The Kiwanis Club of Sanibel Captiva has announced the 2021-22 recipients of its annual Scholarship Awards recently, adding to its long history of educational support for local youth.  This year the Club’s Scholarship Program will award $56,500 in grants to 26 local students headed off to continue their education at 17 different colleges and universities.  For the first time this year, the Program’s one year scholarships have been raised from $1,000 to $1,500.

Since the Club’s founding in the early 70’s, Kiwanis has been devoted to supporting the development of local young people, with educational support among its top priorities.  The Scholarship Program was established in its current form 15 years ago, and since then has provided $516,000 in financial support to deserving youth. Reflecting the program’s local focus, to be eligible students must have a connection to the Sanibel or Captiva communities, which means they must be residents or have parents who work there.

The Scholarship Program has long been managed by Kiwanians Bill Traum and Chris Heidrick, who solicit applications each year and oversee the administration of the awards.  Commenting on the process followed to evaluate candidates, Traum explained: “Each spring we put the word out to encourage students to apply, and applications are due to us in late March.  Judging of the candidates is handled by a review board of independent educators who are not members of our Club or even residents of this community.  That way we can insure objectivity in the review. The criteria used for making decisions include each applicant’s financial means, past academic performance and community involvement. “

Funds to underwrite the Scholarship Program, plus the grants it provides to other non-profit programs benefitting youth, are raised by the Club through Kiwanis fundraising activities throughout the year, including the Spaghetti Dinner in February, Diners Delight Coupon Book sales in the summer and fall, golf outings in spring and fall, plus personal donations.  Said Kiwanis President Bill Hay: “Our Club is blessed by the generosity of this community and the way they support our events.  We, in turn, put those resources to work for the benefit of our local young people.”

This year’s award recipients were as follows:  Repeat Multi-year Scholarships:  Daisy Arensman, Sam Arensman, Jake Mann,  and Amber Schweitzer;  New Multi-year Scholarships: Amanda Kovaks, Arabella Arado Lilleslatten, Aisha Smaller and Kiandre Smaller;  One year Scholarships: Brooke Adams, Maria Angelino, Alayna Aracri, Calie Connor, Cole Connor, Adrian Cooper, Jennifer Crown, Ellie Eldridge, Gabriele Gedvilaite, Sage Holaway, Kylie Junghans, David Lowden, Skyler Lowden, Elizabeth Meardon, Samantha Strickland, Kylie Sutton, Caroline Tesoro, and Lauren Yates.

Among the awards this year, some special scholarships were made in honor of Kiwanis family members and donors.  Sage Holaway received the Salatino Family Scholarship; Daisy Arensman received the Joan Kearney Scholarship; Sam Arensman received the Nancy Bender Memorial Award; Amber Schweitzer received the Walter Dickinson II Memorial Award; and Aisha Smaller received the Carl Dietz Memorial Award.  In addition, two awardees receive the Sam and Frances Bailey Island Night Memorial Scholarships:  Maria Angelino for achievement in Athletics; and Kylie Junghans for achievement in Community Service.

The Kiwanis Club congratulates all of this year’s recipients and wishes them success in the coming year.