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Connor Wetherington

4505

Bold Points

3x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

Bio

I want to be an Olympian for Team USA, and after my track and field career is over- I want to help young people achieve their goals. I will be a Division 1 NCAA Track & Field Athlete at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I will continue doing what I love- track and field, and earn a bachelor's degree in Photography. Photography is my other passion away from track & field. When I am done competing in track and field, I plan to help people by becoming a Special Education Teacher specializing in Art. Through this, I will utilize my talent, background, and knowledge by helping those like the many that has helped and supported me over the years. Competing in track and field and taking photographs makes me happy, and I want to return and provide the same support to others so they experience the same feelings that I get to enjoy.

Education

Santa Fe High School

High School
2018 - 2022

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Other
    • Education, General
    • Film/Video and Photographic Arts
    • Special Education and Teaching
    • Educational/Instructional Media Design
    • Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations
    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Photography

    • Dream career goals:

      Special Education Teacher/Sports Photographer

    • Customer Service- Helped customers trim and load Christmas trees

      Christmas Tree Farm
      2020 – 2020
    • Mower

      Selp-employed
      2018 – 20213 years

    Sports

    Football

    Varsity
    2019 – 20201 year

    Awards

    • Letter

    Cross-Country Running

    Varsity
    2019 – 2019

    Awards

    • Varsity Letter

    Track & Field

    Varsity
    2019 – Present5 years

    Awards

    • State Finalist
    • First Team All-County
    • Heisman Award School Winner

    Research

    • Psychology, General

      UF - Health — Participant
      2009 – 2010

    Arts

    • Athletics

      Photography
      Yearbook, Social Media
      2019 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Jobs for America's Graduates — Vice President
      2020 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Scholarship Institute Future Leaders Scholarship
    I have demonstrated leadership in my school and community in various ways. I am a Captain for my track and field team, last year and this year. I am currently the Vice President of Leadership Services in our Jobs for America's Graduates school chapter. But those are just titles. I was voted Homecoming King this year. This might seem more like a popularity contest, but I won by over 250 votes and I would like to think that leaders need to be liked and respected enough to by chosen by their peers. I've also contributed in my community by participating in environmental cleanups, donating my time for low-economic and disadvantage youth initiatives through track and field, and I have volunteered with local track & field events supporting youth participation. Great leadership means individuals stepping up and performing necessary duties to accomplish objectives for a cause/duty. I've seen individuals step up and volunteer for leadership opportunities in exchange for the experience or resume builder. But true leadership is an unselfish act; one that puts others or the task before individual needs. To be an effective leader, one has to possess qualities that remains unbiased throughout the process, and is inclusive with team members. A true leader is one that recognizes when other team members must lead and understands that leadership can be demonstrated in many different ways. Why is being a leader important to me? It's important because I realize that I cannot do everything on my own, and collaboration with team members does more for organizational goals than one's self. There is no "I" in "Team", but there is a "me", the late Kobe Bryant once said that. I can't do everything, but there is a "me" and me is part of a whole. Being a leader is important when the team needs you to lead, but it's also important to realize that others can and will lead because that is a sign of a successful team utilizing their personnel to accomplish many things together. Leadership is selfless, and a thankless position; however, the process of being apart of an effective team is a rewarding gift for all that is involved.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    I suffer from mental illness, and my family has members with mental illness. On my mother's side of the family, there is cancer throughout. On my father's side of the family, they have mental illness. We joke during family get-together that with the union of our two families, we can rid ourselves of the suffering from cancer or mental illness; however, it did not skip me. I suffer from ADHD, and I have an IEP for my learning disabilities in school. Also, I suffer from five different kinds of anxiety. I have been told that I have physically and mentally matured a lot in recent years, but being a child was very difficult throughout my upbringing. School was not fun, and my parents were always fighting for me in school just for me to learn. I didn't hate school, and I realize