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Two Boca Raton teens were among 24 high school students who were selected to the 27th annual Florida Dairy Farmers Academic All-State Team.
Julia Horn, a Spanish River High School graduate and Zach John, a Florida Atlantic University High School graduate, showed they could excel in both the classroom and on the track. They both received a $1,700 scholarship and a commemorative medallion.
In addition to making the All-State team, Michael Sweeney (Maclay High School, Tallahassee) and Caroline Orcutt (Fort Walton Beach High School) were named the 2021 FHSAA Ronald N. Davis Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Sweeney and Orcutt both maintained impressive GPAs while participating in multiple sports. They received a commemorative trophy and an additional $4,600 in scholarship funds — $6,300 in total.
Horn is an Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction and earned varsity letters in three sports (cross country, track and field and weightlifting). She holds the school record in the pole vault and shuttle hurdle relay.
The 18-year-old Horn plans to study engineering at Cornell University. She said she may look to be a team manager or join a club team. Her father Doug is the head varsity cross country and track coach and Julia also served as editor-in-chief of The Galleon and is a member of the National Business Honor Society and DECA.
“It’s a big deal and it definitely mean means a lot,” said Horn, who has also logged over 500 hours of community service. “I have worked really hard academically and then also athletically and it is nice to be rewarded for that.”
She ran 22:38 in the 5K and pole vaulted 8 feet in track.
“Academics has always been my top priority,” said Horn, who owned a 4.0 GPA and ranked first in her class of over 500 students. “Even though athletics has been a big part of high school for me, academics is what got me into college and far more important in my future.”
Horn said the fact that two of the 24 student-athletes came from Boca Raton was impressive.
“I think that is really telling of the academics in our area,” she said. “I think that is really cool. It goes to show that running and academics kind of go together. You have to be a disciplined athlete to run and be a disciplined person to be really successful.
“It was important to me to manage the hard classes that I had with some sort of outlet,” Horn said. “Running provided that for me and you have to work that much harder when you have something after school and on the weekends.”
John, 18, of Boynton Beach, took high school classes for four years and took three years of college work. He plans to transfer his class credits to Georgetown University.
John owned a 3.94 GPA and is in the top of his class. The National Merit Finalist earned varsity letters in cross country and track and field all four years of high school. He is a student ambassador and was a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He also earned over 500 community service hours volunteering.
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“It is really surreal to be honest,” he said. “I wanted to be the best athlete and leader for my teammates for the past few years. To be recognized for something like this is…I am really thankful for everyone who helped me along the way.
“I put in a lot of hours and practices, early morning training and late-night studying,” John said.
He was a top-three finalist for the main scholarship.
John, who ran a 17:10 for cross country and a 2:00 for the 800-meters in track, also thought it was nice to have two of the 24 finalists from Boca Raton schools.
“I think it is awesome that we are putting Boca on the map,” he said. “We have some awesome student-athletes down here and we get overlooked at times. To be able to represent Boca Raton is great. It’s nice for Julia too because I see her and we run at meets. I know she is also an exceptional individual.”
The only other Palm Beach County athlete to receive a scholarship was Jupiter High School’s Ethan Lantzy, a cross-county and track-and-field athlete for the Warriors who had a 4.0 GPA and was sixth in his class at Jupiter. Lantzy was also a member of multiple honor societies and volunteered at several different organizations and plans on studying environmental science.