By TIFFANY REPECKI
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.
Excellence in Education Honorees
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
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
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: www.capecoralchamber.com.
The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is at 1380 Colonial Blvd.