Coseglia Scholarships awarded

Staff Report


The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida awarded four outstanding Diocese of Venice Catholic high school graduates with the 2019 Frank & Florence Coseglia Scholarship. The winners were recognized for their academic standing, service to their Parish and school, as well as an essay on what their Catholic Education has meant to them.

The scholarship recipients are Samuel Berjarano of Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers; Scholastica Egwakhide of St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples; Christopher Twargoski of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota; and Olivia Burke of Donahue Academy in Ave Maria.

The Catholic Community Foundation Coseglia Scholarship was established in 2012 to fulfill the dreams of Frank and Florence Coseglia. The Coseglias wanted to provide financial support to deserving Catholic high school graduates pursuing degrees at accredited colleges or universities, and they wanted that financial support to last far beyond their lifetimes. For these reasons, the Coseglias chose to create a Catholic Legacy by establishing an endowed scholarship fund with the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida.

The winners were nominated by their high schools and approved by the Catholic Community Foundation Board of Directors. Each will receive a one-time scholarship of $1,117 toward the cost of their college/university studies. This is the eighth year the Catholic Community Foundation Coseglia Scholarship has been awarded.

Egwakhide, who will be studying to become a nurse at Regis College, wrote in her essay that: “I believe that a Catholic education changed my life for the better and helped me to come to a better understanding of myself. This scholarship will enable me to continue my search in life and give me the opportunity to continue my Catholic education at Regis College in the fall.”

With plans to study computer science at the University of Central Florida, Berjarano wrote: “I have been blessed to be raised in a Catholic family where faith plays an important role in our lives. By receiving the Coseglia Scholarship, I would be given a ticket to my own future; a way to attend university without worrying about needing to get into debt just to pursue my goals.”

Catholic Community Foundation Executive Director Michael Morse said the Coseglia Scholarship is a wonderful example of how one family chose to support the good works of the Catholic Church by investing in the education of our youth.

Those interested in learning how to set up an annual scholarship in their name, or the name of a loved one, should contact the Catholic Community Foundation at 941-441-1124.

Diocesan Class of 2019 graduates

Staff Report


During the final two weeks of May, 330 Diocese of Venice Catholic High School students graduated, moving on in their personal journey, prepared for college, and a life of purpose.

The Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Venice foster an education centered in Christ, rooted in the Gospel, and alive in the Faith; leaving with an impressive record of Christian service as well as academic and athletic excellence.

The future engineers, doctors, teachers, priests and leaders of tomorrow received their diplomas from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota; St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples; Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and the Donahue Academy in Ave Maria.

Some 98 percent of the graduates are going on to some of the greatest institutes of high learning across the country. These graduates also earned an impressive $32 million is scholarships and represent some of the best and brightest in Southwest Florida.

A large percentage of the graduates are going on to study at Catholic colleges and universities, while others will be continuing their studies at Ivy League schools, with one accepting an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The exceptions are either entering the workforce or military, and two are going on mission trips.

During the May 24 Baccalaureate Mass for Bishop Verot Catholic High School at St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers, Bishop Frank J. Dewane commended the graduates for their accomplishment by expressing his confidence that they will reflect the good that the Lord calls forth from them as they go out into the world.

“What you celebrate today is not an end, but you step forward in your life,” Bishop Dewane added. “Go forward! Find your path. Walk in that journey of faith, of maturing and of becoming more that man or woman of God you are called to be.”

Bishop Dewane also took time to thank the parents for having the confidence to send their children to a Catholic high school knowing that doing so is a sacrifice for them. He also thanked the faculty and staff for their commitment to providing a safe and supportive environment for the students in their charge.

The Bishop Verot graduation was May 25 at the high school. The Baccalaureate Mass for Cardinal Mooney was May 16 at Incarnation Parish and the graduation May 17 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota. The St. John Neumann Baccalaureate Mass was May 22 at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish in Naples and the graduation at the high school on May 23. The Donahue Baccalaureate Mass and graduation were both May 31 at Ave Maria Parish.

Mooney seniors graduate

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

Congratulations to Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Class of 2019. They are now high school graduates who leave their time with a Diocesan Catholic education that has prepared them well for their journey into adulthood.

The commencement exercises were held May 17 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota. Valedictorian Lorca Looney Stainton and Salutatorian Sam Dillion Koscho both spoke during the commencement, sharing words of wisdom and reflecting upon the benefits of their Catholic education.

The Commencement Address was given by Dr. Janina Morusiewicz Krajewski, Mooney Class of 1994, who owns a veterinary hospital in Palmetto.

The 102 graduates earned a combined $9.5 million in scholarships with all of the students going on to some of the finest college and universities in the country.

