published: Thursday, June 14, 2012
3 students recipients of Alan Jay, Sebring Chamber scholarships
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING -- Three of Highlands County newest high school graduates became the recipients of scholarships Tuesday afternoon during the annual Scholarship Banquet sponsored by Alan Jay and The Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce.
For the past 19 years, Alan Wildstein and the Sebring Chamber have teamed up to bring together the banquet as well as choose each of the recipients of the scholarships. Throughout the years, the number of recipients has varied and the scholarships have been handed out to however many students the selection committee felt were most deserving of the bunch.
Eight recent graduates were up for scholarships this year, each of which had impressive academic and extracurricular resumes.
"I've known some of these kids and to see them recognized for the things that they've done in this community is really neat," said Wildstein. "And that's what we are really here to do, to recognize these outstanding young people."
Guests, dignitaries, friends and families gathered at Island View Restaurant in Sun 'n Lake to recognize the soon-to-be college students' achievements.
"I need to recognize the support system. The parents, the staff, the teachers, the educators, the people that you know groomed you to be who you are today. This is about you and we are recognizing you," Wildstein said.
The students up for the scholarships are chosen by their high school (Sebring High School or Heartland Christian) and are brought to an interview panel consisting of chamber members, Wildstein and Alan Jay Automotive Network staff.
After the interview, the selection committee chooses who is deemed most deserving for the scholarships.
"We all have a very difficult job of deciding who should be the recipients of the scholarship," said Chamber CEO Kristie Sottile. "We try to pick the most stellar of the students, which is very difficult when you hear about all the accomplishments that they've done in the short period of time that they've been here."
Highlands County Commissioner Don Elwell presented the recipients of the 2012 scholarships following the total amount raised during the banquet.
"Instead of doing one or two for $3,000 we decided we would step it this year," Elwell explained, saying that the committee had decided on giving one scholarship for $1,000, one scholarship for $2,000 and the last scholarship for $3,000.
"Your chances just got a little bit better this year," Elwell said to the students.
Jessica Socorro was the $1,000 scholarship recipient. Socorro graduated from Sebring High School with a 4.6 grade point average (GPA). Socorro plans to study at the University of Florida and pursue a degree in graphic design.
Anthony Powell Jr. received the $2,000 scholarship. Powell is a SHS graduate and completed his studies with a 4.41 GPA. Powell has committed to Miles College near Birmingham, Ala. where he will continue to play football. Powell plans to pursue a degree in behavioral science.
Marie Farmer is also a SHS graduate completing her studies with a 5.0 GPA. Farmer was the recipient of the $3,000 scholarship. Farmer plans to attend University of Florida and pursue a law degree.
The banquet raised an unofficial total of $12,180 Tuesday, which will be matched by Wildstein for a total of $24,360 raised for the scholarship fund.
The eight students recognized during the 19th annual Scholarship Banquet were Ellie Arnold, Tyler Baker, Kelsey Colicci, Damion Thompson and Katrynna Acosta in addition to Powell, Socorro and Farmer.
Each of the recent graduates are standouts in their academics, extracurricular activities and the community. All of the students plan to attend college and pursue degrees.
Small Banner Ads