There is no bigger Mariah Carey fan than the talented and charismatic Finis Gaston, a shining star in his own right in his Baker, Florida neighborhood. Imagine his surprise when the music legend came to the small town where he takes care of his niece and nephews. Finis was coaching one of his cheerleading sessions yesterday, Monday, October 18, when Carey announced to the Gaston family that they are the latest recipients of an “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
Finis was raised by a single mother in a poor neighborhood, where his mom also took care of his young niece and two nephews. When Finis was 16, the straight A-student and sports enthusiast tried out for the Baker School cheerleading team. After the coach saw his sky-high jump and perfect toe-touch, she volunteered to pay for everything he needed in order to be on the team. He made school history as the first male cheerleader and his confidence and sense of humor made him a school favorite. His dream to go to college and earn a degree in social work came true when he was discovered by a football scout, who offered Finis a full scholarship to Alabama A&M University.
But with just one year left to graduation, Finis’ beloved mother unexpectedly died. Although he was living his dream, he didn’t hesitate to leave college to return home and care for his niece and nephews. Family comes first for Finis, and splitting up the children to be sent to foster care was not an option for him. In addition to his job as a lunch server at Baker School, Finis is a volunteer coach for a local area girls’ cheerleading team at the Baker Area Youth Association. He has led their team to win local competitions and, more importantly, has given the girls a much-needed boost of confidence. He opened a gymnastics business called Finest Tumblers, but he had to shut down when the building was recently sold. The community lost a fun, healthy place for kids to train, and Finis lost the income that he planned to use to make his family’s home safe and livable.
Finis and his niece, 18-year-old Jasqulon Gaston, her baby boy, LaRon and Finis’s nephews, Tyshun Morris, 15 and Tyvun Morris, 8, will go on vacation to Walt Disney World. Meanwhile, “EM: HE” design team leader Ty Pennington and designers Michael Moloney, Tracy Hutson and Johnny Littlefield, local builder Heritage Homes and community volunteers will build the structure.
The location address is: 1301 Rainbow Ave., Pensacola, FL 32505