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Josh Johnson (left) and Mark Gildea (right) are leading the Middleton Tigers
both on the field and in the classroom
Middleton High School seniors Mark Gildea and Joshua Johnson have several things in common. They both enrolled in Middleton's Magnet Engineering program, were named pre-season High School Baseball All-Americans by Louisville Slugger, are high academic achievers, and they just so happen to share the same birthday!
Mark, the school's valedictorian, will be attending Florida State University next year while Josh, who has a 4.9 grade point average, will be attending the University of Texas at Austin. Both student-athletes understand the importance of achieving on and off the field. "I strive in academics because I know that if I want a scholarship in the sport that I love, it would be a slap in my own face to have that opportunity slip away because of bad grades," said Mark. Josh says his drive for academics comes from his parents. "My parents always stress academics over athletics. I give my all in everything that I do."
Mark and Josh both agree that it was their excellence in academics that put them over the edge when compared to other athletes in competition for athletic scholarships. "They (college recruiters) knew I was good enough to play for their team, but when they saw my grades it became a definite yes," said Josh. Mark can only agree. "There are probably many other players out there just as talented as myself, but I believe that my success in academics had a lot to do with placing me above the rest," said Mark.
With their eyes towards graduation, both students are excited about their future. Mark smiles. "We joke around all the time talking about the day we will play each other in the college world series."
For more information on Middleton High School in Hillsborough County please visit http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/~middleton.high/