By Martie Thompson

Mandarin High School senior Annabelle Hynes was adopted from China when she was about a year old by adoptive parents Amy and Joshua and brother Finn. When she was seven years old, her parents divorced and then she learned what living in a large family was like when her mom married her stepdad, Cole, who had six children of his own. She has lived her whole life in Mandarin, and attended Crown Point Elementary School, Mandarin Middle School, and will graduate this year from Mandarin High School. She will attend New College of Florida this fall.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect and what was the most fun thing about growing up in a large family?
A: The most challenging thing growing up in a large family was patience. The adjustment from a family of four to a family of eight was difficult since I was not used to a lot of new people living with me at once while also trying to get to know everyone and get along with our differences. The most fun thing about growing up in a large family was that there was always something interesting to do, such as playing with my siblings or going to our various events together. We were always so occupied with our shenanigans that I don’t remember being bored much growing up.

Q: What classes and extracurriculars keep you busy at Mandarin High School?
A: I am in the Medical Academy and recently passed the certifications for being an EKG tech as well as CMAA (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant). I’m very interested in the medical field. I’m also a member of the Leadership Program at my school; we plan and execute the school’s social events, such as pep rallies. I’m the captain of the girls’ varsity lacrosse team and a member of the National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society. And I dress up as the school mascot at football games and pep rallies!

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of school?
A: I’ve been doing roller derby since I was eight years old. It’s an all-contact sport and I’m the captain of my team, Jax Junior Roller Derby. We go to tournaments frequently and one time I was injured during play at a tournament in California. I didn’t know it, but I had a punctured lung, which I only found out after I had already flown an airplane back to Jacksonville — and the doctor told me I shouldn’t have done that. Our team has qualified as one of the top 10 teams to participate in the postseason championship in Denver, Colorado this June.

Q: Why did you select New College of Florida and what do you plan to study?
A: I fell in love with the academic freedom there. Plus it’s beautiful and peaceful on the campus. I’ve applied for their Environmental Studies program and I’d like to combine it with medical, particularly the alternative, holistic medicine area.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A:  I see myself being busy practicing naturopathic or lifestyle medicine, while also traveling and being an environmental activist. I’d like to help promote a sustainable lifestyle while helping patients.

Photo courtesy Annabelle Hynes
Annabelle Hynes

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