Zack Morris and Albert Ales III tragically lost their lives in a vehicle accident on May 24, 2019 in Cusco, Peru on their high school graduation trip to hike to Machu Picchu and see the Rainbow Mountains. These boys were so loved that this campaign was originally established by the SNI family to offset repatriation and funeral costs for these two fine young men with any extra proceeds to go a scholarship in their honor. However, the community response has been overwhelming with contributions flowing in from far and wide as the scope of this loss and tragedy has touched so many hearts and the generosity has been overwhelming. The boys are home now from Peru and the families will cover travel and funerary costs themselves. So ALL donated money (less GoFundMe transaction fees) will flow directly into a scholarship fund in Albert and Zack's memory. The families are setting up a non profit to steward these funds and are looking into opportunities to work within the established local philanthropic community. Both families hope a lasting endowment can be created that gives 2 students a year from the Southeast Inter-Baccalaureate (IB) Program meaningful scholarship support in honor of the boys' memory. Students who reflect the values, character and determination that Albert Ales III and Zack Morris exhibited.
Zack and Albert were driven to make positive changes in their community and the world through creativity, innovation and ingenuity. They represented intelligent, hardworking young people with a vision for positive change and the confidence and bravery to ask what they could do to bring that vision to life. Albert took to engineering like a fish to water and wanted to design more fuel efficient engines and Zack wanted to serve his country through the Navy, then study medicine and then serve as a doctor in third world countries. Both young men demonstrated a willingness to take chances, get outside of their comfort zone and throw themselves into challenging projects. They preferred to take the "road less traveled", not the safe path which meant sometimes they failed or were met with disappointment. But in the face of those setbacks, they would doggedly get up, dust themselves off, re-calibrate, learn from that failure and use this knowledge as a springboard to take aim at a new goal.
These young men were resilient, resourceful, compassionate, had a strong work ethic and a positive attitude. They believed in the importance of fairness, in supporting their teammates and would not tolerate bullies. They also knew how to laugh, have a good time and enjoyed the close fellowship of friends. And if you ask their teachers, yes, sometimes they could be a little irreverent, sarcastic and often enjoyed the opportunity to question or find inconsistencies in lines of reasoning or logic. But learning awakens all of the parts of young minds and it is a compliment to the teacher than has helped shape such an intellect that is able to think critically, is unafraid to respectfully challenge ideas and to be its authentic self. The greatest growth in understanding comes through the exchange of ideas and that can only happen in an environment which fosters freedom of thought and expression where people are not afraid to have opinions and share them. The IB Program at Southeast High School helped to shape and mold these boys into the impressive young men they were becoming and it is an honor for their respective families to play a small role in establishing an enduring legacy in their memory at this institution. Our sincere thanks to all who have given already and to those who may give in the future to help make this vision a reality in memory of these young men. Please help us create a lasting legacy of scholarship in honor of Albert Ales III and Zack Morris at the Southeast High School IB Program in Bradenton, Florida.
- Mary (Sissy) Overlees
Organizer and beneficiary
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