On a bright Wednesday at Osceola Heritage Park, the Education Foundation of Osceola County held its 30th Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony, an event that marked the distribution of over $1.1 million across more than 500 scholarships, generously funded by over 100 donors. The ceremony was co-emceed by Kerry Avery, Executive Director of the Education Foundation, and Dr. Kathleen Plinske, President of Valencia College.

School District of Osceola County Superintendent Dr. Mark Shanoff, School Board Chair Heather Kahoun, Vice-Chair Terry Castillo, Education Foundation Board Founder and Chairman Tommy Thompkins, and Board Member Kathy Pierson presented the scholarship medallions during the awards ceremony.

In 1985, led by Tommy Thompkins, the Osceola County business community and the School District united to launch The Education Foundation, a pivotal initiative aimed at enhancing educational quality. The Foundation’s initial role was to offer mini-grants for innovative classroom programs and aid in attracting skilled educators. By 1992, it expanded its mission, establishing a scholarship fund as part of the District’s strategic plan, ensuring the first year of college tuition for every graduating senior in Osceola County.

Today, The Education Foundation stands as a robust non-profit, steered by a diverse 40-member board comprising parents, corporate executives, community leaders, and elected officials. This board has significantly expanded the Foundation’s programs, reinforcing its commitment to supporting the educational staff and uplifting the academic experiences of students throughout Osceola County.

“We are immensely proud of our scholarship recipients and their remarkable accomplishments,” expressed Kerry Avery. “Their dedication to academic excellence is truly commendable, and we have no doubt that they will continue to positively impact the world around them.”

This year’s ceremony not only celebrated the current achievements of 337 outstanding students but also reflected on the Foundation’s historical impact—over $11 million in scholarships awarded since its inception. These funds have been raised through initiatives like the Annual Larry Godwin Memorial Scholarships for Kids Golf Classic. The ongoing collaboration with more than 100 community partners ensures substantial support for the scholars.

The Education Foundation extends deep gratitude to all sponsors, partners, donors, and volunteers who contribute yearly to the success of the Scholarship Program. “Together, we are shaping a brighter future for our community by investing in the next generation of leaders, innovators, and changemakers,” the Foundation stated.

For further details about the Education Foundation Osceola County and its various programs, visit foundationosceola.org. This institution continues to forge paths for future leaders through substantial educational support and community involvement, heralding a new era of opportunity and growth in Osceola County.