School: Florida A&M University

Year: Spring 2014 – Spring 2016

As I reminisce through my life experience, I remember my freshman year at Edwards Water College (EWC) and how I was told that I was not able to register for classes for the spring semester. This issue was due to me being at a private college, while a balance steadily accumulated even with me taking out the full amount of loans. I went back home during the winter break with a defeated mind set, explaining to my parents that I let them down. They tried to encourage me but I let my current situation take over every ounce of hope that was in me. I searched for other avenues to pay back the school debt as well as the subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Avery McClendon


One outlet that came to mind was joining the army and let that pay off the debt. I called a recruiter and he came out to talk to me and my mom. He sold my mom and I the story of a lifetime, expressing that this is a grand opportunity to become someone greater. He also said how this is the best way to pay off any debt that I may have. At that moment I was convinced that this is for me, and I asked him what will be my next step. He explained that I will have to take the ASVAB test the following week to see what job in the army would suit me. The next day I was doubting every decision involving going to the army. Later that day I received a phone call from my advisor at EWC and she asked why I stopped coming to school. I explained to her that a lady told me I was not able to register until I paid off my first semester balance. My advisor told me to come back, because I earned a GPA of 3.7 and I was eligible for scholarships. I expressed to her that I don’t have a way back because my original ride left a week ago. My parents were not trying to take off from work to take me to Jacksonville or the nearest greyhound station due to the time conflict. Another advisor overheard our conversation and offered to come get me from Clermont, Florida and bring me back to EWC before the last day to register, which was the next day. That night I was overwhelmed with joy thanking God for this blessing. As I traveled back to Jacksonville, I told myself to never give up no matter what it looks like at the moment. I was able to register for my classes and I receive a Tom Joyner scholarship that helped pay off my balance that spring semester.

As my journey continued, I transferred to Florida A & M University where I had the grand opportunity to be a part of the Southern Scholarship Foundation (SSF). SSF has not only molded me into a leader that wants to become better in all aspects of life, but also supported my way through college. From being the Social Chair to House Manager of the Knight House, SSF has taught me that communication is the key to everything that we do. Therefore, it is not always about the grade you make, but the hand you shake along the way. After SSF, I hope to accomplish my aspirations of becoming a Physical Therapist helping other individuals in need of assistance. I also would like to become a mentor to help teens who want to become better in life but don’t have anyone to help them.

Education for life – what is it?

E is for EXCELLENT. It is for those excellent moments that I have at SSF that guide me though any decision that I make.

is for DELIGHTFUL. The people that I met through SSF are just delightful and helpful. They have impacted me in so many ways.

is for UNBELIEVABLE. After 4 years of college, I am finally becoming the person that I wanted to be. It is unbelievable how much I have matured.

is for CONSTANT. In college, when all seems to go wrong, everyone needs one thing that never changes. This is what the house is to me. It is what kept my feet on earth.

is for ADVENTURE. Every semester requires someone to adapt to whatever comes to him or her. This is because every semester here is a new adventure. Through this process, I have gained a new set of skills.

is for THRIVING. As I see people around me thriving and progressing greatly in school, it motivates me to do the same.

is for INTELLIGENT. Intelligence doesn’t always come from what you learn in class or in the books. Sometimes, it simply comes from our interactions with others.

is for ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. I feel that the SSF community cares a lot about each other. They are 100% dedicated to me. When I see people giving so much, it makes me want to do the same.

is for NICE.

F is for FAVOR.

 O is for OPEN.


is for LIFETIME.

is for IMPACT.

is for FAMILY

is for EVERYONE. My impact on everyone and everyone impact on my life will be noticeable.


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