I am fortunate not to have felt that growing up, but school was not a kind place for me. I got in trouble a lot because I was impulsive, couldn't stay on task, and I was overactive. Fellow students and teachers were annoyed with me because I would ask the same questions over and over because of my anxiety. It was very difficult. I realized I could have easily have gone the other way and resent school and withdraw like so many. But I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be accepted, and I wanted to be like everyone else even when I was treated like I wasn't like everyone else. It was hard, but I was strong enough, and with my parents support and patience, I have persevered through those difficult times. As of today, I possess a 3.4 grade point average; I was recently accepted into the University of Charlotte. I was voted Homecoming King, and I was selected as the Heisman High School Scholarship winner at my high school. Just three years ago, I was a freshman and I was viewed so differently than how I am viewed by my peers and teachers today. Like I mentioned earlier, I have been accepted into college, and I plan to study Photography and minor in Business. I have plans to utilize my experience in track and field, and I plan on starting my own business in 5-10 years as a timing company while doing photography as well. Both ideas go hand-and-hand because many of the events that require timing services, also require photography at those events. In place of outsourcing either of those, I plan to utilize my skill sets to set my business apart from other timing companies and photographers. Owning my own business and being my own boss is something that is a fit for my personality, and it is something that I am looking forward to. It gives me a purpose. I already practice photography now by covering our high school's sporting events and performing digital media for customers now. Also, I volunteer and work for our club's timing company during events to get hands-on knowledge of the job duties. I plan on using these experiences to sharpen my skills, so I can be a successful business owner following college graduation. How does this all come together for a happy ending? I owned it. I never hid from my mental illness. I accepted it, I embraced it, and I grew because of it. My maturity took place the same time I made physical leaps from my former self, and I let it become a springboard in the new me. A man with ADHD with severe anxiety, but one that stays happy doing the things that make me happy and one with a plan to continue being happy.
    Bold Self-Care Scholarship
    My self-care strategies are practiced daily that enable me to be my best daily. Working-out or exercising, and going for a walk with my music are the self-care strategies that I practice daily that allow me to be my best every day. I am a D1 athlete, and I am going to the University of Charlotte next fall as a member of the track and field team. So I am really good at working out, but I don't consider it work. The track and exercise in general is a reward for me. I look forward to being healthy every day, so that I can complete my workout. Do the physical work allows me to feel good physically and it helps with my mental state when I feel good. When I am injured and I cannot workout, I am alone and depressed. I feel inadequate when I can't work. That's why I train everyday, because of the feeling that it provides me for my body and mind. I am an impulsive person, and I have to practice stop and think strategies, so I don't rush into bad situations. It's helpful for me to unplug and take breaks from what I am doing to reflect and evaluate my progress or decision. I often find myself going for a walk or jog with my headphones. I will spend 15-20 minutes of walking or jogging just to get a break in the activity. I feel recharged and in a more positive state of mind when I do this. I can feel the stress and anxiety released as soon as I begin my playlist and hit the path. Both strategies are exercise related, but those are strengths of mine. Both strategies provided me with physical benefits, and I've come to unitize them as mentally benefits.
    Bold Friendship Matters Scholarship
    I really don't know what friendship means. If you asked me where do I go or turn to when I'm not feeling good- I say my girlfriend or grandfather. I really can't name anyone else besides them and maybe my parents. I got in a car accident last week, and I am okay. My girlfriend was with me and she was okay as well. The first person I called was my grandfather. We talk everyday, and most days about 5-6 times a day. We hang out together, and I spend the night. I fill the void that my grandmother left when she passed eight months ago, and he provides me more than a paternal relationship- we're buddies! He helps me with school, and I help him with the house and labor chores. We hang out and go to dinner 3-4 times per week. He comes to my practices, and he never misses my track and field meets. I don't ask him to, and yet he's always there. I don't have any friends I do that with. I hang with him and my girlfriend. So what does friendship mean to me? It isn't expressed in quantity of friends, rather it's expressed in the quality of the relationships that one has with others. My relationships with my grandfather and girlfriend is all that I need because I receive the necessary support and benefits of friendship from them.
