ORLANDO, Fla. – Jones High School senior Zavier Avera is all smiles. That’s because he’s heading to Yale University in the fall and making history as the first athlete at his school to receive a full-ride to an Ivy League university.
“I never thought God would put me in this position. I worked really hard,” Zavier Avera said.
News 6 was at his signing day back in December when he unveiled his school’s choice. The basketball-turned-football player is not only a star on the court and the field, but also has a 4.9 GPA and is graduating eighth in his class.
“Jones High School was my best decision ever,” the high school senior said.
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Zavier Avera’s mom, Kimberly, is overwhelmed with joy. She said as a single mother, it means so much having coaches, teachers, a principal and many others who helped guide her son.
“It’s just a blessing to have great people in your life who support a child that’s not even theirs,” she said. “He did the work for the 4.9 GPA, however, I had to stay on top of him to make sure. You’ve got to get your work.”
Jones High’s head football coach Elijah WIlliams said Zavier Avera is a standout, and he’s seen his progression.
“I really think he has a chance to go and play in the NFL because of his desire and his heart and he doesn’t give up,” Williams said. “He works, he’s hungry.”
He said mastering his schoolwork and also listening to his parents, teachers and coaches have been key.
Dr. Alex Jackson is an assistant principal at the school and also Zavier Avera’s former basketball coach.
“Super scholar going to Yale. He is the model for what we want our student athletes to be,” Jackson said.
Zavier Avera said he and his team were led by a great coach.
“Our coach taught us teamwork, hard work and never give up,” he said.
His advice to other boys is of a similar sentiment.
“Don’t ever give up on your dreams and don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something in life,” Zavier Avera said.
He said he plans to major in computer science at Yale University in the fall.
He said his dream is to someday play in the NFL, but if not, he wants to work for Lockheed Martin or NASA building spacecrafts.
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