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Jordan Lindsey named NFMHS’s first-ever Lombardi Scholar

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Jun 8, 2021

For the first time in North Fort Myers High School history, a student was welcomed as a Lombardi Scholar to the University of Florida Honors Program.

“It was incredibly exciting,” recent North Fort Myers High School graduate Jordan Lindsey said. “I was so ecstatic when I got a phone call and saw that the area was from Gainesville. My heart just knew what it was at that exact moment. It was the culmination of all my hard work and an incredibly lengthy process.”

University Honors Program Associate Director Regan Garner said they are really excited about what Lindsey will bring to the program.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jordan as our first Lombardi Scholar from North Fort Myers High School,” she said.

The program is named after Dr. John V. Lombardi, who led the University of Florida during the 1990s.

“A period of unprecedented achievement and growth,” Garner said. “His visionary leadership instilled in students, faculty and alumni an aspiration to fulfill their greatest potential. During his tenure, the size and quality of the student body grew to even higher levels, faculty productivity increased, national rankings steadily improved, research funding doubled and the university’s endowment soared to almost $500 million. By the turn of the century, the university had ascended to the top tier of public research universities — a testament to the legacy of John V. Lombardi. The scholarship was established in 2002 to honor Dr. Lombardi and his achievements at UF.”

Eight Lombardi Scholars, and three Stamps Scholars, are selected annually.

Lindsey was nominated for the scholarship by the administration of North Fort Myers High School.

“I then had to actually get into the University of Florida and the Honors Program. After that, I was selected to be one of 22 finalists out of a pool of roughly 200. After an intense interview process, I got the phone call a month later and joined other students in becoming a Lombardi Scholar.”

For Lindsey, being a Lombardi Scholar is incredibly meaningful because it’s a recognition of all the work he has put into his academics and applications.

“I received a cochlear implant at the UF Shands Institute when I was 3 years old, the moment when I wanted to become a Gator,” he said.

Lindsey is completely deaf in both ears. He was born with a progressive hearing loss and became profoundly deaf by the time he was 2.

“My audiologists and doctors told my parents that I would never succeed in a mainstream school setting. They said that because I was deaf, my reading and writing skills would never surpass the fourth-grade level. Of course, I surpassed all expectations and have become incredibly successful academically. I’m now a Lombardi Scholar in the Honors Program at UF. I graduated high school yesterday (June 5) with both my high school and AICE diploma and was honored to deliver a graduation speech as well,” he said.

Being a Lombardi Scholar also provides funds to cover Lindsey’s expenses.

“It also means that I get to participate in summer enrichment trips to places like Outward Bound in Maine, Mexico, Peru and South Africa, with no expenses on my end. Being a Lombardi Scholar has also blessed me with a group of UF friends already. The other 10 scholars and I already have plans to meet and we’ve been talking daily,” he added.

The scholar also thanked North Fort Myers High School, as they gave him the opportunity by nominating him.

“I know they’re just as ecstatic as I am,” he said, adding that he wants to thank his school and counselors. “They have been absolutely amazing and have provided such a wonderful academic environment.”

Lindsey plans to major in political science with a pre-law track. He said his aim is to attend law school after he graduates from UF with sights on some of the most prestigious law schools. In addition, Lindsey also plans to double major with an eye on history, sociology and journalism, as he believes these majors contribute the necessary skills and knowledge required for law.

Lindsey also has sights on starting an organization for fair legal representation as it is out of reach for many Americans.

“Many Americans are unaware of their rights and the claims they’re able to make. Many of the impoverisheds’ legal needs go unmet in America, purely due to the fact that they’re unable to afford fair legal representation. This is especially serious in situations when it could result in an unfair housing eviction, for example,” he said. “I want to establish a nonprofit legal organization providing pro bono work, providing legal assistance to the disadvantaged and impoverished. I want to help make ‘justice for all’ a reality in Florida and beyond.”

While at North Fort Myers High School, he took a difficult load of classes his senior year, as years before, taking AICE English A-Level, AP statistics, AICE sociology AS level, AICE travel and tourism AS level, economics honors, government honors and anatomy and physiology honors.

He was also the vice president of a brand new club at North, Youth in Government, in which he wrote legislation regarding the affordable housing crisis.

“The affordable housing crisis is very serious here in the state of Florida. The National Low Income Housing Coalition has found that 21 percent of renters are extremely low income. Seventy-nine percent of extremely low-income renters have severe cost burdens as a result of housing — they make less than 60 percent of their area’s median income and 40 percent of that income is spent on rent and utilities alone,” Lindsey said. “Wages have stagnated while housing costs have increased, with median wages between 2007 and 2017 increasing only 14 percent with housing costs increasing by 66 percent.”

In addition, through his research he found that the National Low Income Housing Coalition stated that Jacksonville has a deficit of 36,000 affordable housing units and the Orlando metro area is ranked as the most unaffordable place to live in location in the nation.

“As a result, I decided to write my legislation focusing on the affordable housing crisis. My bill focused on the establishment of a statewide community land trust. Community land trusts are nonprofit organizations that enter 99-year long renewable and affordable leases with low-income homeowners. The CLT owns the land and so the homeowner doesn’t have to pay for the land on top of the home. This model has been noted as exceptionally effective, having been adopted in a number of states. Foreclosure rates for CLTs have decreased by as much as 90 percent less than conventional home mortgages,” Lindsey said.

He said he wants to thank his family for all of their support.

“I want to thank my family for every single ounce of support they’ve given me,” Lindsey said. “I absolutely would not be even close to where I am today without their love and total devotion, I love them so much!”