Cape Kiwanis awards record $120,000 in scholarships

By Mae Yousif-Bashi
Published: March 31, 2010, in the News-Press.com (Fort Myers and Southwest Florida)
CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA – As a child, Legos were Daniell Montes’ favorite toy.

He used to enjoy using the small building blocks to construct small cities.

And next year, the 17-year-old Cape Coral High School senior will be able to use that love for building as he studies to become a civil engineer at the University of Florida.

He and 19 other students each received a $6,000 scholarship from the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral Tuesday during a dinner at Gulf Coast Village.

Montes and others said the scholarship has helped put college in their future.

“Since the beginning, I’ve thought about the loans I’d have to get,” said Montes, who also received a Bright Futures Scholarship.

“Getting the two scholarships have made (college) more of a reality.”

All recipients have a 3.5 GPA or better. Students have chosen majors ranging from nursing and biology to criminology and archaeology.

The $120,000 in scholarships, which must be used for tuition, is the most the club has given out in its 30 years of offering them. Most of the funding comes from proceeds brought in at the club’s two Cape thrift stores.

But, this year, part of the funding also came from a former scholarship recipient. In 1986, David Herman received $5,000 from the club, and in December, he sent the organization a check for $20,000.

“It made us feel really, really good,” said Trudy Hutchinson, club president. “It’s great to see it come full circle.”

Bryanna Mitchell, 17, a North Fort Myers High senior, plans to attend Edison State College for two years before heading to the Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale to study fashion design.

She said she’s always found herself suggesting clothing ideas to others and assembling outfits. When she found out she was a scholarship recipient, Mitchell said she began running around the house with excitement.

“It’s a major, major help,” she said. “…It’s a burden off my shoulders.”

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