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More than 120 students received scholarships worth $594,000

(Davie, Fla.) – Marie Daphcar was only 14 years old when an earthquake decimated her native country of Haiti, forcing her to take refuge in South Florida and leave her parents behind. Four years later, she has the funds to attend college and pursue her dream of becoming a pediatrician, thanks to a scholarship from the Broward Education Foundation (BEF).

She was one of more than 120 Broward County public school graduates who were awarded scholarships valued at more than $594,000 at a recent ceremony sponsored by Nova Southeastern University (NSU) on their campus. Marie was selected among hundreds of applicants by her scholarship donors, the Weston Rotary and the law firm of Freeland Harwin.

“We were impressed by Marie’s dedication to making her life better,” said Michael Freeland, who attended the ceremony with fellow Rotarian and attorney Brad Coren.

Marie, who will be attending Broward College in the fall, participated in HANDY’s (Helping Abused Neglected Disadvantaged Youth) program for Haitian youth displaced by the earthquake. She plans to transfer to the University of Florida and hopes to attend medical school at Johns Hopkins University.

“I want to make my parents proud of me,” said the soft-spoken graduate of the International School of Broward in Davie, who earned a 4.3 GPA. “I’m so happy now that I can go to college.”

Rochelle Osborne and Zorn Wyche, two of the 29 students funded by the Community Foundation of Broward, were ecstatic about their scholarships as well.

“This scholarship is really helping my family, as we’re facing financial challenges with three kids to support,” said Rochelle, who plans to join the Army after studying nursing and ROTC at the University of West Florida. She graduated from West Broward High School and was inspired to become a soldier by her uncle, who narrowly missed being in the Pentagon during the 911 attacks.

Zorn, who graduated from Monarch High School in Coconut Creek with his twin sister, will be attending Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, to study pharmacy.

“This scholarship is a blessing,” he said. “It will help me pursue a career and a more financially secure future. I was surprised and honored to receive this scholarship.”

Each scholarship winner was formally recognized at a ceremony held at the Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center, where BEF President and CEO Thomas Severino congratulated the students.

“Thanks to the generous donations of companies, individuals and foundations in our community, these students are able to receive preparation for the workforce and civic life through higher education,” he said.

Also providing words of encouragement to the scholarship winners were Ralph Rogers, Ph.D., NSU provost, and Patricia Good, chair of the School Board of Broward County. Foundation Board Members Margarita Castellon and Phyllis Schiffer-Simon, Ed.D. introduced the students.

“The foundation of a successful career is a quality education,” said Dr. Rogers, who shared that he was the first in his family to attend college, like many of the BEF scholarship recipients.

“BEF helps our students time and time again reach their educational goals,” added Good.

The BEF Student Scholarship Program, which awards scholarships to qualifying students who fall short of their financial need to pursue a post-secondary education, has provided more than 4,200 scholarships, totaling more than $9.8 million since the program’s creation in 1985.

NSU, Broward College, and Florida Atlantic University fund a total of 25 $1,000 scholarships. Organizations that provide $20,000 or more in scholarship support include the Community Foundation of Broward, the Greater Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce, Broward Teacher Fellowship and proceeds from the statewide License for Learning license tag sales. In addition, matching funds are provided through the Florida Prepaid Scholarship Foundation.

About the Broward Education Foundation:

Established in 1983, the non-profit Broward Education Foundation (BEF) seeks private contributions to supplement the public funding schools receive. The Foundation raises support from the private sector and charitable foundations to provide post-secondary scholarships to college or trade-bound high school graduates who have exhausted all other sources of support, grants to support innovative curriculum in the classroom and free school supplies to teachers in Title I low-income schools through the Tools for Schools Broward center in Pompano Beach.

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