Read full article featured in Vero News, written by Stephanie LaBaff.
Photos courtesy of Stephanie LaBaff and Amanda Duffy
Mother Nature put on a spectacular sunset display over the Indian River Lagoon as guests gathered at the home of hosts Liz and Ken Whitney to celebrate donors and scholars at the annual Orchid Outreach Cocktail Reception.
Friends and neighbors enjoyed food and beverages provided by the Orchid Outreach committee, as they mingled with the scholarship recipients and their families and learned about their educational plans for the future.
Orchid Outreach has distributed more than $1.1 million in scholarships to 177 high school graduates since its founding in 2002, all made possible by the generosity of the residents of the Orchid Island community.
Maureen Baus, Orchid Outreach chairwoman, said more than $100,000 had been raised this year, surpassing previous donation totals. As a result, the organization was able to provide scholarships to 23 recipients for the 2022-2023 academic year, their largest number of scholarships distributed in a single year to date.
Baus explained that the scholarships are given to full- or part-time students pursuing two-year or four-year degrees, technical certificates or applied technology diplomas, so that the students can pursue whatever is best for their individual futures.
The Scholarship Foundation of Indian River County and the Indian River State College Foundation assist with the distribution of the scholarship funds, which cover tuition and expenses, including books and other miscellaneous items.
Scholarship recipients must be Orchid Island employees or their family members, or first responders and their family members.
This year, five recipients – Nevaeh Huber, Caitlyn Miller, Melissa Pereira, Erin Mrazek, and Richard Tehasse – were either Orchid employees or family members.
Several scholars shared their career goals after earning degrees in computer science, business management, elementary education, nursing and human services.
Rossie Jenkins spoke with emotion about pursuing an associate degree in nursing.
“I’ve been in Indian River County my entire life; I am the only girl of five boys.
“I will actually be the first-generation graduate of college within my family,” said Jenkins.
“I can’t begin to tell you what this means to me.”
“This is a great program, and it really means a lot to me and our team,” said Rob Tench, general manager of the Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club.
“The number of kids who have gone to college and benefited by your generosity is terrific.”
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