Singletary family awards scholarships to those who 'Live Like Colby' at first banquet
When Colby Singletary’s family members encourage people to “live like Colby,” it means to approach life with the joy and enthusiasm the Palmetto Ridge star athlete brought to every situation.
But living like Colby also means showing grit, determination and drive – all of which Singletary had as a two-time state wrestling champion and all-area football player.
Singletary died in a car accident two years ago, just weeks before the start of his senior year. However, his family is keeping Singletary’s memory alive by rewarding Collier County high school seniors who “live like Colby.”
At the first Colby Singletary Scholarship Awards Banquet on Tuesday, the family handed out $7,000 in college scholarships to athletes who follow that mantra. Nineteen finalists attended the banquet at Vineyards Country Club and six received scholarships
“On the field Colby gave it all. On the wrestling mat Colby gave it all,” said Nicole Singletary, his mother. “These (scholarship nominees) did that, too. That’s why it’s important to us to keep him here, keep him alive by giving to these athletes.”
The top awards, $2,500 each to one male and one female, went to Seacrest multi-sport athlete Aliya Ducham and Barron Collier swimmer Mason Laur.
The Singletary scholarship fund also gave out four $500 awards, two to male and two to female athletes. The $500 winners were Golden Gate’s Joaquin Acuna, Barron Collier’s Natalie Bongirno, Lely’s Carson Chambers and Gulf Coast’s Danielle Stavely.
It was the second year for the Singletary scholarships but the first for the banquet. Last year the family couldn’t hold an in-person ceremony because of COVID. Instead they hosted a virtual ceremony.
While last year the scholarships were only for Palmetto Ridge students, athletes from all Collier high schools could apply this year. Finalists had to play sports for two years, have at least a 2.5 GPA, write a 500-word essay, and have a letter of recommendation from a coach and a teacher.
Last year’s inaugural winners of the $2,500 awards, Palmetto Ridge’s Trillyon Fils-Aime and Laurah Jean, were at the banquet.
“It’s a really good thing that (the Singletarys) are doing for Collier County,” Laur said. “It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. Colby’s legacy will always remain in tact and what a great person he was. It’s really and honor to be here and experience this.”
Laur won four state championships this season, two individual titles and two relays. As a junior he helped Barron Collier win the first boys swimming team state title in Collier County history. Laur, who will swim next year at Florida, recently competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 200 butterfly.
Ducham, the female winner, earned 10 varsity letters at Seacrest in golf, soccer and tennis. She will attend High Point University in North Carolina next year.
To be the first girls winner outside of Palmetto Ridge was special to Ducham because of her relationship to the Singletarys. Ducham’s mother, Dayna, worked with Nicole Singletary at Tiburon Golf Club. Ducham knew Colby and his family since she was in elementary and often went to the beach with the Singletarys.
“I’m just happy that I got to know all of them,” Ducham said. “(I remember) Colby’s happiness and his presence. He made everyone else smile when he smiled.
“I’m just really honored that the Singletary family has helped me follow my dreams.”
The guest speaker at the banquet was Collier County school board member Roy Terry. Terry has been a coach and administrator in the county for more than 40 years. In 2004 when Palmetto Ridge opened, he was the first principal at the school now forever linked with the Singletarys.
“It has been my honor and privilege to be the first speaker at the Colby Singletary scholarship banquet, and we will never forget Colby Cheese,” said Terry, referencing Nicole’s nickname for her son.
“To those that are receiving the scholarship tonight, you want to remember that it’s not about the money. It’s the life that it represents.”
The remaining female finalists were: Aubree Blocker, Palmetto Ridge; Michelle Hubbs, Palmetto Ridge; Kirra Polley, Marco Island Academy; Jasmin Schauer, Marco Island Academy; and Mackenzie White, Golden Gate.
The other male finalists were: Lais Cardero, Golden Gate; Roy Chiong, Community School; Jean Dumerzier, Golden Gate; Hunter Gideons, Palmetto Ridge; Antonio Petraglia, Palmetto Ridge; Evan Rodriguez, Palmetto Ridge; Frantzy Sylvestre, Immokalee; and Matthew Vergo, Marco Island Academy