BROOKSVILLE – A student at Nature Coast Technical High School will be making a speech to a group in Orlando in mid-July, the Hernando County School District said in a press release.

Robert Kordon, a junior, will be the featured student speaker at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s 21st annual Mid-Year Training Institute on July17-21 at the Gaylord Palms Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando.

"It really is such an honor. I feel very blessed and very happy," Kordon said. Although he is not sure what the topic of his speech will be about, he is hoping to "touch on the big issues, like vaping," he said. "So many become addicts before they graduate high school. Peer pressure -- that 's the main reason for it."

Kordon is 16, but first attracted the attention of the Hernando Community Coalition when he was a fifth-grader at Challenger K8.

Jennifer Bliska was working as the project director for the coalition when she met Kordon. He was in the fifth grade then and a member of Students Working Against Tobacco, a school club overseen by HCC.

She said she immediately noticed how he was different from the other fifth-graders.

“Robert has always stood out,” Bliska said. “He is a go-getter, willing to try new things and go the extra mile to make an impact. He truly wants to make a difference.”

When the Hernando Community Coalition began making its plans, Bliska reached out to the nonprofit organization to see if it would cover or waive Kordon's registration fees so he could attend.

After reading about Kordon's work with HCC and within the community, the organization not only agreed to cover the cost, but asked him to be the featured student speaker.

"It is amazing," Kordon said. "Now I'm working with the coalition directly. I get to touch on a broader scope -- not just tobacco, but drugs and alcohol, too. ... I'm talking to people and getting to know their stories. It's a perfect way for me to help make a change in the community."

At school, Kordon is involved with the ImPACT (Positive Action Change Team), a program offered at the middle and high schools. Students in the club work to make positive changes in areas such as mental health, substance abuse and bullying. They also encourage positive behavior, such as being kind, uplifting other students and volunteering in the community.

"These groups and clubs are not only to preach, but great way to make friends, life experiences, and helping with public speaking," Kordon said. "It's a great way to develop great life skills while making change."

For information about the Hernando Community Coalition, visit https://hernandocommunitycoalition.org/.

To learn more about CADCA, visit https://www.cadca.org/