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Cape Coral Kiwanis awards 20 scholarships

By Staff | May 25, 2017

Graduations may have taken place, but scholarship season is still in full force. And some of the most coveted scholarships were handed out by the Cape Coral Kiwanis to 20 of Cape Coral’s brightest graduates.

Nearly a quarter-million dollars in scholarships were awarded at the annual Kiwanis Scholarship Awards Dinner at Kiwanis Hall, with each recipient getting at least $12,000 over four years, an increase from the $10,000 they received in previous years.

This year’s group may be the most accomplished yet, with 12 recipients being Key Club members, 15 with GPAs of at least 3.9, and contributing more than 11,000 hours in community service.

But the scholarships would not have been possible without Kiwanis volunteers working at the thrift store, some of whom were scholarship recipients.

“All of you sitting with your children tonight should be proud of their accomplishments. Also, be proud that these young adults put in hundreds of hours of volunteering,” said Kiwanis president-elect Jay Sheldrake.

“These scholarships are going to outstanding young men and ladies. In doing this, we not only honor the work they have done and also encourage them to continue their endeavors,” said District 19 Lt. Gov. Harris Segel.

This year’s $12,000 scholarship winners were:

Kelsi Bevington, Alexa Rosier, North Fort Myers; Dannah Doloarfina, Anna Dostie, Ray Huang, Sarah Kane, Stephanie Lugli, Shanjida Rauf, Cape Coral; Jenny Fleuristal, Ida Baker; Taylor Lukasik, Bishop Verot; Kayla McNeely, Mariner; Katherine Morris, Rekha Pednekar, Bailee Peralto, Oasis; Mark Phillips, Florida Southwestern Collegiate (who was not present).

The Lubins Scholarship ($12,000) went to Kenneth Payne of Oasis; The Holmes Scholarship ($12,000) was won by Daniela Barata of Oasis; The Hermann Scholarship ($12,000) was awarded to Tristan D’Agostino of Cape Coral; The Hawley Scholarship ($14,000) went to Branden Pearson of Oasis; and the Ackerman Scholarship ($16,000) went to Jamie Lee of Ida Baker.

All recipients were amazed about getting that much money for school, especially since need is a driving force.

“I was really surprised. I didn’t think I would be chosen. I’m grateful I got it because it’s beneficial to my family,” said Rosier, who will attend FSW in the fall and take up science.

“I thought it was a typo at first. I’m blessed and honored to receive such a big amount. This really gives me the opportunity to go for it,” said Lee said about winning the largest scholarship. “I hope to become a trauma surgeon and join the Army.”

D’Agostino earned his scholarship (among several) in large part due to the more than 2,400 hours of community service he did. His mother, Cheryl, was very proud of the hard work and was excited when she got the news while on the road.

“They work hard and it’s nice to see something come back from all those hours. I thought it was more like 3,000 hours, but this is fine,” D’Agostino said. “We were at UF when we found out in an e-mail and I perhaps said a curse word and jumped up and down in the book store.”

The Kiwanis graded recipients based on objective factors such as unweighted grade-point average, SAT/ACT scores and financial need. They also graded subjectively on community service hours, extra-curricular activities, Key Club participation, honors and the essay.

All recipients must reside in Cape Coral, though they can attend schools outside the city.

Since 2010. Kiwanis has given out more than $1.3 million in scholarships, and has awarded them over the past 25 years.