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"It was (Taylor's) very nature to help other people, other kids," father Mike Emmons said. "We thought the scholarship is something that would really mean a lot to him."
East County Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11 years ago

Family launches scholarship program

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Not a day goes by that Mike Emmons doesn’t think about his son, Taylor, a 19-year-old baseball star who graduated from The Out-of-Door Academy in 2009.

And each morning, as Mike Emmons looks in the mirror, he can’t help but wonder what his son would want him to do following the accident that took Taylor’s life in December 2010.

“I know he would want me to do something for the kids,” Mike Emmons said. “That’s what motivates me to do it. I know he would be very proud.”

Mike and his wife, Katie, have launched the Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund to provide schooling opportunities at ODA’s Upper School for students who otherwise would not be able to afford it. The cost to attend ODA’s Upper School hovers around $17,000 annually.

 “The objective here is for a student who has proven they’re a good student and wants to (come here to be able to),” Mike Emmons said. “This school is about preparing kids to go to college. Taylor loved it here. We think the world of this school.

“Our goal is to have a student receive a scholarship every year,” he said. “At any one time, there would be four students attending (on it).”

The family already has raised $70,000 from donations made in Taylor’s honor following his funeral, and the school raised additional monies from an electronics drive it did after Taylor died, as well.

But the fund is still short of its $1 million goal, which would make the fund self-sustaining from year to year. The scholarship fund just last week launched its new website, and is now launching several fundraising initiatives to reach its goal.

The fund will host an Electronic Revenue Drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 14, during which ODA students will go door to door to collect used electronics to generate revenue for the fund. A drop-off location will be available at the entrance to the Teal Creek Terrace neighborhood in the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club.

Items accepted include cell phones, laptop computers, smartphones and other small wireless devices, among others.

Additionally, Surfin’ Plumbers in Bradenton, owned by ODA family Tab, Jacque, Carly, Cassidy and Kennedy Hunter, is donating toward the cause. The company’s employees daily will wear a button on their uniform that has a code “WRG52AGC,” which stands for “We are giving $5 to a great cause.” The center is a mobi tab for people to scan from their Smartphones and be directed to ODA’s website for more information. Surfin’ Plumbers is donating $5 to the scholarship fund for each inquiry made by a customer.

Other fundraising opportunities also are being planned, including a charity bartending night in September.
Additionally, ODA will host a special baseball field dedication and other festivities in honor of Taylor Emmons in early June. The Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund will announce the organization’s first recipient at the invite-only event.

For more information about the Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund, visit or contact fund Director Sandra Albano at 915-9249 or [email protected].

Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund Electronic Revenue Drive

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 14
DETAILS: ODA students will collect electronics in the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club community. A drop off location is available at the entrance to the Teal Creek neighborhood.
ITEMS: iPhones, Android Smartphones, cell phones, Blackberries, Video games, video game consoles and handheld games, laptops and Netbooks, digital cameras, iPods and MP3 players, tablets and iPads, e-readers, iPod and iPhone docking stations, Apple TV, satellite radios, radar detectors, GPS units, digital picture frames, digital camcorders and batteries for laptops and cell phones. Please include batteries and chargers if possible.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

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