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Kantner Scholar Award Recipients

Each year, the Kantner Foundation awards college scholarships to outstanding high school seniors.
Select a scholarship class year below to view recipients.

2012|2013|2014|2015|2016|2017|2018|2019|2020


Kantner Scholarship Class of 2020


Kathleen Wang

Atlantic Community High School

Kathleen Wang graduated from Atlantic Community High School in the top 10% of her class. She completed the International Baccalaureate Program and is an AP Scholar with Honors. She was first chair trombone and low brass rank leader in the marching band, which received Superior ratings and Best in Show awards during her tenure. Kathleen was secretary of People for Animal Welfare, treasurer of the Recycling and Art Clubs, and a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, and Blood Drive Committee. She will attend the University of Florida to study biology on the pre-med track.


Dean Spencer Silvers

The Benjamin School

Dean Silvers graduated from the Benjamin School in the top 10% of his class, having been inducted into both the Cum Laude and National Honor Societies. Dean was the president of the Finance Club and the Writing Club, and he participated in varsity tennis and Spanish competitions. He was also a percussionist in a school band and a motivational speaker. Dean will attend Emory University from 2020, where he intends to enroll in the Goizueta Business School to complete a combined BBA and MBA, focusing on business administration and quantitative science. Upon graduating, Dean hopes to work with data analytics as a CFO in a financial organization.


Hayden Siesel

Spanish River Community High School

Hayden Luke Siesel graduated from Spanish River Community High School with highest scholar distinction and as a National AP Scholar, an AP Scholar with Distinction, a 2020 National Merit Scholarship Finalist, and a recipient of a 2020 Palm Beach Post Pathfinder Award in Community Involvement. He was also president of TeachTech, Inc., Academic Advisors tutoring, and the school’s chapters of Google CS First, Education Rocks, and Kindness Matters; founder of Impactful Music; and vice-president of tutoring of the National Honor Society. Hayden will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, double majoring in biology and cognitive science. He intends to pursue his MD-PhD to combine his passions for science and service to help improve the quality of life of others.


Alana Grasso

Jensen Beach High School

Alana Grasso graduated summa cum laude from Jensen Beach High School, where she maintained an unweighted 4.0 GPA. She was class president, vice-president of the Student Government Association, treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta, and captain of the varsity high school volleyball team. She was also recognized as a National AP Scholar, Envirothon District Champion, and Jensen Beach High School Volunteer of the Year. Alana will attend the University of Florida, where she has been admitted to the Honors Program and the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. She intends to study cognitive and behavioral neuroscience on the pre-med track. Her goal is to establish a nonprofit organization to provide medical aid to countries worldwide.


Lorraine Angelakos

Pampano Beach High School

Lorraine Angelakos was valedictorian and class president of Pompano Beach High School Class of 2020. She was founder and president of a nonprofit, Lolo’s Cocoa, and the Hellenic Kefi Club. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and played varsity soccer and flag football. Other achievements include serving as percussionist with the Florida Youth Orchestra and an appointed member of Congressman Ted Deutch’s Youth Cabinet. Lorraine received numerous awards, including the Gold Congressional Award, 2020 Miami Herald Silver Knight Honorable Mention, and the Hellenic Odyssey Award. She was also chosen as 2020 Florida State U.S. Senate and Florida Girls State delegate. Lorraine will attend Brown University.


Kayla Bella Abramowitz

William T. Dywer High School

Kayla Abramowitz is a 2020 graduate of William T. Dwyer High School. As the founder and chief kid officer of the nonprofit Kayla Cares 4 Kids, Kayla has led donations of more than 25,000 items to over 450 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in all 50 states. She has received seven national awards, including the 2016 Christopher Reeve Service Award from Heart of America. She was also named 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Young Entrepreneurs Academy. She has received the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award eight times and the 2020 United Nations Ambassador honor. She has further received congratulatory letters from two U.S. presidents and served as a Florida State Senate page. Kayla is majoring in public advocacy at the University of Miami.


Kaitlyn Tully

Calvary Christuin Academy

Kaitlyn Tully graduated from Calvary Christian Academy as class valedictorian. She has a passion for foster children and began a free after school tutoring program for foster and adoptive children in 2019. As lead critic for her school’s Cappies team, she published numerous reviews. She was also the president of the National English Honor Society and National Science Honor Society. Kaitlyn will attend Patrick Henry College, where she will pursue a degree in American politics and policy. She intends to practice family law to defend the rights of children who cannot speak for themselves.


Sara Rusheidat

Sickels High School

Sara Rusheidat graduated from Sickles High School as class valedictorian, with a weighted GPA of 7.95. She earned more than 70 college credits through AP and dual enrollment courses, and she was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction. Sara was a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, National Science Honors Society, and Tri-M Music Honors Society. She was concertmaster (first chair, first violin) of the orchestra for three years and vice president in her senior year, and she participated county- and state-level choir programs. Sara will study computer science at University of South Florida, and she hopes to inspire young women to pursue careers in the STEM field.


