SARASOTA - For the 25th consecutive year, five college-bound area students received scholarships from Dick and Lorraine Vitale through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties.
Each incoming college freshman received $1,000 from the Vitales, who annually recognize students "for their commitment to academic excellence and career goals." Over 25 years, 125 students have been awarded scholarships totaling $125,000.
Of this year's five recipients, two are Riverview High graduates, one of whom will pursue a biology degree at the University of Central Florida, the other will major in neuroscience at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Two Sarasota High graduates received scholarships. One will pursue a degree in psychology at State College of Florida. The other will attend Duke University and pursue a chemistry degree, with the hope of becoming a doctor. And a graduate of North Port High School will major in marine science at Florida Gulf Coast University.
"The Vitales are wonderful champions of our mission with a passion to inspire and empower youth to reach their full potential," said Bill Sadlo, president/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. "With their support, these exceptional Club members can better focus on their goals and studies, and less on the cost of tuition."
And while the Vitales were showing their generosity, Mark and Cindy Pentecost already had displayed theirs. Once again.
Along with his wife, the founder of Palmetto-based "It Works!," a billion-dollar global company which sells health and wellness products through direct sales, donated $2 million to this year's 17th Annual Dick Vitale Gala, the money to benefit The V Foundation for Pediatric Cancer Research.
In addition, the Pentecosts said they will contribute another $1 million if Vitale is able to match it by next year's Gala. So far, the 82-year-old Lakewood Ranch resident and ESPN college basketball analyst said that $630,000 has been raised thus far. The couple made this pledge in honor of Vitale receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at this year's ESPYs.
During two previous Galas, in 2020 and 2021, the Pentecosts helped Vitale reach his goal with donations totaling $4 million.
"Mark and Cindy are fantastic, caring people who love helping us for kids fighting cancer," Vitale said.
To make the match a reality, donate at v.org/pediatrics, or dickvitale.com. All donations go to The V Foundation for Pediatric Cancer Research.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Vitales hand out annual scholarships to college-bound students