More than 30 Pensacola State College stellar students received a share of $40,000 in Cantonment Rotary Club scholarships on Wednesday, April 27.
The total award was the largest the Cantonment Rotary Club has given to PSC students, said Ray Asherfeld, Cantonment Rotary Club Foundation chairman. Since 1991, the Rotary Club has provided $62,253.25 in scholarships to 150 to 200 PSC students.
The scholarships were a godsend for the students – especially Diyawn Jackson, a mother and grandmother pursuing a cybersecurity degree.
“I am extremely thankful and honored to receive this scholarship. The funds will help me with the challenges of tuition, books and childcare,” said Jackson one of 35 scholarship recipients recognized at a luncheon held at St. Luke United Methodist Church.
A Pensacola native, Jackson returned to Pensacola from Atlanta after suffering a back injury.
“I have security and technology experience and felt cybersecurity was a good fit for my skillset,” said the 44-year-old mother and grandmother. “Attending PSC is a homecoming for me. I earned my GED at the College.”
The Cantonment Rotary Club has six endowed scholarships with the PSC Foundation ─ Cantonment Rotary Club Culinary Endowed Scholarship, Cantonment Rotary Club Ike and Carolyn Hicks Terry Music Endowed Scholarship, Cantonment Rotary Club Ted Ciano Vocational Endowed Scholarship, Cantonment Rotary Club Vocational I Endowed Scholarship, Cantonment Rotary Club Vocational II Endowed Scholarship and the Cantonment Rotary Club Legal Assistant Endowed Scholarship. The six endowments total more than $164,200 and will support Pensacola State students into perpetuity.
Asherfeld praised the students for their academic achievements and noted that the scholarships are life-changing.
“We’re motivated to do this because we know that we are changing lives,” he said. “This all started with a young man (Ike Terry) who lost his life on a basketball court. He was a very giving person.”
Debbie Ciano-Patroni, daughter of the late Ted Ciano, echoed Asherfeld’s sentiments.
“‘Serve To Change Lives’ is our Rotary Club’s 2022 mission statement, and we changed lives on April 27,” she said. “Every year, the Cantonment Rotary and PSC join forces to change lives and make dreams come true. In honor of my father, Ted Ciano and our family, we are honored to give $40,000 to these PSC students.”
She added her father loved helping vocational program students.
“… These scholarships would mean everything to him. My father was self-made ─ he started out as a service manager at a dealership – and eventually owned his own dealership,” she said. “He never felt that vocational industry programs received enough recognition. And in my own opinion, there is not enough money that goes to vocational programs such as automotive mechanics as well as air conditioning, plumbing and electrical, and there is such a great need.”
Ike and Carolyn Hicks Terry Music Endowed Scholarship recipients trumpet player Erik Mitra and pianist Troy Harris performed separately and together at the luncheon.
Pensacola State faculty members Michael Listau, Director of Workforce Education; Dr. Kenneth Phillips, Performing Arts Department Head; Dr. Barbara Torres, Business Department Head; Joe Stallings, music and theater professor; along with Mikenzie Francis, PSC Foundation Donor Relationship Manager, were on hand for the scholarship ceremony.
Don Snowden, retired head of the PSC Performing Arts Department, also attended the event.
The Ike and Carolyn Hicks Terry Music Endowed $1,000 Scholarships recipients were:
Tristyn Barberi, Brody Beal, Amanda Duffey, Troy Harris, Sienna Hudak, Russell Hughes, Deelia Warfield, Carlos Lopez, Erik Mitra, Angie Perez, Tessa Tanner-Szeman and Lauren Mills.
Receiving $1,500 Ted Ciano Vocational Endowed Scholarships were Constance Stewart, David Green, Samuel Dalton, Mason Gosselin, Bryce Vincent, Shakeel Myvett, Layton Davis, Travis Rentschler, M’Kaylyn Shepherd, Arthur Bruckner, William Keethler and Colin Dorn.
Tiffany Alberter, Deanna Edwards, Daniel Shepetis and Mary Seeley were awarded $1,000 Vocational I Endowed Scholarships.
Georgia Beliech, Starr Bohannon, Diyawn Jackson, Brianna Lindsey and Sandra Savage received $1,000 Vocational II Endowed Scholarships.
Nora Biggs and Carmen McInvale each received a $1,000 Legal Assistant Endowed Scholarship.