When did you graduate from TFA?
I graduated from TFA in 2013 and continued my education at The University of Central Florida and then at AdventHealth University.
Please tell me about any awards, academics, or professional accomplishments.
I recently graduated from AdventHealth University with a Master of Occupational Therapy degree. I was asked to speak at the graduation ceremony to represent the occupational therapy department. My research partner and I plan to present our ongoing study about leadership within occupational therapy in the fall.
Please tell me about your family, occupation, and/or volunteer service.
My wife, Ally, and I have been married for 4 years. Our dog Gus is a loved member of the family, and we enjoy bringing him on all of our adventures. I have finished the academic portion of my occupational therapy program with two semesters of fieldwork remaining. We met working in the Children’s Ministry at First Baptist Church of Orlando in 2014 and continued to lead Children’s Ministry in Clearwater and Winter Garden.
Please tell me about where you attend church now and your ministry involement.
We currently attend Central Church in Sanford where Ally is the Connections and Women’s Director. I help serve alongside her where we greet first time guests and get them involved in small groups and areas they can volunteer, plan and produce all church events, and assist where she needs me for women’s events. I still have a passion for Children’s Ministry and volunteer as the large group teacher. I grew up in a family that valued serving others and I am thankful to be in a position where I can do so on a weekly basis in a faith-based environment.
How did TFA prepare you for the next steps in your life?
TFA prepared me for the next steps in my life through high expectations in academics, athletics, and the multiple opportunities to be discipled. This was made possible by having quality classmates, teachers, coaches, and administration. In retrospect, TFA’s significance in my life was primarily created due to the great relationships that were built. My two older siblings and I had the privilege of being at TFA K-12, due to this we developed relationships with faculty that still remain.
What teacher(s) and/or coach(s) had the most impact on your life, why/how?
Dr. Toenges (aka Toen-Dawg, aka T-Money) and Steve Kavanaugh impacted my life by increasing my theological and worldview understanding. They equipped me in a way that I am confident to defend my faith and share with others about God’s love and grace. These educators, to me, are the most important as I transitioned into college where I had more opportunities to interact with others who had differing ideologies. TFA is a great place for academics and athletics; however, the faith-based environment they create is the most valuable aspect of the school. Their words and actions are critical in producing life-long successful spiritual leaders. To this day I do not hesitate to ask either of them a question whether it be theological or life-based. TFA is privileged to have such biblical educators.
Coach Kinard played an important role in my life by molding my work ethic through coaching me in football and weightlifting. I thank him for the generous amount of workouts he gave the team and me to finish. The workouts and practices we participated in helped my prospective in what it takes to reach a level of excellence. The most important role he played for me and my teammates was the example he gave as a man of God on and off the field. Coach Oliver is the reason for where I am at today in my work as a healthcare provider. He taught anatomy which is where I found my desire to learn more. I followed my passion created from this class and will use it for the rest of my career. He also emulated the same characteristics as coach Kinard, always bringing benevolent passion. Coach Harvey has also impacted my life as my AP European history teacher and football coach. The most impact he has made in my life has been from serving alongside him at First Orlando’s student summer camp, Camp Orlando. During this, we have had conversations into the early morning hours about God, life, and how we can impact students. It is clear that he has a heart to serve stemming from his first career in defending our country. As we all know he can be difficult to find in a crowd, but his service for others is apparent.
Mr. Kowars was impactful to me by increasing my desire to read and write. I will never forget writing for entire class periods, but that is what I attribute to improving my ability to effectively communicate my thoughts. His impact, of course, extends beyond the classroom as he has given me life advice whenever I have asked. Don Baker is another man whose willingness to serve others before himself has impacted my life because he was never in the spotlight for the behind-the-scene work he did. His actions always spoke louder than words so because of that he will never be forgotten. George Siler impacted my life for the quote he required us to say before leaving class, “Make a great day!” I have used this countless times in my life and have shared it with others. We cannot rely on those around us to make our day great because we are all sinners and all make mistakes. By relying on God, following Jesus’s example, and doing what we can to improve those around us, we can make a great day!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about the impact or connections TFA has made in your personal and/or professional life?
TFA lays a great foundation for students and equips them with the tools to build upon it.