FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sarasota, FL, August 30, 2021. Three Sarasota County Schools students, Josina Paschal (Class of 2022), Talia Morton and Quentin Smith (both Class of 2028), are the first recipients of the Mrs. Gwendolyn Tose’ Rigell (9/11 Kids) Scholarship. This scholarship honors late Principal Gwendolyn Tose’ Rigell who spearheaded President George W. Bush’s classroom visit to Emma E. Booker Elementary on September 11, 2001. Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County (TSIC) is the proud scholarship partner, providing support to the Scholarship Selection Committee, along with a College Success Coach and a volunteer Mentor to each scholarship recipient.
The establishment of the Mrs. Gwendolyn Tose’ Rigell (9/11 Kids) Scholarship, which benefits the continuing education of Booker Nation graduates, was announced last year coinciding with the start of the 2020 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and its selection of 9/11 Kids, a documentary which reveals the untold story of the second-graders who were reading with Former President George W. Bush at Emma E. Booker Elementary School when the World Trade Center was attacked. Now in their twenties, the students in the documentary offer a fascinating window into post-9/11 America as they detail personal stories of inequality, discrimination, and economic struggle over the last 20 years.
9/11 Kids was produced and created by Saloon Media’s Steve Gamester who contributed funds to seed the scholarship along with the film’s Director and Co-Producer, Elizabeth St. Philip, who donated the prize awarded to her for winning the Rogers Audience Award at the Hot Docs International Film Festival, where 9/11 Kids premiered in the spring of 2020. WEDU PBS will air 9/11 Kids on August 30th at 10pm and again on September 4th at 9pm. Check your local listings.
The Gwendolyn ‘Tose-Rigell Scholarship committee consists of Mrs. Sandra Kay Daniels, a long-time teacher at Emma E. Booker Elementary School who was the classroom teacher during President Bush’s visit on September 11, 2001, Edwina Oliver, Principal at Booker Elementary and Dr. LaShawn Frost, Principal at Booker Middle School. “This scholarship is such a wonderful gesture and will help a life-long Booker student continue their education beyond the walls of our schools,” says Mrs. Daniels. Donations to the Mrs. Gwendolyn Tose’ Rigell (9/11 Kids) Scholarship fund can be made at takestocksarasota.org/donate911.
TSIC works to break the cycle of poverty through a mentoring-focused scholarship program. TSIC scholars are chosen through an application and selection process based upon financial need, academic achievement, consistent attendance, and good character. Students who successfully complete the program receive a Florida Prepaid college tuition scholarship upon high school graduation. Learn more about Take Stock Sarasota at takestocksarasota.org.
Contact: Colleen Buchmeier,
Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County