The inaugural group of recipients of the Sea Island Property Owners Association scholarship bring a diversity of backgrounds. One is a working mom who is studying for her business administration degree. One is a first generation college student, while another moved from El Salvador in 2015 speaking very little English and graduated from high school several years ago with honors.
All, though, are either employees for or family members of non-management employees for Sea Island Company. And all stood out to the committee recently formed to choose the first SIPOA scholars.
College of Coastal Georgia celebrated these five students Wednesday at a ceremony attended by SIPOA members, Sea Island Company leaders, college faculty and staff and the scholarship recipients’ family members.
The scholarship recipients are Rebecca Gillmore, Monica Linares, Crystal Stoyanoff, Rubi Calix and Chase Cody.
The college has a longstanding partnership with Sea Island Company, said Michelle Johnston, president of the college.
“Perhaps the closest tie between the college and Sea Island is a less obvious one,” Johnston said. “And that is the many Coastal Georgia students and alumni who are Sea Island employees or are family members of Sea Island employees.”
SIPOA created the new scholars program to grant scholarships to deserving students who attend College of Coastal Georgia.
The scholarship program aims to express SIPOA members’ gratitude for the years of quality service provided by non-management team members of Sea Island Company.
“We want to demonstrate in a meaningful way our members’ gratitude toward and appreciation for the non-management employees of the Sea Island Company,” said Terry Bridges, president of SIPOA. “The everyday service and loyalty of these employees to our members is absolutely integral to our members’ enjoyment of life on the island.”
SIPOA is a voluntary nonprofit organization that formed in 1972 as a counter-party to the Sea Island Company. The group represents the interests of property owners on Sea Island.
“Through our funding of these scholarships, exclusively at this college, the College of Coastal Georgia, we intend not only to show the college as an important institution in this community but to thank them for partnering with us in this endeavor,” Bridges said.
Along with the scholarship program, SIPOA plans to soon launch a mentorship program to accompany the financial support for the first recipients.
“We’re going to bring to you, as students, our experiences in our career background, and we’re going to try to help you through,” said Bob Guido, chair of the association’s scholarship and mentorship committee.
The new scholarship will benefit local students and their families for years to come, Johnston said.
“The support of community partners and donors is crucial to our ability to provide our students with a high quality education and a vibrant collegiate experience that they deserve,” she said.
Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at email@example.com or at 912-265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.