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Press Release

Friday, April 19, 2013

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

Four Florida Students Earn Prestigious Scholarship

- Three elementary schools receive $50,000 in improvement grants -

Tallahassee, Fla., April 18, 2013 - Four outstanding Florida high school students were among the ten recipients nationally receiving a $250,000 scholarship from the Leonore Annenberg College Scholarship Fund. The students were nominated by the Council for Educational Change for their exemplary academic performance, remarkable leadership skills and commitment to their community.

"I commend these students for their dedication to pursuing excellence at every turn and encouraging their peers to do the same," said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. "This announcement is another example of students meeting, and exceeding, the high standards we want every child to meet."

The four scholarship winners are listed below.

  • Payton Karr, a junior at Northeast High School in Broward County, recently presented her research at the University of Florida's Science Symposium and placed second at the 2012 Broward County Science Fair. Karr plans to attend Johns Hopkins, specializing in neo-natal pediatrics.
  • Isabelle Morris, who attends H.B. Plant Senior High in Hillsborough County, keeps a busy schedule as the coxswain of the school's rowing team, a concert master in the orchestra and an honor student with a 5.2 GPA. She plans to attend either Emory University or Rice University to study cognitive psychology.
  • Isabelle Tersio, a well-rounded student at Boca Raton Community High School in Palm Beach County, participates in a variety of activities, including French, Math and National Honor Societies; the Science Olympiad Team; and the school's basketball team. She also teaches basketball skills to students with special needs and plans to attend Johns Hopkins University when she graduates.
  • Sean Vennett, an eleventh grader from Jefferson High School Center for International Studies in Hillsborough County, currently serves as his school's student government vice president and is on the verge of earning his Eagle Scout designation from the Boy Scouts. He is a frequent volunteer at a center for individuals with special needs and he plans to attend Harvard University, focusing on cancer research.

The Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children also awarded three $50,000 grants to Bel-Aire Elementary in Miami-Dade County, Charles R. Drew Elementary in Broward County and Lockhart Elementary Magnet School in Hillsborough County.

To be nominated by the council, schools must serve a student population where at least 90 percent of the students receive free or reduced-price lunch, and the designated project selected by the school must involve all students. The designated projects include new e-readers for Lockhart students, an upgraded media center and literacy resources for Charles Drew students and additional materials to help Bel-Aire students focus on science, math, reading and writing.

During the past five years, the Council for Educational Change has nominated nine schools for grants totaling $700,000. Visit the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania for more information.