DWC Celebrates Betty Gissendanner Scholars

(l-r) Kay Blue, DWC President, Maya Zwack, Sabrina Salovitz, and Melissa Leon-Pons. Recipient Omehvy Rivera-Martinez was unable to attend the event and received her award at an earlier date. DWC Scholarship Awards Ceremony

The DWC held its Betty Gissendanner Scholarship Awards Ceremony on June 11 at F.M. Don’s in Punta Gorda.  Over thirty members, scholarship recipients and their guests, and friends of the DWC attended.  Thanks to a generous matching donation by DWC member, Cheryl Conner, the club was able to award four $1000 scholarships this year.

Main Event Speaker, Annisa Karim, Collier County DEC Chair, inspires the audience about the importance of women being active in politics.

The recipients are Melissa Leon Pons, Omehvy Rivera-Martinez, Sabrina Salovitz, and Maya Zwack. While the DWC Scholarship program has been in existence for several years, these are the first recipients since naming the scholarship in honor of Betty Gissendanner.  Throughout the program, Betty’s encouragement and influence was noted multiple times by both the current recipients and the main speaker Annisa Karim, Collier County’s DEC Chair.

Melissa is a graduate of PCHS and has been accepted at Williams College in Massachusetts where she plans to major in Political Economy with the career goal of becoming a political analyst, campaign manager, or U.N. lawyer.  She recently attended Leadership Blue as a representative from Charlotte County.

Omehvy shared a photo of her with her mentor Betty Gissendanner.

Omehvy will attend the University of Central Florida, majoring in Bio-Medical Engineering.  Omehvy graduated from FSWC High School where she earned both her high school diploma and AA degree.  The award was particularly special to Omehvy as Betty was her mentor going back to middle school.




Sabrina reads her essay to the audience.

Sabrina is a graduate of PCHS and plans to attend Florida Gulf Coast University.  She will study Communications there with the goal of pursuing a career in Broadcast Journalism.




Maya, a recent president of the Young Democrats at Port Charlotte High School, is off to Florida State University.  She plans on a career in education, specializing in Communication Sciences & Disorders, working with elementary aged students.  And she noted that running for school board some day may be in her future.

The recipients were chosen by the DWC’s Scholarship Committee.  As part of their application, each student submitted an essay answering the question why women were important in politics.  The essays will be posted on the DWC’s Web page, dwccharlotte.com.

To donate to the scholarship fund, make checks payable to the DWC Scholarship Fund and mail them to Treasurer, DWC of Charlotte County, 3596 Tamiami Trail #202, Port Charlotte, FL  33952 or drop the checks off at that address.