Published On: Fri, Apr 13th, 2018

Local Duo Doing Their Part to Help Stoneman Douglas’ Seniors

As students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are adjusting to their new normalcy, two local community servants are doing their part to make a difference in their lives.

Eda and Cliff Viner, whose scholarship bears their name, announced this week that they will award a four-year grant to a Stoneman Douglas senior over the next four graduating classes. 

The Viners said this was their way of being supportive of the students and the Parkland community. Their hope is to touch one student from each class that was impacted by the Feb. 14 tragedy.

Recipients must comply with all the Eda and Cliff Viner Community Scholars Foundation’s requirements – a 3.0 or higher unweighted GPA, complete 100 or more hours of community service and have a substantial financial need. They also must attend a public college or university in the state.

The Boca Raton-based foundation has awarded scholarships to 75 graduates from high schools in Boca Raton and Delray Beach since its inception three years ago. That is an investment of more than one million dollars. Unlike most scholarship programs, this foundation pairs students with a mentor who works with them through their college tenure. The student is also given access to the 18 Viner Community Partners, a list of complimentary resources and services for them to access in need.

Having sat on several scholarship committees over the years and seeing the many obscure small scholarships that very few students are eligible for, it was comforting to see the introduction of the Viner program.

As one of the Viner mentors, I have interviewed several of these students, and they are truly an exceptional group.

Most are tops in their respective classes; some are average students who have the need and will to do well, if given the opportunity. Perhaps more importantly, almost all of these students used their time and talents to make their communities better.

It was impressive to see how many of them refused to conform to the expectations and showed me and others from the “old generation” that so many of our ideas about them are just plain wrong.

It is so easy for us to subscribe to the notion that all today’s teenagers do is snap selfies, divulge way too much personal information and tinker on their smartphones.

But the recipients I have met, punched holes in that theory. Their academic success is matched by a social consciousness that is truly inspiring – and refreshing.

I am extremely proud of the outstanding difference my friends are making because they are able to help so many extraordinary students reach their potential. Eda and Cliff, you are making the best investment we can do in South Palm Beach County.

  1. Ron Allen can be reached at crallen@Delraybeachtribune.com or 561-665-0151.

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