The Upper Keys Business and Professional Women are extending the deadline for the Holly Given Memorial Scholarship and Adult Women Scholarship to Saturday, March 31. The Holly Given Scholarship is exclusively offered to residents of the Upper Keys.

Scholarships will be presented on Wednesday, April 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. The location is not yet determined.

Born in Key West, Holly Given was a true Conch who was kind to everyone she encountered, said her mother, Lucy Given. During high school, Holly was heavily involved in athletics and loved to be outdoors and on the water. Following her passing in December, the family thought hard about the best way to carry on Holly’s legacy.

“She was 26, finishing her college degree in marketing at Palm Beach State College and working. Her plans were to eventually come back to the Keys,” said her mother. “In her time working at restaurants and event planning, she saw that many local spots were lacking a digital aspect to their marketing. We wanted to help someone who was at that point and make a difference in their life.”

With that in mind, the family decided to reach out to the Upper Keys Business and Professional Women. While the details about the scholarship are still being finalized, there has been a big push to grow the scholarship’s bottom line, from the community.

Casting for Cats’ Feb. 6 Poor Girls Sailfish Tournament was dedicated to Holly, with the proceeds put toward the memorial scholarship. It was hardly a surprise that this year’s tournament turned out more anglers than ever before. Fifty-seven sailfish were caught.

Thanks to the support and friendship the women of the organization have offered Lucy Given, she said she now plans on becoming a member.

The group’s scholarship programs are designed to help women accelerate their impact in the professional world through education. Typically, for the Adult Women Scholarship, up to $1,500 per applicant is awarded. The scholarship can be used for certifications, training classes, or materials for degree coursework. Applicants need not be members of the organization, but a member’s sponsorship does help. Applicants can reside in any part of Monroe County, must have a high school diploma, have lived in the Keys for three years, and have a minimum of five years of post-high school work experience.

Hillary Janzen, vice president of the Upper Keys Humane Society and a teacher, used her scholarship to help her pay for the student loans she’s amassed completing her graduate program from the University of West Florida in exceptional student education (ESE).

Janzen has taught at Ocean Studies Charter School for five years, teaching kindergarten, second and third grades, and ESE.

“Any little bit helps,” said Janzen of the scholarship. “I’m already an ESE teacher, so everything I’m learning is great because I can immediately apply it. It helps me be a better teacher and helps my students to learn too.”

Janzen advises anyone interested in using the Adult Women Scholarship to consider using it for graduate level courses.

“I would say definitely apply; it was an easy application and what is great about this scholarship is that you are able to apply after you’ve completed your undergrad,” she said.

Details about the location of the scholarship presentation will be posted on the group’s Facebook or webpage. The group is welcoming former Florida Governor and Senator, Bob Graham, to its March luncheon set for Wednesday, March 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Casa 1 and African Queen Room. Tickets are $21 in advance, $30 at the door. Register on the group’s webpage, upperkeysbpw.org.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same” ― Flavia Weedn.

 

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