Meet our deserving winners, read their bios and leave a few words of encouragement.
= multi-year scholarships awarded!
Haines City High School
Florida Polytechnic University
2020 AAO Scholarship Winner
Jonathon will graduate from Haines City High School with a 3.775 GPA. He was captain of their golf team his senior year. He has completed 18 credit hours at Polk State College as a dual enrollment student, earning a 3.8 GPA at the collegiate level. He has been working as an employee at the Country Club of Winter Haven as lead assistant in the Golf Cart Barn. He also leads 2 different tutor classes for Pre-calculus and Introduction to Chemistry as a student volunteer. Jonathon will be attending Florida Polytechnic University in the Fall and would like to graduate with a degree in computer engineering with a concentration in computer game design. From here, he would like to join a multi-national company and work at the design of gaming software that is more user-friendly as well as challenging to multiple skill level of players. As an aside, Jonathon would very much like to help enhance the current pharmaceutical technology that is in place for Type I Diabetes. He feels the treatment field is constantly growing and improving and he would like to be a part of that change and growth. He will be working in the future on that lifetime dream!
Thirteen years ago his life changed before it really began. He was 5 years old, and was just beginning his educational journey at Bethune Academy in Haines City, FL. He was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando, FL after an unforeseen diabetic episode in kindergarten. He missed almost 30 days of school, while his doctors tried to get his endocrine system functioning correctly and was held back to repeat kindergarten. His memories of early elementary school are full of difficult situations and trying to understand what his insulin shots were about. In 5th grade , he lost his beloved godmother, Coach Robin "Nana Peanut" Wagman, after her 5 year battle with cancer. Her passing really negatively affected his family and many local town residents. Jonathon’s mother, Coach Gables and his godmother, Coach Wagman headed-up the HCHS WVB Program for 10 years. His second great loss was his favorite physical education teacher who died during his 7th grade. He was devastated because he really admired this teacher. Having diabetes almost seemed easier than having to deal with death of 2 loving mentors. It just seemed so unfair to lose people that he loved, especially in a short period of time. These life challenges were instructive when he began to play golf his freshman year. He never thought to much about golf, but needed physical activity beyond P.E. in his life. Walking in the Florida heat was a real eye opener for Jonathon. The 80 to 90 degree heat plus the 40 pounds of clubs he had to carry on his back, caused his blood glucose levels to go out of wack every day. He had to carry extra water, Gatorade and snacks to every practice and match. Golf is a difficult game to begin with, but certainly more challenging when you have an unpredictable disease, such as Type I Diabetes. He has been through a lot, fortunate to be healthy, while he sometimes struggles as a diabetic, he knows that he is a huge winner! Jonathon is strong because he has witnessed deaths and an incurable disease and is graduating this May 2020 as an honor student-athlete with dreams of being a very successful business man. Good luck, Jonathon!
6 PINE FOREST DR.
HAINES CITY, FL 33844