Ceremony honors recipients of Cape Mayor’s Scholarship Fund
The Cape Coral teens stepped out of the white limousine Wednesday in formal evening attire as they headed into the Cape Coral Yacht Club. They were not heading to their prom, but to receive scholarships.
The thirteen seniors each received $1,500 to be used at their discretion as they step into the halls of higher learning later this fall.
“It goes to whatever the student needs,” Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship Fund president Karen Baker said. “The check is made out to the school and the student.”
Mayor Jim Burch said the scholarships and the fund, which is currently in its 27th year, took on a new meaning this year as the city grapples with harsh economic times.
“Things like this are uplifting. It shows that the youth here, they still succeed,” he said.
The fund itself was not immune from the recent economic slide, as the amount of scholarships given out was cut in half from years past.
“In previous years we’ve awarded 20, 23 scholarships, as many as 28,” Baker said.
The scholarships are also more critical for the students than in years past.
“They seem to be relying on (the scholarships) much more this year,” she said.
But the awards ceremony was more about the academic future of the Cape’s budding scholars, not the city’s economic present.
Burch, a former high school teacher with a degree in education, lauded the effects of the university system as laying a foundation for the future.
“You’re going to be in a better position to make decisions for your life and the lives of others,” he said. “They mold that core group of people that come out as leaders.”
The scholarship fund is trying to help the 2009 baker’s dozen group of winners achieve that goal of a college degree.
“It entitles them to do things they might not have been able to do,” Burch said.