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20 students receive Cape Coral Kiwanis Foundation scholarships

By Staff | Apr 30, 2020

The Cape Coral Kiwanis Foundation awarded $252,000 in four-year scholarships to 20 high school graduating seniors during April.

The five recipients who received Cape Coral Kiwanis Foundation named scholarships are:

* Javier Orozco, Mariner High School, received the $18,000 Gunterberg Charitable Foundation Scholarship.

* Trish Phan, Cape Coral High School, won the $16,000 Dr. Ralph Ackerman Scholarship. Dr. Ackerman served as the chairman of the Kiwanis scholarship committee for 20 years.

* Jack Lea, Oasis High School, was awarded the $14,000 “Skip” Hawley Scholarship. This scholarship was established in recognition of Hawley’s many years serving as a dedicated volunteer in Kiwanis activities.

* Isabella Ico, Cape Coral High School, received the $12,000 Holmes Family Endowment Scholarship.

* Maxwell Ahmadi, Cape Coral High School, won the $12,000 John Hermann Endowment Scholarship. Mr. Hermann was a previous recipient of one of the Kiwanis’ scholarships and established this scholarship in appreciation.

There were also 15 additional recipients from seven high schools, each awarded $12,000 scholarships. Those students include:

* Alexa Gonzalez of Bishop Verot High School

* Andrew Takais of Bishop Verot High School

* Spencer Berry of Canterbury High School

* Amanda Benitez of Cape Coral High School

* Thomas Cramer of Cape Coral High School

* Luke Ingraham of Cape Coral High School

* Katelyn Rheaume of Cape Coral High School

* Maya Abdel Rhim of Cape Coral High School

* Trinity Sullivan of Cape Coral High School

* Xian Mora of Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School

* Georgia Waddell of Mariner High School

* Rylee Edney of Mariner High School

* Makenna Diogo of North Fort Myers High School

* Breanna Johnson of North Fort Myers High School

* Cole Logan of Oasis High School

“This is an amazing group of young people, even though we didn’t have as many applications as some years,” Scholarship Committee Chairman Ron Kemper said.

The Cape Coral Kiwanis Foundation received 41 applications this year. In previous years the amount of applications range from 40 to 60.

Out of the 20 applicants who received a scholarship this year, five were members of their school’s Kiwanis Key Club and were active volunteers in the club’s activities. Eight of the recipients received the maximum points for financial need as indicated on the free application for Federal Student Aid, which is submitted with each application.

Ron said they try to measure their recipients on grade point average performance, as well as the financial need, which is based on the financial aid form of the Department of Education.

“We use that same score to determine their financial need in our own evaluation process,” he said.

Furthermore, 16 students had an unweighted GPA of 3.9 to 4.0 and 14 recipients chose to attend Florida colleges.

Other colleges included Duke University in Durham, North Carolina; Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania and Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.

Lynne Kemper, who is also on the scholarship committee, said they usually have a big dinner for the recipients, their family members, as well as principals, counselors and Key Club sponsors, but due to coronavirus restrictions in place, the foundation decided against holding the celebratory dinner.

“We usually have books on the tables that the recipients can take with them to set up their own library,” Lynne said. “Those books are donated to the thrift stores. One of our members of the committee collects all of these books through the year. Each recipient takes two or three books, mostly nonfiction, history or biography.”

According to the foundation, scholarship payments will be deposited in each recipient’s financial aid account later this summer.

In addition to the students who were awarded this year, Ron said they also support students from previous years. He said they are supporting 80 recipients from their scholarship program.

In addition, Ron said they sponsor scholarships at the Cape Coral Technical College, as well as at Florida Gulf Coast University. He said the FGCU scholarships are nontraditional scholarships, which are for students who started college right out of high school, but for one reason or another had to stop and then realized they needed to finish their education.

Ron said they are sponsoring eight students at FGUC.

The Cape Coral Kiwanis Foundation also supports one Cape Coral Mayors scholarship as well.

“All the money that we collect through the Thrift Store and endowment goes back to the community,” Ron said.

Through the donations of their Thrift Store, the foundation is able to give a total of $280,000 this year.

“It makes us feel very good. These are really deserving young men and women that get these scholarships. We are happy to be in the position to return money back to the community,” he said.