ORLANDO , Fla., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Going to classes this fall with more money to pay for tuition and books is making college life a little easier for three recent Florida high school graduates, who have each won a $5,000 state scholarship award from the Florida Association of Realtors(R) (FAR). The students’ winning essays were written on the topic “How Does a Realtor Professional Benefit the Community?”
The state winners are Jesse Whitfield of Apalachicola, a 2007 graduate of Apalachicola High School; Kellie Hauer of Englewood, a 2007 graduate of Lemon Bay High School; and Qabiyl Johnson of Coconut Creek, a 2007 graduate of Monarch High School.
These students each had previously received a district-level scholarship of $5,000 for their winning essays in FAR’s 2006-2007 Scholarship/Essay Contest for High School Seniors, resulting in a total of $10,000 in scholarship money to help with their future college expenses. There were 13 district winners. FAR also recognized each student whose essay won second place in their respective districts with a $1,500 scholarship and each student winning third place in their district with a $500 scholarship – for a total of $106,000 in scholarship funding given to Florida students this year. Whitfield won the District 8 scholarship award; Hauer received the District 13 scholarship award; and Johnson won the District 11 scholarship award.
2007 FAR President Nancy Riley announced the scholarship winners and presented them with their $5,000 grand prize awards during FAR’s 91st annual Convention & Trade Expo, held at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The students’ families were also present to see them receive their scholarship checks and hear them read their winning essays to the appreciative Realtor audience. The winners and their families thanked Florida Realtors for establishing the scholarship/essay contest and helping to make their college dreams a reality.
Here’s what Denise Roux , mother of state scholarship winner Jesse Whitfield , had to say: “Without a doubt, the FAR scholarship is a milestone in Jesse’s life. … As a high school English teacher, I like having students, including my son, think about what constitutes progress and improvement in our hometown. Of course, the financial generosity of this scholarship is immeasurably important to us. We are going semester by semester when it comes to meeting costs of college. I truly believe that an investment in Jesse is an investment in the future.”
This year, two of FAR’s grand prize scholarship winners are continuing their education at the University of Florida: Bunning is using the scholarship funding to pursue her interests in telecommunications and theater, while Howard is exploring a future career in business administration, sports management or possibly broadcast journalism. Whitfield is attending Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he plans on a dual major in philosophy and international relations, with a possible minor in music.
In his essay, Jesse Whitfield wrote about the revitalization of his small community, praising Realtors for their rejuvenating efforts: “Realtors restore vitality to communities. Every time a Realtor sells a home, a new family arrives in that town with a desire to be there. With newfound passion comes the eagerness to make their new community better than it was. … Real estate markets may rise and fall, but the wealth Realtors have brought to our town is beyond money. They bring with them a passion for building a better, more prosperous community. Pride in one’s hometown is a beautiful thing, and through the constant labor of the community Realtors, it is made possible.”
Qabiyl Johnson described how a real estate professional named Phyllis worked tirelessly to help his mother realize her dream of homeownership, guiding her through the complicated financial process. He wrote: “In short, Phyllis handled all of the details of what could have been a tremendously complicated and nerve-wracking transaction so that the minutia was all stress- free and transparent to my mother. … Her dedication to the real estate business and genuine concern for the community go above and beyond conformance to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors and/or allegiance to the Florida Association of Realtors, because they shine through in her positive attitude, enthusiasm and diligence as she advances the community through simply educating those she comes into contact with in residential sales and purchases.”
In her entry, Kellie Hauer related how a Realtor helped her grandparents relocate to Florida: “Eventually they started to work with a professional Realtor named Carol. She was familiar with every aspect of our community from banks to golf courses … During the many house-hunting trips we took with Carol, she never seemed rushed or frustrated by the difficulty of Grandpa and Nanny’s decision. She always said, ‘It’s important for you to be sure, so take the time to talk it out.’ … My family’s professional Realtor helped to bring buyer and seller together. Her knowledge of the community, local real estate market, and her expertise with real estate transactions were invaluable. Any growing and evolving community is greatly benefited by the knowledge and expertise of the Realtor professional.”
Business executives, educators, media representatives, Realtors and community leaders from across Florida volunteered their time and expertise to serve as judges for both the district- and state-level essay competition. During the seventh year for FAR’s scholarship program, more than 400 high school seniors from across the state sent in entries for the essay contest.
The Florida Association of Realtors, the voice for real estate in Florida, provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 150,000 members in 67 boards/associations. FAR’s Media Center Web site is available at http://media.living.net .
SOURCE Florida Association of Realtors
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