Kiwanis award scholarships

By MCKENZIE CASSIDY, mcassidy@breezenewspapers.com POSTED: March 31, 2010

Scholarship Winners:

- Ely Banos, Island Coast High

- Jackielyn Cabrera, Cape Coral High

- Lindsay Cobb, Mariner High

- Christian Cousin, Cape Coral High

- Darchelle Dean, Cape Coral High

- Dorys Formeta, North Fort Myers High

- Christine Giles, Ida S. Baker High

- Casey Gymrek, Mariner High

- Benjamin Heavener, Mariner High

- Asa Johnston, Mariner High

- Bryanna Mitchell, North Fort Myers High

- Daniel Montes, Cape Coral High

- Stephanie Ogden, Mariner High

- Kevin Parza, Bishop Verot High

- Kylee Shirakawa, Cape Coral High

- Maika Toussaint, Island Coast High

- Kaitlyn Turner, Ida S. Baker High

- Taylor Van Horn, Ida S. Baker High

- Vanessa Vazquez, Mariner High

- Michael Waldron, Bishop Verot High

Twenty local students received scholarships Tuesday night from the Cape Coral Kiwanis Club.

A total of 110 students submitted applications to receive $6,000 scholarships dispersed over four years in increments of $1,500 to the college the students plan to attend.

According to Dr. Ralph Ackerman, chairman of the Scholarship Committee, students have to live in Cape Coral to qualify for a Kiwanis scholarship, and the committee looked at student grade point average, their contribution to the community and financial need in deciding who would receive one.

Funding for the scholarships came from the Kiwanis’ local fund-raising activities.

“Most of the money for the scholarship comes from our thrift stores,” he said.

The club has two thrift stores in Cape Coral – 708 Southeast 47th Terrace and 652 Del Prado Blvd. North – and puts a majority of the money back into the community.

Kiwanis President Trudy Hutchinson said the club has made $750,000 and reinvested $400,000 of it locally, $120,000 worth in scholarships. She said most students end up finishing school and using their scholarships. “It’s a very low drop out rate for these students,” she said.

Six of the scholarships given out during a dinner reception at Gulf Coast Village were from the club’s endowment, and a generous donor provided an additional $20,000.

David Hermman, a former recipient of a $5,000 Kiwanis scholarship, recently handed the club a check for $20,000 and, because of his donation, they were able to provide scholarships to two additional students.

The program has grown since it began in the early 1980′s. Ackerman said the first few recipients received only $1,000, but the amount has steadily increased over the last 20 years.

Keynote speaker for the reception was Edison State College Vice-President Robert Beeson, who described how the college was going to be celebrating its 50 year anniversary in 2012.

“Edison is a very exciting place to be,” he said.

Beeson said that 96 percent of Edison State College alumni still reside in the five counties of Southwest Florida, working in a number of industries, organizations and public offices.

“The young people you support through your scholarship program will likely stay in Lee County,” he said.

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