Florida Lottery Holds FAMU Ice Cream Social
By Kwantisa Harris
The Florida Lottery hosted their 11th annual fun-filled Ice Cream Social Sept. 24 on Florida A & M University’s “The Set” in celebration of Bright Futures Scholarship recipients.
Students and faculty waited in long lines for their chance to participate in the life-sized Monopoly board game and raffle giveaways.
Winners received gift bags filled with towels, T-shirts, water bottles, fans and other prizes. Raffle winners received Fitbit accessories, headphones and gift cards.
No one could resist the old and new tunes pumping through the speakers.
Everyone lined up in front of the DJ to do FAMU’s unofficial yet contagious stroll to Lil Wayne’s Earthquake (a rendition of Al Green’s Let’s Stay together); a popular dance that has had a lasting impression on FAMU students year after year.
Throughout the festivities, presidential ambassador volunteers and Florida Lottery staff handed out Klondike ice cream bars and FAMU fans to beat Florida’s heat.
Partaking in the excitement, senior chemistry student Endwell Chimara, Jr. was just a few dice rolls shy of completing his round of Monopoly.
“It was actually pretty fun,” said Chimara. I almost got almost around the whole board, so it worked out pretty good for me. It was all in good fun,” he added.
Not just all fun and games, Lottery Chief of Brand Management Shan Daniels spoke with prospective scholarship students about the career goals and academic plans.
Started in 1997 by the Florida Lottery Company, the Bright Futures Scholarship is an academic excellence grant awarded to students who perform exceptionally well in school and on standardized tests such as the ACT and the SAT.
But in 2011, Florida Gov. Rick Scott significantly raised the eligibility requirements and cut the budget by nearly a third, which heavily impacted minority students. Universities calculated an estimated 67 percent of African-American university students have been affected by changes.
According to the Florida Department of Education, $5.1 million was appropriated to Leon County for the Bright Futures Fund for the 2013-2014 school year; $325,000 less than last year.
Since 2009, the Bright Futures Scholarship has been reduced by more than $100 million.
In spite of first year doctoral candidate of Pharmacy, Charles Davis, has gotten the most out of his Bright Futures stipend.
It allowed him to focus solely on school. Since he doesn’t have to work he’s able to devote his time to other aspects of college life such as being president of the Presidential Ambassadors.
“Bright Futures has helped me out a lot in conjunction with my FAMU scholarship. I’m able to get involved with extra-curricular activities, build my resume and set myself apart from my peers,” said Davis.
With the money received, Davis in addition to the money received from Bright Futures reimbursement check, which carried him through the semester, covering utilities and other college student necessities.
Though many minorities across Florida have benefited from the scholarship, there aren’t as many as there could be. With the gradual merit-based changes, only six percent of Blacks received Bright Futures scholarships in comparison to 59 percent of White students.