April 23, 2024

Charting a Course: Jonah Smith’s Path from Rowing to Engineering

2.1 min read| Published On: April 23rd, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Charting a Course: Jonah Smith’s Path from Rowing to Engineering

2.1 min read| Published On: April 23rd, 2024|

South Lake High School senior Jonah Smith is not only a fantastic student with a 4.54 GPA but also a student-athlete who competes in the sport of rowing. Jonah Smith is a member of the National Honor Society and a cadet in the NJROTC program at South Lake High School.

Jonah loves the water and has been a cadet and member of the SLHS Swim Team for all 4 years of high school. During Jonah’s sophomore year, he started as a full-time rower for the Lake County Rowing Association. In his sophomore and junior years, he was only trained in sweep races (each rower has 1 oar). Jonah raced in 8-man boats both years and a 4-person boat at the end of his junior year.

(Jonah Smith during a recent sculling event.)

However, for his senior year, Jonah took up Sculling. In the sport of Sculling, each rower has 2 oars. This is a difficult discipline to master and can take years to get to the top. Jonah took that as a challenge and decided to give it a try his senior year.

“Jonah is an amazing young man. When he puts his mind to something, there is nothing he can’t accomplish,” says Lake County Rowing Association President Mark Vantrease. Jonah had his first Sculling race on July 29, 2024. He would go on to place 7th in the Junior Novice Division. Since then, he has raced five more times prior to the FSRA State Sculling Championships this past weekend.

Jonah used all his experience and went out to compete with some of the best Scullers in the state. Jonah finished an impressive 5th place at the State Championships! He was the highest-finishing Lake County student in an individual discipline. We are so proud of this accomplishment, especially considering Jonah has been Sculling for less than a year.

When he’s not competing in athletic events, Jonah is very active at school and in the community. He will be graduating Summa Cum Laude with a 4.54 GPA. He is also very active in his church and serves at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Clermont. Jonah has close to 200 hours of community service.

(Jonah Smith rows with a team of four during a recent competition.)

Jonah most recently completed the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Aviation Dual-Enrollment Program, taught by his LtCol, John (Hal) Pylant. Jonah completed the program and was recognized Friday, April 5th, with students from other schools at a Completion & Cord Ceremony/Dinner at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Jonah will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on a Scholarship in the fall of 2024! He will be majoring in Aerospace Engineering! “We are so proud of Jonah and how far he has come in the Lake County Rowing Association. He is such an inspiration to so many young kids looking to get into the sport,” said LCRA V.P. Dana Lancaster-Kelly.

Congratulations to Jonah Smith on a stellar performance at the State Championships! This is one young man who is destined for greatness!

Photos Provided By Dana Lancaster-Kelly 

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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