Monday, January 17, 2022

Leaders today-legends tomorrow




Donna Fiala

Hopefully everyone reading this column had a truly Happy Thanksgiving! Our family had so many things to be thankful for, which we prayed about at our Thanksgiving feast. I love it when families gather together around the Thanksgiving table (rule – NO cell phones or texting) and share in each other’s lives.

Lely High School is paramount in my thoughts at this time because of some outstanding achievements received recently, plus some new activity in the sports department. A new man, Stacey Stewart, has been hired to be the Football Coach at Lely High School. Interestingly enough, he graduated from Lely, went on to college and taught sports in schools up north until this year when he transferred back to Naples to head the football team. By the way, Stacey’s dad was the Basketball Coach at Lely for many years before retiring and now volunteers for his son to help the Lely Trojans achieve success. And another fact – Stacey’s mom is the new Principal at Parkside Elementary School in Naples Manor. I was so impressed with this wonderful family of teachers and I know you will be too. I have asked Stacey to be the guest speaker at the Marco Island Kiwanis Club on Thursday, December 13, at 7:30 AM at Porky’s. Please join us for a visit. I know you will be interested to hear what this bright young man has to tell us.

While writing about Lely High School, where many Marco students attend school, I’d like to brag a little about the JROTC cadets who have won marvelous scholarships. Cadet Cpt. Lovely Rahman has been accepted to Stetson University (International Communication) with a four-year $76,000 scholarship.

Other cadets who have already been recognized (so early in their senior year!) are Cadet MAJ Brandon Black to Penn State to study Earth and Mineral Sciences; Cadet Cpt. Gabriel Leal, Cadet Cpt. Sam Hine, Cadet Cpt. Ruben Hernandez and Cadet Cpt. Jenna Eubanks all enlisted as Military Police Officers in the U.S. Army and qualified for the Montgomery GI BILL worth $81,000 each plus College Scholarship!

Cadet MAJ Jessica Tower has been accepted to Spring Arbor University, MI, studying Early Childhood Education with a $30,000 scholarship for four years. Cadet MAJ Kristin Rotkvich has been accepted to the University of West Florida to study Political Science AND Mary Baldwin College, Va. with a $16,000 per year scholarship totaling $64,000. Cadet MAJ Crystal McCauley has been accepted at FGCU to study Business Administration, and also accepted at USF FL. Scholarship amounts are still pending. Right now the scholarships awarded total $494,000……..and we haven’t even started 2013! These JROTC Cadets are “Leaders Today – Legends Tomorrow.” JROTC Cadets must LEAD by example and demonstrate their own commitment to becoming educated leaders. Thanks go to CW4 (Ret) Michael A. Harp, Senior Army JROTC Instructor from Lely High School for his leadership. For more information see their website:

There are many students at Lely High School who would like to participate in after-school programs such as band, football, basketball, cheerleading, etc., but have no form of transportation to get home in the evening. A huge thank you to the Collier County CAT Bus system staff, who are trying to work out a bus schedule during the weekday evenings so that these young people can participate in wholesome, educational activities after school.

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