Student Spotlight - Cristhian Cardona

Cristhian Cardona ’19 grew up in Venezuela, raised by his grandparents.

“We were a lower class family. I remember working when I was little to help in any way I could, all while my mom was working to bring me to the United States,” Cardona said. “I moved to the U.S. at 14. It was a hard transition because I had to learn English and all of the subjects.”

“I’m grateful I was able to come to America when I did.”

Cardona went on to graduate from Tarpon Springs High School, and played baseball at Inspiration Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for a semester. During that time, he received offers from several schools to play baseball, including John Wood Community College.

“I decided to come to John Wood to continue my education and baseball career because it was the right fit for me,” Cardona said.

As a first-generation student, Cardona hit the ground running and has been putting up impressive stats on the mound and in the classroom ever since. He holds a 3.15 grade point average and had a 4.11 earned run average last season.

At the end of the 2018 fall semester, Cardona needed 27 credit hours to complete his degree. Instead of taking an extra semester, he stepped up to the plate and found a way to complete his credits by the end of the summer, all while working part-time in the JWCC athletic department.

“Managing my time has been hard since most student-athletes only take 16 credit hours a semester and I took 18 during my in-season,” Cardona said. “But my experience here at John Wood has been amazing. My family and coaches supported me throughout the process. It’s been a blessing having them support me, not letting me give up by holding me to a higher standard. I’ve also been blessed with people like Joyce Fairley and Coach Adam Hightower who have mentored and helped me with anything I’ve needed.”

“For me, finishing before the fall semester was something I had to do to be able to play in the next level,” Cardona said. “When you want something really bad, you’ll find a way to get it done. All it takes is hard work and dedication.”

This fall, Cardona will transfer to Jackson State University where he will receive a NCAA Division I scholarship.

“My scholarship to Jackson State means the dedication I have poured into the classroom, field and weight room has paid off,” Cardona said. “I am thankful and blessed to be the first to play at the Division I level since 2012 here at John Wood.”

Cardona will pursue a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Jackson State. After graduation, he hopes to pursue his baseball career and then become a counselor and baseball coach, traveling the world to help those in need.

John Wood Community College is the educational link between business and community. JWCC collaboratively creates innovative and relevant academic and training programs with business leaders to educate young people and the workforce for today’s needs and tomorrow’s opportunities. JWCC has centers in Quincy, Pittsfield, Baylis and Mt. Sterling, Illinois. Programs include a comprehensive baccalaureate transfer curriculum, customized business training, career/technical degrees and certificates and personal enrichment courses.

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