The Take Stock in Children Class of 2023. Photos by ALEX RICKERT/Keys Weekly

Sixty-three students and their mentors proudly took the stage on May 20 at Marathon High School’s performing arts center as Take Stock in Children celebrated its 2023 graduating class.

As the number of students who have passed through its ranks rapidly approaches 1,000 throughout the Keys, the nonprofit aimed at providing scholarships and mentorship throughout high school for income-eligible at-risk youth announced total awards of $2.5 million for this year’s graduates. 

The TSIC delegation achieved a collective GPA of 3.62 while completing 154 Advanced Placement courses and earning 53 dual enrollment credits for college courses. Nine students earned Bright Futures scholarships. They achieved all of this while honoring their commitments to stay crime- and drug-free, maintain a 2.5 GPA and meet with their assigned mentors once a week. Upon graduation, each student received a Florida Prepaid Project Stars scholarship to attend a Florida public university, college or vocational and technical school.

“We are very proud of the accomplishments of our Take Stock Class of 2023,” said program coordinator Chuck Licis-Masson. “Our dedicated team of coaches and volunteer mentors have been there every step for our scholars, encouraging and supporting them as they now begin their next journey of post-secondary education. We are confident they will achieve success.”

From the staff of the Keys Weekly Newspapers, congratulations to the Take Stock in Children Class of 2023.

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.