Local student wins Supervisor of Elections scholarship

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
CLEWISTON — Nathalie Sanchez, the Supervisor of Elections Association scholarship winner.

CLEWISTON — For the first time, a student from Hendry County applied for and received a scholarship from the Supervisor of Elections Association. These scholarships are awards to only three students in the State of Florida each year.

Brenda Hoots shared the news on the Hendry County Supervisor of Elections Facebook page: “We have some great news to share with everyone. The Supervisor of Elections Association awards scholarships each year. This year is the first year we have ever had someone from Hendry County apply. Drum roll, please: We want to announce that our Hendry County applicant, Nathalie Sanchez, has been awarded one of the scholarships! A big thank-you to Nathalie for following through and applying. Congratulations on winning! We are so proud of you!”

To be eligible for the Florida Supervisors of Elections Scholarship, the applicant must be a political science, public or business administration, or journalism/mass communication major, with two years of junior college or undergraduate work completed. Applicants must be enrolled or accepted as full-time students in a senior college or university in Florida.

When she found out she had been awarded the scholarship, she was ecstatic. “Not too often a person expects to win, as this scholarship is only awarded to three students throughout the state of Florida,” said Nathalie. “I was really taking my chances with it, and I did not expect anything at first. And when I first heard Ms. Brenda Hoots tell me the news, I was genuinely surprised. I was smiling ear to ear for the most part of that day.

“I first heard about this scholarship through my professors at University of Central Florida, they had really pushed onto students to take advantage of the opportunities for a scholarships,” Miss Sanchez said. “The application was straightforward and not very challenging to complete. What I think is the was the most difficult is gathering all the required documents together from long distance. At the moment I was in the Orlando area, pretty far from where Hendry County is at. Thankfully with the use of technology I was able to compile all the scholarship paperwork before the deadline. I have to thank my UCF professor and my former boss from back home, as they both wrote a generous and positive letter of recommendations. Knowing their impressions about me and how I am eligible for the scholarship was very motivating.”

Nathalie Corazon Sanchez is a student of University of Central Florida, who has lived in Hendry County for most of her life. After achieving her Associate of Arts degree at Palm Beach State College, she decided to pursue higher education at the University of Central Florida. UCF offers bachelors and master degrees programs, for public administration, which she plans to continue studying.

“I like the strong relationships among the people within the community. Gaining lifelong friends, settling with a sense of closeness between each other that is reliable and supportive,” Nathalie said about living in Hendry County. “I wish that the community be more progressive, and offer opportunities for innovation and growth for success. There are many cases of limits placed onto people, and much of the time it delays the individual from their own potential success and achievements.”

Coming from a very close-knit family, Nathalie says her parents were always encouraging. “They are my biggest motivators and are a pillar of support to who can always count on.

“Growing up was very ordinary. Like many in the community I had a parent working for U.S. Sugar, and numerous times, whenever my dad would get home, the smell of the mill would linger behind on his work clothes,” Nathalie recalled. “My dad has a very strong work ethic. How he raised me and my siblings instilled in us the principle of always work hard for the things you want to achieve and to not easily give up on matters.

“High school was a really good time for me,” she said. “I was able to make friends and grow relationships with my teachers. I had a hard time deciding want I wanted to do after high school. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to pursue in college. I really enjoyed my history and government classes and I researched areas to continue studying in the general area, so I discovered about public administration. I enjoy learning about public administration, since I can gain an understanding about federal, state and local governments, and how important it is implement and construct the correct policies onto a community. Along with keeping up with satisfaction of citizens, encouraging their involvement in the policy-making process, and learning from them to improve on policies or regulations. Ultimately, making sure that adminstration is performed effeciently for the benefit of the public community.

“Ms. Monica Deittrick and Mrs. Tiffany Groves, they were my history and government teachers back in high school. They are no longer there anymore but these two really left an impact,” Nathalie explained. “Although their classes were very challenging, they were my favorite ones throughout the day. I was able to enjoy the subject and topics of the course and learn a lot more on how history and the ways government has rooted itself in much of the major institutions of an individual’s life.”

She said one of the most defining moments in her life, so far, has been “moving away from home and continuing my education in a new place; adapting to be a mature and independent person in a totally new environment.”

Despite this challenge she has thrived, at both school and as a member of the community. She is very proud of the volunteer work she has done for nonprofit organizations such as United Against Poverty, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, and the Latinos In Action UCF Conference.

“Knowing I have a made an positive influence or difference to the community and have achieved my goals makes me feel the happiest,” said Nathalie.

“My advice to those starting high school this fall, is that the future is very unpredictable so do not try to be dead set on what your career might be so early in life as things are possible to change,” Nathalie replied, when asked if she had any advice for local youth. “Lastly, enjoy yourself in high school, making the most memories to hold onto for the rest of your life, deepening freindships, and do not give into peer pressure. Just be yourself and try your best!”

“It is an honor to represent Hendry County for the FSE scholarship, and I encourage other students to take a chance at it whether it is this specific scholarship or another one,” she went on. “I am thankful for my family, my parents, the relationships built with members of my community and my former or present teachers or professors. I will use the reward thoughtfully and responsibly, to further assist me in the cost of tuition, for the continuation of my education, and my possible professional career in the future.”

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