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Seven students from Palm Beach County Schools who are bound for their college of choice were awarded $1,000.00 and $500.00 scholarships by the Caribbean-American For Community Involvement in Florida, Inc. (CAFCI) during their annual student assistance ceremony at the Kevin Harvin Center in Royal Palm Beach.

This year marks the 20th year of CAFCI’s Student Assistance program recognizing students’ achievement in Palm Beach County schools and colleges. To date, CAFCI has given 85 monetary awards totaling $35,490.00. 

The seven students awarded 2012 scholarships are: 

Alexandra D’Haiti – Graduated from Glades Central High School and plans to attend University of Florida

Anthony Woodside – Graduated from Suncoast High School and plans to attend Stetson University

Ashley Connor – Graduated from Dreyfoos School of the Arts and plans to attend Emory University

Bernadine Simeus – Graduated from Atlantic Community High and plans to attend Florida Atlantic University

Natalya Miller-Odum – Graduated from Atlantic Community High School plans to attend Simmons College

Tiffany Williams – Graduated from Suncoast High School and plans to attend University of Florida

Wilderson Vernet – Graduated from Glades Central High School and plans to attend University of Florida 

The student assistance awards are made possible through the contribution and dedication of members and supporters of the organization’s annual ball and family picnic. Through the generosity of lifetime members of CAFCI Mr. and Mrs. Lauriston Simms, Bernadette Simeus who plans to pursue studies in nursing, received the Simms Award for Academic Excellence. 

The Winn-Dixie Foundation partnered with CAFCI and provided funds through a grant written by CAFCI Student Committee Chair, Dr. Elaine Ealy. It is the second year of partnership between CAFCI and Winn-Dixie in providing assistance to students in Palm Beach County. 

“We are pleased to partner with CAFCI, as together we work to make our neighborhoods a better place.” said Mary Kellmanson, marketing group vice president of Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. and president of the Winn-Dixie Foundation. Ms. Mary Deniliack representing Winn-Dixie Foundation presented the $2,500.00 check to CAFCI. 

Donations to the scholarship fund were also made by Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Wayne Richards; Royal Palm Beach Councilman Jeff Hmara; Ledlo and Junette Powell, founding members of CAFCI; and Peter and Helen Inniss and Dr. Colette Brown-Graham, community business partners. 

Each year students graduating from Palm Beach County schools are invited to apply for CAFCI assistance. Applications are posted on its website in January as well as, the Palm Beach County School District’s website. Requirements include an accumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, having a letter of acceptance from the college they plan to attend and writing an essay to demonstrate their interest and knowledge of Caribbean culture and affairs. 

Students who meet the requirements are invited to an interview after which the selection for awards is made. This year’s interviewing was done by Dr. Elaine Ealy, chair of the student assistance award committee, Nadine White-Boyd, Esq. committee member and Dr. Cedric Lynch, a retired principal and member of CAFCI. 

Mayor Matty Mattiolli of the Village of Royal Palm saluted the recipients and wished them well. Past award recipients Cassandra Knaggs and Rochele Brown shared their college experiences. Knaggs who graduated from Boca Raton High School had just completed her first year at Florida State University offered valuable advice to the current recipients and Rochele Brown who graduated from Dreyfoos School of the Arts, now a Junior at Darmouth College shared via skype, all about her three exciting years of college life experiencing immersion into several cultures – Arabic; Scottish; Danish and Spanish.  

Contributors to the student assistance fund were presented with certificates of appreciation. In their speech, Commissioner Wayne Richards urged others to make pledges to the worthy cause so that CAFCI may continue with its good work. Dr. Colette Brown-Graham expressed how moved she was with the speeches of the recipients of the awards and congratulated CAFCI on helping the community in the field of education. Lauriston Simms applauded all the recipients and thanked the recipient of his award for choosing to enter the medical field. 

By the end of the ceremony, contributions, including an annual pledge, were made to the Student Assistance Fund for 2013 scholarships to graduating students in Palm Beach County Schools. 

From left to right: Bernadine Simeus, Tiffany Williams, Anthony Woodside, Natalya Miller-Odum and Ashley Connor.

From left to right: Bernadine Simeus, Tiffany Williams, Anthony Woodside, Natalya Miller-Odum and Ashley Connor.

Mary Deniliack, representative from Winn-Dixie Foundation presenting check to Dr. Ealy chair of Student Assistance and Nadine White-Boyd, Esq. committee member.

Mary Deniliack, representative from Winn-Dixie Foundation presenting check to Dr. Ealy chair of Student Assistance and Nadine White-Boyd, Esq. committee member.

Guest speaker Marcia Andrews, School Board member addressing the award recipients

Guest speaker Marcia Andrews, School Board member addressing the award recipients

 

For more information contact Dr. Elaine Ealy at (561) 753-5000 or via email at elaine.ealy@palmbeachschools.org.  

 

 

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 Public Affairs Contact: Natalia Arenas – (561) 357-7662 – natalia.arenas@palmbeachschools.org

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