College Bound Students ‘Grateful for City Support and Generosity’

High School Scholarship winners accept awards at recent commission meeting.

What better way to send our graduating high school seniors off to their respective colleges, than with a smile on their face and a check in their hand? That is exactly what happened on the night of April 18, 2012, at the Newport Hotel during the 2nd Annual College Scholarships Awards Dinner for Sunny Isles Beach and Golden Beach Students.

After a year long wait to become eligible as senior students, the eligible city residents for both Sunny Isles Beach and the Town of Golden Beach submitted applications to be reviewed by a select committee. The process is easy, the reward is significant. Ask the students themselves, some of whom received $2,500. towards their college expenses, others receiving, $2,000. for theirs.

If there was one word that adequately depicts the reaction and captures the moment of these wonderful young people it would be “GRATITUDE.” That was the theme of the night in describing the efforts and personality profile of each student being recognized, a single word used to describe them. For Example:

• Stephanie Bensadoun “DETERMINED”
• Skylar Henry “GRATEFUL”
• Samantha Iglesias “CONFIDENT”
• Kelsey Roman “SENSITIVE”
• Laura Mayor “PASSIONATE”
• Sveatoslav Gleanco “GIVING”
• Mark Fridman “LIFE-CHANGER”
• David Schiumerini “LOYAL”

The tone for the evening was set with a lovely reception prior to the dinner, and opening ceremony by the Police Honor Guard for Sunny Isles Beach, opening remarks by Chief Fred Maas and the Introduction of the Celebrity Emcee for the evening, Mr. Ari Odzer of local media fame for NBC – 6. Mr. Odzer is an acclaimed, Emmy Award winning newsman and investigative reporter. He was delighted to have been a part of such a special evening and expressed his feelings about the students, the city, the program. “I wish they had scholarship programs such as this when I was off to college. Every bit helps in today’s costly era of college tuition,” Mr. Odzer was quoted as saying. He brought seriousness, levity, personality and a real genuine sense of caring about the event to the evening.

The Guest Speaker for the evening was the Vice Provost from Florida International University, Dr. Steven Moll, who spoke on what to expect as they embark on their college careers. Dr. Moll was dynamic, funny, intuitive and very informative for the honored students.

Members of the Sunny Isles Beach Community School Trust were on hand and did a wonderful job of support planning, and preparing for the night. Also in attendance were the honorable City Commissioners, Vice Mayor and the Mayor of Sunny Isles Beach as well as a Commissioner and residents of Golden Beach who jointly participated for the first time this year. This should be a grand partnership for many years.

There were a host of other dignitaries, sponsors, special guests and residents as well as city officials including the City Manager and State elected officials. In essence, there were many, many friends to the City of Sunny Isles Beach Scholarship Program.

But probably the greatest group in attendance, those most moved and most grateful for the City and its program, were the parents and family members of the students. “GRATEFUL” to the point of tears and smiles and hugs, because for many, this is ALL the help they will get as they move on to their respective college careers.

Finally, Susan Simpson and Chief Maas would like to say “THANK YOU” for all the nice things that were said about our efforts on this most beneficial program. It is a yearlong effort, with many behind the scenes efforts that all come together for one very special night. But receiving a very heartfelt thank you, or an acknowledgement from the student and their family, make every bit of our effort worthwhile. And for the current day juniors in high school, “get busy” for your senior year so that you will be on the honored list of Sunny Isles Beach or Golden Beach scholar recipients.

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