Students earn Mayor’s Scholarship Fund awards
Know your moral compass, be kind, there is no such thing as failure, push boundaries, know what your worth, live for the present and dream big.
That was the advice Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki gave to high school seniors on Thursday at the 34th annual Mayors Scholarship Fund Awards Banquet held at the Palmetto Pine Country Club.
A record 27 recipients earned the $1,500 scholarships during a ceremony attended by their families, city leaders, and the sponsors who make the event possible.
The non-profit organization has awarded more than $700,000 to hundreds of recipients since 1983, all Cape Coral residents although they may attend other schools outside the city. The scholarships are merit based.
There is a matrix comprised of community service hours, SAT or ACT scores and grade point averages that determines eligible candidates, who are then interviewed by the fund’s board.
“For me, this goes back to when I was mayor. It’s special because education and youth are the most valuable assets we have, and tonight is the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people. These kid are remarkable,” said Jim Burch, council member and director of the fund.
Sawicki spoke of what she would tell herself today if she could go back to when she was their age and how she handles things when times get rough through a quote from Theodore Roosevelt.
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man crumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly” Sawicki said.
Dave Alexander hosted the event as the recipients, who came to the event in limousines and walked the red carpet, received their scholarships from their sponsors, which ranged from citizens to private companies to other non-profit organizations and county offices. They are the backbone of the organization.
“This is our future and unfortunately we don’t celebrate these often enough. These kids are the future of our community and country,” Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said. “In our job in law enforcement, we see people at their worst, but these kids reflect what it’s all about.”
Of the recipients, 10 came from Oasis High School, five from Mariner and four from Cape Coral. Only three attended schools outside the city. Of the 27 winners, 20 were women.
Among them was Megan Galbreath of Cape Coral High, who spoke for the recipients at the end of the banquet, saying that nothing nor anyone should hold you back from chasing your dreams.
“You can do anything you set your mind to as long as you have the desire and passion to accomplish it. Everyone here has proven this to be true,” Galbreath said.
The night was about the youths, many of whom will cross each other’s paths again at other scholarship awards banquets.
“It is such an honor to be recognized with all these individuals. To be grouped in with such amazing people is great,” said Hannah Theriault of Mariner, who has won four scholarships. “It was amazing when I learned I had won. I’m going to Georgia Tech and going out of state will cost a lot, so every scholarship is so meaningful to me and my family.”
“I’m so glad to live in Cape Coral, Cape High has so many opportunities and this money will help me further my education,” said Anan Quan of Cape Coral, who will attend MIT in the fall. “I’m so homored.”