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Students, teachers, recognized with ‘Excellence in Education’ awards

By NATHAN MAYBERG - | May 12, 2021
High school students from Cape Coral schools were honored at the Excellence in Education Awards at the Cape Coral Yacht Club on Tuesday. From left to right is Jensen Diggs, Riley Sellers, Ethan Michael, Micaela Scott, Nicholas Clay and Christopher Berry.
Breeze Newspapers Publisher Ray Eckenrode presents a $1,000 scholarship to Cape Coral Technical College graduate Christopher Berry. Berry is pursuing a career as a barber.
Dr. Carol Rae Culliton of the Gunterberg Charitable Foundation, with a $1,000 scholarship for Island Coast High School student Riley Sellers. Sellers will be attending Florida Gulf Coast University in the fall.
Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter and Cape Coral Councilmember Tom Hayden present a scholarship from the Cape Coral Fraternal Order of Police to North Nicholas High School student Micaela Scott.
Nicholas Clay, a graduating senior from Oasis High School heading to the University of Central Florida, with mother Roxanne.
Mark Drew was the featured speaker at the Cape Coral Education Committee's 29th annual Excellence in Education Awards.
Dusty Shelton, member of the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral board and Chrysten Foley (right), assistant director at Nova Southeastern University, led the ceremonies at the Excellence in Education Awards at the Cape Coral Yacht Club.
Elementary students from throughout Cape Coral were honored at Tuesday's Excellence in Education Awards at Cape Coral Yacht Club.
Middle school students from eight Cape Coral schools accepted their plaques Tuesday: From left to right is Kristian Wydysh, Landon McCarthy, Aubrey Beougher, Kervens Batalien, Talia Exposito, Yovanna Ignjatic, Mackenzie De Lisle and Sarah Solomon.
Middle school educators Kaitlyn Moore, Dawn Schiro, Cassandra Corrigan, Kary Porfidio and Erin Justice were awarded excellence in education awards.
Naysa Ardahl, a student at Skyline Elementary School, with her mother Beth.
Mackenzie De Lisle, a student at Saint Andrew Catholic, with her mother Stephanie.
Allie Holmes, a student at Trafalgar Elementary School, with her mother Wendy.
Gulf Elementary School student Justin Matern and father Jon Matern outside the Cape Coral Yacht Club with Matern's plaque for academic excellence.

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.

Honorees were:

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