Treasure Coast Gator Toast presents scholarships to area students

VERO BEACH — Sporting a full range of colorful and imaginative Gator gear, approximately 240 University of Florida alumni and fans gathered at The Moorings Club for the Fourth Annual Treasure Coast Gator Toast, to honor its 2011 scholarship recipients. 

Eighteen exceptional students, all residents of St. Lucie or Indian River County were each awarded a $1,500 scholarship. The Gator Toast began with a high-spirited cocktail reception, with the noise level and camaraderie of a good pre-game tail-Gator, giving everyone time to swap Gator tales and peruse the numerous auction items.

Dr. David Fromang was wearing an unusual jacket with an intricate orange and blue pattern that his wife Debra had custom-made by a Seminole Indian.

‘He’s probably the only Gator in the room with a Seminole jacket,” laughed Debra Fromang.

The favored man of the hour was Riley Cooper, famed as both Tim Tebow’s roommate and primary passing target when he played as a member of the UF two-time National Championship team.  Cooper, currently a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, good-naturedly posed for photos with his adoring fans, and followed up after dinner with a question and answer period.

As always, multiple generations of Gators were in attendance including Bill Earman, ’58 and his son John Earman, ’84.

“My grandfather, Joe S. Earman, moved the school from Ocala to Gainesville in the late 1800s,” said Bill Earman.  “Gainesville gave him a contract to provide water for the University; they still do.”

The 18 scholarship recipients had been selected from 86 applications, each reviewed for financial need and academic worthiness by the scholarship committee.

“Every student is outstanding,” said event co-chair Kerry Bartlett of the recipients.  “They’re all going to be future leaders representing our community.”

“We could have closed our eyes and pointed; they were all that great,” said scholarship committee chair Lenora Ritchie of the numerous applicants.  “They were all so deserving, academically and financially.”

Amanda Robinson, President of the Treasure Coast Gator Club, presided over the awards presentation, and was followed by Keynote Speaker Andy Fletcher, UF alumni and Associate Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at the University.

The honored guests for the evening were the scholarship recipients, each already remarkable in their academic achievements, and their proud parents, siblings and friends.

A. A. Block Endowment Scholarships were awarded to:

Amanda Bieber, University of Florida;

Alexia Nolan, University of Florida;

Vishal Patel, Vero Beach High School;

Ashley Pleie, University of Florida;

Sarah Waickowski, University of Florida.

Bryan Schirard Memorial Scholarships were awarded to:

Rachel Ciccarelli, John Carroll High School;

Victoria Delaporte, University of Florida;

Jayne Johnson, Indian River State College;

Rachel Lowe, Lincoln Park Academy;

Manuela Thomas, Treasure Coast High School.

Treasure Coast Gator Club Scholarships were awarded to:

Maria Arango, Vero Beach High School;

Kurtis Dickson, University of Florida;

Indian River State College;

Shaneel Myles, University of Florida;

Andrew Stygar, Indian River State College;

Sara Sapp, University of Florida.

The Clint S. Malone Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Alison Schmeer, University of Florida, and the Mark & Robbi Pierce for the Hardee Family Foundation Scholarship was awarded to Jenipher Andrade, University of Florida. {igallery 386}

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