior at Durant and is the Photo Editor and the Social Media Coordinator for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of the Varsity...

Senior Brianna Hayes is Durant Cadet of the Year

Brianna+Hayes

Brianna Hayes

Durant High School’s Air Force JROTC program has produced some of the top cadets in Hillsborough County. Durant senior Brianna Hayes was named Durant High School’s Cadet of the Year this year and she was also named a top 10 cadet in all of Hillsborough County.

In an interview, Hayes said “I’ve won multiple awards from National awards for JROTC.” Hayes is not only recognized at her school but is recognized around the United States. Hayes said “receiving the top 10 award means I actually did something great throughout high school that people have noticed. It shows me that I pushed myself from freshman year all the way through my senior year helping people and doing what I love.”

Brianna Hayes

Hayes joined JROTC because she wanted to be more confident and wanted the opportunities that the JROTC program offers. When she first joined JROTC, she said “I was really shy and did not talk to anybody, but now I talk to everyone that walks by and I have the respect from other cadets and students to where they come to me if they need anything.”

Hayes is headed to college to do ROTC for the United States Air Force and she is planning to enter the Air Force as an officer. Hayes’ dream is to become President of the United States of America. She credits her leadership skills that she learned from JROTC in helping her set this goal.

About the Writer
Photo of Jordan Dabbour
Jordan Dabbour, Business Manager

Jordan Dabbour is a junior at Durant High School and is Advertising Business Manager for the PawPrint newspaper. He is an avid sports fan, and loves to...

DHS Senior, Denim Hughes, Encourages Underclassmen to Make the Most of Their Durant Years

Throughout Denim Hughes’ high school career, she has worked exceptionally hard to set herself up for success, as well as make a difference in our school and community.

Since the first time she set foot on Durant, she was determined to make the most of her time in high school. To her, Freshmen Council was the perfect opportunity to get involved and make her classmates just as excited as she was for the years to come. As a freshman Hughes joined Student Council, she was Historian freshman and sophomore year, which prepared her for presidency her junior year. Her love for being involved quickly grew as she found herself participating in several other clubs, including President Elect Club, TV Club, and National Honor Society, and serving as president of Rotary Interact Club.

“One piece of advice is to go out of your comfort zone and adventure beyond your bubble. It’s worth it,” Hughes says.”

— Denim Hughes

Hughes also found a love for expressing herself through pageants, her first one ever being the annual Calendar Girl Pageant that she participated in her junior year. From here, she knew that pageants were the perfect way for her to express her messages of confidence and self-expression. Growing up as a Plant City native, the obvious next step for her was to participate in the 2020 Strawberry Festival Pageant. Hughes felt that participating in these pageants was a perfect way for her to meet many new supportive people

“One piece of advice is to go out of your comfort zone and adventure beyond your bubble. It’s worth it,” Hughes says.

After Durant, she plans to double major in Statistics and Marketing, and minor in Psychology at Florida State University. Durant has shaped her into being a person that is hungry for learning and craves an education. “There are so many people at Durant that have made an impact in molding me into who I am today. Mr. Sawyer sticks out in particular because not only did he reinforce the ‘heart over height’ moral into my head, but he also taught me the importance in having genuine love, care, and interest in others,” she says.

As a senior leaving Durant and entering the real world, the idea of being a small fish in the big pond becomes very real again. Hughes leaves off with reminding the incoming freshmen of Durant with a few words of advice: “You are now at your final stages of adolescence. Enjoy the moment and try everything. Just go for it; you never knew you liked McDonald’s until you tried it. Enjoy your last years of freedom before you start paying the bills.”

About the Writer
Photo of Jennifer Dages
Jennifer Dages, Editor-in-Chief of Writing

Jennifer Dages is a senior at Durant High School and is the Editor-in-Chief of Writing for PawPrint newspaper. In her free time, she practices Brazilian...

Personius’ Message to Underclassmen: Be True to Yourself

Alyssa+Personius

Durant Yearbook

Alyssa Personius

Alyssa Personius is among the top ten students of the class of 2020 that has worked exceptionally hard to get her where she is today.

Not only is she academically driven, but she’s also very involved in multiple community-service based clubs. From the time she set foot on Durant, she was instantly captivated by how involved Durant students are in the community, and knew she wanted to be a part of that. The Students All Connected Club (SAC) was one of the first clubs that she became involved in, as it provided her with the opportunity to develop leadership skills that she will be able to utilize in college, as well in a future career.

Through her involvement in several clubs, she found that she was not just becoming involved more in the school, but that she was becoming a part of a family. With the help of many students and teachers, the Durant family was one she was proud to be a part of, and one she will never forget. “A lot of people at Durant have influenced and made a significant impact on me, but a few that stick out in particular are Mrs. Griffith, Mrs. Shaw, Mrs. Scolaro, and Mrs. Fearon,” Personius mentions.