    Graduate Debt-Free Scholarship
    I have been accepted to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and I will pursue a degree in Art (Photography). I am receiving $6000 from the school to compete on the track and field team. Being a member of the track and field team will keep me from working part-time in college because of my commitment to the university. The cost of attending the school for out-of-state tuition, room-and-board, books, and meals is valued at $40,000 according to my NCAA Student-Athlete Agreement. I am on 15% scholarship in an equivalency sport (Olympic Sport), and I am required for the remainder amount. Each year, I can get my scholarship increased based on my level of performance on the track and in the classroom. However, for my freshman year, I have $34,000 left to pay. I receive good grades, and I have completed my FAFSA. This will allow me to see what other aid or grants I might be qualified for. My parents have invested into a prepaid education program, and that is worth $13,000. We plan on using this money towards the $34,000 remaining amount. That leaves $21,000 left to pay on my first year. With the holidays coming up, I am picking up a temporary job to make a little money. I am hoping to set aside $500 towards my education. I plan to work this summer before I go to college; I hope to earn another $1000 and apply that towards my college costs. My parents are willing to help as much as they can, but said I will probably have to take out federal loans for the remaining amount if I do not receive enough in aid/scholarships to cover the costs. I would like to avoid debt as much as possible. My dad took out school loans, and he paid his off after 11 years following college graduation. I will not apply or accept any private school loans. I am currently applying for any and all local and national scholarships. As of today, I have applied for 22 scholarships and counting. I plan on applying for at least 100+ scholarships available to see what funds I can receive to help me with my educational costs. Also, I am applying to UNC Charlotte's foundation for merit and need-based scholarship opportunities available. I am currently applying to local scholarships available at my school. Any amount of money awarded is less I have to pay later. With almost $20,000 is needed to avoid dept my freshman year, I cannot depend on hope to win enough scholarship awards to cover the remaining amount. My parents have indicated that they will help me with as much as they can by taking care of supplies, travel, and clothing. I have considered joining the University ROTC program or North Carolina National Guard to help cover my remaining college debt. This could be a hard commitment being that I am a track and field athlete, but considering the fact that I want to avoid college debt, and its been done before- it is an option worth exploring. Avoiding college debt is important. I am looking at all possibilities and challenges, and I am trying to be realistic. Yes, I could choose to attend a two-year school, or stay local, but then I would be passing up my dream of being a track and field college athlete. Since no other in-state school wanted me on their track and field team, I was forced to go out-of-state and pay their out-of-state tuition. By choosing this path, I increased my expenses, but my search for aid is undone.
    Bold Growth Mindset Scholarship
    I feel that a growth mindset is something that embraces challenges and obstacles while knowing that failure is part of the learning process. Many people mistake failure for unintelligent, but it's the opposite. Without experiencing failure, how do we truly learn? I keep a growth mindset by following simple strategies in my academic and athletic life. First thing I do is reflect on what I did or what was done before me. This allows me to focus on the areas I need improvement. Next, I find my purpose by being essential. By being essential, I enable myself to focus on the truly relevant and important ways to achieve my goals. Then, I find ways to get out of my comfort zone and seek challenges. I feel that by being comfortable, I do not grow or advance. I am constantly finding ways to push myself to get better by incorporating challenges without fear that I will make a mistake. Finally, I practice mindfulness. Sometime I have to get away and unplug to truly think about staying in the present moment. Sometimes, I go for a jog, listen to music, or go stretch away from everyone so I can focus on the present moment. I incorporate a breathing routine, and I repeat it every time in competition. By incorporating the strategies of reflection, being essential, seeking challenges without fear of failure, and practicing mindfulness- I have seen a difference in my academics and athletics. These are strategies I plan to continue into college as well as in my career.
    Bold Patience Matters Scholarship
