“CHS helped to open my mind and helped me when considering what I should do [with my future] and what I can do to impact the people around me.”

Joshua Oberes is valedictorian of Edward H White Academy of Leadership, c/o 2020. He will be attending University of Central Florida in the fall, studying Information Technology.

For Joshua, who was homeschooled until his freshman year, attending Edward H. White Academy of Leadership, A Community Partnership School was a bit of a “culture shock,” as he describes it. Adhering to a new schedule, meeting new people and interacting with others daily were significant transitions – yet he also found a new world of opportunity .

Already actively involved in community engagement and church, Joshua’s  Joshua’s passion to help others, along with his servant leadership mentality, led him to the school’s Launch Pad, home of the Community Partnership School’s resources, where he found Children’s Home Society of Florida and joined the Student Leadership Council, a group of students dedicated to inspiring leadership in their fellow students and community.

Through the Student Leadership Council, Joshua had opportunities to serve on the Child-Friendly Cities Panel for Jacksonville, volunteer with Feeding Northeast Florida and establish the school’s clothing closet, among many other Community Partnership School initiatives. “SLC helped me grow my leadership skills and exposed me to all these different areas – to know what students really think, what adults think – hearing different views on all different issues.”

Joshua applied for many scholarships, both local and national, and the CHS Virginia Morey Rell Memorial Scholarship was the first he was awarded. “I felt very excited knowing that after working and writing all these essays – filling out applications – it was exciting and meaningful, it was very validating,” he shares.

As Joshua enters the next chapter of his life at the University of Central Florida, he is focused on a future in the field of Information Technology. His experience with Children’s Home Society of Florida has encouraged him to consider working for a nonprofit organization, emphasizing his desire to spearhead an environment where others are comfortable voicing their opinions, at a place where his work will have an impact.