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Congratulations to BGCSDC’s Class of 2022

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties celebrated 90 graduating seniors of the class of 2022 from local high schools at the annual Senior Celebration on Thursday, June 9, 2022. Seniors were joined by family and friends, and supported by members of the community such as Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer, Chris Renouf; Secondary Schools Executive Director, Steve Cantees; North Port High School Principal, Shannon Fusco; Riverview High School Principal, Erin Del Castillo; Sarasota High School Principal, David Jones; and Sarasota Military Academy Head of School, Colonel Fredrick Fout. The event was held in the Dick Vitale Sports and Fitness Center at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club.

The 2022 graduating class went above and beyond in their academic achievements and are outstanding examples of the value of hard work and determination. The evening recognized 17 graduating seniors who have been selected to receive scholarship awards, including the Shannon Staub Excellence in Leadership Award, The Club’s Post-Secondary Transition Scholarship, the Matthew A. Knight Foundation Scholarship, the Robert and Patricia Gussin Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties Endowed Scholarship at Duquesne University, the Steven and Marjolaine Townsend Scholarship, and Youth of the Year Scholarship.

Since their first scholarship in 2018, Steve and Marge Townsend have awarded over 47 scholarships to Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties’ youth. Steve Townsend stated, “We established our scholarship fund as a way of giving back to our community, and we have been touched by the personal successes achieved by so many of our recipients.” When asked why they choose to invest in the lives of young people each year in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, Marge responded, “We believe education changes lives. Because education is so important to us, we hope these scholarships will empower students to pursue their hopes and dreams and strive to reach their full potential.”  

The Robert and Patricia Gussin Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties Endowed Scholarship is a unique opportunity for outstanding high school students to attend Duquesne University in Pittsburg​h, Pennsylvania at no cost as part of The Gussin Spiritan Division of Academic Programs. The division was introduced in 1997 and has since served 691 students. This scholarship is made possible by the incredible generosity of Drs. Robert and Patricia Gussin. Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties are lucky to call them friends and supporters.

2022 Gussin Scholarship recipient, Laura M., shared “The scholarship is so special because it gives me the opportunity to completely focus on my career while I double major in political science, international relations and minor in French. The scholarship means I get to be part of a community with people who will support me every step of the way. ”Club member, Bryan B., was also named a 2022 Gussin Scholar and stated, "This Scholarship means a whole lot to me. I will be debt-free when I graduate from college, and this will also help me get into dental school. Without this scholarship, I’m not sure what I would have done!"

The Youth of the Year Scholarship honors and celebrates the nation’s most inspiring teens and their incredible journeys. The program gives them a platform to share their stories of outstanding leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle.

Each year, thousands of Club teens participate in local, state and regional Youth of the Year events, and eventually, one of them is selected as the National Youth of the Year, serving as an ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth as well as a voice for all of our nation’s young people. "The scholarship is my reminder that I do not have to sacrifice my dreams because I have the support of The Club to aid me,” said Bernadette N., Runner Up for the 2022 Florida Youth of the Year. “I plan on using it on technology, tuition, and other things that will keep me on track for achieving my goals.”

Congratulations to our high school graduates and scholarship recipients! The future is bright for these young leaders as they embark on their great futures and join the incredible list of Boys & Girls Clubs alumni.

Robert and Patricia Gussin Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties Endowed Scholarship at Duquesne University

Laura M., RHS 

Bryan B., BHS

Matthew A. Knight Foundation Scholarship

Quinn O., SHS

Shannon Staub Excellence in Leadership Award 

Quinn O., SHS 

Giacomo M., BHS

The Club’s Post-Secondary Transition Scholars

Bryan B., BHS; 

Kennedi B., SHS; 

Desmen L., SHS; 

Laura M., RHS; 

Giacomo M., BHS

Youth of the Year Scholar

Bernadette N., RHS

Steven and Marjolaine Townsend Scholars, Class of 2025

Aiden B., BHS 

Ayanna C., BHS 

Ethan C., SPHS

Ariyana E., BHS

Samuel M., BHS 

Aundrayah M., BHS

Charlize M., BHS 

Melanie M., SHS 

Ciara P., SHS 

Usman P., NPHS 

Angel V., Imagine School at North Port 

Steven and Marjolaine Townsend Scholars, Class of 2023

Gabriel B., SPHS

Fabian O., SMA

Kara P., NPHS

Madison S., SHS

Daria T., PVS

Steven and Marjolaine Townsend Scholars, Class of 2022

Kennedi B., SHS

Kenneth D., VHS

Francisco H., NPHS

Isaiah L., VHS

Jasmine M., SMA

D’Kai S., BHS

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