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Community Foundation Gives Out More than $150K in Scholarships

June 13, 2008 — It may have been Friday the 13th, but superstition didn't keep scholars from picking up more than $150,000 in scholarships at the annual meeting of the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.
Held at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort, the meeting hosted the most attendees ever for the organization, said Foundation President Dee Baecher-Brown. Nearly 200 donors, recipients, foundation staffers and performers attended the breakfast meeting and were treated to a number of performances, including the territory's own poet-recitation muse, Shawntay Henry, who recited "Frederick Douglas."
"This is about celebrating the talent in our community," Baecher-Brown said.
Going over the foundation's activities during the last year, Chairman Ricardo J. Charaf said the organization got its start in 1990 with $500,000, and now has $6 million in its coffers.
Charaf announced that the foundation had given more than $1.5 million in scholarships, grants and services. This was the fourth consecutive year the foundation gave out more than one million dollars, Charaf noted.
Student volunteers have racked up more than 2,188 volunteer hours, said Liz Lapon, who coordinates the foundation's Junior Angels program, which places student volunteers in community-service positions. Volunteers participated in a number of fun activities, as well, including an archaeological dig and bowling.
Lapon also noted that a number of the Junior Angels had taken an SAT prep course as part of their program. The course recipients averaged a more than 350-point increase in their scores after the course.
Charaf also announced changes to the foundation's board, recognizing Edward Thomas and Trip Lea as they retire from it.
New scholarships totaling more than $105,000 were brought forth this year. These include the Heavy Materials Scholarship, the Hospitality Scholar Award, the Lana Vento Scholarship Fund and the A9 and V.I. Recycling Inc. Scholarship. There were also six new funds announced.
One of the scholarship recipients, Waveney George, a 2008 graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School, was named an Anna Greene Walsh Scholar, which provides $1,000 to assist with college expenses. George plans to enter pre-med studies at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Her mother, Renette Blaize, works at Frenchman's Reef and took a break from her duties to attend the ceremony.
George said she wants to study medicine because, as a little girl, she spent a lot of time in the hospital, sick with asthma.
"I want to help other people as much as I was helped when I was a child," she said.
For more information about the foundation, visit its website.
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