DWC and DEC announce 2023 scholarship recipients

By Kay Blue, President of the Charlotte County Democratic Women’s Club (DWC).

The Charlotte County Democratic Women’s Club (DWC) and the Democratic Executive Committee (DEC) are excited to announce the recipients of our 2023 Scholarships.

This year we have three scholars. The recipient of the annual $1000 Betty Gissendanner Memorial Scholarship is Carmen Galvan-Cuevas from Florida Southwestern Collegiate High School. Ella Extejt from Lemon Bay High School (LBHS) was selected for this year’s $1000 scholarship in memory of DWC member Sonia Waters who passed away in February 2022. This year the DEC awarded a $500 scholarship in honor of Deven Seibert, a former Charlotte County teacher who had the courage to bring students to a School Board meeting to discuss bullying of gay students. The recipient of that scholarship is Ariana Sierra of Port Charlotte High School.

Carmen Galvan-Cuevas, FWS Collegiate High School

Carmen Galvan-Cuevas has had many leadership roles during her high school career, spanning both academic and community service programs, such as serving as the president of the National Honor Society, mentoring fellow students, and working in the Z-Club, a high school version of Zonta Club. She has served in these leadership roles in addition to holding down outside jobs. Carmen will be attending the University of Florida in the fall as a political science major in their Honors Program. She plans to become an attorney, ideally specializing in immigration or international law.

Ella Extejt has also been a leader at LBHS. She was a founder and is currently the president of the Women Empowerment Club. She says, “I started this club to help represent women which I felt were put in the shadows in my community. I wanted to give women a safe space to make friends, express themselves and better themselves.” She has been involved with leadership activities such as the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program and The World Leadership Congress. She will be attending the University of South Florida, where she will pursue studies in business and hopes to start her own business.

Ariana Sierra has been involved in the Democratic Club, Diversity Club, National Honor Society, Student Government, Pep Club and Captains Club at Port Charlotte High School. She is also in the Junior Leadership program of Charlotte County. In addition, she is the captain of the swim team. She plans to attend Boston University and later apply to that university’s medical program. Ariana says, “My goal is to surpass the statistics for Latinas on the road to higher education while representing my culture and serving the Latino community.”

The scholars will be honored at a May 24 reception to be held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. For more information about the reception or to RSVP for the event, email dwcofcharlottecounty@gmail.com.

The Betty Gissendanner Memorial Scholarship is awarded to Charlotte County young women who are graduating from high school and are registered or pre-registered as Democrats. They are chosen based on the characteristics that illustrate the values that were so important to Betty as a Charlotte County Democrat:  Civic Engagement, Equal Opportunity, Women’s Rights, and Scholarship.

To learn more about the Betty Gissendanner Scholarship Fund, go to dwccharlotte.com. To donate to the fund, make checks payable to Betty Gissendanner Scholarship Fund. Checks can be mailed to DWC Treasurer, P.O. Box 495896, Port Charlotte, FL  33949