“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Justin Prentiss, a Reymann Foundation scholarship recipient, lives by this Bible verse. A first generation University of Akron student majoring in Special Education, Justin aspires to be an Intervention Specialist who focuses on individuals with mild-to-moderate special needs. His calling to this field was shaped by the many trials he personally confronted in his life, and although times were often rough for him, he is grateful for the difficult challenges that have molded the man he is today. He also believes that he has much to offer as a result, especially to those who struggle with disabilities. “Everyone has something to give to others” states Justin. “People should lift each other up”.
Justin is a gentle giant, soft-spoken and of humble beginnings. He has a Christian approach to life; he loves God and His people, and is very empathic to youth that face difficulties in dysfunctional home and social environments. Justin himself was the short, awkward, scrawny kid that just didn’t fit in…until he gained a few inches in height and fell in love with basketball. The sport provided the support, mentoring and guidance that he was lacking in his life. Ultimately, Justin led his team, the Norwayne Bobcats, to the best basketball record in his high school’s history. He also earned the award of Most Valuable Player in the Wayne County Athletic League. Along the way, Justin gained the confidence and ambition to pursue his college degree as an avenue to help others.
Declaring a major at the University of Akron for Justin was an easy decision. Justin had volunteered at the Achievement Center of Medina, where he lent his basketball coaching and care skills to students with disabilities. “I loved every second of it! I learned that people with special needs are just like us and often are more loving and appreciative than we are”. Justin inherently knew that he could make the most impact on others by pursuing his degree in Special Education. “I want SO BADLY to be a leader and mentor to students, and bring a sense of character, integrity and ethics to my classroom”. Clearly Justin has a vision for his future, and the Reymann Foundation is proud to support his career goals.
Not only did Justin receive the Charles and Salome Reymann Foundation Scholarship, but he also earned the Charles J. Reymann Scholar award. Affording college tuition necessitated Justin to work full time while managing his academic course load, adding to the many burdens he was already carrying. “The support that the Reymann Foundation has extended to me has been life-changing” says Justin. As he nears graduation, Justin intends to pursue a position as an Intervention Specialist in a high school setting, hopefully one in which he can also apply his coaching talents. Wherever he lands, Justin’s passion, understanding and sense of humor will be an asset to any organization.
When asked what success looks like for him, Justin doesn’t hesitate to respond. “For me, family is number one, and success is being happy while living a life of purpose.”
Justin, you’re already a success in our eyes, and the Reymann Foundation looks forward to being a partner with you for many years to come. Congratulations on being a Reymann Foundation scholarship recipient!