By Nikki Ross Inda
For Wesley Chapel High School senior Lance Trejo, going to college has always been a dream. This fall, his dream will come true when he steps foot on the campus of the University of Florida, becoming the first person in his family to pursue a higher education.
Lance was one of 12 outstanding high school students who received the Moffitt Healthy KIDZ Role Model Award scholarship during a ceremony on May 3 at Moffitt Cancer Center.
Each award recipient was presented with a $2,000 scholarship towards their future education.. Nearly 60 students from Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco County schools applied for the award. The seniors each wrote an essay describing how they would change an experience from high school to better themselves and other students. The applicants also submitted a resume and a recommendation letter from a teacher, coach or mentor.
The 2019 Moffitt Healthy KIDZ Role Model Award recipients include:
- Aubrey Mys
- Jillian Gordy
- Maria Rodriguez
- Zaire Johnson
- Megan Simonelli
- Zoe Antoinette
- Zachary Brown
- Vian Baltimore
- Jose Valeriano
- Josalyn Smith
- Lance Trejo
- Madyson Winters
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, Major Dennis Fogarty from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, NBA referees Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling and Jonathan Sterling and Moffitt Chief Financial and Administrative Officer Yvette Tremonti presented the scholarships to the graduates. Tampa Bay Times columnist Ernest Hooper and ABC Action News personality Brandon Baylor served as emcees for the evening.
For Lance Trejo, being selected as a Role Model Award recipient comes with great responsibility. He plans to pursue a career in medicine and aspires to become an orthopedic surgeon. “I hope to get involved with my school and community as much as I can to be a role model for my peers and those who come after me. I am honored to take on this responsibility as a first generation college student and hope to make my family proud” said Trejo.
Moffitt Healthy KIDZ is a community outreach program for children and adolescents focusing on cancer prevention, healthy living and careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). The program has provided students throughout the greater Tampa Bay area with educational opportunities for more than 12 years.