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Kiwanis Club holding banquet for scholarship recipients

June 12, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

More than a dozen high school students received a new scholarship from the Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres this year.

Those students include Josie Shelton $1,000; A.J. Kelly $2,000 Beast of the East Scholarship; Katelyn Kelly $5,000 and Briana Ramos $8,000 Dean McNew Scholarship from Lehigh Senior High School.

Canyon Tennant, from Dunbar High School, received a $5,000 scholarship and Malachi Jimenez, from Fort Myers High School, received a $2,500 scholarship.

The East Lee County High School students to receive a scholarship include Jacqueline Rodriquez $2,000; Jashae Rawlings $2,500 and Jayden Clark $2,000 Beast of the East Scholarship.

Riverdale High School students include Jason Loo $5,200; Nhi Nguyn $2,500; Keenan Walker $2,500 and Sydney Hutto $6,000.

The Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres renewed scholarships for the following students: Kelvin Agosto; Jasmin Garrido; Rocio Flores; Delilah Gonzalez; Cass Smith; Patricia Rodriguez; Daniela Gomez; Steph Lopez; Madison Rayburn; Alexis Simpson and John Trujillo.

An awards banquet will be held for the students who were awarded scholarships at 6 p.m. Friday, June 14, at Christ United Methodist Church, 1430 Homestead Road.

"The scholarships have already been awarded. We are trying to bring them all together. We bring in entertainment," Executive Director for the Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres Foundation Damon Shelor said of the banquet.

The banquet also will highlight the Kiwanis Club's Hometown Hero Award for individuals who have done something extraordinary, or are being recognized for a lifetime of service.

Shelor said their current commitment to students that have received a Kiwanis scholarships is $270,000. There are currently 62 students who are within that commitment.

"The students are required to maintain a status of 12 hours per semester and a 2.5 grade point average," he explained. "We would continue to fund them through a four-year degree."

The scholarships are presented to Lehigh Acres residents regardless of what high school they attend in Lee County. The students apply for the scholarship through an application, which is due in March. They are then evaluated by a committee of Kiwanis members and based on their grade point average, activities and financial need, they are awarded a scholarship.

"They go through a selection process. We have a certain dollar amount available to them through our budget. It varies year to year to an extent," Shelor said.

The Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres also provides a Grow Scholarship, which promotes staying in school, for elementary and middle school students. He said the scholarship is for graduating fifth graders and eighth graders.

The scholarship, which starts at $250 builds if the student does community service hours by volunteering their time, effort and talent, while staying in school. Shelor said they have to volunteer 100 hours a year.

"A fifth grader coming out of elementary school who continues to do that throughout their years until they graduate could leave with a $2,000 scholarship and still be available to apply for a regular scholarship," he explained.

The Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres offers a third scholarship for scholar athletes, the annual Beast of the East, rivalry game between East Lee County High School and Lehigh Senior High School.

"One scholar athlete from each school is awarded a scholarship and a Dean McNew Scholarship," Shelor said.

The club also has an endowment scholarship fund at Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Southwestern State College. He said a single student receives a scholarship each year from Lehigh Acres.

The money for the scholarships are made possible through community donations and from sales from the Kiwanis Thrift Store, 15 Homestead Road South.



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