LAUREL HILL — Chloe Collinsworth is University of West Florida bound.
The 17-year-old, who is finishing dual enrollment with Northwest Florida State College, has an unweighed grade point average of 4.3, and earned a Florida Bright Futures and a Nautilus scholarship to UWF.
"Tuition is covered; now my responsibility is room/board and books," Collinsworth said.
She plans to earn a degree in biology and eventually pursue a career as a cardiologist or a cardiothoracic surgeon.
But she knows that her big dreams require her to leave her small town.
"There is going to be a lot of things I am going to miss," she said of the school she's attended since sixth grade. "I will definitely miss the close-knit environment ... everybody knows who you are."
Outside the classroom, Collinsworth helps her mother, Christi, with Relay for Life events. Last October, they helped organize a "Barbells for Boobs" fundraiser that provided mammograms for needy residents.
Lena Steele, who watched Collinsworth grow and mature in the school's student council and the Leadership and Beta Clubs, praised her public speaking skills.
"I always went to Chloe, because I know I can depend on her," she said. "(Chloe) has a maturity above her age level."
Steele encouraged her to come out of her comfort zone, when it came to speaking at the school's honors and homecoming events.
"If it wasn't for her telling me to go for it, I might have not done it," Chloe said. "I appreciate her and what she has done for me."
Principal Lee Martello said Collinsworth will represent her alma mater well, whatever lies ahead.
"She is a born leader, a scholar and a gracious person," Martello said in an email. "She is the kind of person who inspires others to excel."