The students participated in a May 15 Baccalaureate Mass at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, which was celebrated by priests of the Diocese, with Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis and uncle of two of the graduates, as the main celebrant. Mooney Chaplain Father Eric Scanlan delivered the homily and said the students were taught to learn that the Catholic Faith is “a Faith that calls us to love our God above all things and our neighbor as oneself. A Faith that sees God in all that is good and true and beautiful.”

Father Scanlan also encouraged the graduate to believe as they go forward that Christ will do everything He can to deliver them to fulfillment and true happiness. “To do this, you need to stay close to Him. Stay close to Him in the years to come. All he wants is you; your heart, and whatever comes, if you are with Him – all will be well.”

The most inspiring moment of the graduation was when Jaelen Childs received his diploma. It was on Jan. 31 when the baseball player was critically injured in a traffic crash not far from the high school. The baseball player has struggled to recover from a shattered left femur and pelvis as well as internal injuries and received a great deal of support from the school and classmate which helped him to persevere and to be at the commencement.

Childs is still recovering from his injuries and was in a wheelchair on stage during the ceremony. After each of the other students were presented their diplomas, Assistant Principal Stefan Gates called out his name. With the aid of crutches, he walked across the stage to a standing ovation to receive his high school diploma.

Diocesan graduates impress

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

In the past month 349 students graduated from four Diocesan schools leaving for the next phase in their lives, armed with a Catholic Education and are leaving behind a legacy that will not be soon forgotten.

Names like Katrina Winkler, Jack Koscho, Isabella McDivitt, Daniel Martin, Channel Wooley, Emma Milbert, Clare Williams, Claire Guernsey, Joseph Dauphinais, are just some of a many that excelled in areas of academics, athletics and service. The combined college scholarship offers for all graduates at Diocesan Catholic High Schools was $26.8 million.

Included here are few of the top academic, athletic and service oriented graduates from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Sarasota; St. John Neumann Catholic High School, Naples; Bishop Verot Catholic High School, Fort Myers; Rhodora J. Donahue Academy, Ave Maria.

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School

Katrina Winkler

Valedictorian: Katrina Winkler

University of Florida

President of the Mooney Medical Club and National Honor Society; leader of the senior class; Photography Club; Year Book Club; senior captain soccer; volunteered to coach a recreational under eight-year-old soccer team as a sophomore in high school and with Miracle League Club of Manasota.


Douglas Polk.

Salutatorian: Douglas Polk

University of Notre Dame

AP Scholar with Distinction; National Merit Scholarship Letter of Commendation for his high achieving score; Mooney Medical Club, football co-captain; vice president student government organization; volunteer of the Miracle League Club of Manasota serving as a buddy assisting mentally and physically challenged children and adults allowing them the opportunity to play competitive baseball.

Jack Koscko.

Top Athlete: Jack Koscho

Carnegie Mellon University

AP Scholar with the honors award; University of Notre Dame Book award recipient; maintained a 4.0 throughout high school; senior football quarterback; treasurer of NHS; volunteer as after-school peer tutor mentor and assisted teaching young children with autism how to surf.

Kaitlynn Backmann.

Top Athlete: Kaitlynn Beckmann

Emmerson College

Basketball, senior captain; track and field; volunteer for the St. Martha Catholic School Girls basketball summer camp program as a counselor to organize and oversee drills, games, and exercises; volunteer for the Manasota Miracle League.

Isabella McDivitt.

Service: Isabella McDevitt

Marquette University

Varsity soccer, junior and senior captain; Mooney Medical Club; St. Vincent De Paul Community Service club; Earned more than 1,000 hours of community service credit, primarily in developing Sarasota Chapter of Pivotal Directions to bring her peers at Cardinal Mooney High School to help people in Riverton, Jamaica where the community exists in the middle of a landfill surrounded by garbage and debris. Related service included awareness, fundraising, trip planning and other related work.

Lucas Richter.

Service: Lucas Richter

University of North Florida Honors College

Intern for U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan; several community service-based boards including the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota and the Sarasota Human Services Advisory Council; political debate club president; and co-editor of yearbook.

St. John Neumann Catholic High School

Daniel Martin.

Valedictorian: Daniel Martin

Georgia Tech

National Honors Society; Student Council; Preserving and Researching Ocean Wildlife (PROW); Key Club; Mu Alpa Theta; FGCU Math competitions; Moody Mega Math Competition; 18 AP and 10 honors courses; AP National Scholar; AP Scholar with Distinction; track & field; cross country; tennis, swimming, National Hispanic Recognition Program.

Andrew Myers.

Salutatorian: Andrew Myers

University of Michigan

National Honors Society; Student Council; Salesian Leadership Retreat, Mu Alpha Theta; Scholar Bowl; Peer Ministry; YACHT Club; 12 AP and 10 honors courses; AP Scholar with Distinction; golf captain; soccer; tennis captain.

