Palmetto High School senior Tiffany Batten has accumulated more than 500 community service volunteer hours. She earned many of those hours by tutoring. “I have tutored for free,” Batten says.
“I’ve helped at Pinecrest Elementary and I would go to the school every Friday and help conduct experiments.”
Batten is involved in the Uber Six program, which calls on students who received sixes in FCAT Writes to help tutor students who can’t write properly.
“We did it at the end of last year,” She says.
Batten is also the photo editor and a staff writer on the school paper.
“I’m the second-year photo editor, meaning that I’ve done it for two years,” Batten says. “I write a story every issue.”
She is familiar with working on school publications since she worked on the yearbook staff in middle school. She joined the paper after taking a photography class when she was in the 10th grade. Her photography teacher urged her to join the paper because of her photographic talent.
“I wasn’t just good as a photographer, they named me editor,” she says. “They see potential in me. It was the best decision I ever made. I don’t have to write, I choose to write. I’m so glad my photography teacher kept giving me the application.”
Batten also takes 80 percent of the photographs for the newspaper. And, although working on the paper takes a lot of time, she has learned to prioritize and use time management. That enables her to play on the school volleyball team where she is an outside hitter and one of the team captains. “I leave home in the dark every day and I get home in the dark,” she says.
“I live in the Redland, which is why I leave so early.”
The Palmetto volleyball team was good enough to make it to the state championship tournament, before losing in the first round. Along with playing for the Palmetto team, Batten also played for South Florida Volleyball Club.
“I play on club teams from January to May,” she says, “Volleyball is a year-round sport and you play on different teams.”
Still, Batten has found the time to be a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the English National Honor Society and Student Council. She was appointed Student Council Treasurer this year. Last year she was on the Student Council cabinet as the secretary of planning.
Along with finishing her senior volleyball season comes the end of college application season. Batten says she is only applying to attend a couple of schools. Her priority is to get into the University of Florida because she wants to attend veterinary school.
“I’ve always been a UF fan,” she says.
“They have everything I’m looking for. My sister went there and so did my grandparents.”
Because she is interested in being a veterinarian, over the summer she worked at the Knowles Animal Clinic.
“I didn’t just clean cages, I watched surgeries and learned how to take blood samples,” she says. “When applying to vet school, you have to have accumulated 500 service hours before you can even apply.”
Batten says she viewed actual animal surgeries to see if she could handle them. She admits that she fainted during the first surgery, but returned and witnessed another an hour later. After working at the vet’s office, Batten says she is even more determined to become a veterinarian than she was before the summer on-the-job experience.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld