The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties recently celebrated 90 graduating high school seniors at the annual Senior Celebration at the Dick Vitale Sports and Fitness Center at the Lee Wetherington Club.
The students were joined by family and friends and supported by community members and school leaders, including Sarasota County Schools Assistant Superintendent Chris Renouf; Secondary Schools Executive Director Steve Cantees; North Port High Principal Shannon Fusco; Riverview Principal Erin Del Castillo; Sarasota Principal David Jones; and Sarasota Military Academy Head of School Colonel Fredrick Fout.
The event also recognized 17 graduating seniors who have been honored with scholarships, including the Shannon Staub Excellence in Leadership Award, the Steven and Marjolaine Townsend Scholarship, and Youth of the Year Scholarship.
Since 2018, Steve and Marjolaine Townsend have awarded over 47 scholarships to Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties’ youth.
“We established our scholarship fund as a way of giving back to our community, and we have been touched by the personal successes achieved by so many of our recipients,” Steve Townsend said.
“We believe education changes lives," Marjolaine Townsend said. "Because education is so important to us, we hope these scholarships will empower students to pursue their hopes and dreams and strive to reach their full potential.”
The scholarship winners include:
• Robert and Patricia Gussin Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties Endowed Scholarship at Duquesne University: Laura M. (RHS), Bryan B. (BHS).
• Matthew A. Knight Foundation Scholarship: Quinn O. (SHS).
• Shannon Staub Excellence in Leadership Award: Quinn O. (SHS)., Giacomo M. (BHS).
• The Club’s Post-Secondary Transition Scholars: Bryan B. (BHS), Kennedi B. (SHS), Desmen L. (SHS), Laura M. (RHS),Giacomo M. (BHS).
• Youth of the Year Scholar: Bernadette N. (RHS).
• Steven and Marjolaine Townsend Scholars, Class of 2025: Aiden B. (BHS), Ayanna C. (BHS), Ethan C. (SPHS); Ariyana E. (BHS), Samuel M. (BHS), Aundrayah M. (BHS), Charlize M. (BHS), Melanie M. (SHS), Ciara P. (SHS), Usman P. (NPHS), Angel V. (Imagine School at North Port).
• Steven and Marjolaine Townsend Scholars, Class of 2023: Gabriel B. (SPHS), Fabian O. (SMA),Kara P. (NPHS), Madison S. (SHS), Daria T. (PVS).
• Steven and Marjolaine Townsend Scholars, Class of 2022: Kennedi B. (SHS), Kenneth D. (VHS), Francisco H. (NPHS), Isaiah L. (VHS), Jasmine M. (SMA), D’Kai S. (BHS).
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties have played an integral role in the lives of local youth for more than 50 years, providing daily programs and services to thousands of young people. For more information, visit bgcsdc.org or call 941-366-3911.
Submitted by Emily Easters
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota/DeSoto Counties host Senior Celebration