Ten of the brightest high school seniors in Cape Coral were recognized at the Kiwanis Club in Cape Coral on Wednesday as the club held its annual scholarship dinner as a way to congratulate the recipients for a job well done.
The Kiwanis handed out more than $100,000 in four-year scholarships to impending graduates based on not only their achievements in the classroom, but also family need, thus allowing these scholars to pursue their dreams.
The Kiwanis gave out 65 scholarships total worth $185,000 to local recipients, as well as money directly to local schools such as High-Tech North and South and an endowed scholarship at FGCU, according to scholarship chairperson Ronald Kemper, who said the judging process is a rigorous one.
"The students have to have a 3.5 grade point average unweighted, they need to show potential on their SAT or ACT scores, and just as important is the financial need," Kemper said. "A lot of these families can't contribute anything to their education."
Kemper said with these scholarships, if a student chooses to attend FGCU or Edison, they can just about get a degree entirely paid for by living at home.
The 10 scholars who received four-year scholarships worth at least $10,000 are:
Ackerman Scholar: Erica Eden, will attend the University of Florida and major in Pre-Med. Her scholarship was for $12,000.
Hawley Scholar: Emily McLain, will attend Stetson University and study psychology. Her scholarship was for $11,000.
Holmes Scholar: Glen Garron, will attend University of Florida and study Pre-Med.
Holmes Scholar: Asmaa Odeh, will attend the University of Miami and take up Pre-Med.
Lubins Scholar: Elizebeth Rey, will attend Florida international and dual major in business and psychology.
Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral Scholar: Nicholas Lemon, will attend the University of Florida and major in aerospace and engineering.
Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral Scholar: Chelsea Parza, will attend the University of Florida and major in biology.
Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral Scholar: Makenzie Dahlin, will attend Florida State as major in exercise science.
Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral Scholar: Meghan Warner, will attend Florida Gulf Coast university and major in nursing and minor in early childhood education.
The 10th recipient, Holmes Scholar Johana Gonzales, could not attend.
Kemper said 48 people applied for scholarships this year, and that the process of narrowing it down to 10 was difficult.
Those students who made the cut, along with their families, showed great pride in their accomplishments.
"I'm very thankful. It's going to help attend the University of Miami and further my education," Odeh said. "My family impacts everything I work hard for and strive to make me who I am and better myself."
"I'm so proud, especially since she's the first one to go to college," Asmaa's mother, Aida, said. "I told her education is very important and you have to help yourself."
"It's definitely huge because it opens a lot of doors and opportunities that wouldn't have been available to me without it," Garron said. "My parents gave me all the tools to get here."
"I'm really proud of him. He's exceeded all his goals and I expect him to keep on going," Garron's mom Tina said. "I expect him to be the pediatric orthopedic he wants to be."