1st Annual College Scholarships from City of SIB — ‘What a Start…’

By Fred Maas….

Top row – Melissa Bouganim, Zachary Berger, Chief Maas, Edgar Alza, Kathy Fernandez, Bob Welsh; Bottom row – Kelly Wall, Maria Aza, Hector Castañeda and Amy Branigan.

“What a start, what a night!” That was the general reaction and theme for the 1st annual, college scholarship awards program for the City of Sunny Isles Beach. In case you missed it, honored students and their families, dignitaries, supporters and friends all gathered at Christine Lee’s World Famous Restaurant at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, May 5, 2011 in recognition of the selected winners and runner-ups for high school seniors competing for scholarship awards.

The night and the event was ALL about the students. Everyone else took a back seat as these (8) eight wonderful and talented and intelligent scholars gathered for recognition for what they have done in and for their community. The students were clearly the guests of HONOR and all excitement and focus was on them. And to add to the excitement a little bit of American Idol Theme, was utilized to capture the nervousness and anticipation of those who would come away with Major scholarships and those who would receive $500.00 toward their college expenses. In the end all were WINNERS, because the community learned more about these (8) eight gifted and giving students from our own City of Sunny Isles Beach. I for one was very proud to be associated with such an event. It seems hard to believe that just about (1) one year ago, this entire program was the brainstorm of the Mayor and our Commissioners to reward and encourage our best young citizens, our college bound seniors.

And so it came to pass that after a lengthy application process, (8) eight finalists were summoned together, unknown until the end who were the major winners, in one elegant room with great food, great camaraderie, great suspense. Strangers became familiar as everyone there supported a common theme:


This article would not be complete if we did not recognize those MOST responsible for the START and SUCCESS of this Program.

A huge debt of gratitude is extended to our scholarship committee who had a very tough job in making their final selections. Their positions require them to be anonymous for obvious reasons but they know who they are and we say Thank You to them.

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