BY CHERINA EUDOVIQUE
CCHS Senior Ashira Vantrees was honored by the Miami Dolphins with the Sun Life Rising Star Award at the home game on December 16, 2013.
Vantrees entered an essay contest to be able to represent Women of Tomorrow, a mentoring program for “at-risk” high school girls for the scholarship award. The award recognized dedication to community service. Vantrees and three other South Florida students were awarded with $5,000 scholarships and the company that nominated them received $50,000.
“I found out I won the award at a Women of Tomorrow meeting,” Vantrees said. “I was in a classroom when the people from the Sun Life award program came in. They had lots of cameras, and it was really exciting.”
The Sun Life Rising Star Award acknowledged students that have overcome obstacles to reach academic success as well as non-for profit organizations that assist “at-risk” students across Broward and Dade County. The Sun Life Award, which partners with the Miami Dolphins, grants scholarship to students not only in South Florida, but also in Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, and Phoenix.
The program organized a special ceremony on the field at Sun Life Stadium for the award recipients. The honorees were applauded by “Fin” fans and had pictures taken on the field with Dolphins CEO Mike Dee and Sun Life Senior Vice President and General Manager of Employee Benefits Group Mike Shunney.
“During the award ceremony the other students and I were in this room full with Miami Dolphin memorabilia,” Vantrees said. “It was really cool, as was going on the field. I enjoyed pretty much all of it.”
The honorees were also awarded with a special breakfast where they heard each others individual stories about winning the award but also got to learn about the organizations that sponsored their fellow scholarship recipients.
The experience has inspired Vantrees to continue volunteering as well as achieving success academically. Vantrees is heavily involved in the volunteer service in the Caribbean. She is currently preparing to go on a Volunteering Mission to Haiti and Honduras over Spring Break.
“The scholarship just really inspired me to keep doing well in school, because for me college is really expensive,” Vantrees said. “This will help me to pay for my BA so I can get an MA in Disaster Management.”
Receiving a great honor and being recognized for her dedication just serves as inspiration for Vantrees as she continues to give back to the community through service.