Scholarship Winners!

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

= multi-year scholarships awarded!

Robert Putnam

Bartow Senior High School


Clemson University

2022 AAO Scholarship Winner

Although I have had many proud accomplishments throughout my life, it has not always been a smooth road, in fact it has been a fairly bumpy one. Athletics has always been in my family’s blood. My mother went to college as a volleyball player and my father was a top tier baseball player in high school until a severe leg injury ended his baseball career. He then attended Clemson University on an academic scholarship. My brother who is ten years older than me attended the University of South Florida on a baseball scholarship while my sister, being thirteen years older than me, attended Florida Gulf Coast on a softball scholarship. With that being said, it did not take very long for me at all to fall in love with baseball.

In my early years of baseball, it was mostly my dad teaching me everything while my siblings were pursuing their college careers. Once I got to be around ten years old, my father had a pre-existing brain tumor that was beginning to affect the optic nerve.  As his vision depleted, for his safety we were no longer able to play catch or hit. With that, many of my early years of baseball were instructed by my dad’s word of mouth and my self-practicing.

Over the next few years my father health continues to regress as his tumors became cancerous. My mom, who was a mentee and a friend of Robin Wagman, had to quit her job as a physical education teacher in order to take care of my dad. Shortly after, in 2016 when I was twelve years old my father passed away. This was an extremely difficult time in my life as he was my guidance through everything. If that wasn’t enough, just a few months later I broke my elbow while throwing a ball at school. I had to under go surgery and was told I will not be able to throw for eight months. I had never had any sort of medial operation or anything close to the matter and was scared of messing something up again. I ended up not playing baseball for two years.

While it took a lot of time to move on from my fathers passing and my surgery, I was eventually able to. It was when I got to high school, I was able to change my grievance into inspiration to make my dad proud. My freshman year, after taking two years of, my love for baseball overcame my fear and I tried out for the high school team and made varsity. I played four years varsity, was a team captain two years and won Player of the Year my senior year. I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school while taking college level classes. I can now say my most proud accomplishment is that I will be attending Clemson University, just as my father.



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Lakeland FL 33813

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