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AVON PARK, Fla. – June 16, 2021 – Avigail Avila, a recent graduate of South Florida State College (SFSC), was awarded a scholarship through the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation.
For more than six decades, the Foundation has supported education through grants and scholarship programs. The Selby Scholarship is available to residents of DeSoto, Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties and is awarded to graduating high school seniors and graduating associate degree students from any state college in those four counties. All applicants must be planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university on a full-time basis.
Avila graduated from DeSoto County High School on Friday, June 11 and graduated from SFSC with an Associate in Arts on Tuesday, May 11. While in high school, Avila’s plate was full. She participated in the dual enrollment program at SFSC, she was a Take Stock in Children scholar, she worked at DeSoto Memorial Hospital screening visitors for COVID-19 and providing directions to various departments, she drove her sister to work in Port Charlotte, and she cared for her baby sister while her mother was at work.
Avila plans to continue her education at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Fort Myers to study for a bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
“The Selby Scholarship is going to assist me by providing financial aid that I truly need to cover my FGCU expenses,” Avila said. “I do not come from a wealthy family, and anything that I receive will help. Not only will it help me reach my goals, but I will be able to change the world as well as make it a better place for future generations and give back to the community.”
Asena Mott, SFSC DeSoto Campus director and Avila’s Take Stock in Children mentor, nominated her for the Selby scholarship. “Given her quick thinking and her intelligence, Avigail has the talent to be an incredible nurse, which has been her plan since I’ve known her for the past few years,” Mott said. “I know she could make life-saving decisions in a high-pressure environment, and I know her compassion for others takes precedence in decisions. She has a natural propensity to lead and to learn.”
According to the William G. & Marie Selby Foundation, the Selbys owned an oil company in West Virginia and came to live in Sarasota, Fla. in the 1920s. In his oil business, William encountered young people with untapped potential who were handicapped by lack of technical education. Prior to his death in 1956, William set up a charitable trust. The Selbys had no children of their own and wanted to use their money to help the youth of future generations.