The Scholarship Foundation of Indian River County presented 94 scholarships totaling $610,900 to 48 students during the 54th annual Awards Ceremony last Wednesday evening at the Saint Edward’s High School Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts.
The scholarship class of 2019 will attend 17 colleges and universities in six states. The class includes nine recipients who are already attending college and six high school seniors who will receive their associate’s degrees this year, joining the ranks of 109 continuing scholars from prior years.
“We’re going to celebrate more than just our students, because it takes not only their dedication and hard work, but it takes a strong family network, teachers and mentors to help them get to where they are,” said Bobby Sexton, foundation board president.
“Vero Beach is a special place,” he added. “We’ve been ‘in business’ for 54 years. It started with Dan Richardson and a few other like-minded people that said it would be a shame for a child to be able to go to college and not have the money to do so. What the donors to the Scholarship Foundation do for the students of Indian River County is truly remarkable.”
“The legacy goes on,” said Richardson’s daughter, Nancy Richardson Luther. “I feel incredibly honored to be in this room with all you amazing students. It reconfirms my belief in the future of our young people today. I know you have heard a lot of special, inspirational words to carry with you on your journey, and they are all important. When I thought of what words to leave with you, I came up with my three favorite ones: Always be kind.”
This year’s Alumnus Address was given by Jacob Hultman, a 2014 Vero Beach High School graduate and Richardson Scholar. Hultman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, and currently works as an artificial intelligence researcher and engineer in Washington, D.C.
“The next few years are going to be some of the best years of your life, and I hope you cherish them,” said Hultman. “You can live a meaningful, fulfilling, passionate life, even if that passion is not your job.”
He added that passion takes patience, but that when you engage with passionate people, “It’s contagious.”
“All of the scholarships awarded tonight are a culmination of the generosity from the community and people who are passionate about education and want to help future generations achieve their educational goals,” said Camilla Wainright, Scholarship Foundation executive director.
“Through your time, talent and treasure, you too can support our organization and ensure that students in our community will have the opportunity to realize their dream of a college education for years to come.”
Since its inception in 1965, the foundation has awarded more than $12.4 million in need-based college scholarship awards to 2,968 local students who have demonstrated the desire and academic ability to succeed in pursuing a post-secondary education.
On Aug. 16 at the Sebastian Shark Stadium, the foundation will host its annual Football Classic, pitting Vero Beach and Sebastian High School teams against each other, preceded by a VIP BBQ fundraiser.