Today’s youth is tomorrow’s future. As adults, we all agree on that. We often complain about the way that the nation’s youth are turning out. We often hear stories of the youth of the nation that are negative. It is a very rewarding experience for all of us to hear a story of a teenager who is willing to contribute to the nation in an unselfish and productive way. To discover a young person that is determined, focused, and willing to give something back to America is a wonderful thing! I have had the pleasure of meeting one of these outstanding contributions to society.
His name is Austen West. In late October, our local newspaper covered Austen West and his college campaign, called America’s Quarter College Campaign. I quickly became interested in Austen and his endeavors to pursue a college education. I visited the website that was listed in the article and contacted him. I want to help Austen gain exposure in his endeavors. Once permission was received from him, and his mother, I begin my mission to expose this terrific teenager and the things that he wishes to accomplish.
Austen has excelled in academics throughout his entire educational career. Austen started his educational career in a home school environment. His parents instilled in him a love for education and encouraged him to pursue his interests. The foundation that his parents laid for him shines through still today. Austen West entered the public school system in the second grade, and though he remained quiet among his peers, his educational capability exceeded and he was often distinguished for this. Austen is merely sixteen years of age, but his dreams and goals are much more defined than most people his age.
Austen West currently resides in Hastings, Florida and is a junior at Pedro Menendez High School. He is enrolled in a Dual Enrollment Program that allows him to attend full time at St. Johns River Community College. He started attending college at the young age of 15. He is a member of The National Honor Society and has been awarded the prestigious award of National Honor Roll. Additionally, he has been awarded numerous awards for his participation in science fairs. Some of the awards include “Coke-A-Cola Water Award”, “U.S Army Award”, and “Water Achievement Award”.
Austen’s accomplishments also include things outside of his academic pursuits. In both his high school and college, Austen founded a group called “Best Buddies”. This group is themed on the concept of creating mutual friendships between students who are on the high end of the academic scale and those on the low end of the academic scale. Austen exhibits a truly sensitive and generous side that is often quite rare to find in the world today.
Austen’s future educational goals include obtaining a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. He wishes to “find an energy source that limits our dependence on oil, and frees us from the grip of toxic pollutants that form from the use of fossil fuels”. Austen has found that his educational expenses to pursue his goals are extremely high. His family is just above the income bracket for him to obtain government funding. This is where the Quarter College Campaign developed.
He initially came up with the idea that he would develop a website and request a penny from various people to contribute to his educational funding. His mother, Renata Mayes, informed him that his goals might be difficult with this type of funding and suggested requesting quarters from people. Thus, America’s Quarter College Campaign developed. Visitors may visit the website that Austen and has family have developed and read more of his story. If they wish, they may donate a quarter or more to contribute to his college education. He was raised $38.50 to date. People may make donations through Paypal, and other means. He provides all the necessary information for people to make donations. He also would like to request that people leave their name and feedback in the guestbook on the website.
Austen’s story has been published in the Palatka Daily News, and he has been on First Coast News in Jacksonville, Florida. In the next few weeks, he will appear on Orlando’s WESH 2. He has also spoken to the producers at the Oprah Winfrey Show for a featured segment on his campaign.
America’s Quarter College Campaign is a simple concept: it is a concept of hope and determination of today’s youth and their desire to contribute to the Country as a whole by continuing their education. Austen’s goals of developing alternative fuel sources may one day provide the country with the relief that is needed from the rising costs of fuel and energy generated by fuel. Additionally, it is the dream of establishing alternative fuel resources that will lead to the world suffering from much less pollution.
Everyone agrees that today’s youth is tomorrow’s future. With so many stories of today’s youth acting in a negative fashion, it is a fresh breeze to find a youth that is determined, focused, and willing to give something back to America. It would be in America’s best interest to contribute to this young mans amazing goal.
In addition to what he has already accomplished, and what he wants to accomplish, Austen has even stated that if the campaign works well, he will set up a scholarship fund for other students who find themselves in the same type of situation.
In the words of Austen West: “Talent and determination are a pretty good combination – especially determination.”
I urge you to look at Austen’s website at:
and check it out for yourself.
If you wish to donate a quarter or more to America’s Quarter College Campaign, you may find the details on how to do so by clicking on the following link:
If you would like to drop Austen a line to support his efforts, or simply to say “hi”, you may do so by emailing HelpAustenPayForCollege@yahoo.com . You may also submit Paypal donations to this email address.
*Approval to write an article about, and discuss this campaign have been given to me by Austen West’s Mother, Renata Mayes.