By China Boynton
The Blanche Ely Highschool Alumni class of 1966 is making a difference in students’ lives 56 years their junior. The class of 1966 gave away two scholarships to two deserving students from Blanche Ely high school class of 2023. The scholarships were presented to Audrey Rozier and Faith Mervil at the Blanche Ely Museum, 1500 NW 6th Ave, Pompano Beach in June.
Class of 1966 President Henry Robinson says that his class is close-knit. They came up with the idea to give scholarships away at one of their monthly meetings.
“We meet every third Thursday in the month and try to come up with ideas to better serve the children in our community,” Robinson said. “One of the initiatives that we came up with was to give away scholarships to deserving students every year.”
The class of 1966 has given away scholarships to Blanche Ely high school students three years in a row. The scholarship fund is the classes’ main community effort, along with looking after the family of deceased class members. Joanne Gibbons-Smith, fundraiser for the class of ‘66, said that helping the youth is an important part of the classes’ outreach.
“We know going to school is hard,” Gibbons-Smith said. “We know looking back on what we had to go through that we had to give back.”
Each class member contributed to the fund and was able to raise enough to give away two scholarships.
In order to receive or be eligible for the scholarship, students must be a Blanche Ely high school graduate and have an acceptance letter from the college they will be attending.
Tammy Rozier who is the mother of scholarship recipient Audrey Rozier was overjoyed for her daughter when she received the news.
“I felt very proud and honored for her because she’s worked so hard for everything she achieved,” Rozier said. “To get something a little extra that can help her is wonderful and we’re very grateful.”
Audrey Rozier will be attending Florida Atlantic University in the fall and said that her journey to graduation had its ups and downs.
“It was pretty smooth sailing my freshman and sophomore year and then COVID hit and I had a lack of motivation,” Audrey said. “I was able to manage and persevere with a great support system around me.”
Faith Mervil who also received a scholarship will be attending the University of Florida this summer. She said that she originally went to Blanche Ely high school to pursue her LPN, but later decided on a business major.
“Down the path, I realized that business was really my passion so I decided to do a whole 180 my senior year,” Mervil said. “I’m a first-generation student, so college is a big deal for me and my family. The fact that I am breaking generational curses means everything to me.”
Pompano Beach Vice Mayor Beverly Perkins congratulated the two young ladies on their achievements.
“I’m going to do what I can to make the scholarship even bigger because this is such an amazing way for alumni to give back,” Perkins said. “I’m honored to be a part of the journey that these two young ladies are on and the community is very proud.”
Students can apply in April of next year to be eligible for the 2023 scholarships.