A record number of Cape Coral students were recipients of the Cape Coral Mayors Scholarship on Thursday, and an high amount of those recipients came from the city’s oldest high school.
Students, family members and sponsors packed the Palmetto Pines Country Club to honor 26 seniors at the 37th annual Mayors Scholarship Fund awards banquet, and more than half of them came from Cape Coral High School.
Mayor Joe Coviello said the students receiving these awards represent the best the city has to offer, with many of them receiving multiple scholarships already.
“We are recognizing the best and brightest, so we have to commend all the parents because they have a lot to do with their success,” Coviello said. “Kids today are thinking more about their future at an earlier age. They take their education seriously, knowing its going to lead to a career.”
Cape Coral High School had 14 recipients, far and away the most for any school. By contrast, Oasis had two, Mariner had only one, while Ida Baker and Island Coast had no recipients at all.
Leigh Ann Cain, president of the Mayor’s Scholarship Fund, said only the best of the best are selected and that applications are made available to every high school that has Cape Coral students, including schools in Fort Myers like Bishop Verot and North Fort Myers high schools.
“The applications go through our website as well as through the schools’ counselors,” Cain said, adding there were applications from every high school.
The Seahawks took advantage. Carsyn Baxter, who also served on the Youth Council, said it was an honor to be selected.
“It goes to show that what I’ve done over the last four years have shown I’ve worked for a goal and that I’ve achieved it,” Baxter said. “I’m also proud to see a lot of my friends and peers being able to get this as well.”
Eric Baxter, Carsyn’s father, said there is only one trick to her success, hard work.
“Her dream was to go to George Washington University and she’s achieved that. It’s part of her master plan and she has a few scholarships lined up,” Eric said.
Cape Coral High wasn’t the only school well-represented. North Fort Myers High had six winners. Among them was Kayleigh Edwards, who will take this among the four scholarships she’s earned to the University of Central Florida in the fall.
“I’m extremely grateful. I’ve applied for many scholarships, so when you get one, it pushes you to be more successful,” Edwards said. “I was surprised I won because so many people have GPAs like 5.74 that I can’t compare with.”
Principal Debbie Diggs said the quality of students at North High continue to amaze her.
“This is my favorite time of year because you have kids who put in four years of hard work. They’re not only AICE diploma kids but are involved in athletics and clubs and volunteerism,” Diggs said. “They are the complete package.”
The recipients heard words of wisdom from Coviello, as well as former WINK-FM announcer Dave Alexander, who told them that once in their lives, they would have a moment, and when that comes, to savor it.
After the formal ceremony, Cape Coral’s Victoria King read her essay, a first for the awards banquet. King, raised by a single mother of three and who suffered with a genetic disease which has required numerous surgeries, wrote about her struggles.
“This scholarship will really help me become an independent member of society. I want to become a research scientist because I want to give back to the society that has given me many opportunities to foster my intelligence,” King said. “Because of my conditions, some of my ambitions are out of my reach and it challenges my independence. I may not be able to change my disability, but I can use my brain to accomplish my dreams.”
Baxter, in the closing remarks, expressed her thanks to the sponsors of the scholarships, saying it made their late-night study sessions worth it.
“This scholarship shows the investment in our community has a good return. We’ve worked to make Cape Coral a better place. With these gifts, you are investing in the future of the community. We are the future and you are a part of it,” Baxter said.
The scholarship winners were:
Cape Coral High School: Grace Altidor, Lawton Bauer, Carsyn Baxter, Mary Brady, Lily Daum, Cole DeLong, Conor Dougherty, Solanch Dupeyron, Chase Dye, Madison Fallacara, Sara Humenay, Zachary Kashman, Victoria King, Danial Naqui,
North Fort Myers High School: Kaleigh Edwards, Jessebell Guerrero, Bronson Hervey, Audrianna Macchia, Christian Rivera, Karsen Williams
Bishop Verot High School: Rachel Orr, Amanda Reeter, Jared Simmons
Oasis High School: Laney Bloch, Piper Roppelt
Mariner High School: Sarah Laws
The Cape Coral Mayors Scholarship Fund was founded in 1982. All recipients, who had to live in Cape Coral, received a $1,500 scholarship to a four-year college or to a technical school. They were determined based on their grade point average, SAT or ACT scores, community service and an essay they wrote.
Those with the highest scores win the scholarship, regardless of what school they go to. More than 70 students applied.