CAA Coaches Nominate Second Annual Judy Simpson Scholarship Winner
August 7, 2015 – By Coach Lindsey
Helping to shape the futures of young people is a specialty of College Admissions Assistance, LLC (CAA). Every day we are able to advise youth across America to help them find the right fit career and college. Once again this year, the CAA Coaches were asked to nominate one deserving graduating senior who took full advantage of the CAA program. Christopher Downs of Lake Mary, Florida was chosen out of thousands of students to receive the $1,500 Judy Simpson Memorial Scholarship. The Judy Simpson Memorial Scholarship was created to honor one of CAA’s founding regional directors, who was passionate about helping students and families find success through higher education. After being in remission for many years, Judy ultimately lost her battle with lung cancer on Christmas day in 2011. She is remembered by many at CAA as being a true and great friend who always had a positive attitude. During a phone interview, it became apparent that Christopher possesses the same positive outlook as Judy. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Christopher and his family ended up in Florida when he was six years old. He told me that attending college was never a question for him and explained that his mother’s inspiring influence helped keep him on track. “Going to college was always a definite for me,” Christopher said. “Seeing my mom work so hard and seeing the benefits of that drove me. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.” His positive attitude and dedication to his future resulted in Christopher earning admission to Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which is about 30 miles north of Miami and only 10 miles from the nearest beach. While Christopher will be studying communications and broadcasting at Nova Southeastern, he originally thought he’d follow in his mom’s footsteps and study business. “I realized that business really wasn’t for me,” he explained. “My mom said, ‘Don’t do something just because I did it. Do it for yourself.’ I feel like I can do a lot with communications.” Christopher said he finally decided on his major about a week before orientation this summer. He would like to use his degree to work for a news or multimedia company. Choosing a college to attend was not something Christopher went back and forth about. When he first learned about Nova Southeastern from his high school counselor, he was very interested. He told me that talking with CAA and his freshman orientation confirmed Nova Southeastern was definitely the right choice for him. “It’s a beautiful campus. It’s also a big campus, but the class sizes are small,” he said. “I spoke to [a CAA Coach], and he broke down all of the information about Nova Southeastern. I could really see myself going there!” Christopher is excited about the large international student presence at Nova Southeastern. He says there are people from “all walks of life” that he met while at orientation, and he believes this strong mixture of personalities will really help him in the future. Students at Nova Southeastern are also very active in school and community activities. While at Nova Southeastern, Christopher plans to work at the student-run radio station, Radio X, either behind the scenes or on the air. He will also eventually get into theater and community service programs once he gets a handle on college life. In addition to all of that, he also wants to study abroad. Christopher was very active while in high school too and explained that being involved helped him come out of his shell. “When I look back, I was so shy. The activities I participated in while in high school really made me who I am today,” he said. “Now, at college orientation, I can go around and make new friends with anyone!” Having confidence in himself is something that Christopher is very proud of, but his hard work and positive outlook also helped him reach his goals. Christopher said that he owes a lot to CAA and would definitely recommend the program, especially to someone who wasn’t sure what to do. “CAA helps you get the information you need for college, and you can talk to someone about it,” he said. “The CAA program has helped me in more ways than one, specifically referring to my academic performance, as well as my confidence when it comes to taking standardized tests.” Good luck and have a great time at Nova Southeastern, Christopher!