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Marco Island Academy’s Class of 2018 Senior Awards Presentations, held Wednesday evening at the Rose History Auditorium, was all about two things – scholarship and scholarships.

Scholarship, buckling down and doing the academic work required of them, and then going beyond the requirements, was what earned the senior class members being honored their distinctions. It also earned them, in many cases, monetary rewards in the form of scholarships to help them pursue their education at the college level.

Much of the evening was given over to a long series of scholarship presentations from organizations, and the same students kept making repeat trips to the podium to pick up their awards. Vincent Piranio was honored as salutatorian, when the school’s own awards were presented toward the end of the evening. He also received the mathematics department award, and received five scholarhips, from the Forum Club, Kriger Orthodontics, Marco Island Sunrise Rotary Club, Naples VFW, and the Naples Women’s Club.

Brianna Monroe, who won the school’s Manta Ray Leadership Award, took home six scholarships, from the DAR, Chamber of Commerce, Marco Island Foundation for the Arts, Kiwanis, Marco Island Women’s Club, and the Naples Press Club.

Olivia Watt, the school’s nominee for the Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award, and daughter of MIA founder Jane Watt, couldn’t attend the presentation, as she was elsewhere being honored as one of the area’s top cross-country runners. Had she been present, she would have collected the school’s English Department and Science Department awards, as well as two scholarships. In her place, her brother Johnny made repeated trips to collect certificates and hardware on her behalf.

Valedictorian Larisa Bersh, who will be attending Stanford University but did not pick up any scholarship money to help defray the daunting cost, was likewise unable to attend.

Along with the numerous civic organizations, service clubs and companies presenting awards, Dave Gardner presented four students with the Anne and David Gardner Scholarship Award, in honor of his late wife, giving each $2,500 toward their college education. Recipients were Julia Wagner, Susan Faremouth, Jason Ginther, and Brenden Howard.

In the school’s Manta Ray Awards, Mackenzie Ascetta won for Service, Hailey Vaughan for Character, and Julia Wagner for Spirit, along with Brianna Monroe for Leadership.

Vice Principal Amber Richardson and school counselor Chris Zumstein presided over most of the scholarship presentations, but when the school awards were handed out, principal Melissa Scott addressed the group. The English department went on at length about the criteria for selecting their awards, but were kind enough to warn the audience beforehand that “now is the time to go to the bathroom – after all, we are the English Department.” In addition to Watt, they honored Jenna McKee with the Literacy Award.

The math department warned, when it came their turn, “don’t go to the bathroom – you’ll miss it,” and the science department used fewer words still. Departmental awards for fine arts went to Natalie Mendoza, for music to Connor Heidemann, another no-show, drama to Sandjuya Thelusnord, and the thespian society to Francisco Mendez.

The school will hold its graduation ceremony Friday evening at the Family Church on Winterberry Drive (see coverage in next Friday’s Marco Eagle).

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AWARDS LIST

Alan J. Wetjen Memorial Fund Scholarship Award

  • Olivia Watt

Anne and David Gardner Scholarship Award

Julia Wagner

  • Susan Faremouth

Jason Ginther

  • Brenden Howard

Council of Catholic Women Scholarship Award and Daughters of the American Revolution Christopher Columbus essay winner

  • Danya Zarate

Daughters of the American Revolution Marco Island Chapter Scholarship Award

  • Brianna Monroe

Forum Club’s William S. Gentry Student Scholarship Award

  • Vincent Piranio

Harvard Book Club Award

  • Morgan Jones (11th grade)

Island Youth Football Scholarship Award

  • Kaley Whitworth

Kriger Orthodontics Scholarship Award

  • Caitlin Carlson
  • Vincent Piranio
  • Gianna Rose
  • Olivia Watt
  • Danya Zarate

Marco Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Award and Marco Island Foundation of the Arts

  • Brianna Monroe

Marco Island Kiwanis Key Club Scholarship Award

  • Caitlin Carlson
  • Cassidy Carlson
  • Natalie Hughes
  • Brianna Monroe

Marco Island Noontime Rotary Club Scholarship Award

  • Joey Martinez
  • Brianna Monroe
  • Danya Zarate

Marco Island Sunrise Rotary Club Scholarship Award

  • Chelsea Casabona
  • Brenden Howard
  • Natalie Mendoza
  • Vincent Piranio
  • Gianna Rose
  • Kaley Whitworth

Marco Island Woman’s Club Scholarship Award

  • Chelsea Casabona
  • Brianna Monroe

Naples VFW Post #7360 - Corporal Stanley Lapinski Memorial Scholarship Award

  • Brenden Howard
  • Vincent Piranio

Naples Woman’s Club Liz Becton Read Scholarship Award

  • Vincent Piranio

National Football Foundation Scholarship Award

  • Brenden Howard

P.E.O. STAR Scholarship Award – Chapter GT  

Chelsea Casabona

Sara and Joseph Dougherty Scholarship Award

  • Nicole Brunson (11th grade)

Terrence J. Miller Naples Press Club Renewable Journalism Scholarship Award

  • Brianna Monroe

Valedictorian

  • Larissa Bersh

Salutatorian

  • Vincent Piranio

English Department

  • English: Olivia Watt
  • Literacy: Jenna McKee

Fine Arts Department

  • Natalie Mendoza

Humanities

  • Danya Zarate

Mathematics

  • Vincent Piranio

Performing Arts

  • Music: Connor Heidemann
  • Drama: Sandjuya Thelusnord
  • Thespian Society: Francisco Mendez

Science

  • Olivia Watt

Character

  • Hailey Vaughan

Leadership

  • Brianna Monroe

Service

  • Mackenzie Ascetta

Spirit

  • Julia Wagner

 

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