Tomas grew up in a very supportive Colombian family that values education and a healthy life balance between hard work and family/friends.This has served him well as a student, soccer player and volunteer in our community.
Favorite subject? “One of the subjects I’ve realized that I like more than I thought I would is the arts. I came into Tampa Prep focused on academics, but ended up really enjoying my arts classes. When I’m working on crafts and design, I’m able to just dial in on my artwork and it’s such a great way to de-stress from classes and life.”
Favorite teacher? “A teacher that has been really impactful to me is Dr. Gill, my chemistry teacher. His mindset and the way he teaches is so calm. He’s able to break things down to their core principles and make the lessons not so complicated. He also makes you feel that it’s ok to ask questions, even if you’ve asked a million times before. He’s also always available after school and he’s very approachable. He’s just a really good person to talk to, not only as a teacher but as a mentor. He has helped me so much.”
Future aspirations? “I know that whatever I do, I want to do to the best of my ability and enjoy it, surrounded by good people who push me to do better. I really want to create special events and traditions that unify the community so that the next generation will have things to look forward to. Events that will help local organizations through raising awareness and funding and that will also increase Prep Pride.”
What is something that you’re proud of? “One of the things I pride myself on is my community service. I love going out in the community because it helps you become aware of what’s happening locally and what you can do to help. It also gives you character and makes you grateful about where you come from and how fortunate we are. Now, when I see people who need help, I always think about what I can do to help them.
I’ve worked quite a bit with the Children’s Dream Fund, which is similar to Make-a-Wish but much more local. We took a group of young people, with life-threatening issues, to a Rowdies game. They got to walk on the field and meet the players. It was just a really feel-good event that helped raise their spirits. Once a month, I also work at my church to organize food for people in need. I’m also very involved with CASS Key Club at Tampa Prep. I’m the 11th grade rep/officer for the Club, which means that I spread the information out to my grade, to get everybody involved. We work a lot with Cornerstone Ministries, Metropolitan Ministries and Feeding Tampa Bay. We also go to Graham Elementary every Friday to help the elementary children with their homework.
Also, on my soccer team, I’m a captain, which I’m really proud of. Being a leader is an important role and I can help keep my teammates focused.”
Favorite thing about Tampa Prep? “My favorite thing is the bond that I’ve made here with students and with teachers. So many people reached out to me and started talking to me – I just feel like everybody really looks out for each other. There is a real sense of community and I feel looked out for.
I also have to show my gratitude towards the soccer team. After COVID, it was kind of difficult to make new friends. But when you’re on a team and everyone has the same passion and love for a sport, it becomes really easy to make new friendships. I wasn’t really used to having friends who were older than me, but it became like a brotherly bond. We all just pushed each other to be better – It was really inspiring to me. And our soccer coach is just great – he’s one of the reasons I came to Tampa Prep in the first place.
And, honestly, I love everything about our Tampa Prep campus. It’s such a nice environment – I can stay after school to study, it’s so close to downtown – I can go grab a smoothie, I can walk over to the University of Tampa, I can go running or use the athletic field. Everything that I need is right here.”
Tomas is also interested in
Dr. Joseph Gill on Tomas
“Tomas has been an outstanding science student over the past two years. He is always so curious and seeking to truly understand the “why” behind complex phenomena. Tomas is a true leader in class, as well. He really prides himself in being able to help his peers solidify their own conceptual mastery. He has been an absolute pleasure to have in class!”