Vicar’s Landing held a ceremony May 21 in celebration of its employees earning scholarships through the retirement community’s scholarship program.
A total of 91 employees were awarded general scholarships worth $2,000, among them 14 who were awarded additional “special awards” for academic excellence, including: Emily Plower, Heidi Mathe, Katherine Perkner, Laura Jarmillo, Samuel Jarmillo, Ally Duncan, Andrew Faus, Chantal Fernandez, Nina Leroux, Nicole Iovino, Jamie Iovino, Jade Meserve, Katie Baxley and Mitchel Gauthier.
The scholarship program dates back to 1994, when Scholarship Committee Chairman Gordon West says it was established in recognition of young people with ambitions and careers ahead of them.
“Realizing the benefits of education, we felt with quite a conviction that it was important to do something for them,” West said. “It’s been a great incentive for people to work here and it helps with a feeling of teamwork and joint interests that already exists here.”
According to West, the program benefits both enrolled students and employees looking to start or go back to school. The scholarships are used for a full range of academics, including trade schools, colleges and universities as well as graduate school and additional courses. They can also be used for citizenship tests for employees looking to acquire U.S. citizenship.
West said a number of employees put their scholarships towards classes and degrees at a variety of schools, such as the University of North Florida, Florida State University and the University of Mississippi.
The impact hasn’t been lost on those who have benefited from the awards.
In a heartfelt letter, former employee Christopher Dell said the support he received from Vicar’s Landing wasn’t a stepping stone, but the foundation for his success.
“The scholarship itself is a generous gift,” he wrote, “but even more valuable to me is the commitment it represents … the commitment to helping me to pursue and achieve my goals.”
For West, the benefit of awarding the scholarships to employees is two-fold.
“One, we’re able to help them fulfill their ambitions to become students and to help them find work,” he said. “And two, they’re able to work in a place where they’re appreciated.”
Vicar’s Landing presented awards to Nicole Audette, Jeremiah Bacolor, Lezlie Bailey, Jessa Mae Batara, Katie Baxley, John Beard, Julie Bell, Serxho Benga , Tanner Best, Emily Bonner, Nicholas David Brown, Marcia R. Bryant, Christina Campochiaro, Luz Capps, Martyn Carre, Shemeka Cherry, Suzan Christmas, De'Atra Clark, Marina Clay, Kristine Nicole Cordez, Enrique Cortez, Josephine Cortez, Maxwell Vincent Dacquel, Ambra Drinazi, Allison Duncan, Andrew Faus, Chantal Fernandez, Evan Fornos, Mitchell Gauthier, Teresita Glass, Sanford Gray, Mustapha Guissou, Rachida Guissou, Clare Haga, Darien Hamlin, Marina Hatcher, Michael Hesson, Andrew Hitch, Kristina Hitch, Forrest Holz, Lisa Ingrao, Jamie Iovino, Nicole Iovino, Sakinah Jackson, Juan Jaramillo, Laura Jaramillo, Samuel Jaramillo, Susan Kelly, Spencer Kirton, Maria Teresita Labitan, Vanessa Latimer, Nina Leroux, Bonnie Locke, CJ Lowery, Eric Lundgren, Rachel Lytle, Andrea Marquez, Heidi Mathe, Jade Meserve, Steven Miller, Jean Miranda, Stacy Montoya, Deborah Morgan, Elizabeth Neitzel, Shelby Neitzel, Elenita Pacudan, Yasmin Patel, Katherine Perkner, Emily Plower, Daniel Potenza, Antonio Pratt, Christina Rentschler, Cole Rieger, Marie Saint-Louis, Angeline Sangalang, Julia Saunders, Andrew Schumann, Shea Sculthorpe, Bailey Shelton, Brandy Singletary, Mary Grace Sterling, Eric Suarez, Miles Tabb, Jennifer Townsend, Ruth Vice, Cindy Vingco, Lilian Vingco, Raymart Vingco, Reed Walchle, Kimberly Wheat and Brenda Williams.