LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (June 29, 2021) – Neal Communities, Southwest Florida’s premier, private homebuilder, has made a $5,000 donation to support the Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund and Taylor Emmons Memorial Classic at The Out-of-Door Academy.
The Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund was created in honor of Taylor Emmons ’09 after he tragically passed away. It was established to keep his selfless spirit, concern for others and love for The Out-of-Door Academy alive for years to come.
Each year, the scholarship provides opportunities for socio-economically diverse students to attend The Out-of-Door Academy and experience the many benefits of a college-preparatory education. It is awarded annually to a rising ninth-grade student who demonstrates the highest level of character and commitment to his or her academic, athletic and artistic pursuits and would otherwise not have the means to attend to school. The scholarship covers up to the full cost of tuition for four years.
The Out-of-Door Academy – which has an elementary school campus on Siesta Key in Sarasota and a middle and high school campus in Lakewood Ranch – hosts the annual Taylor Emmons Memorial Classic baseball tournament to help support the scholarship fund. In 2021, The Out-of-Door Academy baseball team faced off against Canterbury High School at the fundraising event.
But that wasn’t the only highlight for The Out-of-Door Academy baseball program in 2021. Under the guidance of first-year head coach Mike Matthews and his coaching staff, the team accomplished the ultimate goal and won the Florida Class 2A State Championship. Led by seniors Tyler Colditz and Nolan Lewellen, the Thunder compiled a record of 24-3 and won their first regional and state championship in program history.
The team graduates only five seniors in 2021, bringing back many contributing players for the 2022 season. Those players include the 2019 Taylor Emmons Scholarship recipient, Nevan Hernandez.
This is the first time that Neal Communities has made a donation to support the Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund and Taylor Emmons Memorial Classic at The Out-of-Door Academy. The donation was requested by Ivory Matthews, who serves as community and governmental affairs director for Neal Communities and is married to Coach Matthews.
“This donation supports so many things that we care about here at Neal Communities,” said Pat Neal, founder and chairman of Neal Communities. “By making this donation, we’re supporting a school in the same community as our headquarters, and we’re helping local students receive a high-quality college-preparatory education. It also helps reinforce that we care about our employees and the causes that are important to them. We’re happy to contribute to the efforts to build the scholarship fund, and we congratulate The Out-of-Door Academy baseball program on its incredible success this year!”
For more information about the Taylor Emmons Scholarship Fund, visit www.oda.edu/admissions/taylor-emmons-scholarship.