Nick Davis doesn’t talk much about the time he was living in and out of homeless shelters with his mom. He was only a toddler.
But Davis and his family have come a long way. He is heading to Florida State University with a $20,000 scholarship from the Bailey Family Foundation and his Polk State Associate in Arts degree.
He will receive his high school diploma Tuesday with Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School’s 14th class.
“My mom is a Polk State Nursing alum and showed me the importance and life-changing power of an education,” Davis said. “People around the world don’t get the opportunity that we have here, where our education can’t be taken away from us.”
“I am so thankful for Lakeland Collegiate,” he added. “It has motivated me and has put me on a new path to success.”
Davis has always been passionate about music, participating in Florida Southern College’s youth orchestra and pep band, and Lake Gibson High School’s advanced symphonic band.
He planned to major in music, but says since enrolling at Lakeland Collegiate, he has been pushed to pursue one of his other passions.
“I am so thankful for Lakeland Collegiate. It has motivated me and has put me on a new path to success. The program is rigorous and students are surrounded by peers who challenge and motivate you to do your best.”
“I have always loved science and medicine, but I was never challenged the way I was here to do well in my academics and develop higher goals for myself,” Davis explained. “The program is rigorous and students are surrounded by peers who challenge and motivate you to do your best.”
Davis aspires to be an anesthesiologist. He plans to take a premedical track in college, studying either biology or physiology. He wants to one day study neuroscience, too.
And he’s not giving up music. Davis intends to play in the marching band or symphony.
He was accepted to a handful of schools, including the University of Florida, University of South Florida, and Florida Southern College, but he will start at FSU in the fall “because something just felt right when I stepped on campus,” he said.
The Bailey Family Foundation scholarship, paired with the Bright Futures Florida Academic Scholars Award, has allowed Davis to feel secure in his higher education pursuit, which may have otherwise been out of reach.
The Bailey Family Foundation awards high school seniors who demonstrate a financial need, scholastic achievement, and a dedication to community service with a $5,000 renewable scholarship for up to four years.
“I am just so grateful for the support and thankful to this program because I was able to boost my grade-point average and receive college credits for free,” said Davis, who racked up 71 college credits during his junior and senior years of high school. “I would encourage others to come to Polk State Lakeland Collegiate because it’s not just about credits on paper – you will actually learn a lot and grow as a person here.”