Student Spotlight: Judah Stone

Orlando native, Judah Stone, whose name means "Thanks and praise", certainly glorifies God with his life. Through his involvement as a member of the football team and Student Government, Judah is a valuable asset to Ave Maria University's Freshman Class. As an Environmental Science major, Judah enjoys being outdoors working with youth, and plans to become a ranger in a State Park after college.

What did you do last summer?

I am a part of a non-profit, Christian, children’s urban sports camp called Kids Across America which is located in Southern Missouri on the border of Arkansas. For the past few years, I have been working maintenance for them, but this year, since I am in college, I am getting moved up to be a counselor. I got the job in 2014, because my sister is a director of the camp there. For the past three years, I was a part of the three year program through KAA called Higher Ground. This year, I am getting my passport so that I can travel with Higher Ground to the Dominican Republic and Belize. I am really excited for that! Kids Across America has camps all across the country, as well as Internationally.

Has your time working for Kids Across America helped you to discover what you would like to do post-graduation? 

It certainly has. The camp life is what I enjoy because it is out in the middle of nowhere. I am very conservative when it comes to our natural resources, so being outdoors is why I picked Environmental Science as my major. I use my time at KAA as an outlet to have fun outside while mentoring youth. I like working with kids because they are the next generation, and on top of that, it allows me to pour into them the energy and passion that I have for Christ.

How do you think technology has impacted the way that kids view the outdoors?

Technology has kept our generation indoors because fun is at the tips of our fingers. When I was little, we were always outside! We would go in the pool, ride bikes, play on the tire swing…we were outside all day! Growing up, the only technology I had was a Nintendo 64, and I didn't get a cell phone until I was 16. Technology really consumes our generation. It is strange that the same thing that connects us to the world, disconnects us as from it as well. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

After graduation, I would love to give back to the community I grew up in. I want to work for the state or county recreational parks. In my free time, I would also really like to volunteer in a recreational center for kids.

What are you doing this year to help you get closer to your goal?

Last semester, I was involved in One-by-One, which is a mentorship program that allows us Ave athletes to go to Immokalee High School and work with the students there. Each time we visit, we are given a theme for the day, which gives me an opportunity to share my faith. I am also studying hard, continuing to go to church, and getting involved, especially with Student Government. It is such a big opportunity that I have [being on SGA] to make a difference in the Ave Maria community. My motto is “Ask not what your school can do for you, but what you can do for your school”. I believe if you are unhappy with your environment, why sit there and complain about it if you are not going to do anything about it?

What do you think your three best qualities are?

Passion, Energy, and Kindness.

If you won a million dollars tomorrow, what would you do with the money?

I would invest a lot of it, buy my parents the house the deserve, get myself a Range Rover, and pay off my student loans. 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Unlimited endurance

What does success look like to you?

The world says make your money, live the lavish life - that is not success. Just because you are able to have a bunch of material things does not make you successful. Success is accomplishing something that you truly desire in life.

How have your dreams and goals changed throughout your life?

I remember growing up, I wanted to be a vet, I wanted to play in the NFL, I wanted to be a hero, but you know, reality hit me like *boom*. It is for the better, though, because James 1:2-4 says, "Consider your tough times to be a joy, because it only produces fruits." I know that everything I went through helped to build my character and made me who I am. Between football, SGA, school, relationships, and my faith, it has been tough to find balance, but through God’s strength, I am able to do it.