June 5, 2008
By: Sid Riley
On the evening of May 19, the hard work of many local citizens combined with the benevolence of other involved citizens to make the event "special" for eight young Jackson County students. It was the awards banquet for two organizations created for the benefit of deserving area youth.
This organization was created to meet the needs of qualified disadvantaged high school students who, due to social and economical circumstances beyond their control, would otherwise be denied a post secondary education. "Lighting the Way for Kids" is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping those students fulfill their education potential who might otherwise face the prospect of a bleak future.
"Lighting The Way for Kids" has joined forces with the Florida State Sponsored Program, "Take Stock in Children," to double its efforts in breaking the cycle created by minimum wage earning, askew poverty-ridden, or a troubled families by intervention with mentors, and financial assistance in the form of four year scholarship for qualified students who due to poor scholastic performance, yet otherwise capable, would be denied the more traditional scholarships and a chance for a brighter future.
The awards banquet was held in the meeting hall at Jim’s Buffet and Grill on May 19, with a large crowd of parents, organization members, school officials and students attending. The eight scholarships were awarded to : Destiny Robinson of Cottondale High School; Horace Gay of Cottondale High School; Amber Pate of Malone High School; Valorie D’Ambrosio of Cottondale High School; Jacqueline Rodriguez of Marianna Middle School; Austin Williams of Malone High School; and Jaytwan McKay-Solomon of Malone High School. The awards were presented by School Superintendent Danny Sims with Jackson County School Board members Betty Duffee, Kenny Griffin, and Charlotte Gardner in attendance.
These scholarships were made available in part through the benevolence of donors who included; Stephen Long w/ Old Spanish Trail Lumber Co., Maria Valiente w/ Habana Express, Don Walters w/Orange Hill Soil and Water Conservation District, Katherine and Bob Pforte w/ Pforte Motors, Arthur Baker and William Long w/ Marianna Optimist Club Foundation, Chuck Lockey w/Jackson County Board of Commissioners, Mickey Gilmore w/Wal-Mart Supercenter, Mr. Pavek Gad w/Jim’s Buffet and Grill, and Fred Compagni with a personal donation.
The "Lighting the Way for Kids Foundation" Board Members and "Take Stock In Children" Program Directors, Counselors, and Mentors include; Ted Lakey, Hayes Baggett, Mickey Gilmore, Glenn Hoff, Don Walters, Lowell Centers, Danny Sims, Jamie Streetman, Plinio Tuta, Carolyn Glass, Shirl Williams, and Don Jones.
To all of those who worked on this program we offer our thanks, and to those students winning the scholarships we say "Congratulations".