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Record number receive Dollars for Scholars scholarship awards

VERO BEACH — A record number of scholarships were handed out to deserving students at the Dollars for Scholars of Indian River County 46th Annual Awards Ceremony, thanks in part to a very generous donation from an unexpected source.

This past November, the Faith Apostolic Church of Vero Beach, formerly located off Old Winter Beach Road, donated monies raised by the sale of its church building and contents to be used for scholarships.  The sale, combined with accumulated church funds, brought the total contribution to more than $315,000.  

Twenty students will benefit from their largess as recipients of new Faith Stewardship Scholarships, and the remaining money will be managed by Dollars for Scholars (DFS) to fund future scholarships.

“I’m so glad it’s doing so much good,” said David Schuble former pastor of the Faith Apostolic Church.  “It’s doing more than I thought.”

“It’s a great situation for us; the need is out there,” said Vince Boyle, DFS Board President.  “We are giving out 95 awards this year to 72 students; a total of $489,000.  That is greater than last year; in excess of $100,000 more, primarily because of the Schubles. It’s a down economy but we were able to increase our awards.”

“These are our guardian angels,” agreed DFS board member Gwyneth Fournie.  “Maybe they’ll inspire others.”

“There is more need than ever,” said Camilla Wainwright, DFS Executive Director.  “The costs of colleges are going up, and Bright Futures, which is funded through the Florida Lottery, is raising its academic standards and reducing its funding.  So it’s now more important than ever to continue to get support from the community in order to sustain the demand.”

The evening ceremony, held at the Community Church of Vero Beach, was dedicated to the memory of Margaret “Peggy” McReynolds, who served on the DFS board from 1967 to 2010.  McReynolds and the late John Avril had joined forces to propel the organization forward from the start, helping to pave the way for students to live their dreams of a college education.

“My husband John and Peggy got involved with Dollars for Scholars in the late 60s and ran it for years,” said Rita Avril.  “They were both guidance counselors at the high school and then at IRCC; it was still CC then.  She’d been my best friend since 1966.”

Continuing the family’s support, John and Rita Avril’s granddaughter, Sara Avril Cobb, joined the board in 2007 when she returned to Vero Beach from Miami.

Cameras at the ready, parents and family members beamed with pride as the Class of 2011 Scholars, who will be attending 26 colleges and universities in nine states, gathered in the church courtyard for a group shot.

The awards program got off to a stirring start as Tatiana Penagos, Beth Olson and Jernie Talles-Millan, students at the Indian River Charter High School, sang a particularly beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

The Alumnus Address was made by 2007 Richardson Scholar Manhar Dalal, who is currently enrolled in the University of Central Florida Master’s program while teaching mathematics at Seminole High School.

“Imagine the donors who have made these awards possible for you,” said Dalal. “They are using their good fortunes to touch your lives.  The awards you receive are loans; you must pay them back by going forward and doing good.”

Since 1965, Dollars for Scholars has awarded $7.6 million in scholarships to 2,541 students in Indian River County.  {igallery 395}

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