Meet Joey, One of This Year’s Bill McDermott Scholarship Winners!

Congratulations to one of this year’s SAP Bill McDermott Scholarship Winners! Here, Joey, an 11th grader from New York who was awarded $7,500, shares more about his experience receiving the scholarship and his plans for college.

In partnership with SAP, The SAP Bill McDermott Scholarship is offered to students in GENYOUth programs each year to provide funding for postsecondary education. As part of his scholarship application, Joey shared how he overcame adversity and faced problems head-on. Joey is a member of GENYOUth's flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60, the largest in-school health and wellness program in the country, developed by the National Football League and National Dairy Council, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

When Mrs. Coughlin, the Fuel Up to Play 60 coordinator, asked me to speak to kids at our Middle school about my experience with Fuel Up, I was excited. Excited to be able to share my experiences with them in hopes that they too will benefit from all Fuel Up has to offer. I was completely caught by surprise when I realized it was all an arrangement to present me with the GENYOUth Scholarship. I was happy that the middle school kids were able to see me receive this scholarship. They were able to see first-hand what a program like Fuel Up can do.
This scholarship proves to me that hard work and dedication will always be rewarded. It means a lot to me that work ethic and passion allowed me to benefit from such a generous award. With the cost of college tuition and housing this scholarship provides me more flexibility in my choices.

In the fall of 2018 I will be visiting colleges. I know that my future will be working with children who are at some disadvantage whether it is physical, medical, developmental or socioeconomic. Although at this point I do feel that majoring in occupational therapy is most likely the avenue I will go down, it is important that I keep my options open. Physical therapy is also an interest of mine as well as being a being a program coordinator for a youth program. Spending time at The Boys and Girls club has taught me that I can be a positive role model to the youth in my community. It is important to me that I start my college career at a 2 year school where I can explore the different options offered to me while pursuing a degree best suited to what I plan to do. From there I will transfer to a 4 year school for my Bachelor’s degree. I would like to be able to work in my field while continuing my studies toward a Master’s degree.

Before I joined Fuel Up to Play 60 I paid little attention to health and nutrition. I just thought it would be a fun thing to do with my friends after school…which it was, however, the program turned out to be so much more. For me, Fuel Up helped me to realize the importance of nutrition, exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Without good health, life can be so limiting. I learned that firsthand during a recent illness. I think seeing what programs like Fuel Up can do for kids helped me to decide that I would like to someday work with kids as well. I want to help kids feel good again and able to do things that maybe they once couldn’t. I want to help them reach a goal and recognize their full potential. Whether it’s shooting a basket or correctly holding a pencil, I want to help them realize the strength inside them and be there when they see what they can accomplish.

Being asked to go to the FUTP 60 summit was one of my most rewarding experiences of school. It was a big step to leave my small rural town and travel 500 miles to Chicago without my family or friends. While at the summit, I met such amazing people with equally amazing stories. I made new friends and found parts of myself I didn’t know existed….like being able to cook! I left the Summit feeling confident and more of a leader. I counted on my group and learned the importance of teamwork. When I got back home, I felt comfortable to venture out and work with the youth of my community, which has turned into a passion of mine. Public speaking was no longer something I feared. I truly believe Fuel Up gave me the opportunity to grow and gave me self-assurance in all I do. And now, I am able to give all I learned back to the kids. I get to spend every day being a positive influence and a role model.