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2013 Dream Gala raises $270K for Foundation

From left: Seminole State Trustee Alex Setzer, student Julia McDonald, Trustee Jeffrey Bauer, Seminole State President Dr. E Ann McGee, Trustee Wendy Brandon, Trustees Chairman Scott Howat and student Alexandra Navalpotro.

The Foundation for Seminole State College’s 29th annual Dream Gala – the College’s biggest fundraiser – raised $270,000 for College support.

“Our donors and friends continue to amaze me with their support,” said Foundation Executive Director John Gyllin. “Because of their incredible generosity, we are giving opportunities to so many that would not have been able to fulfill their dreams.” 

The sold-out, black tie affair took place on Feb. 16 at the Orlando Marriot Lake Mary and was attended by more than 350 people, including prominent community and business leaders.

Scott McKenzie, radio host at MIX 105.1, served as master of ceremonies, guiding guests through a formal dinner, live and silent auctions and raffle. FOX 35 anchor Bob Frier also assisted with hosting duties and provided musical entertainment with his band Simulcast, of which McKenzie is also a member.

But the real stars of the night were Seminole State students Julia McDonald and Alexandra Navalpotro, who spoke about the impact scholarships have had on their lives.

“When I was a senior in high school, my dad was laid off,” McDonald said. “I had always planned on going away to college but I knew that wasn’t an option anymore.”

McDonald decided instead to go to a school in her own backyard and is now earning a nursing degree from Seminole State just like her mother did 15 years ago. Thanks to the scholarships she has received, she plans to graduate debt-free.

Navalpotro told the audience she is paying for her education on her own. “I started saving when I was a sophomore in high school,” she said. “Without the scholarships I’ve received, I may not have been able to go to college.”

To date, the Dream Gala has raised more than $2.6 million for the College and its students.

Contributing to the Dream Gala’s success was a raffle featuring a 2013 Dodge Dart Limited provided by the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association, Inc. Stephanie Darr was the lucky winner. Her mother-in-law and Foundation Board member Jennifer David had put the winning ticket in Darr’s Christmas stocking. 

The Foundation for Seminole State College is a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to enhance the College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. For more information, please visit the Foundation’s website.

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