Jonathan Raffa (2021 Cady Scholarship Winner) | Cady

Jonathan Raffa

Olympic Heights Community High School

My Senior Portraits at Cady will forever be an inspiration to me and a testament to how far I have come and just how much I had to overcome. In February of my Sophomore Year, I was in a horrific car accident. The last thing I remember before going into emergency surgery was the doctor telling my family to say goodbye to me. I was in shock, fading in and out of consciousness, while they cried at my bedside and told me they loved me. I didn’t realize how serious it all was. I just remember the bright lights and the heavy feeling of anxiety that lingered in the air. For a moment, it was almost as if I was watching it all unfold in front of me, like I was a spectator of this surreal moment. I had sustained massive internal injuries to my bowels, colon, intestines and damage to my right leg. There were concerns that I may have also suffered damage to my brain.

Due to the severity of my injuries, I flatlined twice and was placed in a medically-induced coma. When I awoke from the coma after multiple surgeries, the prognosis was difficult to hear. The doctors said my school year was probably over, my baseball career was finished, and I would never fully recover. Six weeks after they said I would miss the rest of the school year, I was determined to return to school. There were many times I had to stand through class because the pain was too much to sit, but I refused to stay home.

Balancing my time between doctors, scans, physical therapy, and learning to walk again, while keeping up with the rigor of my academic load and extracurricular activities, was beyond challenging. With my walker, I continued to show up for my baseball team as their Captain and cheer them on with the hopes that someday I would be back on that field again. Just over a year from when I was told my baseball career was over, I stepped up to the plate and got a hit in my first at-bat of the season.

To be standing there at Cady in my cap and gown, my Letterman Jacket, and in my Varsity Baseball uniform was a symbol of the fact that I had been given the chance to live and make the most of each day I am given. This day was the culmination of all I had worked for and all I had worked to overcome. I never believed I would be alive to graduate, alive to take my Senior Portraits, alive to play baseball or even alive to enjoy my senior year.

This Senior portrait session at Cady was the most inspiring and emotional day and was the perfect start to my Senior Year. To see the look in my parent’s eyes as we moved from one scene to the next was amazing. It was incredible how proud I felt standing there in my Varsity Baseball uniform with the smoke blowing behind me. I felt strong. I felt like an athlete. In the Vogue session, you could not see my scars or pain. You just saw my smile and the fact that I made it to Senior Year. The pride I felt as I was photographed in my cap and gown was immeasurable.

This photoshoot helped build me up and prepare me for all of the amazing things to come in my Senior Year. I have already fought for my life. Now I have pictures to capture the fact that I overcame so much and I have so much life left to live. To say Cady Studios inspired me would be an understatement. It provided my family and me a chance to forever capture a moment in time that I never thought I would reach.

Thank you to all of the incredible Cady photographers for showcasing me and providing us with incredible photos that capture what it means to be a Senior and what it means to truly be alive and celebrate the moment.


This photoshoot built me up and helped me prepare for all of the amazing things to come in my Senior Year. I had already fought for my life. Now I have pictures to capture the fact that I overcame so much and I have so much life left to live.