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The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

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Dayana Dominguez is off to Amherst

Dayana Dominguez matches to Amherst University through the QuestBridge foundation to study Neuroscience
Photo Cecilia Cheng
Dayana Dominguez (’24) after matching to Amherst University through the QuestBridge Foundation.

After years of hard work and determination, Robinson’s very own Dayana Dominguez (’24) received admission to Amherst University through the Questbridge Scholarship, a program that works to match underserved students with some of the nation’s best universities. 

Matching to a University through QuestBridge is an extremely competitive process. Roughly 30% of students who apply to the scholarship foundation become finalists, and only a small fraction of those finalists are able to match – students are asked to rank universities, and vice versa; if the rankings match, then the student is accepted – with a university. 

“The process is quite extensive and very rigorous,” said Marjan Deboskey, Dominguez’s Guidance Counselor. “She’s actually the first student that I have had, during my time with Hillsborough County, that has matched.”

Balancing the considerably large application along with schoolwork and extracurricular activities required something a bit more than hard work: sacrifice. 

“To get to this point, I had to prioritize school above everything else, that meant sacrificing several hours of sleep and doing some mental gymnastics to push through the difficult parts,” Dominguez said. “The amount of things on my plate has been the hardest part, I have had to work a lot on my time management.”

On top of her extreme academic workload, Dominguez is president and section leader of Orchestra, finance committee head in SGA, enjoys competing in Latin competitions and has responsibilities at home. 

“Outside of academics, I have always had a love for music. Orchestra has been my main focus since middle school, from concerts at school to all county and all state auditions,” Dominguez said. “I love competing at Latin regionals, states and nationals. I also have to mention the full-time job of being an older sister to a wild four-year-old at home.”

However, this difficult journey was not one that she completed alone. With such a strong support system, Dominguez was able to push herself to such an elite level. 

“Everyone who has supported me has played a huge role in getting me to this point. My teachers have answered all of my questions and prepared me for exams. My parents were always there with words of encouragement when I felt like giving up. My friends were the support and escape I needed many times,” Dominguez said. “I can’t thank everyone enough for being there for me throughout all of it.”

Her longtime friend, Allan Lewis (’24), remembers a time when Dominguez, through sheer hard work and determination, was able to persevere. 

“There isn’t a specific story [of her hard work] because she works especially hard all the time, but if I had to choose it would be her junior year when she took AP Statistics,” Lewis said. “Don’t get me wrong she’s great at math but AP Statistics is weird because it’s hypothetical and she was confused. But she put serious time into studying and trying to get down the concepts. When normal people would give up, she didn’t even consider that an option and she persevered and passed the class.”

Her friends aren’t the only ones who have noticed her outstanding work ethic: teachers and advisors see her bring this mentality into her work every day. 

“She’s crazy hardworking, ridiculously responsible. She’s really good at setting goals and following through. She seems to never get phased by stuff,” said Allison Howard, the Orchestra Teacher. “I know there are times when she must be completely overwhelmed, but she never shows it. She just does her job and pushes through, and that’s going to make her successful.”

For her future, Dominguez hopes to enter the medical field and become a Neurosurgeon. 

“After Amherst, I’ll go to medical school and hopefully match into a great neurosurgery program afterward,” she said. “I plan to keep my work ethic to achieve this, as well as my determination.”

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About the Contributors
Vikram Sambasivan, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Vikram Sambasivan is a senior at Robinson and the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Knight Writers. This is his third year on staff and his third year as an editor. A passionate storyteller, Sambasivan's writing varies across a variety of sections, but he finds his comfort most in news stories, where he delves mostly into current events. "My favorite is perhaps news writing. Some may say it’s plain, and a bit boring, but I find the simplicity to be elegant and a reprieve from the frilly writing that is sometimes preferred in a typical high school English class," Sambasivan said. Outside of the journalism room, you can see Sambasivan serving as the president of Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society, rowing down the Hillsborough River for Team Tampa or even conducting research at the Clean Energy Research Center at the University of South Florida. Despite his demanding schedule, Sambasivan likes to wind down and relax by indulging in a number of movies or TV shows. "Rowing is probably tied with tennis as my favorite activity (although it’s not as fun to watch).  The feeling of the cool morning breeze on your face while rowing in the calm, quiet waters isn’t something I’ll soon forget," Sambasivan said. "Watching TV and movies are some of the other things I enjoy. My favorite show changes every day depending on how I’m feeling. Most movies that I watch speak to a different part of me, so I don’t think I could choose a favorite." Sambasivan has set multiple goals for this year's staff. He is looking forward to being in charge and being able to recreate the fun experience of journalism for new staff members. His biggest goal, though, is to be able to help everyone reach their greatest potential by making them stronger writers. "I would like to make them better than me. That’s the hallmark of a good teacher: having your students exceed you. If I can create an environment where people are excited to come in and produce content every day, where they are excited to learn, then I will be happy," Sambasivan added. Although his future is unclear at the moment, Sambasivan hopes to be able to combine his love for STEM and journalism in his future career. "I’m a little sad to be leaving high school. I’ll miss the friends and connections which I have made once I go to college, but this year, for me, is mainly about the future," Sambasivan said. (Profile by Cecilia Cheng)
Cecilia Cheng, Print Managing Editor
Cecilia Cheng is a senior at Robinson and the Print Managing Editor of Knight Writers. This is her third year on staff and her third year as an editor. A self-proclaimed "Swiftie," Cheng is constantly listening to some form of pop music, but her current favorites include Taylor Swift, Clairo and Pheobe Bridgers. When she's not listening to music, Cheng can be found taking photos, hanging out with friends, thrifting or catching up on her favorite TV shows. As of right now, her absolute favorite show is "Heartstopper," but it fluctuates frequently. This love of TV and movies is reflected in her large discography of reviews on the Knight Writers website and former position as the A&E editor for two years. Cheng makes it clear that A&E is her favorite section. Although she is a big fan of A&E, Cheng enjoys writing articles regardless of their section. "My favorite thing about journalism is the storytelling aspect of it," Cheng said. "I love how I’m able to express my opinion and give people that are underrepresented a voice as well." Outside of journalism, Cheng is involved in many other aspects of the Robinson community, holding positions as the Secretary of Women in STEM and the Social Media Manager of Mu Alpha Theta. Despite her connections to the school, Cheng is excited to graduate and see what awaits her. She hopes to head to her top college, Northeastern, where she plans to major in Biology. However, she isn't prepared to forget her time as a Knight Writer and plans to pursue her journalistic interests as well. "Right now, I’m looking to go to college and major in Biology, to go the pre-med track. I haven’t decided where I want to go yet, but I really hope I get into Northeastern. Also, if it’s possible, I want to double major in Journalism or I would join my college’s newspaper." (Profile by Charlotte Stone)
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