10 Things You Know If You Went To Braden River High School

10 Things You Know If You Went To Braden River High School

Once a Pirate, always a Pirate

1. The dress code is strict

Unlike most public schools, Braden River is known to have a strict dressed code. Some say that it is similar to private schooling. Although that might be an exaggeration, Braden River proves to be one of the strictest schools in the state. From dress codes about rips in jeans to the colors of formal dresses, the Pirates’ dress code has always been a heated debate.

2. Dr. Gilray knew how to run when there is a fight

There weren’t many fights at the River, but, when there was, I amongst other students watched in awe as we witnessed our principal rip off her heels and dart toward the central action in record time. This was routine that was perhaps waited on by many students. Dr. Gilray is a hoot to say the least.

3. Clumpy is the most popular thing on campus

After beating Lakewood Ranch in the Chick- Fil- A fundraiser, Braden River was given their own plush cow. Being salty as we are, we Pirates named the cow ‘Clumpy’ after Lakewood’s mascot. The cow spent nights with members of the Student Government, faculty, and administration. Clumpy even had her own social media account started by student “lover,” the Student Government president.


Yes, this is a rule. Yes, I still feel like a rebel two years later whenever I walk on the grass on my college campus.

5. Lakewood Ranch High School Mustangs are our enemies (in a friendly way (hahaha no))

Where I went to middle school, students were practically split between going to Lakewood Ranch and Braden River. I was zoned for Braden River. However, I did not realize how big the rivalry was until my first football game against Lakewood. During my freshman year in marching band, my school was hosted by Lakewood for Football Friday. I was warned previously that the marching band I was in would leave the field if the booing got too bad. I, mistakenly, could not believe that this would happen. Although we stayed for our whole performance, we were booed. Unfortunately, we were booed the next three years, but, honestly, we were booing right back at them. Friendly competition, right?

6. Cookie Thursdays were the bomb.com

Can we all give a little prayer to the once angelic cookies of Cookie Thursdays? This luscious snack appeared in many of our latter periods of the day. The proceeds went toward the TMH kids! Great cause, right? I'm still not too sure the direct cause of the deletion of Cookie Thursdays, but I will say that they served their purpose so so well.

7. The spirit section is always on fire

For real though. My last few years of high school were devoted on making the spirit section engaging and that happened. Even after I graduated, there were so many improvements. Now, the spirit section is by the marching band. Together, they cheer on the football team while having a spirit rivalry themselves.

8. The Fight Song is like our National Anthem

During a football game, whenever we scored, the band would play the Fight Song while the cheer squad, dance team, and spirit section would recite the lyrics. In that moment, there is honest and pure happiness. This gives all Pirates at the school a sense of pride as it always did for me back then.


Well, maybe not. The Bradenton star and Braden River hometown hero, Sam Woolf made an appearance in American Idol's 13th season, placed fifth. I remember being interrupted in first period AP World History (not complaining TBH) to get out our phones (which we weren't typically allowed to do) in order to vote for Sam. Many students, like myself, watched each week to see how far Sam would advance!

10. We know that once a pirate, always a pirate

Even after two years, I make my way back to the River whenever I can. I am always greeted with open arms.

Attending Braden River for four years definitely had its ups and down. However, I would not be where I am right now if it wasn't for the random rules, suspicious food, and endless memories of being a Pirate.

Cover Image Credit: Bradenton Herald

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An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating On Time

Graduating college in any number of years is an accomplishment to be proud of.

To the person that isn't graduating on time,

It sucks, and I won't lie to you and tell you it doesn't. The day you walk out of Advising, head hanging down because you aren't going to finish in four years, makes you feel ashamed of yourself. You did well in high school; you were always told you were smart, expected to be smart, so why couldn't you make it out in four years like you were supposed to?

You know you're going to have to tell your family, so you begin preparing yourself for the worst reactions possible. And telling your friends you won't be graduating with them will only add to that sense of hopelessness.

Soon, you'll see photos and posts from people you left high school with, talking about graduation and the wonderful lives they are about to begin in their new careers. You'll wonder how they did it, and you'll feel like a failure.

