They got up bright and early, had a little breakfast, then got up and earn some cash for college.
That's what a dozen Pine Island students did Friday morning at Bert's Bar as the Greater Pine Island Kiwanis doled out scholarships at a breakfast for young men and women either headed for college or who are already there and looking for an extra hand up.
The Kiwanis is giving away 17 scholarships of between $500 and $2,000 to Pine Island's brightest, and it warms the heart of those who work at making it happen.
"Of all the things the Kiwanis does, this is the coolest," said Carlyn Herring, the Kiwanis scholarship chairman. "We get to meet such great young people, you parents should be proud of all your kids."
The scholarship winners are: Paul Baker, Even Berlanti, Monique Classen, Monica Ditch, Courtney Frahm, Lilli Honc, Billy Larrimore, Brenda Lopez, Asa Rees, Clancy Riehm, Holly Saulsbery, Jordan Skau, Paige Snowden, Toni Nicole Slepian, Kayla Talbott, Shayna Talbott and Frank Valcarcel.
Herring said the object is to support the kids of Pine Island, many of whom have known each other for years, and some of whom Herring taught when they were younger.
"What we can give them is a drop in the bucket for what they need, but we want them to know that Pine Island is behind them," Herring said. "We give out 17 instead of one or two big ones."
What makes this scholarship program different from others is that it gives out awards to those already in school.
"We gave out two scholarships to college sophomores who didn't apply last year and some are second-timers, who may not get as much as others, but some of the needs are terrific out there," Herring said.
Among the recipients was a pair of sisters, Shayna and Kayla Talbott. Shayna, the older sister, will use her money to continue her education at Florida State, while Kayla will use hers to start her education at UCF.
"I know after my first year what to expect and how to manage my money, so now I can use it smartly and for what it needs to go to," Shayna said, who will use the scholarship to supplement her Army scholarship.
"My sister went through the scholarships first, she told me what to apply for and I followed her footsteps," Kayla said. "This will help my parents out because they won't have to pay as much."
Frahm said she was stunned to have won the award for a second straight year.
"When I learned I won that scholarship again, I was like (gasp), it was such a huge relief, especially after the first year you find out that this is more expensive than you first thought," Frahm said. "It's a good feeling to know people are behind you. It's a warm and fuzzy feeling."
The Greater Pine Island Kiwanis has given out more than $310,000 in scholarships over the last 22 years, Herring said.