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Lives Changed by $5,000 Scholarships

Eighty-three students work towards future with Hillsborough County help

The large auditorium at Franklin Middle School housed a different group of students than normal on Wednesday night. Eighty-three post-secondary students packed into the auditorium to receive Community Action Board Scholarships worth up to $5,000 to be used towards higher education.

For the sixth year in a row, the Hillsborough County Social Services Department and Community Action Board are helping Hillsborough County students reach their educational goals without having to worry about the financial burden. The scholarships are meant to alleviate some of the burden college tuition creates for many students so the focus is on furthering their education not paying bills.

The class of 2017 recipients is the largest yet with 31 more scholarships being awarded than last year. Of the 83 scholarships handed out, 46 of those were first-time recipients.

Greg Spearman, chairman of the Community Action Board, had words of wisdom to share with all the recipients at the ceremony about achieving their goals. "This is a milestone for you, and this will be a game changer for your future. You're investing in yourselves and in your goals. We look forward to seeing big things from all of you."

Scholarships are awarded to both high school and college students, and recipients are selected based on thorough evaluations of their application materials. Criteria used to evaluate applicants includes community service and school involvement, application and additional letters of recommendation, academic record, essay response, and panel interview participation.

One of those recipients who has been through the comprehensive process many times is Yaniesy Padrino, a third year Community Action Board Scholarship recipient. Yaniesy, who came to the United States from Cuba with her family when she was only nine years old, is a rising senior at Florida State University studying criminology. Her goals don't end with just a Bachelor's degree but continue on towards a doctorate and then to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Yaniesy spoke to those in attendance about what this scholarship has meant to her the past three years and what it continues to mean. She also shared her own words of wisdom with her class. "Do not take it for granted. You don't get many opportunities to follow your dreams. Stay focused and be grateful for this opportunity."

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill was also in attendance last night to celebrate Yaniesy and the rest of the students. He spoke about the not-so-easy path many of the students had to take to make it to this point. He also reminded them to never forget that or what the scholarship means for their future. "This changes your lives. Remember, you have a responsibility to bring what you learn back to your community and help those around you."

One student who is taking Mr. Merrill's words to heart is first-time recipient Jacquez Dumas. Jacquez, a Tampa Bay Tech graduate and incoming Florida A & M University freshman, wants to follow in the footsteps of the people that helped him through the scholarship process; he wants to study social work. He also spoke to those in attendance about the scholarship and his outlook on the future.

"This scholarship allows me to enter my first year of college debt free and ready. Thank you to Community Action Board and Hillsborough County for making an incredible impact on my life," said Jacquez to the crowd. "Now let's go out and change the world."

Know someone that would benefit from a Community Action Board Scholarship? Click here to learn more or call Hillsborough County Social Services Department at (813) 274-6719.

2017 Community Action Board Scholarship Recipients:

  • Katlyn Anderson, Jefferson High School, Tallahassee Community
  • Julissa Arnau, Chamberlain High School, Hillsborough Community College
  • Kaylee Barker, Jefferson High School, Florida International University
  • Milik Bennett, Plant City High School, Florida A & M University
  • Aya Bricha, King High School, Hillsborough Community College
  • Kenny Camacho, Alonso High School, Hillsborough Community College
  • Mariah Cardi, Robinson High School, LIM College in New York
  • Armand Chalk, Hillsborough High School, Lake Erie College
  • Chavon Chavez, Bloomingdale High School, Hillsborough Community College
  • Joselynn Colon, Leto High School, Hillsborough Community College
  • Brianne de la Torre, Robinson High School, University of South Florida
  • Jaquez Dumas, Tampa Bay Tech, Florida A & M University
  • Jadejha Edwards, Jefferson High School, University of South Florida
  • Tyeosha Ford, Robinson High School, Hillsborough Community College
  • Joseph Gaston, Middleton High School, University of Central Florida
  • Kieyuana Gloster, Spoto High School, Bethune Cookman University
  • Samantha Haapa, Bloomingdale High School, Florida International University
  • Aviance Harrison, Tampa bay Christian Academy, Southeastern University
  • Victoria Henderson, Bowers Whitley Career Center, Hillsborough Community College
  • Keionne House, Tampa Bay Christian Academy, Hillsborough Community College
  • Josia Jacob, Tampa Bay Tech High School, University of South Florida
  • Elizabeth Jimenez, Plant City High School, Hillsborough Community College
  • Tanaya Lee, Tampa Bay Tech, Florida State University
  • Eliya McDonald, Tampa Bay Christian Academy, Southeastern University
  • Alana McFadden, Strawberry Crest High School, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Maria Morales Ferrebus, Sickles High School, University of South Florida
  • Romell Mungin, Blake High School, Dean College
  • Roshawn Mungin, Blake High School, Fort Valley State University
  • Maliek Parker, Gaither High School , University of South Florida
  • Anthony Payne, Tampa Bay Tech, Lake Erie College in Ohio
  • Catherine Purnell, Plant High School, Florida International University
  • Tatiyana Rich, Jefferson High School, University of Central Florida
  • Adis Silva, Tampa Bay Christian Academy, Hillsborough Community College
  • Brianna Walton, Riverview High School, University of Central Florida
  • Alfonso Wooten, Middleton High School, Hillsborough Community College

First Time Post-Secondary Recipients:

  • Ty'Mika Brown, Hillsborough Community College
  • Dyan Celne, Hillsborough Community College
  • Sherlyn Davila, Hillsborough Community College
  • Mayani Donaldson, Bethune Cookman University
  • Jeremy Frederique, Florida A & M University
  • Ammara Harrison, Florida State University
  • Anne Marie Lastra, University of South Florida
  • Keziah Moncur, Hillsborough Community College
  • Ruby Ramos, Florida Atlantic University
  • Samantha VanHolten, University of South Florida
  • Jousling Vazquez, University of South Florida

Returning Post-Secondary Recipients:

  • Taylor Alimonti, Florida State University
  • Jessica Alimonti, University of South Florida
  • Marqueline Cenatus, Florida International University
  • Kosha Curry, University of South Florida
  • Jade Delgardo, Hillsborough Community College
  • Keira Denehy, Florida Atlantic University
  • Armani Evans, University of South Florida
  • Chaelle Garcon, University of West Florida
  • Alana Geil, Hillsborough Community College
  • Donte Felix Glover, Northwest Missouri State University
  • Kemari Hayes, Saint Leo University
  • Jazmine Huggins, Santa Fe College
  • Umer Khan, University of South Florida
  • Yves Luma, Florida State University
  • Arianna Martinez, University of South Florida
  • David Martinez, Hillsborough Community College
  • Omaria McCrae, St. Leo University
  • Pablo Munoz, USF St. Petersburg
  • Sara Munoz, Florida State University
  • Cindy Navarrete, University of South Florida
  • Kathy Nguyen, University of Florida
  • Yaneisy Padrino, Florida State University
  • Qunajah Pete, Saint Leo University
  • Ciera Pinder, University of South Florida
  • Tyler Purnell, Florida International University
  • Tatianna Rivers, Hillsborough Community College
  • Kabria Shelley, University of West Florida
  • Kieana Spann, Bethune Cookman University
  • Kiera Spann, Bethune Cookman University
  • Melvin St. Fleur, Hillsborough Community College
  • Raphael Taft, Hillsborough Community College
  • Alejandro Tovar, University of Central Florida
  • Mustafa Urfi, University of South Florida
  • Elizabeth Whitt, University of South Florida
  • Cambre Williams, Florida A & M University
  • Carmen Wispe, Hillsborough Community College
  • Nyasia Wray, University of South Florida