Student Services

Outstanding Graduate Award - Winter 2019

Valerie Padilla

Finalist: Valerie Padilla, who graduates with her Associate of Arts with a 3.15 grade point average, plans to continue her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee. Padilla earned numerous scholarships at SCF through diligence and dedication in the classroom, even in the face of personal challenges. She has overcome struggles with her health and at times has needed to delay her schooling to address the financial needs of her family. At no time has she lost sight of her desire to give back to those who need it most, devoting time and energy to volunteer work. Her time with Sarasota-Manatee Association for Riding Therapy, an organization assisting people with disabilities and veterans returning to civilian life, has been particularly rewarding.


Ronny S. Fray Regato Awardee: Ronny S. Fray Regato, who graduates with his Associate of Arts with a 4.0 grade point average, plans to continue his education to earn a Bachelor of Science in computer science. A veteran of the United States Navy, Fray plans to eventually pursue a career in computer science or engineering in either a civilian role or as a naval officer. His goal is to put his education to work in cyber security, defending America’s interests from foreign and domestic threats. In the Navy, Fray was a sonar technician in charge of a nine-person team deployed in Japan. Naval training led him to the realization that a dedication to learning is sometimes essential to succeeding in a mission or even surviving in a military setting. His leadership experience and exposure to cutting-edge technology broadened his educational horizons and resulted in a desire to earn a STEM degree. Maturity and discipline gained through life experience and military service has helped him transform from an average high school student into an ace scholar at SCF. He gives credit to those who invested in him and hopes to make an equally large impact on others in his future career. His advice to new students at SCF is to always strive for excellence to position yourself for success.

Nicole RitenourFinalist: Nicole I. Ritenour, who graduates with her Associate of Arts and a 4.0 grade point average, plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of South Florida. Ritenour has been an exceptional student and took advantage of a wealth of opportunities to get involved on campus, including serving as president of Sigma Kappa Delta English Honor Society. In that role, she organized a book drive that collected more than 200 books for a local preschool. She also planned successful Christmas toy drives benefitting Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in 2017 and 2018. Last spring, Ritenour earned All-Florida Academic honors from the FCSAAA and Phi Theta Capa. A mother of three, Ritenour aspires to earn her doctorate and study the effects of addiction on the brain. She is a crisis counselor intern for Crisis Text Line and works at Englewood United Methodist Church in the evenings as a nursery caretaker. Her advice to new students at SCF is to take advantage of the resources the College provides to help you succeed.


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