Three Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School seniors are winners of The Ledger’s 2020 Silver Garland Awards. Carina Torre, Ashfaq Reza Arian, and Chloe Prewitt received recognition in the categories of Communication, Science, and Performing Arts, respectively.
The Ledger awards 11 Silver Garland winners each year who exemplify leadership and service to the community.
“To have three winners is a first in history for our school,” Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School Principal Rick Jeffries said. “It is hard to even win one each year so I am beyond thrilled to be celebrating three of our students as Silver Garland winners out of all schools in Polk County, public and private.”
Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School’s culture is focused on servant leadership.
Torre founded the coding club at Oscar J. Pope Elementary School – a school that Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School has “adopted” with students volunteering in a number of initiatives in partnership with Oscar J. Pope Elementary.
“We’re helping young students to recognize their potential and the opportunities that are out there, whether those opportunities already exist or will exist in the future as STEM grows,” Torre said in an interview with Polk State News in 2019. “At the same time, it’s giving us the opportunity to learn how to teach, communicate, and get more in-depth with the critical thinking that comes along with using technology.”
The Ledger noted Torre’s passion for promoting women in the role of science and engineering programs, as well as her ability to bridge the gap between youth and seniors, with her community service beyond Polk State, helping seniors learn how to use computers and technology.
Prewitt’s volunteering with Oscar J. Pope Elementary was also highlighted. In addition to her extensive work with Lakeland Community Theatre, Prewitt leads the “Girl Power” project at Oscar J. Pope Elementary. The project provides weekly mentoring for young girls.
The Ledger also noted her more than 1,000 hours of community service. Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School’s classes average nearly 30,000 community service hours collectively each year.
Prewitt is also graduating in the top 10 students in her class.
Arian was awarded his Silver Garland in Science due to his work as founder and president of Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School’s Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) chapter. Students have benefited from the creation of the HOSA chapter through field trips to Polk State’s Health Sciences programs and national networking opportunities.
Additionally, Arian has demonstrated great leadership as president of the Student Government Association. He was instrumental in bringing club leaders together to create a “Club Council” and participate in the United Way of Central Florida’s “Day of Caring.” Arian and his peers volunteered during this year’s “Day of Caring” by painting the Talbot House Ministries.
“I am extraordinarily proud of our Silver Garland winners,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “They are shining examples of the community service, leadership, and academic excellence of Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School’s 2020 class.”