On Thursday, May 20, the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber Education Training Association (CETA) honored a select group of graduates for special recognition in the areas of the Arts, Leadership, Community Service, Career and Technical, Entrepreneurial, and Academics. CETA has an unbroken forty-seven-year record of sponsoring this event, even holding it virtually last year in the middle of a pandemic.
Gia Gomez was there to receive an award for the Arts because of her skill in music. Gia plays electric bass guitar and has participated in jazz band for her last four years at Springstead High School. However, other factors went into her being chosen for this honor.
“I’ve done leadership activities, as well. I’m a Senior Class officer and was on the Student Council before that. I’m also in National Honor Society.”
Gia plans to go to UCF (University of Central Florida) and major in film with a minor in music. Eventually, she’d like to work on film tracks and score the music in movies.
Joseph McDonald, who received recognition in the Career and Technical field, stated “I’m pursuing a career as a professional pilot. I’ve been taking flying lessons at American Aviation and I have my private pilot’s license.”
Joseph attends Nature Coast Technical High School and already has his Associates Degree. He’ll finish up his Bachelor’s in Aviation Management at Pasco Hernando State College. He eventually would like to be a commercial pilot for a regional airline.
Cameron Tilson received an award for the Arts. He plays the French Horn in the Springstead High School band. He was also Band Captain of the Marching Brigade and Captain in his school’s orchestra. Cameron is passionate about his chosen instrument.
“I love the French Horn. It has such a beautiful tone. It’s the best brass instrument out there,” remarked Cameron.
He plans to major in Music Education at Florida Southern College and eventually teach at the high school level.
Weeki Wachee High School Senior Miranda Mays, with a Grade Point Average over 4.2 and high Scholastic Aptitude Test scores was recommended by her guidance counselor for Academic Recognition.
“I’ll be attending the University of Florida and majoring in Public Health, but I might switch to biology,” Miranda commented.
Alexis Bowermaster was recognized for Leadership which is based on extracurricular activities, among other criteria.
“I’m training to be a private pilot and I plan to pursue a double major in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Florida. I want to build aircraft structures.”
She is currently in the International Baccalaureate program at Springstead High School and eventually wants to get her Masters Degree.
Vivacious Ge’lyia Henry received recognition for Community Service. The guidance counselor at Hernando High School nominated Ge’lyia for her volunteer work at group homes, nursing homes and mentoring children.
“Basically I felt like my volunteering in those places would get me more preparation for my career – neonatal pediatric nursing. I’m going to attend Rasmussen College and after I graduate I want to move to Atlanta.”
Besides her volunteer work, Ge’lyia likes to spend time with her grandparents, ride 4-wheelers, sing and dance. She also models and participates in beauty pageants.
Nicole Miller, Chairperson of CETA, introduced the honored guests to the event. Bev Reso, Chair of the Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce, introduced Hernando County School Superintendent John Stratton, who made some brief opening remarks to the parents, school personnel, guests and students. Steve Schurdell, General Manager of radio station Hits 106, reprised his role from past years as Master of Ceremonies.
Each of the students in the various categories was called up to the stage and given a plaque with their achievements engraved on it. R & D Graphics Promotional Products, Inc. designed the impressive awards and donated them for the event.
After all the students were recognized, it was time to award the scholarships. The money represented by these scholarships totaled over eight thousand dollars. One noteworthy scholarship for $1,500 was presented by businessman Rich Sanvenero and his daughter, Gabriella, in remembrance of his late wife Maria who was a tireless volunteer with the Chamber and other local organizations.
To add icing to the cake, Walmart Corporation provided $100 gift cards to all fifty-one honorees and as each student exited, members of the Chamber of Commerce handed them a swag bag.
Although these students represent the “best of the best,” the Hernando Sun wants to congratulate all of the county graduates for not only persevering, but triumphing through two challenging years.
Junior Service League of Brooksville
Live Oak Theatre Company
Hernando Education Association
Chamber Education and Training Association (CETA)
Career Source Pasco Hernando
Mid-FL Community Services
Kiwanis of the Adventure Coast
Maria Sanvenero Memorial Scholarship
Complete Technology Solutions
Jerry Campbell and Family
The Law Offices of Lucas and Magazine
Suncoast Credit Union
Century 21 Alliance Realty
Business and Professional Women of Hernando County
Career Source Pasco-Hernando