The Rotary Club of Boca Raton has been fortunate to have a group of very successful donors who through the Club’s Outstanding People & Leaders (OPAL) fund raiser have raised over $1.69 million for college scholarships. The OPAL fund raiser is chaired by Neil Saffer, Jan Savarick and Spencer Siegel.

A few years ago, the club did a survey of the kinds of employees the area needed, and it was determined that various trades programs were in high demand with more jobs available than there were candidates to fill those jobs. Our Club set upon a an effort to help fund trade program scholarships. We started small to see if a scholarship program would be successful.

The trades scholarship program has been successful by all measures. PBSC had a trades program and were thrilled that we could help expand their program. Our donors were thrilled to see their donations would help provide more jobs that were in high demand. More donations poured in to support the trades program, and the Club realized we had to put more funds to work. We then approached PBSC and together we were about to increase our scholarship grants to PBSC to $153,000.

For this coming 2022-2023 academic year, the Club is providing 12 – $7,000 scholarships to students in the trades career programs:  HVAC Technology, Automotive Mechanics and Marine Services Technology.

The Club also approved 8 new Paramedic Scholarships at $7,000 per award to student who have successfully completed the EMT and Firefighter Academy at PBSC.

Beyond tuition, scholarships in all trade programs include professional quality tools, exams and certifications for students who meet the criteria by achieving required grades and submit an essay describing their passion for their chosen field and dedication to personal excellence.

In addition, the Fund Board approved a $5,000 scholarship award to students enroll in the Network Administrator AS Degree.  This award will provide 15 to 20 students who have successfully completed courses within the program to receive a certification in the CompTIA Industry.

The Rotary Club has also committed $20,000 to Palm Beach State College traditional associate and degree seeking students on the Boca Raton Campus and $20,000 to Florida Atlantic University traditional degree seeking students on the Boca Raton Campus.  In addition, all scholarships recipients received a Rotarian Mentor.

Since 1998, the RCBR has been underwriting college scholarships for deserving students through the Club’s “Changing Lives and Building Futures.”  This is all possible due to our generous donors and Rotarian members.

To date 463 scholars have been awarded over $1.69 million dollars.  There are currently 44 students who are will be award scholarship in the academic year 2022-2023.  This does not include the students who will be receiving a scholarship award for the Computer Science Certifications.

Pia Giannone, Scholarship Liaison Chair, understands the importance of community partners and the significance that scholarships can change a person’s life today and tomorrow.  “Investing in education is the greatest gift we can give young people today.”  Debbie Davis tracks all the scholarship awards for financial accountability and graduation dates.