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News, Updates, and Future Developments of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.


Fifteen Top Local Students Awarded Scholarships through Town Hall Scholars Program
By Murray Devine / June 2, 2016

SARASOTA, FLA—Fifteen high school seniors from area public schools and select private schools who took part in The Ringling College Library Association (RCLA) Town Hall Lecture Series were selected to receive college scholarships from the Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf Town Hall Scholarship Fund and the Dorothy B. Templeton Scholarship Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The students were among the more than 140 high school seniors sponsored by the Community Foundation and donors, with significant organizational support from the Sarasota County School District, to attend one of the five RCLA 2016 evening lectures at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall as “RCLA Town Hall Scholars.”  

School principals selected students to attend based upon academics, demonstration of leadership, and community service. The students were able to attend a private question and answer session with each speaker before the lecture. After the lectures, the seniors were invited to submit a 750-900 word essay about their experiences meeting and listening to the presentations of either former Disney CEO Michael Eisner; political consultants Jim Messinaand Karl Rove; author and visionary Sir Ken Robinson; ABC Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts; and former CIA director, General David Petraeus.

Through a selection committee administered by the Community Foundation, the 15 top essayists, chosen from more than 90 applicants, were each awarded $2,000 college scholarships and were recognized at the School Board of Sarasota County meeting on Tuesday, May 17. Two students read excerpts from their essays.

Scholarships were awarded to: Cooper Abbott, Sarasota High School; Ryan Bausback, Booker High School; Olivia Campbell, Pine View School; Gabrielle Ferra, Lakewood Ranch High School; Melissa Fierro, Imagine School of North Port; Natalie Jaskolski, Sarasota High School; Emma Johnson, Pine View School; Christy LaPerriere, Cardinal Mooney High School; Jamie Quinn, Venice High School; Ernesto Rendon, Pine View School; Peter Scherbak-Hooker, Pine View School; Reagan Sullivan, St. Stephen’s Episcopal; Talia Ursel, Venice High School; Yosa Whitney, Lakewood Ranch High School; Oi Lam Michelle Yan, St. Stephen’s Episcopal.

“We’re so delighted to partner with our donors Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf, Ringling College Library Association and the Sarasota County school district on this wonderful program,” said Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “With the support and passion of our donors, we invest heavily in literacy, education and scholarships and the Town Hall Scholars program is a combination of all of those areas of focus. Not only do area students get the benefit of hearing from a wide range of influential thinkers and articulate what they learned through the essay, they also get to carry that learning into their college experience.”

"The Town Hall Scholarship program in conjunction with the Town Hall Speaker Series is a wonderful example of how our community is helping identify and reward our best and brightest High School leaders,” says Lou Oberndorf. “The opportunity afforded 140 of these leaders to meet and interact with the National and International thought leaders RCLA brings to Sarasota is extraordinary. Rosemary and I could not be more proud of our Community."


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Community Foundation of Sarasota County

2635 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota FL 34237
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