Scholarship Winners!

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

= multi-year scholarships awarded!

Camryn Gregory


Polk State Gateway to Collegiate College High School Softball Florida Memorial University

2021 AAO Scholarship Winner

Camryn served Future Educators of America as President her senior year. They  provided a forum for students to become aware of career opportunities in education and nurture their interest in teaching as a career. She helped them decide what school they will like to assist at and what grade level they will work best with. She also was a Children Church Supervisor, working with children from infancy up to and including the eighth grade. Her main duty is to manage and lead programs that minister to the children, by way of education, activities, and counseling. She was elected to NAACP Youth Organization as Secretary. She gave members notice of regular meetings, kept full and accurate records of meeting proceedings of the over all Unit and of the Executive Committee. She also kept a record of all Unit members and their dues, submitted reports covering status of the Unit and its activities since the date of the last report, and kept the President and CEO of regional NAACP informed of all events affecting the interests of minority groups in the NAACP Unit.

Camryn wishes to finish her bachelor's degree at Florida Memorial University and start work as a midwife in the Polk County area after graduation. She hopes to encourage youth who have undergone various surgery procedures and feel like they can not continue doing what they were put on earth to accomplish. Starting a nonprofit camp to help injured athletes get back into shape, rebuild their muscles would be a long-term goal for her. She also feels like she could mentally coach the campers.

Success exists at the top of a mountain. Success can mean a numerous number of things, and we all face hardships that hinder us from climbing to the top of our mountain. Unfortunately, Camryn has already began to face many of these major obstacles. She began climbing her mountain in Winter Haven, Florida, where she was born and raised. At the age of ten years old she started her athletic career playing softball. Most young girls start playing softball when they are three years old, so you can only imagine how far behind she was. She was immediately put on a travel softball team called the Maniacs, where I was the only African American on the team. The team coaches taught her the fundamentals of the sport, and what being a part of a team meant. On the other hand, she was picked on a lot by other players, over-looked by the coaches, and they expected Camryn to play very aggressively, just because of what they had seen on television. Her team manager even began to call her by a male football star's name, Cam Newton. This began to be a mental strain on her. She decided to look at other travel softball teams in the area.

Eventually, she started playing for another team called Florida Gold. On this team she gained a lot more skills and started to understand the game even more, thrive, and earn many individual rewards. However, tragedy struck during our 2017 season. After a lockdown at Lake Region High School, where all the girls who played on Florida Gold attended, her travel team manager texted all the players and asked them if they wanted to go out to breakfast. After eating breakfast, they went over to her home and rode on a side by side vehicle. Camryn was flipped off the vehicle and broke her right lower arm and worst of all, she tore her ACL on her right leg. From these injuries, she has multiple not so attractive, scars. After this unfortunate incident, she was carried to a chair, and began waiting on her coach to find her cars keys. However, her mom, who works in Bartow, got there before her coach could find the keys. She was then rushed to the local hospital emergency room by her mother. In this moment of time, she thought her life was over!

Camryn’s white shirt was completely red, the skin on her thigh was completely scraped off, and she was going in and out of consciousness. Just like that, she had two major surgeries! One to set a compound fracture of her right fore arm and the second on her radius and anterior cruciate ligament of her right leg. She was scheduled for difficult physical therapy for over a year. She had to learn how to walk again and gain back muscle strength.

Fast forward to today, Camryn is strong, healthy, and committed sports scholarship softball player at Florida Memorial University. With motivation from her family, late night practices with her softball coach, her physical therapy appointments and personal counseling, she was able to get back to being a great player again. During this adjustment time, she doubted herself a lot and told herself that she would not go back to playing club softball, but she loved the sport. She enjoys being active, making new friends and being competitive in sports. Having overcome these individual physical hurdles, emotional struggles and self-doubts, gave her the motivation that she feels is necessary for her to leave home for college and play softbal again. Her mom taught her that there are no limitations to my dreams. To this day, her words trigger my great desire to keep moving forward so that she can one dvay reach the top of the mountain.

Camryn understands there are many worthy candidates for the AAO Scholarship, however, she has applied for this particular scholarship because she needs considerable  financial assistance to support her dream of playing college softball. With a single parent who will have two children in college, that must pay off medical bills, she might not be able to fulfill her dream. As mentioned before, she is now committed at Florida Memorial University, which is an athletic scholarship, which only covers the tuition. However, She still needs funding for housing, meals, books, supplies, and transportation to and from campus. She is a dual degree nursing student, with extremely high class fees. Her mom is unable to contribute as much as she would like to her college expenses. Also, it is very difficult to work part-time as a student-athlete while in school. The AAO Scholarship could help her avoid costly student loans that would take years to repay!




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