But you're not.

Graduating from college is a huge deal. It really is. And it will be no less of an accomplishment in five, six, or 10 years.

"According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60 percent of students graduate in six years. At public schools, less than a third of students graduate on time."

Things happen. You might change your major. You might have financial troubles. You may take a year off to figure out exactly what you want to do. That's okay. Take all the time you need. The real world and your career will still be there whenever you graduate.

Guess what else. Your family will still love you, and your friends will still support you. Give them some credit. Your loved ones want you to be happy and successful. Don't get me wrong, they may be upset at first, but give them a chance. Odds are, when the emotions settle, they will go right back to asking how classes are going. And when you do get the news that you'll be graduating, they will celebrate with you, and they will be there in the crowd, waiting for you to walk across that stage.

Graduation will happen. If you attend your class and study hard, it will happen. There is no reason to rush. Just do your best. Try your hardest. Take classes when you can. Just by doing that, you're doing more than so many others are able to do.

"Among 18 countries tracked by the OECD, the United States finished last (46 percent) for the percentage of students who completed college once they started it."

You'll get there. Take your time. Enjoy your classes. Find new interests. Study what you love. Embrace opportunities. Study abroad. Take that weird elective class. This is your time to take in everything the world has to offer. Take advantage of that. You'll graduate when you graduate, filled with pride and wisdom. And when they call your name, and you walk across that stage, hold your head up high, because you've earned every bit of your degree.

Graduating from college takes countless hours of studying, long hours in the library, and a tremendous amount of dedication. Don't add pressure to yourself by setting a timer. It is completely okay to graduate when you graduate, and it is still something to be proud of.

Best Wishes,
A woman who is finally graduating

Cover Image Credit: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/120417041415-education-graduation-cap-story-top.jpg

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I Took the MCAT and This is What Happened

The MCAT is one of the hardest things I have ever completed in my life, and I still do not know if I passed.


I started studying for the MCAT during winter break, December 2018, and then I sat for my test on April 13, 2019. Going into my test, I was very nervous. I was scared that I would be late for my test, so I showed up an hour before the doors even opened. I was worried that I would get too hungry during the 8 hour exam, so I brought my whole fridge along with me. Basically, a lot of worrying was going on. However, I began to calm down as all the positive messages from friends and family starting rolling in before I walked into my testing site. Their positive vibes soothed my anxieties, and actually gave me some confidence as I walked into the exam…Then the first section began. The first section one tackles on the MCAT is chemistry and physics (C/P). Though this section had never been my strong suit, I have been able to do okay due to my strengths in chemistry (not so much in physics). Then, the MCAT royally screwed me over by making this section basically all Physics. It wasn't enough that physics passages give me the worse anxiety, but they were so calculation filled that I wasted so much valuable time trying to do math. It got to the point where I just guessed on most of the math questions to get to questions I had a better chance of answer.

I took my ten minute break and felt more exhausted than I ever have in any of the previous practice full lengths I've taken. Thankfully, the next section is CARS, critical analysis and reasoning is my favorite section – and I blew through this with no problems. It was kind of a nice break after the roller-coaster that was the C/P section.

By the end of CARS I was starving and so very thankful for the thirty minute break, but for some reason (because I was scared of running out of time) I went back to start the next section, biology and biochem (B/B), after only 15 minutes. Thankfully! It wasn't the worse decision because the B/B section was not off standard from what I was used to. I actually found many questions to be very straightforward and easy, which is kind of scary.

Finally, my 8 hour exam day was almost over. I just had one more section, and it was the one I was least worried about, Psychology and Sociology (P/S). As a psychology major, I've had to do the least studying for this section, but the MCAT threw things at me that I don't even know how to process. I would read some questions and immediately think of an answer, only for the answer to not be any of the answer choices. I'm really nervous to see how my results turn out for this section next month.

In the end, I put a lot of hard work studying for the MCAT. It is definitely an intimidating task, but it is very much achievable with organization, determination, and large amounts of caffeine. Now starts the dreaded one month wait till I get my results!

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