Top Senior Gavin Dunsby

Meet 13 Tallahassee Magazine scholars on a mission to make a difference

Photo by Saige Roberts

They’re eager to explore the world. Most of all, they’re determined to change it.

Tallahassee Magazine’s Top Seniors for 2020 aspire to careers in law, writing, teaching, science, health care, pharmacy, therapy, diplomacy, urban planning, military service, environmentalism and veterinary medicine.

Florida High’s Nicholas Kraemer says he wants to start by learning more about the world. “I want to find solutions to complex problems and expand the extent of human scientific knowledge,” he said.

Some plan to champion women’s issues or to use an advanced degree, including in law, to help protect the most vulnerable. In response to a question about the person who inspires them the most, two named Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan.

All became our Top Seniors based on nominations from 13 high schools in Tallahassee and Thomasville, Georgia. We asked a guidance counselor from each of those high schools to send us the name of a graduating senior of good character who was well rounded in academics and extracurricular activities — and who was going places, as we put it.

We then asked each Top Senior to complete a questionnaire that asked general questions including: post-graduation plans, serious questions including a local, national or global problem they’d like to solve; and light-hearted questions, including what they considered their spirit animal.

“Sometimes I’m like a bottlenose dolphin, analytical and caring, but other days I’m like a black tip shark, a little bit feisty and willing to fight till the end,” wrote Leon High’s Lily Rogers.

You’ll find some of the Top Seniors’ responses, edited for length and clarity, on the following pages, and you’ll find their full responses at

Some of our favorite responses came from our question about whether the students saw the world as a glass half empty or half full. Our group of thinkers and scientists taught us a thing or two. Wrote Madeleine Roberts of Maclay School, who listed professor as her dream job: “Technically, the glass is completely full; let’s not forget the nitrogen, oxygen and other miscellaneous gas molecules bouncing around.”

Gavin Dunsby – SAIL High School

Post-graduation plans: To major in history and then attend law school.

Dream job: A lawyer specializing in corporate and/or copyright infringement law. 

Favorite high school memory: Receiving an award from my geometry teacher in the 10th grade. The award was in recognition for how I would always stay after class for tutoring and to do homework. The award helped give me the confidence to pursue higher levels of math and reminded me that even if I struggle with a subject, I can master it if I work hard enough. 

One problem he’d like to solve: Global warming. The scientific evidence shows that if this issue is not addressed, it will have adverse effects on our food supply, give insects like ticks and mosquitoes more time to spread diseases and potentially wipe out millions of plants and animals that cannot adapt to such a rapid change in environment. 

One person, dead or alive, to have dinner with: Ulysses S. Grant. 

A performer he’d like to see in concert: Weird Al Yankovic. 

Who inspires him the most: My grandfather, Walter Dunsby.

Favorite Tallahassee characteristic: How politically active many of the residents are.

Categories: Top Seniors 2020