After high school, Alyssa plans to attend the University of Florida where she intends to pursue a career in architecture and design. Her interest in art along with her mother’s occupation as a real estate agent allowed her to develop an interest in studying art and design; she wants to one day design houses herself.

“My favorite memories of Durant are the pep rallies, especially when our class won. I love to think back to our first pep rally we won freshmen year, and singing with the whole school.””

— Alyssa Personius

The spirit of Durant will always come to Alyssa’s mind when she thinks back to her high school years. Compared to other high schools, Durant has a unique family-like environment. From the football games to the theatre plays, each club and student serve an important role in creating Durant’s big family. To Alyssa, pep rallies were among her favorite experiences, because they were the few times a year that the whole school got together and celebrated what it means to be a Durant Cougar. “My favorite memories of Durant are the pep rallies, especially when our class won. I love to think back to our first pep rally we won freshmen year, and singing with the whole school,” Alyssa says.

As senior year wraps up, Alyssa, along with every other senior, prepares for a new life ahead. Being a freshman is not an unfamiliar feeling to seniors, and so Alyssa leaves off with a word of advice to the incoming freshmen at Durant. “The best advice I could give to a freshman is to be unapologetically yourself and to always be outgoing. I feel like as a freshman and sophomore I would hold back a lot and not want to say what I felt, but that doesn’t get you anywhere.”

About the Contributor
Photo of Meghan Dulay
Meghan Dulay, Editor-in-Chief of Design

Meghan Dulay is a senior at Durant High School and she is Editor-in-Chief of Design for the PawPrint newspaper. Meghan is part of many other clubs at Durant,...

Wrestling Is Family For Durant Grad Hendon Haley

Hendon+Haley

Hendon Haley

Hendon Haley is a senior at Durant High School. His passion for wrestling started about 12 years ago when his oldest brother, who was a freshman at Durant at the time, introduced the sport to Haley. Haley, along with his three older brothers, has wrestled ever since.

In the wrestling season of 2019, he was Hillsborough county champion, regional champion, and placed fourth in the state of Florida. Haley is most proud of his success at the state tournaments.

“It’s the biggest thing that I’ve gotten out of all my hard work,” said Haley. “That is something I’ll never forget and something very important to me, it was really everything I wanted.”

This past year, Haley was again a Hillsborough County champion, but he also was district champion, placed third in regionals, and was a state qualifier.

“Something that motivates me would definitely be my brothers because they have always been there for me in the practice room and they’ve done very well themselves in high school,” said Haley.”

— Hendon Haley

“The hardest part about wrestling is that it is an individual sport. It is one hundred percent up to you and how you perform as a wrestler,” said Haley.

Haley has been able to progress over the years and create a positive mindset going into his matches. He strives to be the best he can be and is supported by the motivation from his brothers.

“Something that motivates me would definitely be my brothers because they have always been there for me in the practice room and they’ve done very well themselves in high school,” said Haley.

Haley came into high school naturally motivated to either match or top his brothers in wrestling. He says that it is good to look up to people who are the best at what you do and learn from them. Haley also looks up to Jordan Burroughs, Olympic athlete and four-time world champion freestyle wrestler.

He has wrestled for Durant wrestling since his freshman year and was the captain for the 2019-2020 wrestling season. All four of his brothers were also captain of the Durant team. He takes the role of being a captain seriously and works hard to make sure the team strives for success.

“It’s a very important job and that’s how you build teams, you got to start with good leadership,” said Haley.

Haley has plans to attend Florida college, a Christian college in Temple Terrace. He doesn’t plan on continuing wrestling in college, but he wants a role in the wrestling community as either a coach, referee, or as someone who helps individuals with wrestling techniques.

Haley will miss his wrestling family after high school. He plans to keep in touch with teammates and attend Durant wrestling tournaments.

“We have one of the longest seasons of any other high school sport, so to be together with guys like that every day in the room for so long I’m going to miss that family aspect of just being there and grinding through hard times,” said Haley.

About the Writer
Photo of Adamari Jaimez
Adamari Jaimez, Staff Writer

Adamari Jaimez is a senior at Durant High School. She has been part of journalism since her freshman year, involved in both the yearbook and newspaper...

Sommer Has Big Plans After Graduation

Colby+Sommer

Colby Sommer

Colby Sommer, one of Durant’s senior star lacrosse players originally started out as a baseball player. In fact, Sommer started lacrosse after seeing a series of lacrosse vine videos in middle school. The vine account, “Best Lax Edits,” edited videos of players, and highlighted exciting lacrosse moments during games. Sommer was hooked.

