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Key West High School Student Taurean Perkins Announced as Sunshine State Scholar



KEY WEST, Fla. – Taurean Perkins is Monroe County School District’s Sunshine State Scholar nominee.

The three MCSD high schools nominate a student every year to participate at the state level in the Sunshine State Scholar “think tank” to discuss tough Florida challenges. The program takes place every summer. Students from school districts across the state will meet in Orlando this year, to discuss tough challenges facing Florida, and ways they believe STEM can help solve the problem.


Taurean, or T.K. as he is known on campus, is a junior at Key West High School. Born and raised on the island, he’s seen the changes and growth in tourism and the population during his lifetime alone. T.K. said as a civil engineer, he hopes to assist in enhancing the public transportation network. “This is one of America’s greatest challenges. For the most part, our automobiles are effective at getting us from point A to point B. However, there are many issues that make our roads and transit systems quite unsatisfactory.”


T.K. said he plans to attend a university to study structural and mechanical engineering. He has already had hands-on experience in his area of interest. In his nomination, he described the privilege of having the opportunity to shadow an electrical engineer at Opal, a German automobile company.


Aside from his strong participation in STEM, T.K. is also an athlete, a leader, a committed community server, and an artist. College Adviser to T.K. and Key West High School students, Lydia Estenoz said T.K. is an exemplary student, completing more than 600 hours of community service, receiving recognition as an AP scholar, and a competitive athlete participating in track, basketball and football.


Mrs. Estenoz said his innovative ideas, passion for STEM and drive will continue to be cornerstones in his career. “His approach is always based on the reliability of science, but with a push towards testing new ideas that address multiple problems in a single concept. He showcased an example of this when working on an engineering project in Germany for resolving traffic infrastructure and transportation issues. In true T.K. fashion, his solutions involved innovative ways to reduce roadway crashes by using technology to implement computer-driven cars.”


Superintendent Mark Porter said this designation is well-deserved. “T.K. has a proven track record in academic achievement, leadership & service, athletics, and is a critical thinker who has a lot to offer the field of civil engineering. We wish him the best of luck at the summit this summer.”


MCSD officials also extended a congratulations to Bernardo Burga from Coral Shores High School and Helena Hanley from Marathon High School, each school’s Sunshine State Scholar nominees.


T.K. will attend the Sunshine State Scholars program in June in Orlando. Students will gather to be recognized by state education officials and brainstorm some of the tough state STEM issues.