Class of 2021 | Top Scholars

We are proud to announce the Valedictorian and Salutatorian for the Class of 2021.

Carrollwood Day School is proud to announce the valedictorian and salutatorian for the Class of 2021, the 13th graduating class from CDS. The valedictorian is Ellen J. and the salutatorian is Katherine F. Both Ellen and Katie have distinguished themselves in the classroom and beyond. Recognized by their teachers and peers as highly self-motivated, intellectually curious students, they embody the qualities of well-balanced IB learners.


Valedictorian - Ellen J.

Ellen J. transferred to CDS from a Montessori school after ninth grade. Her amazing spirit and intellectualism exploded on our community from the first day she arrived. Ellen’s transfer to CDS was seamless…her instinctive drive toward perfection in all she engages is noteworthy. Joe Runge, Director of College Counseling extols her character strengths, “Of the thousands of students I have counseled over 33 years, Ellen resides in the top 3-4 individuals with whom I have had the pleasure of working with on a daily basis. Though Ellen is bright, curious, ethical, and committed, I believe it is her intangible character attributes that will carry her far. I cannot fathom a better student to represent CDS as she maneuvers forward.

“Her character and ethos are beyond reproach. Her temperament, understanding of culture, and personality is noteworthy.  I harken back to the college counseling essay-writing process where I implored students to be unique and authentic in their script, as this is an equalizer in the evaluation process. Ellen submitted countless writing samples and essays, none of which I edited. She is one of only 10 students with whom I have worked whose writing samples were flawless. I admire her deeply for her communicative thoughts, originality, creativity, mastery of word choice, and faithfulness to the process.”

Ellen is a violinist in the Tampa Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, a rare accomplishment, which necessitates her being labeled as a national caliber musician. Ellen has also been a stalwart on the CDS Speech and Debate team.  Not to be outdone by her cerebral accomplishments, Ellen has a high degree of humility and is grounded in what is progressive and interactive with all who surround her. She has been an employee of Winn Dixie and has found that experience to be valuable and maturing.

Ellen is the valedictorian of the Class of 2021 and she has earned it with her faithfulness to the academy….every hour, every day, and each year.

Ellen has been accepted to Cornell University, one of only 8 Ivy League schools in the United States and a college that is ranked highly on the World University ranking list.


Salutatorian - Katie F.

Katie F. is CDS’s Salutatorian for the class of 2021 and her intellectual prowess is uncontested. Her innate ability to master content and excel inside the classroom is unprecedented. Katie is an industrious and cogent young woman. Her salutatorian ranking is not without high application and an never ending will to outperform. Her excellence inside and outside the classroom is not without the character attributes of faith, determination, excellence of achievement, and a concern for inquiry and depth of studies.

Katie displays a passion for learning and has her sights set on contributing to the improvement of the human condition. Katie will make a marked improvement for those who may not have had life opportunities that many in the CDS community take for granted.

Katie is also a high-performer on the soccer field. A five-year starter and captain of the CDS Patriots Varsity Soccer Team, Katie was named to the Hillsborough County Senior Soccer All-Star Team.

Katie’s personality is infectious, subtle, and prescient, as her ability to connect with all individuals within the CDS community is paramount. Katie is a one-of-a-kind young woman who can toggle between intellectualism and making connections with all social cohorts. Katie is the true embodiment of a classic CDS IB student.

Katie will be matriculating to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and was admitted to not only the honors program but also to the hyper prestigious PharmD program, which is ranked #1 in the United States.


Thank you to Joe Runge, Director of College Counseling, for contributing to this article and to Joe and his team for helping the Class of 2021 achieve exceptional college acceptance outcomes.