Catholic Community Foundation presents 17 scholarships

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, joined by Board members of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc., led a virtual presentation ceremony on May 27, 2021 from the Catholic Center in Venice to honor 17 Foundation scholarship winners.

The recipients of the Mary Fran Carroll, Coseglia and Schaerf scholarships were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements and for their commitment of continuing their education in pursuit of wide-ranging career paths such as education, medicine, business, engineering and more. The Foundation Scholarship Committee carefully reviewed 84 applications before determining the worthiest applicants.

Bishop Dewane opened the presentation with prayer and said he was impressed with the new Foundation Scholars noting their academic success and ambition to seek out distinctive goals. “God has blessed you each with different gifts. Enjoy what you are going to do but keep an eye on that goal.”

Michael Morse, Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation, congratulated the new scholars, saying the young men and women are worthy to forever be known as Foundation Scholars. “Every one of you, from what we learned, is unique, special, strong and smart; embrace that.”

The Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship provides a total of 11 academic scholarships, each valued at $3,000, to residents of Sarasota County and is available for tuition, books and fees. This year there were 10 traditional scholarship winners (high school graduates pursuing an undergraduate degree) and one non-traditional winner (an adult learner seeking an advanced education after being away from school for a number of years). The scholarship is renewable annually up to a total of five academic years for students maintaining a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.2 or greater, while also making progress toward their career goal. In the past year, there were 31 students who had their scholarship renewed.

Mary Fran Carroll Scholar Ausiana Laguerre graduated from Sarasota High School and will be attending the University of Florida to study business and finance to help others who struggle with debt. “Thank you. This scholarship will allow me to look forward to focus on my education without the need for student loans.”

The Frank and Florence Coseglia Scholarship provides a one-time scholarship of $1,106.06 to one graduating senior from each of the four Catholic High Schools within the Diocese of Venice. The winners were nominated by their high schools and approved by the Foundation Board.

Coseglia Scholar Sam Hall of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota will be attending the University of Florida to study construction management and thanked the Foundation as the scholarship will assist in covering the costs of the many materials needed for someone starting college.

The Frederick W. Schaerf, M.D., Ph.D. Neuroscience Scholarship provides a $4,000 one-time scholarship to a graduating senior from Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers interested in pursuing a career in neuroscience. This was the second year the scholarship was offered.

The Foundation also presented a one-time Foundation Scholarship for $7,500 which was offered by an anonymous donor.

During the virtual scholarship ceremony, the recipients shared their personal experiences as well as college and career goals. Each expressed their appreciation for the scholarship from the Foundation. Many specifically explained how the scholarship money will assist in lessening the financial burden of attending college and pursuing their career goals.

The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. was established to provide philanthropic opportunities for individuals, such as Mary Fran Carroll, to create lasting gifts in support of Catholic programs and ministries within the Diocese of Venice. This year, the Foundation is on track to distribute $2.4 million in endowed support for Catholic Schools, Parishes, Seminarian education, programs for the needy, college scholarships and more.

To learn more about the Catholic Community Foundation, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124 or by email at You can also visit the Foundation website at

Mary Fran Carroll Scholars

Ashley Pelton, Riverview High School, Georgia Tech University, neuroscience;

Sophia Pearce, Venice High School, College of Florida Keys, marine biology;

Alexis Coleman, Venice High School, Eastern University of Pennsylvania, education;

Roseanna Chan, Pineview High School, University of Florida, medicine;

Clarissa Miller, Riverview High School, University of South Florida, social work;

Alana Sotolongo, Pineview High School, Florida State University, industrial engineering;

Danial Staas, Venice High School, Georgetown University, biochemistry;

Ausiana Lguerre, Sarasota High School, University of Florida, business and finance;

Jovanna Patino-Murillo, Sarasota High School, University of Tampa, public health;

Jessica Contreras-Franco, Suncoast Polytechnical High School, Florida State University, political science;

Stacey Chaisson, non-traditional, State College of Florida, education.

Schaerf Neuroscience Scholarship

Madilyn Dwyer, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, University of Arizona, neuroscience.

Coseglia Scholarship

Sam Hall, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, University of Florida, construction management;

Gabriella Agostino, St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Florida State University, education;

Emma Perreault, Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria, Ave Maria University, business and theology;

Camila Gonzalez, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, Florida Atlantic University, nursing.

Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Scholarship

Manuel Declet, Bishop Verot Catholic High School, Florida Gulf Coast University, marine biology.