Friday, September 25, 2020

Immokalee’s Alex Sanon is an MVP in More Ways than One

Eye on Immokalee

Ever meet an MVP? Here’s your chance. Alex Sanon is a multi-sport athlete and member of the Immokalee High School Class of 2021. Alex claimed his Most Valuable Player award for his swiftness at running track while finding time to play golf and lacrosse. 

You don’t have to succeed in several sports to qualify as an MVP, but you do need to put in the hours and dedication to become a self-starter. And that’s why Alex’s award is well deserved.

When he immigrated to Orlando from Haiti in 2009 with his parents and younger brother, Alex was only 7. Yet he recalls marveling at the wonderful sights that greeted him. His first major challenge was language. Since he spoke only Creole and some French, when his parents enrolled him in beginner classes, English became his “third language.”

Alex proved he could meet the challenge. After just four months, he already learned basic English. Then after their move to Immokalee, the family was blessed with two more children, a brother now 11-years-old and a sister now 6. 

Those in Immokalee often face hurdles that have nothing to do with track. The poverty rate in Immokalee is 42%, about triple the State of Florida poverty rate. Almost 40% of eighth-graders in Immokalee are at risk of dropping out before high school graduation, and 60% of Immokalee High School students do not have postsecondary plans. 

Still, Alex’s journey to MVP began in those early days with enthusiasm and a warm, genuine smile. Today, you feel his energy and drive. He dreams about running track in the Olympics. Truly a young man with a strong sense of responsibility: Family, studies, personal achievement, and helping others. Those all describe Alex.

A typical day in his family starts at 4 AM. That’s when his Dad and Mom leave home for their construction and hospitality jobs. At 5 AM, Alex rises to begin preparing his young siblings for school—getting dressed and eating breakfast. After his siblings race off to school, Alex dives into his day. 

School days are packed with studies, track practice, and even community volunteering. Academically, Alex is proudly participating in The Immokalee Foundation scholarship program. Through the Foundation, Alex continues his English language studies and is grateful for his improvement in reading through the Achieve3000 Program. This program helped prepare him to improve his scores on important tests like the ACT and SAT. Offered by The Immokalee Foundation, Achieve3000 delivers a comprehensive suite of digital solutions that help accelerate literacy growth while building learning skills.

The Foundation’s revolutionary program, “Career Pathways,” gives students like Alex a real hands-on experience in a variety of careers. As part of the Healthcare Pathway, Alex already sees himself as a physical therapist. With his “MVP” approach combining his love of sports and his desire to help others, physical therapy seems ideal.

After school, Alex trains with the Immokalee High track team with hurdles and the 4 x 1, his favorite events. For over 3 years, he has volunteered at the Immokalee Middle School, helping 6th through 8th graders with their homework and team sports participation. 

Alex also likes to fix things for others—specifically televisions and laptops. He acquired his hobby from learning about electronics by watching a friend’s father make repairs. 

Alex demonstrates MVP characteristics in sports and his personal conduct. He takes on challenges with a strong work ethic and dependable nature. Recognized for his “take-charge” approach, Alex has set the stage for a big year. 

His excitement is growing about college applications, a degree, and stepping out on his next pathway to success. Exactly what you would expect of an MVP—and what he demands of himself.

“Eye on Immokalee” is a student profile series from The Immokalee Foundation. The Foundation provides a wide range of educational programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence. 

Participating students achieve a 100% high school graduation rate, 100% continue to postsecondary programs, and 91% complete their professional certification programs or college educations. 

To learn more about becoming a mentor, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, donating, or including the Foundation in your estate plans, call 239-430-9122 or visit ImmokaleeFoundation.org

To send an encouraging note to Alex, email EOI@ImmokaleeFoundation.org with the subject line: Alex Sanon.

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