Scholarship Winners!

Meet our deserving winners, read their bios and leave a few words of encouragement.

= multi-year scholarships awarded!

Czerise Villiers

Track & Field, Cheerleading

Lake Gibson High School

Florida Atlantic University

2020 AAO Scholarship Winner

Czerise will graduate from Lake Gibson High School with a 4.4 GPA while at the same time working at Urban Air in Lakeland. She had the privilege of serving as Student Body President her junior and senior years. She was captain of the LGHS cheerleading squad and co-captain of the track & field team. Her senior year she won district champion high-jumper. Czerise an active member in NHS, NAACP and was also involved in FCCLA, where she competed on the national level in California and Washington, D.C. She is an advocate for the empowerment of her community, which has enabled her to accumulate 1,500 community service hours. She is planning to attend Florida Atlantic University this Fall and majoring in international marketing. Her first career goal is to become a marketing manager for an international airline. Her ultimate career goal is to become a CEO of her own global marketing agency. She has chosen this profession because of her current work situation in Lakeland and her passion for air travel and her good communication skills.

Czerise was elected vice president of the Lakeland Police Athletic League Youth Leadership Program where she mentors elementary and middle school students on good decision making by promoting the programs slogan "Filling playgrounds, not prisons." As vice president she was fortunate enough to attend the annual Youth Directors Conferences at Disney World in Orlando, Florida for four consecutive years.

She takes pride in continuously exercising her leadership and guidance skills daily at school and in the community with classmates and teammates. After school, at her home, she also mentors classmates on how to apply to colleges. Czerise’s oldest brother, Danny-Jerome (DJ) Villiers is her biggest role model. He has filled the voids in many different aspects of her life, from being an older brother to even being a father figure at times. Her parents divorced when she was 8 years old. Leaving her mother, three brothers and Czerise to operate the household on their own. Brother DJ took charge of the family during this complicated time. Months later her sweet grandmother passed from a long-term illness. Having newly divorced parents along with losing a cherished grandmother clearly affected her adversely at a young age. She looked up to brother DJ as a life mentor. In November of her sophomore year, her brother, DJ was killed in a automobile accident. This shattered her heart to pieces and, of course, it look a long time to work out of  this depression. Reminiscing on DJ’s life, she remembered everything he taught her, and realized she couldn't just give up. Academics and high jumping became her new outlet to keep his memory and legacy alive in her mind and in reality. She practiced high jump for 2 hours every day during her sophomore and junior seasons and gradually increased the bar height until she was ranked 6th within her district, while winning 1st place in most every meet. At times, balancing academics, sports, extracurricular activities, work and a personal life seemed impossible. However, refusing to be contained by a generic subset, Czerise breaks boundaries and excels past the norms of others, while shaping her into the woman she is today and the woman she will become in the future. Good luck, Czerise!

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