This year marks the 21st year of CAFCI’s student assistance program recognizing students’ achievement in Palm Beach County schools and colleges. To date, CAFCI has given 96 monetary awards totaling $45,890. The theme for this year’s ceremony was, “Beyond the Finish Line.”
The eleven students awarded 2013 scholarships are:
Kaitlyn Cameron – Graduated from Wellington High School and plans to attend Palm Beach State College
Rachelle Eloizin – Graduated from Atlantic High School and plans to attend University of South Florida
Brad Lewis – Graduated from Seminole Ridge High School and plans to attend Palm Beach State College
Gillian Strowbridge – Graduated from Royal Palm Beach High School and plans to attend Florida A&M University
Vinnet Douglas – Graduated from Atlantic High School and plans to attend University of Miami
Darius Hodges – Graduated from Palm Beach Lakes High School and plans to attend University of Alabama
Sara Pengelley – Graduated from Suncoast High School and plans to attend University of Florida
Sashia Thompson – Graduated from Seminole Ridge High School an plans to attend Barry University
Robert Simms – Graduated from Palm Beach Central High School and plans to attend Palm Beach State College
David Gouge – Graduated from Suncoast High School and plans to attend University of Florida
Brandon LaRosa – Graduated from Dreyfoos School of the Arts and plans to attend Florida State University
Recipients left to right: Seated – Brad Lewis, Vinnet Douglas, Gillian Strowbridge, Brandon LaRosa, David Gouge. Standing – Kaitlyn Cameron, Rachelle Eloizin, Sara Pengelley and Sashia Thompson. Absent - Robert Simms and Darius Hodges.
Lifetime members of CAFCI Mr. and Mrs. Lauriston Simms partnered with CAFCI and presented the award to Sashia Thompson who plans to pursue studies in nursing. Mr. Simms who is the owner of an assisted living facility, is passionate about nursing and donates annually to the award. The Amanayea Abraham Award went to Rachelle Eloizin. The late Amanayea Abraham was one of CAFCI’s strongholds and was very instrumental in the organization’s activities.
Dr. Colette Brown-Graham presenting an award to recipient, Sara Pengelley
Vice-Mayor of Royal Palm Beach presenting award to recipient, Brad Lewis
The Vivian A. Ferrin Scholarships were awarded to two Eagle Scouts, David Gouge and Brandon LaRosa by Rhonda Ferrin-Davis, daughter of the late Vivian Ferrin. These scholarships were made as a tribute in Vivian Ferrin’s honor to graduating seniors who are from CAFCI’s Boys Scout Troup 111 and who have attained the very prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.
Daughter of the late Vivian Ferrin and CAFCI member, Rhonda Ferrin-Davis presenting awards to Eagle Scouts David Gouge and Brandon LaRosa
Requirements for the scholarships include a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above, a letter of acceptance from the college of choice and an essay to demonstrate interest and knowledge of Caribbean culture and affairs.
Recipient Gillian Strowbridge sharing her dreams and plans for the future
Students who meet the requirements are invited to an interview after which the selection for awards is made. This year’s interviewing was conducted by committee members, Dr. Elaine Ealy, Junette Powell, Nadine White-Boyd, Esq. and Dr. Cedric Lynch.
Mayor Matty Mattiolli of the Village of Royal Palm saluted the recipients and wished them success. Past award recipients Tiffany Williams (2012), Vasthi Ciceron (2011) and Nico Brown (2005) shared their experiences with the audience. Williams and Ciceron are both current students at the University of Florida (UF) and have just completed their first and second year respectively. They both volunteered as hostesses at the ceremony. Nico Brown graduated from University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2010 with a degree in mechanical engineering and is currently working as a resident engineer for the physics department at UCF. Rochele Brown, another past recipient and who will graduate from Darmouth College this year participated in the ceremony via Skype and shared experiences of her journey.
Guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Stephanie Nance, principal at Crestwood Middle School. With the creative infusion of poetry, “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes at the start of her address to the awardees and “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley at her closing, Dr. Nance did more than deliver support and advice. She strongly urged the prospective college students to realize that each of them will have his or her own race to run. She reminded them that there may be obstacles along the way.
Dr. Nance addressing the students
“Your will to succeed,” she stressed, “will determine if that obstacle remain an obstacle or if that obstacle becomes an opportunity.” A life-long lesson from which all could learn was very ably put by Dr. Nance, “Life is also about sacrifice, we must always remember and reflect upon those that helped to pave the way for our growth and success.”
Walmart Foundation representatives Darlretha Patillo and Ashley Harris from Sam’s Club # 8157 presenting the $1500 check to CAFCI Student Assistance Program Chair, Dr. Elaine Ealy
For more information contact Dr. Elaine Ealy at (561) 753-5000 or via email at email@example.com.
About The School District of Palm Beach County
The School District of Palm Beach County is the eleventh largest in the nation and the fifth largest in the state of Florida with 185 schools, serving more than 177,000 students who speak 150 languages and dialects. As the largest employer in Palm Beach County, the School District has nearly 21,000 associates, including 12,627 teachers. To learn more about The School District of Palm Beach County, please visit www.palmbeachschools.org.