17-year-old Juan Aleman awarded $25K scholarship

January 27, 2019

With Juan Aleman IV’s passion for robotics and programming, achieving a degree in computer science is a must; however, this goal seemed financially out of reach until he was awarded a $25,000 scholarship.

The 17-year-old from Addison thought he might never afford college because his single mother is unable to work.

“Without this scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to pay for college,” he said.

Juan was one of 106 students around the country to receive a $25,000 Horatio Alger National Scholarship this year.

“This annual scholarship recognizes outstanding students, who, in the face of great adversity, have exhibited an admirable commitment to continuing their education and serving their communities,” said the association’s Account Executive Mallory Tadley in a press release.

“In fact, Horatio Alger Association administers one of the nation’s largest privately-funded, need-based financial aid programs to young men and women — having awarded more than $159 million in scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving students since 1984.”

In May, Juan will graduate from his homeschool courses, which include classes through California University and West Virginia University. He has yet decide where he wants to go to college.

“I’m waiting until decision time in March,” he said. “We’ll see which school gives me the most money.”

He wants to dual major in computer science and business. He said his experience with the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competitions with his team, G-FORCE 2818 of Accident, Maryland, pushed him toward a robotics career.

Juan spends his spare time working at Mountain Pies, along Route 40, taking Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and planning events for 4-H. He’s a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo and a four stripe white belt in Jiu-Jitsu.

In 4-H, he spent two years on the Maryland 4-H State Council as the vice president of training and outreach. He planned county fairs, state fairs, galas and awards ceremonies.

In the summer and winter last year, he also helped pass out water and paper products to people without water in Addison after the borough’s water line broke.

“Juan does an excellent job,” said Tadley. “He’s very humble and an incredible worker.”

“We’re thrilled Juan and others will be a part of the organization, and we’re thrilled to see what they will do in the future.”

Juan’s mother, Inga Aleman, said that she is honored that her son was chosen.

“Even though he has faced one challenge after another he has always persevered and never let the challenges get in the way of his goals,” she said.

“Even when our checking account was empty, Juan knew he would find a way to pay for college and refused to give up on his dream.

“The Horatio Alger National Scholarship has put a smile on Juan’s face and excitement in his voice because he knows the program and the scholarship will help him more than just financially.”

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