Local union hands out 20 scholarships to students across Florida

Thanks to a local union, 20 Florida college students had their financial load lightened on Monday.

The Longshoreman’s Association handed out thousands of dollars including an award to all three triplets in one family.

The ceremony happened at Edward Waters University in Jacksonville.

Charles Spencer is the founding director of the ILA Annual Scholarship Funds program.

He said the program over the last three decades has done a lot of good for deserving college students.

“We started having an annual golf tournament to raise funds. Through the golf tournament we’ll raise $695,000,” Spencer said. “If you add that together, that’s still over a million dollars that we have been able to award to deserving young students over the last 20 years.”

Jaden Jenkins is one of those students, now receiving a scholarship for the second year in a row. His excitement showed it’s a difference-maker to him.

“I’m just glad I got to learn I got to grow for myself to be you know, getting this opportunity once again,” he said.

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan said she hopes students like Jenkins will take the opportunity to come home with their degrees.

“It’s my mission as mayor to build a Jacksonville where young people like you choose to plant your own roots, build your career and raise your own family right here in Jacksonville,” Deegan said.

The scholarship fund is affiliated with Labor Union Local 1408 which represents many of the longshoremen and dock workers who move cargo through Jaxport’s terminals.

To be considered for the scholarship, applicants were required to have a minimum 3.0 GPA, complete community service activities and submit an essay about Jaxport’s success.. This year, one of the recipients, Paxon School for Advanced Studies graduate Synihia Campbell, received a perfect score on her submission, earning her a $5,000 scholarship.

“In my household, my sister and I are in college and with the help of this scholarship, it’s less of a burden for us,” Campbell said. “The scholarship is so important to me because it is helping me focus on the educational aspect of school rather than the financial so I can push forward with my dream of being a nurse.”

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