Although it’s now wrapping up its second year, the “firsts” keep on rolling in for Cypress Creek Middle/High School (CCMH).

And, the honor of being one of the most significant firsts at the school certainly belongs to Lucas Budd, Cypress Creek’s first-ever class valedictorian, who on Wednesday, June 5 at, 8 p.m. at the University of South Florida Yuengling Center, will give the first-ever valedictorian speech to the first graduating class of 226 students in CCMH history.

“I will have my box of Kleenex ready,” says his proud mother, Brenda.

It was Brenda who first learned that Lucas was the Cypress Creek valedictorian. When she got the call, she couldn’t help but cry. Then she called to share the news with Lucas.

While Lucas knew his grades were going to put him near the top of the senior class, he was surprised by the news, but thrilled that his 4.577 weighted grade-point-average was No. 1 amongst the seniors.

Caitlin Scates was the 2019 class Salutatorian 

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Lucas says. “It’s an honor, and I take a lot of pride in being Cypress Creek’s first valedictorian. I was pretty happy when I found out.”

Lucas has always been a great student, and actually began high school at Wiregrass Ranch High, before the district’s school borders were redrawn and he was zoned for Cypress Creek following his sophomore year.

Lucas never thought about being the valedictorian while he was at Wiregrass Ranch because he says the class ranks weren’t really publicized.

During his first year at Cypress Creek, however, he knew he ranked fairly high.

“I had seen that I was in the, maybe, top 5, but I wasn’t expecting to be valedictorian,” Lucas says. “I had never really thought about it, but of course every student who takes school serious would like to be valedictorian. I guess you could say it’s the ultimate goal.”

That’s why when other students would dodge the tougher classes, Lucas reveled in registering for them. “Everyone is capable of being the valedictorian,” Lucas says. “It’s just a matter of putting in the work. And sometimes, a little extra work.”

Lucas says he is proud of the way he balanced school with volunteering (more than 100 hours at St. Joseph Church) and his duties with club-related service involvement at school, which he says has positively impacted his view of community involvement.

“That was a great experience,” he says. “That’s one of the things I will remember most from high school.” 

Academically, he is most proud of earning his Associate’s degree from Pasco Hernando State College (PHSC) as a dual enrollment student with a 4.0. He also has worked as a tutor at the PHSC Academic Success Center since last September, tutoring in English, Calculus, Biology, Statistics, Psychology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology.

Lucas was awarded the National Hispanic Scholar by the College Board for scoring in the top 2.5 percent of high school juniors of Hispanis descent, and the National Merit Commended Scholar by the College Board for scoring in the top 3 percent of all juniors who took the PSAT as a junior.

Lucas spends his free time fishing in the lakes around the Stagecoach community he lives in, and particularly likes fishing for bass. The largest one he’s caught is 6-8 pounds, and when he’s not fishing, he is shooting hoops on the nearest basketball court.

A National Honor Society member at CCMH, and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at PHSC, Lucas will be attending the University of Florida in Gainesville in fall, where he hopes to study Biochemistry or Biomedical Engineering.

Brenda has taken great delight in listening to Lucas practice his valedictorian speech, which has been polished and is ready to go. She can’t wait until he shares it with the rest of his class.

“It’s inspirational, and it’s positive,” she says. “That’s just who he is.”

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