The Matlacha Hookers’ congratulate our 2020 scholarship awardees and wish them every success with their educational goals. We would also like to thank all the “Hookers” whose efforts raised the funds for these scholarships, as well as our generous donors.
Zachary Potter-Zimmerman: Zachary lives in St. James City, is a graduate of Mariner High School where he was in the National Honor Society, Army JROTC, Drill Team and National Society of Scabbard and Blade. He was active in the Florida American Legion Boys State and is a volunteer at Pine Island Community Church Thrift Store [over 100 hours] and Pine Island Public Library Book Sale. Zachary will attend University of Florida studying history. Zachary sees the need for the application of many lessons from history in our society to help solve issues. He looks forward to participating in his island community more freely and giving back his time and money because of everything it has done for him. Zachary’s scholarship was provided by the Mariners’ Scholarship Fund through the Matlacha Hookers. Although the Mariners organization disbanded years ago, their remaining funds were transferred to the Matlacha Hookers and in their honor we present this scholarship.
Kelby Bower: Kelby lives in Bokeelia, is a graduate of Mariner High School where she was on the varsity swimming and tennis teams. She was awarded the Principal’s Award in 2018 and Superintendent’s Award in 2019 & 2020. When in high school, Kelby joined the Medical Academy and found a career option that truly called to her and would allow her to make the world a better, healthier and safer place. Kelby is CAN certified and plans to attend Florida Gulf Coast University studying medical, health sciences, biology and nursing. Kelby’s scholarship was provided by the Matlacha Hookers.
Hannah Ailshire: Hannah lives in St. James City. She is a graduate of Ida S. Baker High School and was an active member of the National Honor Society, Marching Band, Best Buddies and volunteered at the Coconut Festival and Gulf Coast Humane Society. Hannah challenged herself academically by taking honors and advanced placement classes and passing all AP exams. Challenging childhood circumstances helped Hannah realize that her purpose in life is to help others realize what theirs is. Hannah plans to attend Pennsylvania State University and study psychology. Hannah’s scholarship was provided by the Matlacha Hookers.
Isabella [Izzy] Sansone: Isabella attended Pine Island Elementary in kindergarten thru fifth grade and is a lifelong Pine Island resident; she lives in St. James City. Izzy graduated from Mariner High School and was involved in many theatrical performances as well as taking AP and honors classes. She traveled to Italy as part of an AP World History program. It is Izzy’s goal to attend Cape Coral Technical College to study culinary arts and hospitality. The creativity in culinary arts has become Izzy’s passion. Isabella’s scholarship was provided by Women in the Trades, sponsored by Kathy Foley [a Matlacha Hooker!]
Armando Perez: Armando attended Pine Island Elementary School and lives in Bokeelia. He is currently a sophomore at Florida SouthWestern State College studying business. While in college, Armando has provided tutoring Spanish for one of his professors, and volunteers at the Beacon of Hope. In Armando’s application essay, he highlighted his challenges and confusing, but fun, progress in speech, statistics and humanities classes and surprising facts he learned. It is Armando’s goal to complete his business degree. Armando’s scholarship was provided by the Matlacha Hookers.
Tate Davis: Tate attended Pine Island Elementary in kindergarten thru fifth grade and his family has a long history on Pine Island; he lives in St. James City. Tate graduated from Ida Baker High School and was a member of JROTC all four years. He taught swimming at Pine Island Community Pool and is certified as a Red Cross lifeguard, water safety instructor and certified in first aid and CPR. Tate is enrolled in Fort Myers Technical College and plans to become a fabricator [welder]. With this education, Tate wants to serve his community by working on playgrounds, making special tools for the fire stations or helping with other jobs. Tate’s scholarship was provided by Men in the Trades, sponsored by Kathy Foley [a Matlacha Hooker!]
Cassidee Rentsch: Cassidee attended Pine Island Elementary School, Trafalgar Middle School and graduated from Mariner High School; she lives in Cape Coral. Among her activities are membership in Cape Coral Soccer Association, Mariner High Girls Soccer & Tennis teams, National Arts Honor Society, Top Soccer, Daytona State College Women’s Soccer team and Beach Relief at Daytona Beach. Cassidee attended Daytona State College studying psychology and earned her AA degree in May, 2020. It is Cassidee’s goal to continue her psychology studies for a bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. It is Cassidee’s goal in her career to make mental health more normalized. Cassidee’s scholarship was provided by the Matlacha Hookers.
Michelle Hardy: Michelle began her education at Pine Island Elementary School and she lives in Matlacha Isles. Michelle graduated high school with an AA degree in general studies and was awarded MVP on the FGCU Equestrian Club team. Michelle attended a variety of camps at Matlacha Community Center for eight years and returned as a summer camp volunteer in 2017, volunteering 648 hours. She is currently a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University with a major in elementary education and minor in Spanish and is on the Dean’s List. In January, 2020, Michelle also became a substitute teacher in Lee County. Michelle is striving to gain knowledge and experience to be the very best teacher she can be. Michelle’s scholarship was provided by the Island Crab Corporation [Jeff & Denise Haugland] through the Matlacha Hookers.
Kaylin Hill: Kaylin attended Pine Island Elementary School in kindergarten thru fifth grade and lives in St. James City. Kaylin was active in the Pine Island Playhouse, a member of the NFMHS Marching Band Color Guard for four years. Kaylin is a freshman at University of Central Florida with a major in biomedical sciences and a minor in psychology, and active at University of Central Florida in LEAD Scholars Academy, Knights Helping Knights Pantry and UCF Dance Marathon. As part of UCF LEAD Scholars Academy, she is required to attend campus events as well as complete a minimum of 15 service hours per semester and she has involved herself in organizations that promote service towards others. Kaylin’s long-term goal is to become a physician. Kaylin’s scholarship was provided by the Pine Island Elementary School Scholarship Fund of the Matlacha Hookers.
Ruddy Ditch: Ruddy attended Pine Island Elementary in kindergarten thru second grade and lives in Bokeelia. In high school, he was National Honors Society Chairman, Academic Team Captain, Marching Band Section Leader and a BSA Eagle Scout. Rudy comes from a commercial fishing family and cares deeply about the sustainability of our environment and natural resources. He is currently attending University of Florida majoring in Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources. He is active in the UF Ultimate Frisbee team and volunteers at the Humane Society. He strives to continue pursuing his goals in education, as well as providing him with the opportunity to gain the experience needed to excel in this field. Ruddy’s scholarship was provided by the Island Crab Corporation [Jeff & Denise Haugland] through the Matlacha Hookers.
Maggie Stein: Maggie is related to one of our Matlacha Hookers and currently lives in Toronto. Maggie was raised in New Jersey, and as a child had direct interaction [both positive and negative] with social workers. One social worker played a major role in positively influencing her development and aspirations for the future. These experiences created in her a passion to become a supportive social worker. She obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology degree and is in the first year of her postgraduate social work studies at the University of Toronto. In her college career she has held a number of positions in support of her social work studies including research peer support, behavior consultant, research assistant in both undergraduate and master of social work as a clinical practicum student. Maggie has volunteered in a variety of positions relating to her field of study, as well as holds memberships in social work and psychological organizations. Maggie plans to continue her studies to eventually obtain a Doctorate of Philosophy [Ph.D.]. Maggie’s scholarship was provided by Rodney & Holly Aldrich through the Matlacha Hookers