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(Davie, Fla.) –  The Broward Education Foundation (BEF) awarded more than $563,000 in scholarships to 156 students that graduated from Broward County public high schools. The students will attend college this fall with scholarships ranging from $500 to full-year tuitions thanks to the Foundation.

“These students are so talented. They have big dreams. They’ve persevered, risen to the challenge and are ready to make their mark at the next level. We are extremely proud of all of them,” said BEF CEO and President Thomas Severino. “We could not have done it without the generous support of our partners, local companies, individuals, foundations and the Broward County School Board.”

More than 1,200 scholarship applications were submitted from students in 35 Broward County High Schools. West Broward, Nova and Everglades High Schools had the highest number of students receiving scholarships this year.

A moving and inspirational message from the keynote speaker, Courtney Hayward, a Deerfield Beach High School graduate now enrolled in a PhD program, energized the students and audience. “With all of the challenges in my life … losing my mother at a young age and having an uncertain living situation … it’s hard to believe I am now getting my PhD. I could not have made it without mentoring and support from the community,” said Hayward.

The students were formally recognized in a scholarship ceremony at the Rose & Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center at Nova Southeastern University. Ray Montelone, chair of the BEF, welcomed students and their families. George L. Hanbury, II, PhD., president of Nova Southeastern University, Rosalind Osgood, PhD., vice chair of the School Board of Broward County, and Maurice Woods, chief strategy and operations office for the School Board of Broward County, provided remarks.

“These scholarships will help build your intellectual capacity. If you are willing to do the work, the sky is the limit,” Dr. Osgood told the graduates.

Over the last 28 years, more than 4,350 scholarships, totaling more than $10.3 million have been awarded through the partnership of the Broward Education Foundation, the School Board of Broward County, local universities and businesses to provide every student in the Broward County School System who has the desire to pursue a post-secondary education the opportunity to fulfill that dream. The BEF Scholarship Program was established to provide college and vocational scholarships to qualified public school graduates who have exhausted all avenues for financial aid and still fall short of resources to continue their education.

“When you see the impact that these scholarships have on the lives of these students, you cannot help but beam with pride,” said Monteleone. “Financial support for these scholarships is vital to our students. We look forward to the day that we can grant a scholarship to all applicants and with the community’s help we can.”

Community Foundation of Broward, Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce, Broward County Public Schools, Broward Teacher Fellowship and proceeds from the statewide License for Learning tag sales accounted for more than $20,000 to support the scholarship fund.

The BEF also raised the scholarship funding with the assistance and support of Broward Advisors for Continuing Education (BRACE). Partners Broward College, Florida Atlantic University and Nova Southeastern University provided up to 25 scholarships of $1,000.

About the Broward Education Foundation:

Established in 1983, the nonprofit Broward Education Foundation (BEF) aligns with Broward County Public Schools by providing support for innovative teaching to advance Pre K-12 achievement; critically needed educational materials for Title I school teachers and students, and scholarships for qualified high school seniors. Each year, the Foundation contributes more than $2 million to Broward County schools, serving as the catalyst for educational excellence.

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