Success today depends a lot on your academic achievements. No one knows this better than Ryan Bethoney, a senior at Bloomingdale High School. And he feels the fresh scent of graduation right around the corner.

Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, Bethoney’s family moved to Valrico 14 years ago. His father is a real estate broker and his mother is a first grade teacher at Alafia Elementary. Younger brother, Drew, completes the close-knit clan. “My family is very close and I enjoy knowing that they’re always there to support me,” said Bethoney. “We’re all Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics fans, except my Mom likes the Cowboys for some reason.”

With a weighted GPA of 5.6, being on the Principal’s honor roll, member of Mu Alpha Theta and Spanish Honor Society as well as taking several college level AP classes, Bethoney’s plate is pretty full. But not too full to pursue his love of basketball.

“I have played competitive basketball since the seventh grade,” said Bethoney. “I have been involved with the Bloomingdale varsity team for four years; three years as a starting power forward. I’ve also been a team captain for the Bloomingdale varsity team for the last two seasons.” Bethoney has played on several travel basketball teams in tournaments against other teams from the U.S. and internationally.

Even with demanding academics and sports endeavors, Bethoney spends every summer volunteering at his church, Westminster Presbyterian, at vacation Bible school. “It’s an opportunity to work with young children which is something that I enjoy very much. Opportunities to mentor and teach younger kids are very rewarding for me,” said Bethoney.

His faith in God is the most powerful influence in his life. “This has been reinforced by my parents and their strong faith as well as by my pastor, Wes Holland, who happens to be a former NAIA college basketball player from Covenant College,” said Bethoney. “I have been blessed with several positive influences in my life including a wonderful church family, great coaches and awesome parents.”

Bethoney plans to attend college after graduation, majoring in Business, and playing basketball at the collegiate level. He has narrowed down his list of colleges and plans on making his decision soon. 

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.