The Twenty Pearls Foundation Inc. and the Gainesville/Alachua County chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. awarded eight 2012 high school graduates scholarships totaling $10,500 toward the goal of furthering their educations.
Funds for the scholarships were raised during the sorority’s annual charity golf scramble to honor Dr. Cullen W. Banks, the first black physician to have full privileges at what was once Alachua General Hospital. Banks practiced medicine for 46 years in Alachua County.
“Our fund supporters are instrumental in the pursuit of awarding scholastic achievement and the future career endeavors of our society’s next leadership — our young people,” said Florida Bridgewater-Alford, president of the sorority.
“We could not accomplish this record amount of scholarships without the dedicated work of the chapter members during the signature event — the Twenty Pearls Foundation charity golf scramble — which is celebrating its fifth anniversary on Nov. 3.”
The following students received scholarships:
Alberta Blocker: Gainesville High School, $1,000.
Shakeria Cottrell: Santa Fe High School, $1,000.
Oluwabunmi Fayiga: P.K. Yonge, $1,500.
Gabrielle Howard: GHS, $1,500.
Alexis King: GHS, $1,000.
Breajah Leonard: Eastside High School, $2,000.
Shakyra Lawson: Eastside, $1,500.
Rosemari Malu: GHS, $1,000.
Selection was based on scholastic achievement, financial need, character, leadership ability, quality and level of school, church and community service activities.
“Each year, we search for stellar students who continue to create a better community while maintaining high scholastics,” said Cynthia Chestnut, president and CEO of Twenty Pearls. “It is an esteemed pleasure to award these worthy young ladies and add the foundation’s and chapter’s medallion of honor to their list of achievements.”
The recipients reportedly will be attending the University of Florida, the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida A&M University in Tallahassee and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
Also, a special donation of $2,500 was awarded to the Cullen W. Banks, M.D., Scholarship Fund at the UF College of Medicine, bringing the total for the past four years to $10,000 for the endowment.