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Shennette Sparks

Higher Learning CEO/Founder and author Shennette Sheffield Sparkes was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sparkes grew up as a multitalented athlete, attending St. Thomas Aquinas High School. In high school, she ran track and played volleyball, with her skills and passion for basketball setting her apart.

While playing basketball in college Shennette Sparkes was diagnosed with two types of Lupus.  Lupus is a chronic illness that over 1.5 million are suffering from. Never letting the disease stop her from accomplishing her goals, she completed her four years at UNF and went on to play semi-professional basketball for the Orlando Extreme.

Shennette Sparkes has transformed her gift on the basketball court to writing and encouraging youth within and outside of her community. Training with a Purpose is Sparkes's first quote journal designed to help students and athletes develop the heart of a champion. The Story Behind the Story: A Butterfly Warrior's Journey to Conquering Lupus is the author's inspirational memoir detailing her journey as a Lupus survivor. You can find out more about Shennette at

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