    I possess a mental disability, and being patient is very hard for someone like me. I like things to be "right now", but I have learned that this has cost me in my opportunities and relationships with my peers and school. When I look back at the things that I have been successful at- Track & Field and school, I realize that I played the long-game by being patient and planning for my success. By being patient, I am able to analyze things and situations. It enables me to plan, organize, and implement my strategy. When I take the time, I am much more successful. Even being more deliberate has made me a better decision maker. Practicing the strategy of stop and think, has reinforced an appropriate behavior when dealing with things in a calm and self-controlled manner. Because of my mental disability, I have to force myself to use these coping strategies. Because of these learned strategies, I have learned that my peers have been more accepting of me. The wanted outcome to accepted by my peers and be successful in my studies, positively reinforces by behavior in utilizing patience in my daily decisions. Results are measured from where I was four years ago, and where I am today. My relationship with my girlfriend has lasted over a year. I was voted Homecoming King by my peers in school. I was elected Vice President by my local school chapter. Four years ago, I was not in the same place. If it wasn't for my understanding of needing to be more patient, I would have never been able to fully analyze things and relationships and plan for their success. I am grateful to know and utilize patience on a regular basis because without it- I wouldn't be writing this essay.
    SkipSchool Scholarship
    My papa Bud is my favorite artist because his paintings from high school still hang in his house. He went to Vietnam and never got the opportunity to continue his passion of being an artist, so that is why I am going to study Photography at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I want to make sure I develop the necessary skills and knowledge, so I can continue doing what I love- making myself and others happy through my art.
    FOS Sports Industry Professional Scholarship
    With four minutes to go in the football game, and momentum moving away from the home team- the home team completes a pass behind defensive coverage and scores a touchdown to bring their team within one scoring opportunity. The home team kicks the ball off, and sends the defense out to stop the opposing team. The home team gets the ball back with 1:45 remaining in the game, and they go down the length of the field and kick a field goal to send the football game into overtime. In overtime, the home team scores on the first possession, and goes up by seven points. The opposing team on their first play, throws an interception and the crowd rushes the field. GAME OVER. In the blink of 15 minutes, so many memories are made and forgotten. People will remember that time, and where they were, but the still photos captures the moment and crystallizes the memory for everyone involved. People aren't thinking of "let me get my phone out and record this comeback and overtime win." No, they are busy being in the moment and watching what unfolds. So who catalogs or documents what happens? That is what all those folks on the sideline with camera equipment are doing- their job! Those photographers are the gatekeepers of still memories that slowly erode over time. That is what I am passionate about- helping those capture their memories through photography. I wanted to be on that sideline of that game; capturing the photos of players, coaches, and fans during the ebb and flow of momentum swinging in the balance. Nothing captures the emotions better than seeing a still photo of a time and place of something special. It's why Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media applications are so popular, but what makes those applications so popular are the people snapping those images and cataloging those priceless memories. That's why I want to be a photographer, I am happy taking pictures for people and bringing them joy and it becomes an keepsake they can save forever. I love it when the high school football players ask me to stand on the sideline and take photos of them and send it to them. People love it when I take their picture and enhance the imagery for their social media application, and I love their reactions. It makes me happy to know that I am doing something that people appreciate and want. I love sports, and I go to games watching the photographers stand and work the sidelines to take pictures that helps tell the story. I want to help tell that story, so that is why I am going to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and majoring in Photography. My plan is to follow my dream and pursue my passion by studying the profession further, so I can become a Sports Photographer for professional, college, and amateur sports. The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, has a collection of wonderful opportunities for me to study and practice my craft over the next four years of study. By becoming a Sports Photographer, I will be able to document sporting events for events, teams, magazines, newspapers, media, and/or players. By performing this duty, I will be able to serve a role by promoting and enhancing the coverage and exposure related to the sports industry and community. This will allow my work to be used to connect organizations with people. In the end, my happiness is about making others happy. I hope my work continues to make people happy as well.