Okaloosa County School District hosts ‘Take Stock in Children STARS’ Ceremony

On Thursday, May 4, 2023, the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF) celebrated the achievements of 14 graduates and welcomed 17 newly selected scholars at the Niceville Community Center during the annual ‘Take Stock in Children STARS’ ceremony. 

  • This event marked the 26th year of the OPSF’s sponsorship of the Take Stock in Children (TSIC) program, which aims to empower deserving Okaloosa County students and provide them with post-secondary scholarships.

The evening was graced by special guest speakers, including TSIC alumna Justice Woods and TSIC Leader 4 Life Fellow Tyniyah Haughton. Both speakers shared their personal experiences and emphasized the transformative impact the program and their mentors have had on their lives.

“Take Stock in Children is positively changing the lives of deserving Okaloosa County students through the support of caring mentors and the opportunity to be awarded tuition scholarships to the post-secondary institutions of their choice,” stated Deputy Superintendent Steve Horton, highlighting the program’s mission and significance.

The Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program is a unique and innovative initiative that provides scholarships to deserving youth who may not have the opportunity to attend college due to their families’ financial situations. Eligible students with commendable academic performance, attendance, and disciplinary records, as well as meeting the income criteria, are invited to apply for these scholarships. 

  • Each student selected by the Foundation signs a contract, along with their parent or guardian, pledging to maintain a good school record, remain drug and crime-free, and engage in weekly meetings with a community-based mentor. Scholars who uphold the terms of their contracts are awarded tuition scholarships to their chosen post-secondary institutions.

Superintendent Marcus Chambers expressed his pride in the Take Stock in Children program graduates, saying, “We are incredibly proud of our Take Stock in Children program graduates. They have worked incredibly hard, and I wish them success in their future endeavors. It’s exciting to see this program grow as we welcome more students and provide the support they need to succeed.”

The 2023 Take Stock in Children Graduates from Okaloosa County schools were recognized during the ceremony. 

Baker School

  • Kayleb Wagner – Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative Scholar

Choctawhatchee High School

  • Emily (Emerson) DeSimone – Panhandle Job Fair Foundation Scholar
  • Jonathan Dutton
  • Dylan Wagoner – Linda Evanchyk Scholar

Collegiate High School

  • Amyas Worthen – Florida Power and Light Northwest FL Scholar

Crestview High School

  • Sydney Ganey – Florida Power and Light Northwest FL Scholar
  • Tyniyah Haughton

Fort Walton Beach High School

  • Adriana Asque
  • Jania Bartley – Florida Power and Light Northwest FL Scholar
  • Angelo Posadas
  • Adria Womack – Cindy and Michael Gates Scholar

Niceville High School

  • Riley Clark
  • Caden Gatlin – David Morgan Scholar
  • Erik Sirmans – Mid-Bay Rotary Scholar

Each student was recognized for their achievements and received various scholarships from generous donors and organizations.

Moving forward, the newly selected scholars will be paired with mentors in the upcoming school year. Individuals interested in learning more about the TSIC program or becoming a mentor for a scholar can visit the OPSF website.

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