Helen Keller once said, “Although the world is very full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” Michael Crawford is living proof of this statement.
Michael grew up in a household plagued with financial problems. His family struggled to make ends meet and get by. He endured situations ranging from having no lights to almost being thrown out of his house when it was put into foreclosure. The money issues clouded his home with a negative, argumentative atmosphere. Michael’s father left the family, leaving his mother to raise him and his two siblings on a single income.
Despite the pain and setbacks in his domestic life, Michael kept himself motivated to succeed. Knowing that education would be the gateway to a better life, he pushed himself to excel in the classroom. With great perseverance he graduated valedictorian of his middle school, and is now in the top 2% of his high school class. He is the only African American in his senior class who is a candidate for the prestigious International Baccalaureate diploma.
Michael has excelled beyond the classroom as well. He is a member of over 14 clubs and organizations at his school, 9 of them in which he holds leadership roles. Just a few of his leadership positions include Senior Class President, Student Council President, National BETA Club Vice-President, Spanish National Honor Society Vice-President, and National Honor Society Treasurer. Michael also demonstrates his leadership in outside organizations including the Osceola County Young Democrats, where he serves as Vice-President. His involvement includes athletics as a varsity tennis player, the arts as a trombone player in the band and a thespian in his school’s drama club.
Through his volunteering efforts, Michael has shown sustained service to his community. He has volunteered for such organizations as Give Kids the World (working with terminally ill children), local elementary schools, and Teen Court (serving as a juror). Over the past 4 years he’s raised money for the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association (for asthma research) and the Children’s Miracle Network (aiding children’s hospitals).
Michael’s achievements have been recognized with numerous honors and awards. His school has honored him as a Principal’s Award winner and 3-time nominee. He has been named an Outstanding Student of America, a Who’s Who Among American High School Students and a Venture Scholar. For the past 4 years, he has been part of the National Honor Roll. The University of Florida selected him as an Outstanding African American High School Scholar. He has received superior ratings from the Florida Band Masters’ Association for his trombone solos and brass trios. In his junior year, Michael was selected to attend Florida Boy’s State, where he became Supreme Court Justice. This year he was awarded the coveted Florida League of International Baccalaureate Schools Scholarship.
Michael has lived his life by the motto of Lucas Hellmer, who said, “Aim not for what you are, but for what you could be.”