“But then I got an email.” – Charles R. Ford III

School: Florida State University

Year:Fall 2014 – Current

House: Cyril and Edna Smith & Pearl Tyner Scholarship House (right in header photo)

Although my parents divorced when I was young I learned to grow from this experience with two different life styles valuing the time spent with all of my family. I was born and raised in Tampa, FL but I spent the first 15 years of my life growing up in Wesley Chapel with my grandparents and mother. In high school, I moved to live my father, stepmother and four siblings in Tampa. The change was major since I now had to adjust to a new high school, but with the love and support of my parents and awesome little brothers and sisters, I graduated from T.R. Robinson High School with my High School Diploma as well as an International Baccalaureate Diploma. Family is very important to me and the transition to SSF was an easy one. The journey I took just getting to SSF and FSU is a completely different story.

The college application process was a little difficult for me near the end of senior year of high school. I knew I wanted to go to Florida State University the second I stepped on campus, but financially, I knew it was going to cost me an arm and a leg just to attend classes, let alone have a place to live. I remember hearing about the Southern Scholarship Foundation from a previous History teacher, Jaclyn Militello, who was an alumnus of the Foundation in a Gainesville house. I submitted the application and the first round of scholarship decisions came around. I didn’t make the cut so I began the paperwork to attend the public university in my hometown of Tampa, University of South Florida. The May 1st deadline for state colleges came around and I had everything prepared to become a future Bull. But then I got an email.

I remember reading the subject line, “Southern Scholarship Foundation – CONGRATULATIONS” and I thought to myself, “I’ve already declined the offer from FSU and completed everything for USF. But I can’t pass up an opportunity like SSF.”

That following Monday I went to my career specialist, Mrs. Simmons (an FSU alumnus), and told her about everything that had happened. I remember her saying, “Clearly you have to go to FSU and be a part of the Southern Scholarship Foundation.” With her help I was reinstated into the FSU as an incoming freshman, and all the paperwork I had completed for USF was discarded. Within an hour, my entire life changed and I could not be happier with the decision I made.

In the last two semesters, I have been accepted into the Biology major, joined Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, and had an awesome season with the Florida State University Marching Chiefs where I traveled to Pasadena, California for the Rose Bowl! I have also developed relationships in the Smith-Tyner house that I know will last far beyond my college years. I would not be here without the Southern Scholarship Foundation and for that I say thank you.

Fall 2014

Sponsorship opportunities are available for you to be a part of Charles’, and many others, Education for Life journey.

Learn more here: http://bit.ly/SSFSponsorship

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