Sommer started playing in seventh grade at Fish Hawk Fields. Since starting the sport, he has made lacrosse a big part of his life by continuing with the sport all throughout high school and even earning a scholarship to play in college.

Sommer received a scholarship to St. Andrews University to play lacrosse. He was offered eighty percent financial coverage, along with an athletic dorm, a job in sports media department, and a food card.

Firefighting is, as Sommer says, his dream job.”

— Colby Sommer

However, Sommer has unfortunately faced some serious hardships that dramatically changed his plans for the fall. This season, Sommer collided with his teammate during one of their away games. While running down the field, he went headfirst into his teammate’s chest. After being rushed to the hospital, Sommer found out there was severe damage to his neck and spine.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Sommer could not stay long at the hospital, so he was sent home earlier than expected. He went home with crutches, and a neck brace to support the injuries from further damage. After many visits to the doctor and surgeries to help with residing injuries, Sommer is now completing physical therapy to help with regain full movement.

Although there has been much progress, Sommer will not be able to play lacrosse for his upcoming college season. Instead, he plans to stay home to recover from his injury while building a videography business. After fully recovering, Sommer wants to go into the fire academy to become a firefighter and attend Hillsborough Community College to continue schooling.

Firefighting is, as Sommer says, his “dream job.” Helping others has always been one of his priorities, especially throughout high school when many people need it most. Although SAU offered Sommer a student coaching position for the team, Sommer has decided to focus on this next path in the fire academy. He says he is “forever grateful for the opportunity” at SAU but is excited about his next steps with the fire academy.

About the Writer
Photo of Marina Hawkins
Marina Hawkins, Social Media Coordinator, Photo Editor

Marina Hawkins is a junior at Durant and is the Photo Editor and the Social Media Coordinator for the PawPrint newspaper. She is also part of the Varsity...

Camryn Drummond Inspires Others

Camryn+Drummond

Camryn Drummond

Camryn Drummond is a senior at Durant who is not afraid to explore new activities. In her years attending Durant, Drummond has joined clubs close to her heart. Outside of school she participates in activities that support causes important to her.

Five years ago, when Drummond’s family lived in Hawaii, she suffered from a lack of self-confidence as a result of being one of two African American students, the other being her younger sister.

After realizing that she was not the only person feeling less than, Drummond founded Sisters Changing the World, an organization to build self-esteem and confidence in girls.

“I realized so many girls were going through the same thing, so why not create an environment where girls can feel like their authentic selves.”

Drummond has grown since starting this organization, stating, “I want people to know that I am constantly chasing happiness and I won’t stop expressing myself and searching for that.”

As a junior, Drummond competed in Miss Teenage Tampa for the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha and won the title. The opportunity was given to Drummond by Assistant Principal Culpepper, who informed Drummond about the competition.

“Growth is a choice.””

— Camryn Drummond

The goal of the pageant is to create a sense of proactivity and success in young African American women by building their self-esteem. The sorority also teaches tools to help these women become positive impacts on the community.

Both activities allow Drummond to spread a message of a positivity among the young women of her community. Helping others recognize their beauty and self-worth is an important part of who Drummond is, as helping others change the way they see themselves is a cause that Drummond deeply cares about.

Beyond sharing that message in her community, Drummond is able to spread that message to young African American students on Durant’s campus as the President of Junior Rattlers. The club is meant to prepare young African American students for the next step in furthering their education or their future. Drummond has been President of the club for two years.

Fellow senior Shamari Buckley is one of many Drummond has inspired during her time as President.

“She drives me to do things I am unsure about. She will tell people to do what they want to do and support them in their endeavors.”

As president of the Junior Rattlers, Drummond played a large role in planning the 2020 Black History Month activities alongside African American Durant faculty members and with help from members of Junior Rattlers and SGA.

Drummond created the event Coliloquy in Color, an event where African American students could perform a song, poem, short story or display artwork. The event was the grand finale to Durant’s Back History Month celebration.

In addition to Junior Rattlers, Drummond has also been a member of National English Honor Society for two years. She joined the club to improve her writing skills, which is one of her favorite hobbies. As a senior she won an honorable mention for her personal memoir “I Am Her.”

She is also a member of the Alpha Cougar Omega Step team; this is her first year on the team. She joined the team to get out of her comfort zone and to have fun.

For her future, Drummond plans to extend her motivational speaking to start her own platform where she can continue to inspire others.

Her advice to her fellow students is, “Do not close yourself off to avoid being hurt, be open to feeling the waves of life to make yourself a better person. Growth is a choice.”

About the Writer
Photo of Angelique Robinson
Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

Emma Poole is in Top Ten

Emma+Poole

Durant Yearbook

Emma Poole

Emma Poole, a senior at Durant High School, is very involved in many activities on and off campus. Poole ranks in the top ten of her class, with an overall GPA of 7.02. Each of Poole’s involvements are near and dear to her heart.