Chris ‘Tank’ Kimble.

Top Athlete: Chris “Tank” Kimble

Monmouth College

Football offensive linemen; first team All-District, First Team All Naples Daily News, 2nd Team All-State; Track & Field captain, 5th in state for Shot Put and Discus; Honors Band; Beta Club.

Chanel Wooley.

Top Athlete: Chanel Whooley

Jacksonville University

Track & Field captain, high jump, 100m and relays, 1st Team All-Area Track, District Champion high jump, 5th place in state for high jump; volleyball; soccer; basketball; Beta Club; YACHT Club; Band/Honors Band; Jazz Band; Honors Choir; Peer Ministry; 10 honors and 2 AP classes.

Emma Milbert.

Service: Emma Milbert

University of South Florida

Student Council; National Youth Leadership Conference; Salesian Leadership Retreat; Beta Club; Ladies of the Mother Frances DeSales Auxiliary to the Homeless; Art Club; volleyball; cheerleading, soccer captain; tennis, Service included: Vacation Bible School; Altar Serving; St. Elizabeth Seton Parish Knights of Columbus functions; Von Liebig Art Center Camp Counselor; Habitat for Humanity; and Neumann Immokalee Service Trip.

Bishop Verot Catholic High School

Isabella Rodriguez.

Summa Cum Laude: Isabella Rodriguez

University of Notre Dame

13 AP and 16 honors classes; Activities: NHS; Life Hacks Club; Academic Quiz Team; Model UN; National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student; National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar; Florida Bright Futures Academic Scholarship; SWFL Community Foundation Thomson Memorial Scholarship.

Essan Azizi.

Summa Cum Laude: Esaan Azizi

University of Florida

13 AP and 17 honors classes; French Club; Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society; Life Hacks Club, NHS; Catholics in Action; Academic Quiz Team; WHO (We Help Others) Club, National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar, Florida Bright Futures Academic Scholarship, Regis College Presidential Catholic Scholarship, Resident Grant & Sisters of St. Joseph Merit Scholarship, University of Florida Presidential Scholarship.

Tayli Filla.

Top Athlete: Tayli Filla

University of South Florida

Softball, co -captain, shortstop, part of 2016 4A State Championship Team, 1st Team All-Area Fort Myers News-Press. Career .394 batting average, .485 on base percentage, 119 hits, 72 RBI’s, 107 runs.

Joseph Mera.

Top Athlete: Joseph Mera

Samford University

Football, defensive end, co-captain, 4A Defensive Player of the Year, All-Area Honorable Mention & Rotary South All-Star; basketball forward; weightlifting; and Track & Field. Career 141 tackles, 17.6 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Mallory Volz.

Service: Mallory Volz

University of Miami

Summa Cum Laude and with an Honors Diploma as a member of Scholars Academy; Catholic Athletes for Christ; Spanish NHS; Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, Pre-Med Club, NHS, Student Ambassador, Softball. Service work: with the Scholars Academy and National Honors Society assisted or directed numerous activities in support of the Salvation: volunteer at HealthPark Medical Center; Camp Leader  Softball Summer Camp; City of Palms Basketball Tournament Concession; Freshman Retreat; Activities Assistant Volunteer, Gulf Coast Retirement Village.

David Thompson.

Service: David Thompson

University of Notre Dame

Summa Cum Laude and with an Honors Diploma as a member of our Scholars Academy; NHS; Student Ambassador; Chess Club; Cross Country; Track & Field. Volunteer Service:
Feed The Homeless, assistant; AFCAAM of Catholic Charities, tutoring; City of Palms Basketball Tournament Volunteer; Special Olympics Volunteer, Assistant Athlete – personally led two athletes to a total of three gold medals and one silver medal over the course of two years in Special Olympics.

Rhodora J. Donahue Academy

Valedictorian: Clare Williams

University of Notre Dame

Graduate of distinction for academic performance, a number of clubs and sports and co-captain of varsity basketball; National Merit Scholarship Finalist; National Honor Society; completed 23-page thesis on the economic implications and ethics of planned obsolescence and the consumer mindset.

Salutatorian: Claire Guernsey

Christendom College

Graduates of distinction with broad academic achievement, service, and involvement in various types of activities; acting in Shakespeare; volunteering in Immokalee; coaching middle school basketball.

Top Athlete: Kaila Joyce

John Carrol University

Summa cum laude graduate; basketball, volleyball, and softball; Shakespeare productions.

Top Athlete: Kenneth Longley

Ave Maria University

Graduate of distinction for outstanding athletics. football captain, basketball and baseball; men’s acapella group, and lead role of Shakespeare production.

