My name is Travis Blanks

By TRAVIS BLANKS, Guest blogger

Travis blanksTravis blanksMy name is Travis Blanks. I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself, and how the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship helped me realize my dreams.

A year ago, I was a linebacker for the No. 1 ranked Clemson Tigers football team that made it to the College Football Playoff Championship game against Alabama. While we didn’t win, the game was considered an instant classic. We only lost by five points, and I’m confident Clemson will have another successful season this year.

After the season, I declared myself eligible for the National Football League draft. While I was disappointed not to be selected by an NFL team, I am hardly bitter.

In fact, I’m as happy as I’ve ever been.

I married my fiancée Chandler in June. Our honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, was absolutely beautiful, and helped me unwind before I embarked on a career.

At Clemson, I earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. I was able to use the degree to secure my new job as a mortgage loan officer for Oconee Federal Bank in Clemson. I honestly love the work and enjoy interacting with people and helping them meet their needs.

I remember well how others helped me during my own times of need.

As I prepared to enter high school, my mom, a single mother of four, worried about me attending the local public school, where graduation rates were low and the sports program was floundering. She wanted me to be well-prepared for college and to avoid as many distractions as possible.

Fortunately, administrators at North Florida Christian School in Tallahassee told my mom about the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship administered by Step Up For Students. She applied for the scholarship and I was accepted.

I had always been a diligent student, but at North Florida Christian, I absolutely thrived. The school fosters a tight-knit Christian environment, where the teachers were extremely supportive and the class sizes smaller than those I experienced in public school.  I felt more like part of a family.

At North Florida Christian, teachers and administrators also focused on helping students become good citizens. They helped shape my future and brighten my worldview.

Might all of this have happened for me without the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship? Maybe. But, I would not have been able to attend North Florida Christian, which I still visit whenever I can.

To me, the scholarship was invaluable.

My mother agrees. After recently moving back to Florida from South Carolina, she hopes my brother and sister, 15-year-old twins, will also qualify for a scholarship through Step Up.

I sincerely feel the best way to say thanks is to make sure other children are given the same chance. Everyone deserves an opportunity for success, no matter their family’s income level.


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