Thirteen first-year freshmen from The Immokalee Foundation were named recipients of the Isabella Eghrari Memorial Scholarship. The award provides $500 scholarships for Immokalee Foundation students who have completed their first semester of college. But there’s a twist—the funds must be used on something fun.
“The scholarship gives our students some financial freedom and reminds them of the value of taking time to enjoy themselves,” said Paulina Magana, Postsecondary Program Manager at The Immokalee Foundation. “These students just wrapped up their first semester of college, and they deserve a chance to celebrate. This money will help them do things they love or would like to try without worrying about money. For some of our students, this may be the first time they have ever experienced having ‘disposable income.’”
The scholarship was established in 2011 by Dr. Massoud Eghrari and his wife, Tayebeh, to honor Dr. Eghrari’s late wife, Isabella. Students apply for the scholarship with an essay describing what they would do with the $500 prize.
“All these students are looking to better themselves by pursuing a college education,” said Dr. Eghrari during the award ceremony. “My late wife Isabella understood the importance of an education, but she also knew that adjusting to college can be difficult. This scholarship allows us to remember her by providing these well-deserving students the opportunity to have fun and reward themselves.”
Dr. and Mrs. Eghrari, together with the charitable foundation committee, selected 13 recipients for the 2021 Isabella Eghrari Memorial Scholarship. Recipients plan to use the scholarship on a variety of activities including taking a road trip, going skydiving, chartering a fishing boat, taking a shopping spree, going go kart racing and much more.
Dieulerne Deceus, one of the recipients of the award, is a freshman at the University of Florida. She plans on going into medicine and returning to Immokalee to help her community.
“My current plan is to become a pediatrician or a physician assistant and return to Immokalee to help improve the quality of healthcare available,” said Dieulerne. “I have grown up going to doctors appointments with my parents and I noticed the lack of translators at the clinic which is a barrier between the patient and provider when it comes to ensuring that the patient understands everything about their care and treatment. When I graduate, I want to use my skills to positively impact the community that helped me reach my career goals.”
Dieulerne plans on using her Isabella Eghrari Scholarship funds to shop for makeup. “I am very grateful for the scholarship,” said Dieulerne. “In the past, when I needed to use makeup, I had to borrow from my sister. However, now with this money that I can spend on myself, I have the opportunity to be more independent!”
Scholarship recipients attend a variety of colleges and Universities, including Harvard University, Florida SouthWestern State College, Florida Gulf Coast University and University of Florida.
“Dr. Eghrari is an absolute delight,” said Noemi Y. Perez, President and CEO of The Immokalee Foundation. says, “He truly cares about the students beyond his financial support. He leaves them with motivational words to push the students’ potential and never lose sight of their goals.”
For more than 30 years, The Immokalee Foundation has maintained a 100% focus on education and professional development for students in Immokalee—from kindergarten to postsecondary education. Through support, mentoring, tutoring, and life skills development, The Immokalee Foundation provides pathways to success for those who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to succeed. For additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit immokaleefoundation.org.