CFFK Awards $105,000 to Students and Teachers to Support Education Efforts in the Keys

CFFK and its generous partners recently awarded $105,000 to further education opportunities, teaching and academic pursuits in the Florida Keys. The awards recognize inspirational teachers and also boost Keys students through scholarships which are investments in students’ futures and help put them on the path to successful careers and lives.

“The Teachers of Merit Awards and the student scholarships are key examples of how philanthropy is positively impacting education in the Florida Keys, inspiring our educational leaders and changing the lives of future young leaders,” said Dianna Sutton, President and CEO of CFFK.

The 2019 David Wolkowsky Teachers of Merit with KWHS Principal Amber Archer Acevedo (far left). Back row: Ebenson Michelin, Joanna Gray, Malla Horner, David Wolkowsky’s grandnephew Joseph Lipsky, Christina Kugeares, and Kristen Bowen. Front row: Rebecca Provost, June Panella-Walsh, and Jessica Wood. Not pictured: Donna Tedesco. Photo by Peter Arnow

Nine Key West High School (KWHS) teachers received a total of $65,000 through the distinguished “David Wolkowsky 2019 Teachers of Merit Awards.” CFFK has been partnering with Key West philanthropist David Wolkowsky for over 18 years to bestow the annual awards to educators who go the extra mile in their passion and dedication for teaching. Mr. Wolkowsky passed away in 2018, and a legacy gift he created at CFFK will continue the Teachers of Merit Awards for generations to come. Mr. Wolkowsky’s grandnephew Joseph Lipsky presented this year’s awards. Teacher of the Year Jessica Wood received $25,000 and the other eight honored teachers received $5,000 each.

The 2019 Teachers of Merit are: Ebenson Michelin (Career and Technical Education), Joanna Gray (Social Studies), Malla Horner (Math), Christina Kugeares (Advanced Placement Science), Kristen Bowen (English), Rebecca Provost (Exceptional Student Education), June Panella-Walsh (Reading), Jessica Wood (Biology), and Donna Tedesco (Science).

The Community Foundation and its donors also awarded $35,500 to 10 deserving KWHS students, including nine graduating seniors, through scholarships to continue their education and awards in recognition of their academic achievements. Whether the students will be studying arts, aviation, business, or a variety of other fields, the scholarships and awards funded by Keys individuals, families and businesses provide critical help for students to pursue their academic goals. The scholarship recipients are:

  • Fred R. Cabanas Aviation Memorial Scholarship to Nicolaus Clausen: $500
  • Andrea Staci Carbonell Scholarship to Breanna Kissel: $500
  • First State Bank Diego L. Caso Scholarship to Jade Castillo: $1,000
  • Hamilton Family Award to Daniel Walsh: $3,000
  • Hamilton Family Award to Sean Robinson: $2,000
  • Hamilton Family Boyd’s Key West Campground Award to Emerson Fariss: $1,000
  • Gail Heintz Scholarship to Sophia Robino: $1,000
  • Katie Higgs-Wyrwicki Memorial Culinary Scholarship to Megan Mayer: $1,500
  • Floy V. Thompson Community Awareness Scholarship to Amely Caceres: $20,000
  • Jeff MacNelly Memorial Award to Lacy Craft: $5,000

2019 Hamilton Family Scholarship recipients: Emerson Fariss (Boyd’s Key West Campground Award), Sean Robinson, and Daniel Walsh. Photo by Peter Arnow

Katie Higgs-Wyrwicki Memorial Culinary Scholarship Recipient Megan Mayer (right) with Martin Wyrwicki (the late Katie Higgs-Wyrwicki’s son) and Mindy Higgs Vinson (Martin’s aunt). Photo by Peter Arnow 

Jeff MacNelly Memorial Scholarship Award Judge and Pulitzer Prize Winner Mike Peters holds recipient Lacy Craft’s drawing about how we treat animals. Photo by Peter Arnow