Five Brandon High School students will be heading to college in the fall with a little help from some generous friends. The students each received $1,000 scholarships thanks to members of the high school’s class of 1969 who raised more than $5,000 at their 50th reunion last month.
“When putting together our big reunion, it crossed our minds that we might have some money leftover to donate back to the school,” said Judy Burkett, member of the class of 1969 and co-chairman of the Reunion Planning Committee. “I was thinking we might end up with about $500, which would be very helpful to one student.”
But thanks to the generosity of Burkett and her classmates, during the event, which was attended by 150 people, the money kept rolling in and by the end of the night the total reached $5,079.
“One of our classmates who played football when we were in high school brought his original helmet, worn in the state championship game, so we passed that around to collect money during the event,” said Burkett. “Maybe that helped.”
Former Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober, also a member of the class of 1969, was the MC for the event where members of the current student government volunteered and the school’s Choral Aquilla 19 performed.
According to Burkett, the group had certain criteria for the students who received the scholarships.
“We wanted to make sure the recipients were hardworking but also that they really had a need and would put the money to good use,” said Burkett.
Principal Jennifer Sparano and a group of Brandon High teachers and staff members chose the students based on their school records and postsecondary plans. Seniors Michael August, Nathaniel Reynolds, Shellby Chesson, Simon Chummar and Kimberly Ogun received the scholarships.
Ober presented the checks to the five students during an award ceremony in April.
“We are so proud to see this great example of the giving legacy of Brandon High School,” said Sparano. “Our community is known for taking care of each other and we feel very blessed. Once an eagle, always an eagle.”
Brandon High School is located at 1101 Victoria St. in Brandon and can be reached at 744-8120.