He was offered a full scholarship to Florida Memorial University at the South Florida HBCU Golf Classic event.
An 11-year-old boy with autism and a bright future has won a full scholarship to Florida Memorial University. Carter Bonas, who's already a golfer, is the founder and owner of a clothing line and a vitamin-water product line. Bonas is making his mark in the golf community and received the scholarship offer at the South Florida HBCU Golf Classic. He's not bad at golf either and has already developed a great swing. “'This young man is very special. He touched my life in a way that he doesn’t even know. He hit the ball better than any kid that I’ve ever seen and better than how half of you hit the ball," William McCormick, founder of the tournament, told a room full of Black golfers, reported Atlanta Blackstar. Carter wrote, "Not only did I place 2nd! I was awarded a 4-year scholarship to attend college! See you in 6 years (or less) to get that business degree to take Spectrum Golf to the next level!"
Carter was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome when he was just a 1-year-old. Carter doesn't like physical touch and it limited his social skills. He was struggling with symptoms and was often bullied by his classmates. He was struggling to manage his emotions and had also opened up about feeling suicidal. His mother sought medical help and noticed a significant improvement in Carter. He was starting to show an interest in sports and golf in particular. The boy had taken to golf as a means to build his social skills. His mother, Dr. Thelma Tennie said they hoped it would help him interact with others.
“He was able to concentrate, he said, and he no longer had invasive negative thoughts or physical altercations at school,” said Tennie. “It felt like he finally gotten to a place of peace and balance.” Carter is now hoping his story raises awareness of autism. "Yes, I am special; yes, I am different; yes, I am weird, and that’s OK. I’m unique and different and that’s OK. I learned to embrace my differences," he said.
According to his company, Carter is considered high functioning on the autism spectrum scale. Carter Bonas' apparel line is titled “Spectrum Golf” while his vitamin water is named “Spectrum Vitamin Water.” Carter has bigger plans in the pipeline. He has created Carter’s Spectrum Golf Cares Corp., a nonprofit, and wants to use the platform to speak at various schools and offer mentoring programs and free golf lessons.
Carter's story has been an inspiration and earned him an invite to the Chubb Classic in Naples, Florida. He went head to head with Pro Golfer Alex Cejka in a chip competition and also walked the course with Hall of Famer Ernie Els. He connected with Els, whose son is also autistic. Florida Memorial University's President Jaffus Hardick said he was inspired by Carter and hoped that it would inspire others as well. “This young man turned it into something positive and began to soar, becoming an entrepreneur,” said Hardick, before adding that FMU had plans to launch a golf program within the next two years.