Top Senior Lily Rogers

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

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.”

Lily Rogers – Leon High School

Post-graduation plans: To major in biochemistry with a focus on marine and ecological sciences. 

Dream job: In a perfect world, I would be a mix of a field marine biologist, conservationist and environmental policy maker. 

Favorite high school memory: Sitting on the infamous hill of Leon High during my freshman year, playing music with my friends and just enjoying lunch. Those lunches were some of the best times because that was before we were all stressed out by the future. 

Where she sees herself in 10 years: Hopefully working at a job where I can work to help the environment and marine life. Definitely living somewhere near the water. I also see myself a lot wiser. Hopefully my 20s will teach me a lot more about the world and I will have traveled a lot. 

One person, dead or alive, to have dinner with: Carl Hiaasen, my favorite author. I love his books because he shows the truth behind the politics of Florida and the issues on the way people treat our environment. Also, I am a sucker for his tragic heroes. 

Favorite Tallahassee characteristic: Without a doubt, the canopy roads.

Categories: Top Seniors 2020