ST. PETERSBURG — Entering The Boca Ciega Fundamental High School as a freshman was not as bad for Nathan Brinkley as he had imagined. He quickly recognized that the large campus and class schedules were similar to his previously attended Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School.
Many of his friends and former classmates also attended the high school located in Gulfport. Coming from the fundamental program where the classes are rigorous and the expectations are high prepared Brinkley for the next level.
Students are given the opportunity to take rigorous courses such as Advance Placement (AP) and Dual Enrollment that prepares them for college, and many students familiar with the fundamental program take advantage of the opportunity.
In his first year, Nathan took regular classes along with one AP course, which was manageable for him and became routine. He rationed that staying ahead of schedule was the best way not to fall behind. The sophomore year for Brinkley became interesting as he took more honor and AP classes in an effort to better his chances of getting into college.
Getting into a college preoccupied his thoughts.
“Now, there was a lot of classwork, homework and more studying to keep the good grades. Throughout my sophomore year, I spent time talking to my guidance counselor about academic progress and classes to take to graduate on time,” said Nathan.
Nathan admits that his junior year of high school was really enjoyable and a preview of his senior year. Most of his required core classes for college were completed so he took computer classes and two college courses were taken through dual enrollment to get a head start on college credits.
He took the ACT and SAT a couple of times for better scores and also hung out with friends more.
“My Senior year has without a doubt been the best year! I’ve had the same group of friends since elementary school, and all the hard work in the previous three years was worth it,” said Brinkley.
With more time available, he participated in track and even took the ACT two more times to get a higher score. His grade point average remained above 3.3 at all times and he received offers from several colleges. Nathan was even accepted by all of his top three choices.
Now that high school is behind him, Nathan believes he is more mature, outgoing, confident and ready to begin his next journey. He plans to attend the University of South Florida in Tampa and major in computer science.
Following graduation, Nathan aspires to work as a computer programmer for Microsoft. He also sees a wife, three kids and living in another state in his crystal ball.
His mom, Vonet Lassiter, is so proud of her baby boy, who is now on the brink of becoming a man.