Seven students from the Glades’ two high schools were among 108 local students who received a total of $1.07 million worth of scholarships awarded by the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties this year.
The foundation announced the beneficiaries of its donors’ largesse on July 24. The $1,069,500 in scholarships awarded by the organization will put these 108 students that much closer to fulfilling their educational dreams.
The Community Foundation has more than 100 scholarship funds, established by donors committed to education. Funds are often named in the memory of a loved one. The organization has awarded more than $11.5 million in scholarship grants since 1983, and helped 2,156 students, making it one of the largest providers of scholarships in the two counties.
The recipients who live in the Glades region of Palm Beach County are: from Glades Central High School in Belle Glade — America Amezquita, Dulce Diaz Roa, Jordana Levy, Muriette Michel and Kerlande Similien; and, from Pahokee High School — Henry Calderon and Dayaneli Gomez.
The Glades awardees received scholarship money in varying amounts from the following funds:
• America Amezquita – Oristano Scholar Fund Scholarship Fund
• Dulce Diaz Roa – Walter & Adi Blum Scholarship Fund
• Jordana Levy – Denise Lynn Padgett Scholarship Fund and Andrew Hatfield Scholarship Fund
• Muriette Michel – Walter & Adi Blum Scholarship Fund, R.B. Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund and Bank of America Minority Scholarship Fund
• Kerlande Similien – Bradley Collins Memorial Scholarship Fund
• Henry Calderon – Ray Howland Scholarship Fund
• Dayaneli Gomez – Frank/Marie Cleary Scholarship Fund and St. Mary Scholarship Fund.
Miss Amezquita, 18, of Belle Glade says she intends, first, to finish studying for her associate’s degree in nursing at Palm Beach State College during the fall semester. “I actually started in my 10th- or 11th-grade year. I need 13 credits more, so I’ll be finishing that by December.” Then, she said, “I will be transferring over to Florida State University for spring semester.” Asked whether she plans to return home after completing her bachelor’s degree, Miss Amezquita responded: “Yes, absolutely. I actually want to try working or getting experience at the Lakeside Medical Center in Belle Glade. Hopefully I can get an internship or something when I come back.” She received $20,000 from the Community Foundation and won several other scholarships from local groups as well.
Miss Similien, 18, of Belle Glade will also be attending FSU. “My major is interdisciplinary medical sciences. I hope to become a physician,” she said. Her intent is to return to the Glades as well after she graduates. “I plan to open my own free clinic for residents so they can get proper care,” Miss Similien said. As for the money she was awarded, she said, “I think I got around $9,000 in scholarships, and I plan to use it to focus on my education so I can give back to those in my community.”
Mr. Calderon, 18, of Pahokee plans to attend the University of South Florida. As far as a major course of study, he said, “I’m not too sure yet.” When queried about his possible future plans, he allowed that he hasn’t really thought that far ahead yet. “Well, right now I’m just focusing on school. I’m trying to figure out what my major is.”
Asked where his interests lie, Mr. Calderon said: “I’m interested in animation. I’m kind of gearing toward that, to become an animator.” He said he hadn’t added up how much he’s received, but said it was thousands of dollars and that he’ll use the money to pay tuition and “toward all the college expenses.” Students were evaluated by an advisory committee of board members and community volunteers based on a written application, test scores, transcripts and interviews. Individual scholarships ranged in amounts from $600 to $60,000 this year and were awarded to students from 31 high schools.
“We understand that many of our aspiring local students do not have the financial resources for a college education,” said Brad Hurlburt, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. “It is through the generosity of our donors that these dreams can become a reality, and we are extremely proud to be able to provide this service to the community. Offering much-needed scholarships to deserving students is a wonderful expression of philanthropy,” he added. For more information on the scholarship program, or about establishing a charitable fund at the Community Foundation, call 561-659-6800 or visit www.yourcommunityfoundation.org.