Scholarship Winners!

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

= multi-year scholarships awarded!

Donald Skipper, III

Basketball, XC, Track & Field
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

2021 AAO Scholarship Winner

Don was elected Student Council Vice President, Anchor for Thunder Television (TVTV) and Ambassador to the Law Academy to improve the morale, pride and student engagement in our school. He was elected for the Florida Boys State sponsored by the American Legion and the UthMpact Coalition School Representative (a program for teens to empower his peers to be drug-free, substance-free, and bully free message.

He served as Captain for four years on the Boys Varsity Basketball Team while maintaining a 4.04 GPA. in addition to encouraging his teammates to "Believe" (which was the teams motto) and win the 50% of our games, after our school had not won a game in years (2017-18).

One of Don’s goals is to major in Business Management and Law to become a businessman and sports agent. Then eventually offer summer camps to youth in sports with training on the business side of sports. (Agents, managers, publicist, technology, accountants and other sides of the business)

Another goal of his is majoring in Business Administration and Management and obtain a law degree to become an a corporate lawyer. Then one day own a professional basketball team and run philanthropic organizations for youth. His third goal is to major in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship or Cyber Security and own several businesses like a hotel chain, penthouses or car lots.

His athletic experiences where Don has displayed courage and perseverance in the face of hardship and adversity, which has been similar to the statement, "It's a Wonderful Life".  For instance, upon my arrival at Lake Region High School morale was low in many areas for him, school lack of winning in athletics other than baseball and softball, the death of his grandmother and the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The biggest hardship for him was losing his grandmother the week before his sophomore year, joining a basketball team that had not won a game in two years, and changing perception.

Although, it would appear that all of the aforementioned items are not relevant to an athletic experience, he shared how these adversities were diminished with a positive outlook. He will never forget how much his grandmother loved to support him. She was truly my biggest fan; however, she was killed in a car accident by a wrong way driver while she was on vacation. His heart was torn, he dedicated that season to her and was adamant to honor her by doing his best.

Moreover, attending LRHS after being admonished by many outsiders for not attending a school with a winning program gave him a spirit of perseverance or the underdog mentality. He was determined to be persistent and change the narrative. Yes, he wanted to be apart of a winning program but, he also believed that with the proper attitude an optimist the team could win. His coaches taught the team that with faith and a mindset to believe that anything was possible.

Hard work, discipline and a unified team create the key ingredients, to winning fifty percent of the games that season. By his junior year LRHS was no longer last in the district ranking. In addition, Don received individual accolades from the local sports media, the school increased their fan support, school spirit was hightened and more students started attending their zoned school along with me.  Before my senior year we advanced to the second round of the District Post-Season Playoffs. However, COVID-19 hit the school and team in March 2020 and caused this season to be cut-short several times. While opponent high schools played more games, LRHS only played eleven games this year. Furthermore, he did not let himself or the team quit. He became a member of the Polk County “1,000-Point Club” the end of his senior year, recognized as the Ledger “Player of the Week” numerous times, Most Valuable Player (MVP), “Charley Hustle” Award Winner, All-Polk County 1st Team, Department Academic Awards and offers of college sports scholarships. His final season ended with joy and pride. In addition, he expanded his sports base to include cross-country and track&field.

In summary, Don was victorious and will not be defeated by any adverse circumstances. He leaves LRHS, with great memories, victories, friendships, honors, and confidence. He knows his grandmother is smiling on him from above. Therefore, hard work beats talent, when talent refuses to work hard; thus, it’s “a wonderful life.”

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