FSDB St. Johns County essay contest scholarship winners with families.
  • FSDB Zachary Williams shakes hand of presenter will receiving scholarship.
Board of Realtors Announces Scholarship Winners

Since 2001, the St. Augustine & St. Johns County Board of Realtors has awarded more than $180,000 in scholarships to St. Johns County graduating seniors to help them defray the cost of attending college or trade school.

At the start of each school year, members of the education committee reach out to local high schools to promote $1,000 per student scholarship program. To qualify, students must submit an application, transcript, essay and three letters of recommendation. The Board of Realtors education committee members conduct a blind selection process. This year, 10 of 43 applicants were awarded $1,000 scholarships. Of the 10 scholarships awarded, two were for the child or grandchild of a Realtor member. Usually, one scholarship goes to the child or grandchild of a Business Partner member, but none applied for 2017.

The scholarship money can be used for any college or trade school expense, including books and living expenses. Funds for the program are raised through annual association events, including a live and silent “Have a Heart Auction,” donations from Realtors and Business Partner members and the proceeds from the first annual 5K Walk/Run. The association also provides a check box on its annual dues invoice that allows members to donate to the scholarship program when renewing membership.

“We feel very passionate about education in general and the education of our high school seniors in particular,” said Victor Raymos, AE/CEO, St. Johns County Board of Realtors and Multiple Listing Service. “These scholarships help them do good things for themselves and for the community. It’s just a great program.”

Some Realtors attended awards night at the high school to present a certificate to scholarship recipients.

Nancy D’Aulizio presented to Florida School of the Deaf and Blind student Zachary Williams. Verna Bacon presented to St. Augustine High School students Anna Crum and Hannah West, child of a Realtor member. Beth Ruggeri presented to Pedro Mendez High School student Maria Ruggeri, child of a Realtor member. Penny James presented to St. Joseph Academy student Stephanie Pulido. Tony Bosco presented to Nease High School students Jayachardra Kura and Gabrielle Tinny. Victor Raymos presented to home school student Jeremy Smith. Charles Beard presented to Creekside High School student Ashlynn Campbell. Steve Gay presented to Bartram Trail High School student Kaitlyn Paduano.

The Board extends congratulations and best wishes to all of the 2017 scholarship recipients and their families.

Members of the education committee are Steve Gay, chair; Beth Ruggeri, vice-chair; Carol Alford; Verna Bacon; Allison Barlow; Russell Benes; Shirley Bennett; Tony Bosco; Donia Carr; Casey Duggan; Maria Gelinas; Bill Glaeser; Kelly Seketa James; Penny James; Debbie Clifford Keller; Carol Lagasse; Elizabeth Michaels; Don Pires; Joan Scop; Ted Smith; Diane Vespucci; Ron Barry; Melissa Wissel; and Brian Walker.

Following are some of the essays submitted for the 2017 scholarship:

Anna Crum submitted the following essay as part of her application for a St. Augustine & St. Johns County Board of Realtors Scholarship.

Over the past four years spent as an AICE student at Saint Augustine High School I have learned many lessons, that are applicable to my life and the life I desire to build. In order to complete a task to your highest capability you have to fuel your body to prosper, sustain, and preserver through the highs and the lows. Being a high school athlete your body is constantly under stress and it is important to fuel your body to last you through long practices and long days at school. As a result of my experience as a student athlete I have come to understand the importance of nutrition.

I plan to attend the University of North Florida in the fall with aspirations to be a Dietary Nutritionist to help others fall in love with taking care of the body and giving it the proper nutrition to withstand whatever life throws your way. In addition to nutrition, I have a passion for staying active. During my time as a student at the University of North Florida, I plan to find a working environment that shares the same morals and recognizes the important of taking care of the human body. As well as finding an internship to help gain experience and wisdom in my field. While pursuing both of these goals I plan to engage in relationships with those in the field as well as those wanting to improve their overall health. In addition, I plan to work full-time during the summer and if the opportunity presents itself I will work part-time during the school year, while insuring my main focus is to further my educations and career objective.

Jeremy Smith submitted the following essay as part of his application for a St. Augustine & St. Johns County Board of Realtors® Scholarship.

“I have grown up as the sixth generation on my family’s farm in Hastings. I have been actively involved in three different high school sports and the 4-H program, while maintaining a 4.20 weighted GPA. Currently, I am dual-enrolling at St. Johns River State College. I have almost completed a year’s worth of schooling. When I finish high school, I am going to attend SJR State College as a regular student to complete my two-year Associate of Arts degree. Six years ago I became a member of the St. Johns County 4-H Forest Ecology Team. We competed each year at our state contest and in 2016 our hard work paid off. My two teammates and I won the state contest and qualified for the national contest. At the National 4-H Forestry Invitational we placed as a team third and I placed fifth as an individual. After I finished my two-year degree at St. Johns River State College, I would like to pursue a degree in Forestry at another college or university. I am currently considering Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia or the University of Florida.

Stephanie Pulido provided the following essay as part of her application for a St. Augustine & St. Johns County Board of Realtors Scholarship.

“My name is Stephanie Pulido and I currently attend St. Joseph Academy Catholic High School as a senior. I will be a freshman at Flagler College in the fall, studying for a double-major in business and communications. My education is of superior importance to me and I plan on devoting my time to my studies as a full time student. Upon my college graduation, I hope to obtain a career with the Golf Channel as the first Cuban-American female broadcaster or be employed with the PGA Tour Headquarters.

My career objective would not have been made possible without my grandfather’s influence of welcoming golf into my family, and my father encouraging me to become acquainted with the sport. I mention these figures in particular because without my grandfather, who was a past realtor®, I would not have the career objectives that I possess. Although he plays an important role in my life, this could not have been made possible without the guidance of my parents.”

Read original St. Augustine Record story (July 19, 2017). 

About FSDB

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is a fully accredited state public school and outreach center available tuition-free to eligible Pre-K and K-12 deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired students. Comprehensive educational services at FSDB are individualized, specific to the unique communication and accessibility needs of each student for independence and lifelong success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To visit the school or to learn more about eligibility for enrollment, contact 1-800-344-3732. For more information, visit