Local Students Invited to Participate in 2020 Town Hall Lecture Series

Categories: EMPOWERMENT AND SUCCESS: Literacy Support, EMPOWERMENT AND SUCCESS: Scholarship Opportunities, SCHOLARSHIPS: Students Under 24 Years of Age,

SARASOTA, FL – Thanks to the generous support of local philanthropists Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf, 28 students from area high schools were invited to attend a lecture with General John F. Kelly, as the first of six lectures planned for The Ringling College Library Association (RCLA) Town Hall Lecture Series 2020. Participating students were also given the opportunity to participate in an exclusive question and answer session with the guest speaker before the lecture held at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Each year, more than 120 high school seniors are sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and donors, with significant organizational support from Sarasota County Schools, to attend one of the RCLA evening lectures, with some students granted the opportunity to ask questions during a morning press briefing.

Selection for attendance is competitive. Two students who embody academic excellence, leadership, and community service, are nominated from each local high school by their principals to attend these lectures as “RCLA Town Hall Scholars.” Following the lectures, students are encouraged to write an essay reflecting on the impact the speaker’s message had on their own life experiences. Based on these reflections and supported by an outstanding academic record, up to 15 students will be awarded a $2,000 college scholarship from the Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf Town Hall Scholarship Fund and the Dorothy B. Templeton Scholarship Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

This year, the 2020 RCLA Town Hall Lecture Series invites an impressive roster of guest speakers to challenge student perceptions, and includes: General John F. Kelly; travel writer and television personality Rick Steves; Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman; freelance journalist Sam Quinones; neuroscientist and author Lisa Genova; and, photojournalist Annie Leibovitz.

Over the past nine years, the RCLA Town Hall Scholars Program has awarded 120 scholarships totaling $240,000 to local graduating high school seniors, in addition to offering more than 1,000 students the opportunity to gain valuable life experience that enriches their education.


About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County: The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of $418 million in more than 1,500 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $21.5 million dollars last year in the areas of education, the arts, health and human services, civic engagement, animal welfare and the environment. Since its founding, the Community Foundation has been able to grant more than $274 million to area nonprofit organizations to our community thanks to the generosity of charitable individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org or call (941) 955-3000.

About Sarasota County Schools: Sarasota County Schools is committed to providing unrivaled academic, emotional and civic growth to every student, every day. As one of the leading employers on the Suncoast, Sarasota County Schools boasts 54 schools that expertly cater to the diverse needs of over 43,900 students. We are one of two Florida school districts to consistently earn an A-grade every year since 2004 and have been awarded the Mid-Sized School District of the Year by the University of Cambridge. Our passionate educators empower students to take charge of their academic and personal success, a practice we believe fosters lifelong growth and achievement. We actively maintain the district’s tradition of excellence and ensure that tradition extends to all students. Our commitment to our students extends beyond graduation to make sure they not only graduate on time, but do so college and career ready. Want to take your student’s education to the next level? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit www.SarasotaCountySchools.net.