Students in SCF’s CROP Program Receive Awards

(Bradenton, Fla., May 7, 2015) – State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) honored graduating seniors from area high schools and other students in the College Reach-Out Program (CROP) at the 17th annual CROP Awards ceremony at SCF Bradenton.

SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld welcomed students and their families, and CROP alumni and SCF students Rubi Rodriguez and Zabdi St. Cyr were the featured speakers for the May 4 event in Neel Performing Arts Center.

Rodriquez, a CROP alumna, graduated in May with an Associate in Arts degree from SCF and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of South Florida Tampa, where she participated in a summer CROP residential program.

“I encourage you to work hard and focus on college. Participating in the CROP Program is the first step. There are people at your schools and at SCF who want you to be successful so make the most of the opportunities available to you,” Rodriquez said.

St. Cyr, a native of Haiti, also attributed his success to the CROP and Summer Bridge Program, which helped him transition from high school to college. He had the opportunity to attend the Black, Brown & College Bound 9th Annual Summit in Tampa with SCF student Armando Cruz. The event was cosponsored by SCF.

“It came at a good time in my life when I needed to dream bigger. It boosted my confidence, and provided me with the tools to persevere,” said St. Cyr, whose goal is to become an anesthesiologist. He plans to graduate from SCF in 2016 and pursue a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences at the University of Central Florida.

Cruz, also a CROP and SCF Summer Bridge Program alumnus, plans to graduate from SCF in December and attend Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine with the goal of becoming a pharmacist.

“The amount of knowledge I’ve gained at SCF since high school is an abundance. Participating in the Black, Brown & College Bound Summit allowed me to network with other people in my field and pointed me in the right direction for my career,” Cruz said.

Yvette Benton, CROP activities coordinator for SCF and assistant principal of Miller Elementary, introduced the site coordinators, who gave school presentations and announced Students of the Year.

CROP Students of the Year were Samuel Bailey Higgins, Southeast High School; Marquavious Simmons, Booker Middle School; Azariah Love, Manatee High School; Yvette Alanis, Palmetto High School; Erinn Lee, Booker High School; and Woody Gustave, Riverview High School.

CROP site coordinators from participating schools included Dr. Sherika Evans from Booker Middle School, Lem Andrews from Booker High School, Sandra Alanis from Manatee High School, Kelli Douglas from Palmetto High School, Pearlie Green from Riverview High School, and David Soles from Southeast High School.

Yessica Tapia, CROP retention specialist, and Elizabeth Bazan, CROP and SCF alumna, presented a video, which highlighted the program activities throughout the year.

Kristen Anderson, special programs director for SCF, announced special recognitions and Summer Bridge Program awards, and Dr. Brenda Pinkney, director of advising services at SCF, gave closing remarks.

Others who attended the ceremony included Xtavia and Ed Bailey, SCF board of trustees chairman; Gary Tibbetts, representing U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan; Manatee School Board member Charlie Kennedy; Dr. Michael Mears, vice president of strategic initiatives; Dr. Donald Bowman, vice president of student affairs; and Cassandra Holmes, executive director of the SCF Foundation.

CROP, a statewide program funded through a grant from the Florida Department of Education, is designed to increase the number of students who successfully complete postsecondary education.

Out of 49 seniors in this year’s program, at least 80 percent plan to continue their education after graduating from high school, and nearly half (22) will start college in June through the Summer Bridge Program at SCF. Students earned program scholarships of approximately $900. CROP graduates who attend SCF also are eligible to receive tuition and book scholarships.

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