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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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This Haines City Senior Received a $500 Scholarship at MLK Brunch

by James Coulter

JoAnne Alette, 18, attends Ridge Community High School in Haines City. When she and her fellow students were invited to a scholarship brunch Thursday morning, she only expected to have a good meal and be recognized for her academic achievements. What she did not expect was to be honored that day as the recipient of a scholarship to the college of her choice.

JoAnne Alette received a $500 scholarship from the Haines City Northeast Revitalization Committee during its annual Inspired to Dream MLK Scholarship Brunch hosted at the Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City on Thursday morning. She was also one of five students recognized with a certificate of excellence.

“It is a bit of a shocker,” Alette said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all but I am very grateful for all of my family and friends.”

Alette is currently attending her senior year of high school at Ridge Community High. Upon graduation, she will be attending the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, where she plans on studying biology.

She owes her success to her parents, her great school, and her English teacher. She expects to excel in her education, both in high school and college, and she is honored to be able to have that chance with her scholarship.

“My expectations going to college is to hopefully complete my associate’s degree and move on from there,” she said.

Alette also received a certificate of excellence along with four other high school students: Maria Jose Marin, Maria Chavez, Ivis Ruis, and Ivey Wilson.

The scholarship brunch was one of the many events hosted by the City of Lake Wales during its weeklong celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The week began with Praise in the Park on Sunday and will conclude with its Day of Unity Parade on Saturday.

Dr. Meesha Downing-Townsend, Principal of Polk State Gateway High School, served as the inspirational speaker. She pontificated about the importance Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. placed on education and how it should serve to train people both academically and morally to become agents of positive societal change.

Education, according to MLK Jr., served a “pivotal role in shaping individuals and society.” He claimed its objective was twofold: to teach utility and culture. Therefore, anyone who went through the school system without the ability to think critically or act morally had an insufficient education.

“Be vigilant,” Dr. Downing-Townsend said. “Be your best. If you always try your best, then you never have to wonder…Inspire to dream when things do not go right, and never stop dreaming.”

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Staff Reporter

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