Sunshine State Scholars (2024)

Sunshine State Scholars (2024)
Posted on 05/20/2024
Sunshine State Scholars (2024)

The School District’s top two high school juniors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) were recently honored by the Florida Department of Education at the 27th annual Sunshine State Scholars conference held in Orlando. Zeke Dube-Garrett from Cypress Lake High School and Sophia Dupeyron from Cape Coral High School were awarded 1-year scholarships provided by State Farm and the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

“When I was told I won, it felt amazing to know that my academic achievement that I worked so hard for was finally recognized, both by my school and by the state of Florida,” said Zeke Dube-Garrett. “I knew that my family would be both proud and grateful, and I am so thankful for the opportunity it will bring me. I can’t say thank you enough to the people who allowed me to be here. My family, teachers, counselor, and principals all were there for me, and I wouldn’t be here without them.”

To qualify as a Sunshine State Scholar, students must be studying advanced STEM courses, have a minimum weighted GPA of 3.0, 4’s or 5’s on End of Course exams and a 1300 SAT score or 30 on the ACT. They are also expected to actively participate in STEM-related competitions or demonstrate leadership in STEM-related activities.

“When I found out I was chosen as one of the Lee County representatives I was excited for this opportunity,” said Sophia Dupeyron. “The event was deeply immersive and a great learning experience for me and the other scholars. I had the opportunity to meet with college representatives from across Florida as well as a panel of leading career experts. I was able to meet many like-minded individuals from across the state and forge new connections.”

At the state conference, the 2024 Sunshine State Scholars engaged in a dynamic “think tank,” tackling challenging Florida issues through problem-solving activities and expert presentations. They were also able to were able to interact with representatives from Florida’s premier higher education institutions, including the Florida University System, Florida College System and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. These sessions covered topics such as college funding, interactive panel discussions with STEM professionals, and the multitude of educational opportunities available in Florida.

“The Sunshine State Scholars program recognizes Florida’s brightest STEM students and their outstanding achievements in STEM education,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “I extend my highest appreciation for their dedication and hard work, and I am hopeful these scholars will continue their postsecondary education in Florida and succeed throughout their academic journey.”

The Sunshine State Scholars program began in 1997, and was designed to recognize students, teachers and schools that achieved excellence in mathematics and science. It has evolved to now also include technology, engineering and art. Each scholar received a new iPad courtesy of AT&T, and SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment generously provided tickets for a day of fun and leisure.