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HomeEducation50th Annual Student Recognition Banquet

50th Annual Student Recognition Banquet

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On April 17th, outstanding graduates in a number of different fields were recognized at an awards ceremony held at Crosspoint Church. This year was a milestone as it was the fiftieth anniversary of these awards. Among those in attendance besides the honorees were School Superintendent John Stratton, principals, administrators, school board officials, parents and guests.

The Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce Education Training Association (CETA) heads this event annually and a number of organizations, individuals and businesses sponsored the event this year. These included Presidential Sponsors: Advent Health, Brijbag Law Firm, the Hawkins Family, Kiwanis Club of Brooksville, Suncoast Credit Union, Thadz Balunz, and Attorneys Zervos & Calta. Benefactor Sponsors were Burn Boot Camp; MidFlorida Credit Union; Campbell & Company Wealth Advisors and Certified Public Accountants; and State Representative Jeff Holcomb. Patron Sponsors were Centennial Bank and Pro Line Tile Distributors, Inc. Steve Schurdell, Managing Partner of Radio Station WGHR-FM Greatest Hits 106 and other stations in the Tampa Bay area, took his usual place on stage as Master of Ceremonies−a post he’s held for a decade.

To be considered for an award the student must submit an essay outlining their accomplishments in a number of areas, their career goals and what they have learned from a particular experience or decision. Each submission is reviewed by three evaluators. Scores are then averaged and ranked in each of five categories. These are Leadership, Community Service, Career & Technical, Academics, and the Arts. Grades make up less than 10% of the score. The level of extracurricular activities, community service, and other achievements factor into the score. The scholarships ranged from $500 to $1,500. The ranks are Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

A record-breaking amount of money−$42,000 in scholarships was awarded this year and a total of forty-five students were honored.

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The Bronze Scholarships in the Arts were awarded to Joseph Marrone and Elizabeth Stebleton of Hernando High School. Silver was awarded to Sanya Robinson from Springstead High School, while Robert Kordon from Nature Coast Technical High School and Tristan Conway from Springstead. were awarded Gold. Madilyn Truog of Nature Coast Technical received the top honor of Platinum.

In Career & Technical, Bronze scholarships were awarded to Central High’s Blake Ryan Gossin and Fabiana Fernandez, while Saige Vaughn of Nature Coat Technical received a Silver scholarship. Jon Adam Meadows was awarded the Gold , while Tatyana Rodriguez of Nature Coast Technical and James Bishop of Hernando High each received the Platinum awards.

Leadership scholarships in the Bronze division were awarded to Rylee Rhineberger of Weeki Wachee High School and Alessandra Belknap of Nature Coast Technical. Jane Darby of Springstead and Mikala Abdullah from Weeki Wachee High received Silver scholarships. Braden Radtke of Nature Coast Technical and Brooke Smith of Hernando High were awarded the Gold scholarships, while Michael Cohill of Springstead High and Autumn Cooper of Nature Coast Technical garnered Platinum scholarships.

The Community Service scholarships are awarded to students who have dedicated many hours to volunteer work. Typically these students have shown long term commitment to making an impact in their community. Bronze Scholarships were awarded to Taylor Estridge of Hernando E-School and Noah Espinosa from West Hernando Christian School. Hernando High’s Emmah Zipperer and Central High’s Megan Lynn Wattier received the Silver scholarship. Zadrianna Garofano from Nature Coast Technical and Xylia Diaz Ali-Carr of Weeki Wachee High garnered Gold scholarships. Aidan Bernardo and Brennan Butler from Springstead High School received Platinum scholarships.

The students honored in the Academic category manage to balance school work, with extracurricular activities, volunteer work, part time jobs and other commitments. They are often in Advanced Placement classes or involved in Dual Enrollment at the college level or both. Winners of the Bronze scholarship were Olivia Ortiz and Kylie Hasenmeier from Hernando e-School, Blake Bandy from Hernando Christian Academy, and Leo Kaden Yagmin from Central High. Samantha Thompson and Jonah Gibson from Hernando High; Allan An from Springstead and garnered Silver scholarships. Central High School’s Madalyn Sapia, Spring Hill Christian Academy’s Derek Felice; Nature Coast Technical students Isabella Avramidis and Baleigh Crandall; and Weeki Wachee High School’s Jasmin Tavares all received Gold Scholarships. Arriana Durrum and Marcelo Lamb from Springstead, Joshua Purington from Central, and Nathan De la Guardia from Hernando High School garnered top honors with the Platinum scholarship.

All forty-five students are shining examples of what our young people can accomplish and will accomplish. They are all poised for success in whatever field they choose.

Schurdell summed up the evening with these words of advice to all the recipients:
“Always hang on to your faith, your values and your moral compass that your parents instilled in you.”

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