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Excellence in Education Awards: Cape chamber to recognize top students, educators

April 17, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer


More than five dozen local students and teachers will be recognized for their efforts over the past school year during next week's Excellence in Education Awards.

Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral's education committee, the annual banquet and awards ceremony will take place Monday, April 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. This marks the event's 22nd year, according to chamber spokeswoman Claudia St. Onge.

"It has become kind of a prestigious award among Cape Coral schools," she said.

A Student of the Year and a Teacher of the Year are recognized at each participating West Zone school. About 30 schools took part this year, minus Diplomat Elementary and North Nicholas High School.

Fact Box

Excellence in Education Honorees

Elementary students

Sophia Grossi, Caloosa Elementary

Alexander Castro-Arias, Cape Elementary

Melanie Rojas, Christa McAuliffe Elementary

Not participating, Diplomat Elementary

Sierra Edelstein, Gulf Elementary

Chania Crowder, Hancock Creek Elementary

Raul Perez, Hector A. Cafferata Elementary

Amber Vevang, Oasis Elementary

Madeline Ritter, Patriot Elementary

Lucas Crandon, Pelican Elementary

Jaeda Daniels, Skyline Elementary

Sara LaCroix, Trafalgar Elementary

Elementary educators

Jennifer Panicaro,Cape Elementary

Christi Llanes,Christa McAuliffe Elementary

Not participating, Diplomat Elementary

Lorraine Pisano, Gulf Elementary

Natasha Edinger, Hancock Creek Elementary

Courtney Wallace, Hector A. Cafferata Elementary

Katie Chaney, Oasis Elementary

Jessica Conley, Patriot Elementary

Pamela Woodruff, Pelican Elementary

Barbara Winitzer, Skyline Elementary

Linda Skidd, Trafalgar Elementary

Robyn Heller, Caloosa Elementary

Middle school students

Jacob William Molitor, Caloosa Middle

Erin Post, Challenger Middle

Tuan Tran, Diplomat Middle

Colton McMullen, FM Academy of the Arts,

Jocelyn Arroyo, Gulf Middle

Corey Williamson, Mariner Middle

Alex Carrasco, Oasis Middle

Hannah Brown, Providence Christian

Savanna Horseman, Trafalgar Middle

Chase Bella, St Andrews

Middle educators

Susan Knox, Caloosa Middle

Brenda Webb, Challenger Middle

Pamela Rodell, NFM Academy of the Arts

Alvin Piotter, Trafalgar Middle

Lori McLain, Oasis Middle

Jeff MacDougall, Gulf Middle

Dr. Natallka Hromiak, Diplomat Middle

Michael Rokosh, Mariner Middle

Pamela Rodriguez, Providence

Bambi Giles, St. Andrews

High School students

Daniel Schrank, Cape Coral HS

Rebecca Merritt, High Tech North

Natalia Camargo, Ida Baker HS

Alfredo Escalera, lsland Coast HS

Kyle Fontaine, Mariner HS

Brandon Rice, NFMHS

Not participating, North Nicholas HS

Joseph Paiz, Oasis HS

High School educators

Lori Shaw, Cape Coral HS

Kevin Hawk, High Tech North

Melissa Johnson, Ida Baker

Andrea Driscoll, Island Coast

CSM John Humphries, Mariner

Stephen Hommerbocker, NFMHS

Not participating, North Nicholas

Elizabeth Cannon, Oasis HS


Ciara Bennese, OASIS

Jillian Gottberg, IBHS

Alexandra Mackey, CCHS

Zachery Scribner, MHS

Gerardo Sibaja, CCHS

Source:?Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral

In addition, scholarships each worth $1,000 are awarded to five high school seniors.

According to St. Onge, the award recipients are usually selected for reasons beyond academics.

"It is the student who has gone above and beyond their own potential," she said.

The Teachers of Year are typically aspiring rising star educators.

"They are often very inspiring stories that you will hear," St. Onge said of the winners.

The scholarships are awarded based on need.

"We're looking for a student who has achieved. We want somebody in need these funds are going to help," she said.

The award recipients each get a plaque, and they are added to a plaque at their school.

"So, their name goes up in their school," St. Onge said. "They deem this a very high honor."

The banquet will consist of a dinner, followed by words from Lee County School District Superintendent Nancy Graham and Cape Coral Charter School Superintendent Angela Pruitt.

"There will also be performances by some local school groups," she said.

The winners are invited to bring their parents, or guardians, or a guest.

Approximately 370 people attend the annual ceremony.

"The education committee works all year to raise funds to assist the local schools, teachers and students," St. Onge said. "We're hoping to build a solid well-trained workforce."

"We're going to need those kids coming back to our community to lead us into the future," she said.

For the first time this year, the committee relied on the inaugural Taste of the Cape event to help raise funds to support its goal. Officials expect that the awards program will expand as the event does.

"We're looking to grow next year. Hopefully, we'll be able to do eight to 10 of those scholarships or maybe make some bigger amount," St. Onge said. "I think we'll be moving in that direction."

The recipients of this year's scholarships include:

* Ciara Bennese from Oasis High School

* Jillian Gottberg from Ida S. Baker High School

* Alexandra Mackey from Cape Coral High School

* Zachery Scribner from Mariner High School

* Gerardo Sibaja from Cape Coral High School

For more information about the annual Excellence in Education Awards, visit the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral's website at:

The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is at 1380 Colonial Blvd.



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