Hurricane Ian may have disrupted many of our Island activities this year, but one tradition that will not be affected is the Scholarship Program for deserving local students operated by the Kiwanis Club of Sanibel-Captiva. This year, twenty deserving students will be receiving scholarships from the program, as they prepare to advance their educational goals. The awardees were introduced and honored recently at the June luncheon meeting of the Islands Chamber of Commerce.
The local Kiwanis Club was founded 50 years ago this year, with a mission of supporting the development of local young people, and educational support has been one of its top priorities. That focus led to the creation of the Scholarship Program in its current form 17 years ago. Since then, the Club has distributed $615,675 in financial support to deserving youth. To be eligible for the Program, students must have a direct connection to the Sanibel and Captiva communities, either as residents or with parents who work on the Islands.
The criteria used for selecting students for awards include each past academic performance, community service involvement, and financial means. Kiwanians Bill Traum and Chris Heidrick, who oversee the program for the Club, receive applications in the spring and submit them for review and scoring by a board of independent educators located off-Island and not affiliated with the Club.
The Scholarship Program is underwritten by Kiwanis fundraising activities throughout the year. In normal times (i.e. before Covid and Hurricane Ian) those activities have included the long-running Spaghetti Dinner in February, “Diners Delight” 2 for 1 Coupon Book sales in the summer and the “King Of The Rock” Golf Tournament in April. With those fundraising efforts interrupted, this year the Club turned to strong donation support from its members, private individuals, and major-level corporate sponsors including Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, the Pagel Foundation and Tim O’Neill. Said Club President Joel Goodman: “We had a strong feeling that we needed to find a way to keep the program going this year despite losing our usual funding activities. Fortunately our members, friends and sponsors came through.”
This year’s award recipients are:
Repeat Multi-year Scholarships: Daisy Arensman, Arabella Arado Lilleslatten, Riley Mann, Aisha Smaller, Kiandre Smaller, Samantha Strickland and Amy Walker;
New Multi-year Scholarships: Jackson McKee
One year Scholarships: Brooke Adams, McKenna Adams, Alayna Aracri, Noah Barbot, Calie Connor, Bailey Drobnyk, Sage Holaway, Sam Lessinger, Kaia Miller, Camryn Peach, Daniel Romulus, Daniel Trier
Among the awards this year, certain scholarships carry a special designation to honor donors and in memory of past Kiwanis members. Daisy Arensman received the Joan Kearny Scholarship. Aisha Smaller received the Carl Dietz Memorial Award; Riley Mann received the Peter Cola Memorial Award; Samantha Strickland received the Barry Gordon Memorial Award; Amy Walker received the Tom Jones Memorial Award; and Arabella Arado Lilleslatten received the Wally Kane Memorial Award. Finally, two awardees received Sam and Frances Bailey Island Night Memorial Scholarships: McKenna Adams for achievement in Athletics; and Alayna Aracri for achievement in Community Service.
The Kiwanis Club congratulates all of this year’s recipients and wishes them success in the coming year.