Students, teachers, recognized with ‘Excellence in Education’ awards
Students and educators from more than 30 Cape Coral schools were honored for their academic achievements at the 29th annual Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral Education Committee’s Excellence in Education Awards, held Tuesday at Cape Coral Yacht Club.
Distinguished students and faculty from elementary schools to high school and technical college were recognized with plaques, a dinner and, for a group of graduating seniors and college students — scholarships. Family members of the students gathered for the ceremony.
The committee recognized one educator and one student from each participating school in the West Zone for their achievements, positive attitude and contributions to their school community. The Chamber also awarded one scholarship on behalf of the Cynthia Gallagher Memorial Scholarship Fund to a graduate student from the Junior Leadership Class of 2020.
The featured speaker was local educator Mark Drew, who urged students to believe in themselves, be passionate, caring and to follow their dreams.
Drew said the students were like a seed “born to grow, grow into you, no one else.”
Drew, a recipient of a Golden Apple Award, said being better than the next man and woman will always be subjective,” but that “no one can be a better you than you.”
He said students would face doubters and be told they can’t succeed but that “only you can be the best you.”
“The world doubts you because you haven’t unleashed your dream,” he said.
Chrysten Foley, assistant director at Nova Southeastern University, reminded the audience that this was a tough year for educators and students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to classroom settings
Also speaking was Publisher Ray Eckenrode of the Breeze Newspapers, which sponsored the event.
He said the students gave “hope for the future” and thanked all of the honorees for “making our world a better place to live in.”
Other sponsors included Gunterberg Charitable Foundation – Culliton Family, Boost Creative, Nova Southeastern University – Fort Myers Campus, Cape Coral Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #33, Arthur Printing, The Lee County Tax Collector, Key West Express, Celadon Recovery Campus and Chris-Tel Construction.
Caloosa Elementary School: Stacy Pappas and Andrew Tucker
Cape Elementary School: Suzanne Cimeno and Finn Murphy
Diplomat Elementary School: Suzanne Roberts and Parker Anderson
Gulf Elementary School: Ashley Pink and Justin Matern
Hancock Creek Elementary School: Brent Bell and Isabelle Szumlanski
Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary School: Erica Littman and Tiana Paillere
Oasis Charter Elementary North: Tanya Sykes and Landon Diaz
Oasis Charter Elementary South: Gena Feury and Brendan Murch
Patriot Elementary School: Courtney Quigley and Dylan Acosta-Machin
Pine Island Elementary School: Jennifer Cann and Aidyn Renz
Skyline Elementary School: Jaime Fialka and Naysa Ardahl
Trafalgar Elementary School: Lindsay Palmer and Allie Holmes
Caloosa Middle School: Kaitlyn Moore and Kristian Wydysh
Christian Life Academy: Montanna Wilson
Gulf Middle School: Dawn Schiro and Landon McCarthy
Mariner Middle School: Aubrey Beougher
Mid Cape Global Academy: Cassandra Corrigan and Kervens Batalien
North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts: Marianne Hodges and Talia Exposito
Oasis Middle School: Kary Porfidio and Yovanna Ignjatic
Saint Andrew Catholic School: Lisa Olson and Mackenzie De Lisle
Trafalgar Middle School: Erin Justice and Sarah Solomon
Cape Coral High School: Cindy Taymont and Sierra Moore, $1,000 Scholarship recipient
Ida Baker High School: Susan Wischhusen and Jensen Diggs, $1,000 Scholarship recipient
Island Coast High School: Scott Guelcher and Riley Sellers, $1,000 Scholarship recipient
Mariner High School: Staci Simon-Lindsay, $1,000 Scholarship recipient
North Nicholas High School: Sherri Lyn Conway and Micaela Scott, $1,000 Scholarship recipient
North Fort Myers High School: Taylor Ashby and Ethan Michael, $1,000 Scholarship recipient
Oasis High School: Bridget Lukomski and Nicholas Clay, $1,000 Scholarship recipient
Cape Coral Technical College: Stephanie Lewandowski and Christopher Berry, $1,000 Scholarship recipient
North Fort Myers High School: Nicole Sotolongo, $2,000 Scholarship recipient
North Fort Myers High School: Tate Williams, $1,000 Scholarship recipient