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Miami HEAT Awards $10,000 in Scholarships to Four Local Graduating Seniors

Jun 17 2004 12:08PM
MIAMI, June 17 - As part of its annual scholarship program, the Miami HEAT has awarded $10,000 in scholarships to four graduating seniors for use toward their college education. Melanie English, graduate of McArthur High School; Kate Justus, graduate of Homestead Senior High School; Christa McKenzie, graduate of Nova High School; and Annery Pulgar, graduate of Hialeah High School each won $2,500 in scholarships after being selected from a talented pool of more than 200 hopeful applicants.

This is the eighth consecutive year that the HEAT, in conjunction with the HEAT Family Outreach Charitable Fund, has bestowed three $2,500 Miami HEAT Scholarship awards. These scholarships are given to graduating seniors who have excelled in the areas of academics and community service throughout their high school careers and who need additional financial assistance in order to attend an accredited college or university. In addition, the HEAT annually awards one $2,500 Jack Ramsay Scholarship to an eligible graduating high school senior who aspires to pursue a degree and career in sports journalism at an accredited college or university. This scholarship was created by the HEAT in honor of Dr. Jack Ramsay, Hall of Fame coach and the HEAT’s former play-by-play analyst for eight years.

The following are brief descriptions of each of this year’s winners:

Melanie English, Jack Ramsay Scholarship winner: A graduate of McArthur High School, finishing in the top 2 percent of her class, Melanie was an active member of the National Honor Society, Debate Team, Junior Academy of Science and the Triple A+ Gifted Program. She earned a variety of prestigious awards, including the Golden GPA Award, which was awarded to students who achieved a 4.0 and above. During her time at McArthur, she was strongly involved with journalism. A leader in the school’s television production program and a volunteer entertainment reporter for Broward Teen News, her skills as a videographer, script writer and reporter lead her to win the school honor of Journalist of the Year and the Florida Scholastic Press Association Best Feature Package award. In addition, Melanie, who lives in North Miami, participated in cheerleading and dedicated her time volunteering for Girl Scouts of America and Church of Abounding Grace. In the fall, Melanie plans to attend Syracuse University in New York, where she will major in broadcast journalism.

Kate Justus, Miami HEAT Scholarship Award winner: Kate, an active member of the National Honor Society, English Honor Society, Key Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Academy of International Business Club and DECA, graduated Homestead High School with an impressive 5.3 G.P.A., ranking 4th in her class. The Homestead resident also received a host of accolades, including Coca-Cola Scholar, Silver Knight nominee, Metro PCS Scholarship recipient, Presidential Freedom Scholar, Ford Salute to Education Scholarship recipient, U. S. Customs Explorer Community Service Award, Rising Sunshine State Scholar and Wendy’s High School Heisman Award nominee. In addition, she also was a class officer and member of the school’s varsity softball team, as well as dedicated countless hours volunteering for Genetic Research at Jackson Memorial Hospital, the Florida Department of Children and Families, Relay For Life, the YMCA and the U.S. Marine Band Concert, just to name a few. In the fall, she will attend Cornell University in New York and intends to major in microbiology.

Christa McKenzie, Miami HEAT Scholarship Award winner: Christa, a Ft. Lauderdale resident who graduated from Nova High School with honors and a G.P.A. of 4.5, was an accomplished athlete in track, winning her the Scholar Athlete Award. In addition, she held several leadership positions within the school, serving as Pounder/President of the Ceramic Club, President of the Graphics Club, President of the Book Club and an active member of the National Honor Society, Business Professionals of America and Summer Science. She also has given back to her community by dedicating numerous hours volunteering for the Red Cross, the Soup Kitchen and Florida Medical Center, where she worked with hospital staff to assist with many facets of admitting and discharging patients. In the fall, Christa plans to attend Emory University in Atlanta and intends to major in microbiology.

Annery Pulgar, Miami HEAT Scholarship Award winner: This Hialeah High School graduate standout utilized her research as a volunteer intern for Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart to initiate a “Citizenship Drive” at her school, wherein she recruited 25 volunteers and brought in more than 100 immigrants to assist in helping to begin the task of gaining U.S. citizenship. In addition, as a leader and member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Law Club, Key Club, Junior Academy of Science and a trained peer mediator, Annery found the time to tutor ESOL students, organize numerous food and toy drives and volunteer for the Special Olympics and with the elderly, amongst other things. Serving as Secretary of the Varsity Cheerleading squad, Annery, who resides in Hialeah, graduated with a 5.17 G.P.A. and received numerous awards, including the Hispanic Heritage Gold Medallion For Community Service, Ford Salute For Education Award, Silver Knight Award in social sciences, Ronald McDonald House Charities/Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources Scholarship Award and Award of Merit from the City of Hialeah. She will attend University of Miami in the fall and plans to major in law.

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