The annual Sunshine State Scholars program kicks off this evening in Orlando, honoring Florida high school juniors who've excelled in science. The program celebrates students with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) -- and aims to encourage them to stay in Florida for college and beyond.
Each of Florida's school districts nominates a student or two (depending on size of district) for the honor.
Local Sunshine State Scholars are:
Lake County: Kristin Hunter, Leesburg High
Orange County: Daniela Castro, Winter Park High, and Matthew Shinner, Boone High.
Osceola County: Adita Ramgoolie, Osceola High.
Seminole County: Sunash Sharma, Seminole High.
Volusia County: Samuel Swanson, Spruce Creek High.
The students all have high grade-point averages and high scores on the ACT or the SAT -- and an interest in studying a STEM field in college.
The event kicks off with a reception tonight at an Orlando hotel and then Friday includes workshops, demonstrations and a recruitment fair where the students can meet with represenatives from Florida's colleges and universities.
The hope is they will gain "first-hand knowledge of why Florida is the best place to learn and pursue a fulfilling career," wrote Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, in a letter to attendees.
The program is run by the Florida Education Foundation and supported by a number of corporations.
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