Isabela Deneka, Josef Gillespie Jr., Yasamin Khosh and Ashley Trinh receiving scholarships from the Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon on June 9 at La Septima Cafe in Brandon.

By Linda Chion

The Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon again this year presented scholarships to graduating high school seniors who participated in Key Club activities at their respective high schools.

Recognized on June 9 at La Septima Cafe in Brandon with $1,000 scholarship checks were Armwood High School graduates Ashley Trinh and Isabela Deneka, Bloomingdale High School graduate Josef Gillespie Jr. and Freedom High School graduate Yasamin Khosh.

The money for the scholarship program is raised annually at the Kiwanis Club’s golf tournament, which this year is scheduled for Thursday, October 27 at Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club.

In applying for the scholarships, the graduates were asked to detail their scholastic distinctions and honors, extracurricular and personal activities as well as work experience. Open-ended questions asked about experiences, plans and “unusual financial circumstances.”

“I have had the passion and dream of working with marine life since I was 3 years old,” said Gillespie Jr., who is set to study marine biology at the University of West Florida. “I have worked my whole life so far to further that goal by helping education people and stopping bills that would harm marine life big and small.”

Khosh said she expects to explore different careers yet leans toward becoming a lawyer and working on Capitol Hill.

Whatever path is chosen, “I hope that I am able to give back to my community when I have finally reached my professional career and make those who have shaped me into who I am proud,” Khosh said.

Deneka noted that throughout high school, she worked at Publix to help support her grandmother, and that despite tough financial circumstances at home, she never let the obstacles in her path “stop me from reaching my goals.” She said she is set to study in the psychology and neuroscience department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Influenced by her mother’s career as a physician’s assistant, Trinh said she is off to the University of Florida to study nursing and that she aims “to get my master’s degree studying to become a physician’s assistant.”

The $1,000 scholarship, Trinh said, “will really help me in the long journey of schooling.”

For club and golf tournament information, visit

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