Poole has competed in various pageants during her years at Durant. Poole’s first pageant was when she was in ninth grade, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Sweetheart Pageant, where she won the title First Maid.

“After that, I just took a liking to pageants and decided to continue doing them,” Poole stated.

Unfortunately, Poole was unable to compete in the Calendar Girl Pageant her sophomore year due to her participation in a FFA pig show. However, she didn’t let her commitment to FFA deter her from future pageants. In the 2018 and 2019 Calendar Girl competitions, Poole won the honor of Miss February.

Poole is extremely competitive with Durant’s FFA program. She is the current student President of Durant’s FFA chapter. During competition as a junior, Poole won a Floriculture Award. Also in November of 2019, Poole was honored as the National Champion in Extemporaneous Public Speaking.

Poole is also very involved in her local community.During the summer, Poole is a summer intern at the East Hillsborough Historical Society. Plant City and the surrounding community have a rich history in agriculture and Poole believes that it is very important to educate the community about that history.

“Through the Historical Society, I’ve been able to put photographs in catalogs, bring in new items to the museum, and take people from all over the country on tours to tell them about Plant City and what a wonderful town it is to live in,” Poole said.

Alongside doing her summer internships and Calendar Girl, Poole is also part of the Durant football team. Poole enjoys her position as team water girl.

“Some of my very favorite Durant activities are the football games because of my role as the water girl. We’re one big family on the team,” Poole said.

“We’re one big family on the team.””

— Emma Poole

Poole also participates in Durant’s Got Talent. Poole sings and plays piano in the show. She discussed her love for playing the ukulele and how she is also trying to learn to play the mandolin. She also enjoys volunteering in her spare time. Poole has plans to attend Florida Southern College in Lakeland this fall.

About the Contributor
Photo of Angelique Robinson
Angelique Robinson, Web Editor

Angelique Robinson is a senior at Durant and is Web Editor for the PawPrint newspaper. She loves writing creative pieces, as well as more serious articles...

Brianna Thompson Graduates in Top Ten of 2020 Class

Senior+Brianna+Thompson

Durant Yearbook

Senior Brianna Thompson

Durant senior Brianna Thompson is a hard-working student who earned a spot in the top ten of Durant’s 2020 graduating class.

Thompson’s goal is to pursue medicine in college. “I want to become a pediatrician or pediatric surgeon,” Thompson said.

In order to reach this goal, Thompson took some very difficult classes at Durant, such as AP Physics. Thompson said the class concepts were “challenging,” but she was able to master them with practice. Thompson said she studied every night, kept up with her work and grades, and made sure to be timely with turning in assignments. She said her favorite class was AP Calculus, although she also enjoyed chorus.

In addition to her study routine, Thompson also shared that the support of family was key to her success at Durant. “My mother has helped me and supported me in doing things like dual enrollment and AP classes,” said Thompson. “Even though school was sometimes challenging, my mother kept me upbeat.”

Thompson plans to attend University of South Florida in Tampa this fall, where she hopes to earn a degree in pre-medicine.

About the Contributor
Photo of Nick Travis
Nick Travis, Social Media Coordinator

Nick Travis is a Junior at Durant High School and the Social Media Coordinator for the PawPrint. He has an outgoing and creative personality. When isn't...

Leave a Comment
Navigate Left
  • Reminders Of What To Do And What Not To Do

    Features

    Reminders Of What To Do And What Not To Do

  • “To All The Boys I

    A & E

    “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” Series Comes to an End

  • Bucs Win Super Bowl 55

    Buccaneers

    Bucs Win Super Bowl 55

  • Chris Archer and Rich Hill

    Features

    Tampa Bay Rays Begin Spring Training After Making Big Changes To Their Pitching Staff

  • The would be venue for the 2020-2021 Military Ball (The Wishing Well) will be used for next year

    Coronavirus Updates

    Durant’s First Ever Country Themed Mil Ball Was Cancelled Due To COVID

  • Donald Trump Makes History By Being The First President To Go Through The Impeachment Process Twice

    Features

    Donald Trump Makes History By Being The First President To Go Through The Impeachment Process Twice

  • Durant Hockey Team Sweeps The Competition

    Features

    Durant Hockey Team Sweeps The Competition

  • Valentine

    Features

    Valentine’s Day

  • eLearning B-baller Aiden Jones Returns To School

    Basketball

    eLearning B-baller Aiden Jones Returns To School

  • Newly Popular Netflix Show Cobra Kai Is Kicking The Competition

    Features

    Newly Popular Netflix Show Cobra Kai Is Kicking The Competition

Navigate Right
Activate Search
Connecting you to the Durant beat