Service: Joseph Dauphinais

Benedictine College

An exemplary model of service during his tenure: mission trip in 2016 to Nicaragua interacting with Nicaraguan youth and give them joy; volunteered in Naples coaching a little league baseball team; played in multiple varsity sports and received multiple awards throughout his years in high school.

Donahue Academy graduates

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The final group of Diocesan Catholic High School graduates for 2018 received their diplomas and ceremoniously commenced the next chapter in their lives.

The graduates of the Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Ave Maria first took part in a Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank J. Dewane and other priests in the Ave Maria Parish Church.

During the Mass, Bishop Dewane noted that each had been given a gift of a Catholic Education that has fundamentally formed who they are as men and women of God. With a support system of parents, faculty and staff of the Academy, the Parish and the Diocese, the graduates are part of something much greater than themselves and as a result will never be alone in the world.

The graduation ceremony immediately followed the Baccalaureate Mass. Each of the 15 graduates will be going on to college. The group combined to earn $4.05 million in scholarship offers.

Valedictory Address was given by Clare Marie Williams who spoke about the blessings she received by being able to go to a Catholic School. The opportunity provided her with the chance to grow in her faith and gives her great comfort in the knowledge that she is supported by her family, friends, and the Lord. in all that she does.

The diplomas were presented by Academy Principal Dr. Dan Guernsey; Father Cory Mayer, Ave Maria Parish Pastor; and Dr. Kristy Swol, Diocese of Venice Director of Edcuation.

Traditional and Non-traditional Scholarships awarded

By Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The 2018 Mary Fran Carroll Scholarships were recently announced by the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. This is the second year for the scholarship which was made possible through the Catholic legacy of Mary Fran Carroll and her generous gift to the Foundation.

As a result, seven traditional academic scholarships were awarded to recent high school graduates exclusively from Sarasota County. They are: from Venice High School, Bailey Jordan, Casey Lavalle, Emma Szablowski, and Sarah Zoetman; from Sarasota High School, Matthew Kowalczyk; from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Keri McMahon; and from North Port High School, Samantha Novak. In addition three non-traditional academic scholarships were awarded to adult learners who are returning to school to obtain a degree. They are: Alijah Madkour of Incarnation Parish, Sarasota; Shannon Butler, San Pedro Parish, North Port; and Kristine (Kelli) Ottman, Epiphany Cathedral, Venice.

Matthew Kowalczyk, enrolled at the University of South Florida where he wants to become a physician’s assistant, said in his application that “helping people has been number one for me always. I was taught that in some circumstances it is more important to help others first and then yourself. This scholarship will help me focus on becoming a better student (with more studying time) as well as give me more time to do what I love which is giving back to the community.”

Emma Szablowski plans on majoring in Criminology at Florida State University and chose this particular career path due to her many moves during the last 18 years. Primarily living in the deep south “I have observed numerous situations where individuals were not treated fairly, primarily due to race. I want to make a difference once and for all for such civil rights issues. Also, I believe that a lack of religious life has led the demise of human compassion.”

Kristine “Kelli” Ottman, who was the catechist for the Holy Communion class at Epiphany Cathedral for 17 years, would now like to become a teacher. “My plan to achieve my career goal is to make a difference in the lives of children. I know that creating a strong foundation and a love for learning will offer the best opportunity to children. I have a passion for faith-based teaching. I am confident it builds the foundation for a child’s educational future as well as their character.”

The traditional scholarships were open to Sarasota County graduating seniors and recent high school graduates from private or public high schools who wish to pursue an undergraduate degree at any accredited college or university. In addition, the non-traditional scholarships were open to adult learners who were returning to school to obtain a college degree or vocational certification after being out of high school for several years.

The scholarships are named for a successful businesswoman who dedicated her life to her faith, to fun and to charity. Mary Fran Carroll retired as an executive with Northern Trust Co. in the late 1980s, before serving as CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch for more than a decade. In that role, Carroll was responsible for much of the development of Lakewood Ranch, including the Sarasota Polo Club and the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Business Park.

Carroll gave a gift of $3.6 million to establish the scholarship fund to help others achieve career success through her legacy, explained Catholic Community Foundation Executive Director Michael Morse. Carroll was committed to providing opportunities to those individuals willing to work hard to make a difference in the community. This is the second year the $3,000 scholarships were awarded.

Scholarship applicants were asked to complete an online application and financial needs assessment in addition to submitting a clearly articulated career plan describing their chosen course of study. Traditional students needed to be accepted into an accredited college or university and non-traditional students needed to be accepted into an accredited college, university or vocational program.

The Foundation Scholarship Committee carefully reviewed applications before determining the worthiest applicants. The scholarship can be used for tuition, books and fees. Scholarships may also be renewed 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. Scholarship recipients are strongly encouraged to complete an ethics course at some point in their college career.