Some of Cape Coral’s brightest soon-to-be graduates came to the Kiwanis Hall on Thursday to receive one of the richest awards this scholarship season.
The Cape Coral Kiwanis handed out a record 22 scholarships to deserving graduates at its annual scholarship awards dinner, with the amount of $291,000 in scholarships for this year also being a record.
Ron Kemper, scholarship committee chairman, said this is the premier event of the year for the Kiwanis.
“The revenue that provides the funding comes from our two thrift stores and endowments we have received over the years,” Kemper said. “Our mission is to improve the world one community and one child at a time.”
Of the 22 winners, 11 were from Cape Coral High School, extending what has been a great scholarship year for them. Oasis had four and North Fort Myers had three. Mariner, Island Coast, Ida Baker and Bishop Verot each had one.
All the winners had an unweighted grade point average of at least 3.75, had a financial need, participated in extra-curricular activities and did community service as members of Key Club. All told, the scholarship recipients gave 5,974 hours of service, leading to Kemper showing his amazement over how they were able to juggle service with good grades.
On top of the four-year scholarships handed out, the Kiwanis also gave a $2,500 contribution to the Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship, $5,000 for non-traditional scholarships to Florida Gulf Coast University students returning to college after interrupted academic studies, and $5,000 in scholarships to attendees of the Cape Coral Technical College, bringing the total to $291,000.
The newest scholarship, the Gunter-berg Charitable Foundation Scholarship, was also the richest, worth $18,000. It was awarded to Christian Rivera of North Fort Myers High School.
“It’s unfathomable. I never thought I would win such a huge scholarship. It will pay for a lot of things and relieve me of a lot of stress of college expenses,” Rivera said, who will attend the University of Miami as a pre-med student.
Lawton Bauer, of Cape High, said he fell in love with Kiwanis the moment he started high school.
“I’ve helped them through thick and thin and it’s nice that they can recognize not just my contributions, but others,” Bauer said. “It’s a blessing because without it I wouldn’t be able to afford college.”
The $12,000 scholarship winners were:
Cape Coral High School: Lawton Bauer, Solanch Dupeyron, Sara Ellis, Victoria King, Jayde Morales-Siegman, Daniel Naqui, Johnny Nguyen, Monica Ruiz, David Talavera.
North Fort Myers: Avery Chard, Rya Epps.
Oasis: Madison Lagmiri, Piper Roppelt.
Island Coast: Mackenzie Evey.
Bishop Verot: Rachel Orr.
Mariner: Brianne Thomas.
The other winners include:
Lubins Scholarship: Kiana Rendon, Ida Baker.
Hermann Scholarship: Steve Rua, Cape Coral
Holmes Scholarship: Laney Bloch, Oasis.
Ackerman Scholarship: Alejandra Baptista, Oasis.
Gunterberg Charitable Foundation Scholarship: Christian Rivera, North Fort Myers.
Daniel Naqui also was awarded a second scholarship from the Asian Professional Association of SW Florida, for $1,500.
“When I saw that e-mail, I was taken away because my hard work was recognized,” Naqui said. “I appreciate the Asian Professional one because they went out of their way to present it out of cultural distinction and the impact it has had on me.”