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Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship Program awards 17 $1,500 grants

By Staff | May 5, 2011

MICHAEL PISTELLA The 2011 Cape Coral Mayors Scholarship recipients: left to right, front row: Carolina Lerma, Kayla Walter, Julia Giardina, Dana Pagano, Taylor Welling, Emily Choate, Amelia Van Pelt, and Abigail Owiesny. Back row: Kevin Elya, Kevin Bergener, Derick Adams, Alex Lochard, Alexandra Reeves, Andres Ochoa, Kaitlyn Rieser, Alex Ragonese, and Hao Tran.

Seventeen Cape Coral students were presented with a $1,500 Cape Coral Mayors Scholarship Fund scholarship Wednesday night at the 25th annual banquet held at The Resort at Marina Village.
Mayor John Sullivan said the Cape Coral Mayors Scholarship Fund is important because the students are given an opportunity to receive a higher education.
“These students are going to be our future and anything we do to help them is a necessity,” he said. “They are going to need all the help we can give them.”
This year’s recipients are Derick Adams, Kevin Bergener, Emily Choate, Kevin Elya, Julia Giardina, Carolina Lerma, Alex Lochard, Andres Ochoa, Abigail Owiesny, Dana Pagano, Alex Ragonese, Alexandra Reeves, Kaitlyn Rieser, Hao Tran, Amelia Van Pelt, Kayla Walter and Taylor Welling.
Welling, an International Baccalaureate student from Cape Coral High School, said being a recipient of the 2011 scholarship makes her really proud.
“I am being recognized for all the hard work I have done over the last four years,” she said.
Welling said although the process of filling out the application and sitting through an interview was stressful at times, the end result of receiving the award made it all worth while.
The $1,500 scholarship will help Welling purchase a new laptop computer and items for her dorm room, along with money to go towards her food plan at Wilkes Honors College in Juniper, Fla.
Pagano, a Cape Coral High School International Baccalaureate student said receiving the scholarship means a lot to her because the money will help her achieve her dream of becoming a doctor. She said she hopes to become an orthopedic surgeon or a cardiologist.
“It is greatly appreciative because it will help me achieve my goals,” Pagano said.
The scholarship will help Pagano pay for her tuition, room and board and textbooks at the University of South Florida.
Cape Coral High School International Baccalaureate student Ragonese said it is an honor to be one of the recipients of the scholarship because he was one of 17 students out of 200 that will receive $1,500.
He said the interviewing process was the hardest part for him because he was nervous. Confidence and calmness, he said was what helped him through the process.
He plans on attending the University of Florida.
Cape Coral High School Principal Eric McFee attended the banquet Wednesday night to support his 10 students who received the scholarships. He said it is a great program because it is home grown.
“I am extremely proud,” he said of his students. “The scholarship will go a long way for them.”
McFee said his students are truly deserving because they are all unique.
“The range of who won is amazing,” he said.
A past recipient of the 2009 Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship Fund, Kyle Ramey attended the banquet to provide inspiration for the students.
He said he was going to remind the students that although they have accomplished a lot, it is not about what has been done, but what is expected out of them now that they received the scholarship.
“They are the leaders of tomorrow and by supporting them, Cape Coral is going to be in good hands,” Ramey said.
The $1,500 scholarship has helped Ramey purchase books for his nuclear engineering and mathematics degree at the University of Florida.
“It’s nice knowing that I had people supporting me in my education endeavour,” he said.
Cape Coral Mayors Scholarship Fund Director Joe Mazurkiewicz said he has been apart of the Cape Coral Mayors Scholarship Fund since 1983. He said it has been really cool to watch the program grow from awarding students from Lee County to now awarding kids who are mainly Cape Coral natives.
“We are investing in our youth,” Mazurkiewicz said, because the students who are awarded will bring their talents back home and share them with the community of Cape Coral.
The Cape Coral Mayors Scholarship Fund banquet, he said, is the most uplifting event he attends on an annual basis.
“It seems like they keep improving,” Mazurkiewicz said about the students.
Cape Coral Mayors Scholarship Fund director and school board member Mary Fischer also was in attendance Wednesday night. She said she was one of the founding members of the fund. Although she took a hiatus for many years, she got back into the program this year.
“I’m excited about it and our kids,” she said about the banquet and scholarship presentation. “I think we have come a long way.”
The Wednesday night festivities included a social hour, dinner and a scholarship presentations.