34 scholarships were handed out at the annual scholarship breakfast.
The Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key held its annual scholarship breakfast on Aug. 4 at the Harbourside Ballroom. 100 guests attended the event that gave out 34 scholarships.
Through various fundraising events such as the club’s annual gourmet lawn party, pancake breakfast and joint dinner and movie event with the Garden Club, the organization was able to hand out $62,000 in scholarships.
Scholarship committee chair Susan Phillips said the club received over 100 applications for the scholarships. The scholarships are awarded on four criteria: volunteerism, community involvement, scholastic achievement and a demonstration for financial need.
Throughout the breakfast, Phillips made it clear that this event was not for the club, it was for the scholarship recipients.
“This isn’t something we gave them,” she told the crowd. “They earned this.”
As each recipient accepted his or her scholarship, they shared their thanks and plans with the crowd. For some, the scholarships are about attending college, and for others, it’s about teaching future generations. When recipient Katrina Grey, a student at State College of Florida, took to the stage she shared how this scholarship is helping her teach her two children the importance of education.
“I want to instill in them how great an education can be,” she said.
In other cases, the scholarships are helping fulfill dreams. Emily Waikem, a student at Florida Gulf Coast University, received an academic scholarship both this year and last. She said without them, she wouldn’t be able to attend college and follow her dream of becoming a dentist.
“It means being able to continue my education,” she said.
Daivion “Dee” Davis, who will attend St. Petersburg College, is using this scholarship as a second chance. He recently decided to go back to school and applied for the Kiwanis Scholarship after mentor and SailFuture Founder Michael Long told him about the opportunity. Now, Davis said he feels more pressure to do well in school because friends, such as his SailFuture mentors, are supporting him.
“It means a lot because it’s the next steps of my life,” he said.
Recipient Katelyn Downer plans to attend the University of Florida in the fall. For her, the scholarship meant more than just receiving money to put toward her education.
“It’s a scholarship coming locally,” she said. “It’s even our own cities supporting us and they believe in our dreams.”
Phillips said being able to hand out these scholarships is one of the most rewarding feelings one can have.
“They rose to the top with their own accomplishment,” she said.