Scholarship Winners Present

During the June 2nd Republican Men’s Club breakfast meeting with Senator and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, the scholarship winners were announced, and each gave a brief talk to the audience.

The scholarships are for $1,500 and will continue for 4 years as long as certain criteria for grades and activity continue. Photos courtesy of fellow member Ed Brandt

The winners were as follows:

Mike Lyster and Mary Claire McCabe

Mary Clair McCabe

Mary Claire is an Advanced Placement Diploma awardee at Gulf Coast High School. She was Executive President of DECA, which focuses on emerging leaders in marketing, finance, and management.

She has been involved with the Model UN, along with many other community-focused activities, all while holding a part-time job. Her essay was on COVID quarantine mandates as they impact yuth developmental health.

She plans on studying marketing and management at the University of Alabama in the fall. Congratulations, Mary Claire!

Russell Tuff and Bridi Paparusi

Bridi Paparusi

Bridi has achieved outstanding academic success at Mason Classical Academy, having been recognized as both Magna and Summa Cum Laude during his high school years. He was selected to present his senior thesis to the entire school. He was a member of the school Honor Commission.

He captained the basketball team, and worked several jobs including with his father’s business. His essay addressed transgenderism in sports competition. He plans to study biology at the university of Tampa in anticipation of becoming a medical doctor. Congratulations, Bridi!

Mike Nadolski and Shahz Ramonov

Shahz Rahmonov

Shahz says that, being a first-generation student going to college is a “dream come true”. He received an AICE Cambridge Diploma, demonstrating his superior academic achievement.

This is also evidenced by his high GPA at Marco Island Academy. His supervisor at the Marriott Marco Island, where he works part-time, gave him a glowing recommendation. His essay was on Second Amendment gun rights in relation to recent school shootings.

Enrolled at Florida Gulf Coast University, he hopes one day to be an orthodontist.  Congratulations, Shahz!

Glenn Brown and Jade Izurieta

Jade Isurieta

Although quiet, Jade showed us her character as evidenced by her strong academic and sports performance. As a student at Mason Classical Academy, she had the highest GPA of all the students we interviewed (they were all high!).

She was Summa Cum Laude her junior year, and has been on the honor roll all years in High School.

As Captain of the soccer team, she led them to the district title. Her essay was on vaccine requirements as they relate to the 14th and 10th Amendments. She will study kinesiology at the University of Michigan, ultimately hoping to become a medical doctor.

From left: Russell Tuff, Vincent Keeys, Ayden Abreu and his mother Vanessa Abreu.

National Flight Academy Program

Vincent Keeys, a Fellow Republican, representing the Collier County Community Foundation, and Greater Naples Leadership Program, is actively involved with STEAM (that’s STEM with A for Art), in partnership with the National Flight Academy Program.

The leadership of Mr. Keys is evidenced by the recent announcement that he will be receiving the Robert C. Cosgrove Award from the Collier Community Foundation. This award acknowledges individuals who represent devotion to human values, families, and our community’s well-being.

Aaron Paquette and Erick Carter


The Immokalee Technical College provides education and training in IT, telecommunications, mechanics, machining, and metal work, with significant business support and partnerships. For a nmber of years, Technical Director Dorin Oxender has been on the job of “growing adults”, as he describes it. He is here to tell us more about their programs, and how our contribution will be used.

Jim Giles and Mike Lyster

Boy Scouts 

Jim Giles is the field director of the Southwest Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America. With a primary emphasis on camping, youth engage in outdoor skills, climbing, trekking, aquatics, and shooting sports. Jim is here to tell us how our award will support the mission of the Boy Scouts, and the Southwest Florida Council specifically.

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