“In the past four years, I have essentially started my life over twice.” – Chris Kennedy

School: University of Florida

Year: Fall 2014 – Present

House: Williams-Pilot Scholarship House

(Chris is pictured above on the bottom row, first on the left) In the past four years, I have essentially started my life over twice. Moving to the United States four years ago from Jamaica after graduating high school was an entirely new experience. When I was 17 years old I enrolled in a community college, Palm Beach State College, in my new home of Lake Worth, FL. Knowing absolutely no one but my own family members, I had to make new friends and settle into my environment.

Only to do it all over again when I transferred to UF two years later.

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Before transferring to UF, I had two dilemmas. I did not know where I was going to live and did not know how I was going to pay for it going forward. This added anxiety to the already set-in fear that I was experiencing.

In the coming months, I began looking for scholarships to apply for. On the UF website, I came across the Southern Scholarship Foundation. The priority deadline had already passed, but I figured it could not hurt to apply. My parents agreed, but we did not realistically think I was going to get accepted, so we explored other options both on and off campus.

It would seem like we were right since I was wait-listed for the following semester a few weeks after applying. We continued to wait but decided set a date to sign a lease at an apartment complex. That day came and as I was driving to work that morning, I got a call from a number I did not recognize. It was Teresa. Teresa Turner had called me to tell me that a spot opened up and I could not be more excited — and I still am.

The opportunity SSF has given me to save thousands of dollars in student loans is a gift I could never repay. With the help of SSF, I can pursue my B.S. in Public Relations with the confidence that I will not be drowning in debt when I graduate. In the one year I have been at UF, my life has changed drastically and I am more involved that I have ever been. While being an Earned Media Specialist in The Agency, UF’s own student-staffed integrated communications agency, I serve as a Journalism and Communications ambassador and as a member of the planning committee for Frank, a conference designed for people within the social change sector. All while completing my work jobs on time (usually).

My SSF family is more than I could ever ask for and more than I ever expected.

The Williams Wildboyz are not only my friends, but my brothers.

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I have done everything with them, whether it is going camping for the first time in my life just a few days after moving into house, going to every Gator game, or late night trips to Tropical Smoothie Café. I have lived it up so far and I am excited to see what is to come as I continue to pursue an education for life.

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

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

 

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