Kiwanis awards $269,000 in scholarships
The Cape Coral Kiwanis Foundation awarded $269,000 in scholarships at its Scholarship Awards dinner Wednesday.
Twenty seniors received help with their college tuition for the next four years.
More than $3 million in scholarships have been awarded in the 30 years the program has been around.
Mick Sheldrake, Kiwanis president and incoming lieutenant governor of the district, said they upped the ante this year. Not only with these scholarships, but also offering them to students going to Cape Coral Technical College, FGCU and FSW, which had not been included in this program.
“The most important part is to give back to the community. We know skilled trades are important for the future and health of Cape Coral,” Sheldrake said. “I’m so proud of these people who work hard and this is a fantastic time for them, but we also want to continue to perpetuate that.”
Scholarship recipients must live in Cape Coral, although they can attend schools outside the city). They earn half their score according to unweighted GPA, SAT scores and financial need. The other half is judged on their essays, leadership positions, community service hours, extracurricular activities, honors and awards and club activity.
Funds are raised through the Kiwanis thrift stores.
The recipients were:
* Cape Coral High School: Jocelyn Arroyo, Kaylee Ayers, Isabella Ingraham, Nicole Jiminez, Kyra Johnson, Logan White, Galia Pino (Hawley Scholarship), and Rishi Merchant (Ackerman Scholarship).
* Mariner: Hailey Dennard, Diane Maria Hernandez, Eliana Lael Jacobs, Hallie Genae Mallard (Lubins Scholarship), and Jorge Orozco.
* North Fort Myers: Christiana Nelson, Shelby Seymour, and Isabella Montoya-Bedoya (Hermann Scholarship).
* Oasis: Valeria Velazquez, Christiana Villacencio.
* Southwestern Collegiate: Emily Jones.
* Bishop Verot: Mallory Volz.
Guest speaker, former Cape Coral mayor Eric Feichthaler, was among the first recipients of the Kiwanis scholarship, which allowed him to go to college, law school, start a law practice and become mayor, something that didn’t seem possible at one point.
“My father had Crohn’s disease for much of his life and my mother was required to take care of him. We did not come from a family of wealth, but we came from a family of hard workers,” Feichthaler said. “I got good grades, did community service and I won this and other scholarships that allowed me to go to the University of Miami.”
For Montoya-Bedoya, it was yet another honor. She said it was at least her 10th scholarship, which will pay a lot of expenses.
“There were a lot of great candidates this year and I’m grateful and humbled. I wrote a lot of essays and sent out a lot of applications and hoped for the best,” said Montoya-Bedoya, who will attend the University of Florida to major in biomedical sciences, studying abroad.
White said following in the footsteps of those before him is an honor.
“I’ve been a part of the school’s Key Club for a while, and winning the scholarship emphasizes how much students should look into supporting their community,” said White, also a Bright Futures Scholarship recipient. “It’s an amazing honor. The fact they saw in me the potential to impact this world means a lot to me.”