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Matlacha Hookers present eight scholarships

May 29, 2013
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Matlacha Hookers presented eight scholarships to students of Pine Island and Matlacha at its general meeting Monday, May 13, at Sandy Hook Restaurant.

Dee Hanks, co-chair of the scholarship committee, said the eighth scholarship was a new scholarship that will now be given every year.

"We named it the Logan Rabinette First Memorial Scholarship," she said.

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The Matlacha Hookers’ scholarship recipients included Monique Classen, Monica Ditch, Kayla Talbott, Brandi Schulte, Evan Berlanti and Elizabeth Beltran-Perez.

Steven Logan Rabinette, son of Steven and Shelly Rabinette, who was born Aug. 9, 1993, passed suddenly Sept. 15, 2012, due to a vehicular accident in Michigan.

Theresa Kramer, a Matlacha Hooker, said many ideas surfaced when she began thinking about doing something in Logan's memory after his tragic accident in Michigan.

"I thought about education because Logan struggled with his high school days," she said.

Logan was a native of Pine Island and attended Pine Island Elementary School. He was involved in Pine Island Little League and Boy Scouts and also played football for the Hurricanes. The young man also enjoyed fishing and four wheeling.

Once that idea clicked, Kramer went to the Hookers with an idea of starting a scholarship in his memory.

The Matlacha Hookers were honored to present the Logan Rabinette 1st Annual Memorial Scholarship Award in the amount of $1,500, which was donated by Logan's father.

Frank Valcarcel, 17, a recent graduate of Mariner High School, was the first recipient of the Logan Rabinette 1st Memorial Scholarship. He plans on studying business and science, as well as hydroponics computer at Edison State College. It has been a lifelong goal of Valcarcel's to become a hydroponics farmer.

A personal note was provided by Logan's father at the ceremony, which read, "The greatest power, the power of choice. Many have the ability to do and don't. Frankie, I want you to put into your college experience, combined with all of your past life lessons, and this will be your future. You have been blessed with a family that has strived to always lead you in a positive direction. You have God-given intelligence. Oftentimes the impetuousness of youth gives us a great opportunity to gain wisdom. Review the past; apply it to the future and cherish present."

The other seven recipients of the Hooked on Education scholarship also received $1,500 this year.

"This year they were higher than we ever had," Hanks said of the amount in scholarship funds awarded to each recipient.

Hanks said that was made possible because of the Matlacha Mariner's donation of $5,000 as a thank you to the Hookers for helping them with their annual Seafood Festival.

Brandi Schulte, 20, who is attending her last year of college at the University of South Florida, was one of the recipients this year. She graduated from Mariner High School and is currently studying criminology and sociology.

Monique Classen, 17, who was homeschooled and attended Edison State College as a dual enrollment student, was also awarded a Hooked on Education scholarship this year. She will be attending Palm Beach Atlantic University where she plans on studying communication and psychology.

Evan Berlanti, 19, a freshman at Palm Beach Atlantic University, was awarded the scholarship earlier this month. He is in the honors program at the university studying history, humanities and communication.

Elizabeth Beltran-Perez, 17, a recent graduate of Mariner High School, is another recipient. She plans on attending Edison State College to study nursing.

Monica Ditch, 17, a recent graduate of Mariner High School, also received a $1,500 scholarship through Hooked on Education. She plans on attending the University of Florida where she will study aerospace engineering.

Robert Sulmonte, 17, a recent graduated of North Fort Myers High School, was another of the recipients. He also attended Edison State College as a dual enrollment program student. Sulmonte plans on attending Florida Atlantic University to study commercial music technology.

Kayla Talbott, 18, a graduate of Ida S. Baker High School, also received a scholarship this year. She plans on attending the University of Central Florida to study early elementary education.

The Hookers received 23 applications this year.

In 2011, the Hookers presented seven $1,000 scholarships and six scholarships worth $1,200 to each recipient in 2012.



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