Alayna Dean

Apopka High School

Alayna Dean graduated from Apopka High School in 2020, with an unweighted GPA of 4.0 and a weighted GPA of 5.2, ranking seventh in a class of 800 students. In her senior year, she was class president and recipient of the Apopka High School Mathematics Award, having scored 5 AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics. Alayna was heavily involved in the Chorus Department throughout high school. She will attend University of Florida, where she will pursue a dual degree in microbiology and cell sciences, and public health.


Carissa Allen

William T. Dwyer High School

Carissa Allen graduated from William T. Dwyer High School with a cumulative GPA of 4.0 and weighted GPA of 5.35, placing her in the top 5% of her class. She was an International Baccalaureate Diploma recipient, an AP Scholar with Distinction, Dwyer’s History/Political Science Pathfinder Nominee, president of Dwyer’s Speech and Debate Team, vice president of the National Honor Society, and founder of Kits of Compassion. She was also a 2019 Bank of America Student Leader. Carissa will be attending the University of Florida, where she plans to double major in journalism and political science. She hopes to become a journalist in the White House press corps.


Sanhith Ankam

Creekside High School

Samhith Ankam graduated magna cum laude and was in the top 25% of his class at Creekside High School. He received the gold Seal of Biliteracy for taking four years of Spanish and a certificate for completing the first AP Seminar and Research Class at Creekside High School. An AP Scholar with Distinction, Samhith also studied US history as a dual-enrollment student. Samhith is passionate about artificial intelligence (AI) and film. He will attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he wants to bring his ideas for AI devices into existence. Samhith will major in computer science with an AI track and completing a certificate in film studies.


Kerin Liu

James Rickards High School

Karen Liu is a recipient of the International Baccalaureate Diploma from James S. Rickards High School. She graduated as valedictorian, with a GPA of 4.79 and as an AP Scholar with High Honor. She served as president of the Science National Honor Society, vice president of French Club, and secretary and chief programmer of Robotics. She was also a dedicated member of the National Honor Society. STEM summer camp had a significant influence on Karen. The camp, which motivated the underrepresented to pursue STEM fields, develop teamwork skills, and build strong networks, motivated her to pursue a career as a game developer and software engineer. Karen will be majoring in computer science at the University of Florida.


William Rushing

Fernandina Beach High School

Will Rushing graduated in the top of his class from Fernandina Beach High School, with a 4.8 GPA. He was sergeant-at-arms of the National Honor Society, president of the Key Club, vice president of the Pirate Capital Club, and captain of the Junior Varsity Basketball team. His community service activities included weekly peer tutoring, beach cleanup days, flag football coaching, and American Cancer Society Relay for Life. He will be attending the University of Florida, where he will major in business, with a focus on finance and entrepreneurship. After graduating, he plans to pursue a master’s degree. He intends to one day run a business of his own.


Michelle Puenetes

Nova High School

Michelle Puentes graduated from Nova High School with a 4.3 GPA and completed dual enrollment classes at Broward College. She earned an AP Scholar with Distinction Award and volunteered in a tutoring program at a nearby elementary school. Michelle was also part of the United Hands Club and participated in community service events. She will be attending Florida International University as an honors student, where she will complete a double major in art and psychology in preparation for graduate school, where she will pursue a doctorate in art therapy. Michelle looks forward to helping children in need through art therapy.


Tayiba Jannat

Osceola High School

Tayiba Jannat graduated eighth in her class from Osceola High School. She was an officer in all the clubs in which she participated, including National Honors Society, National BETA, HOSA, Best Buddies, and Key Club. She has completed more than 200 volunteer hours with these clubs and local community organizations Give Kids the World and Advent Health. Tayiba is also an AP Scholar, and she was on the Dean’s List of the college she attended in the dual-enrollment program. At the University of Florida, Tayiba will pursue a degree in food and resource economics. She plans to work alongside a nonprofit organization to help end world poverty and enrich her local community.


Ashley Paola Tirado Pujols

Coral Springs Charter School

Ashley Tirado graduated in the top 20% from Coral Springs Charter School with a weighted GPA of 4.8. She earned several distinctions in French, including first place in the Regional World Languages Competition, and she passed the National Latin Examination maxima cum laude. Ashley’s involvement in the Robotics Club and IT Team piqued her interest in the STEM field, and while she served as Robotics Club president, the club’s teams reached the state championship. She also participated in volunteer activities as a member of the National Honor Society and served as a camp counselor for ITWomen’s Summer Camp. Ashley will attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering, focused on astronautics, with a minor in physics. She aspires to work with well-known aerospace companies.


Angela Yan

A.W. Dreyfoods School of Arts

Angela Yan graduated as valedictorian of her class at Dreyfoos School of the Arts with a 4.0 unweighted GPA. She has been recognized as a 2019 Florida Girls State Supreme Court Justice, National Merit Scholar, and National AP Scholar. She competed in Speech and Debate for four years, qualifying for the Tournament of Champions twice and reaching the finals of the 2020 Emory Barkley Forum Debate Tournament. She served as a field organizer for the Florida Democratic Party and cofounded Asian Youth for Civic Engagement. She will attend Vanderbilt University as a Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar to study public policy, with a concentration in economics. She hopes to pioneer global development initiatives for the World Bank.


Alexandra Trotter

Keswick Christian School

Alexandra Trotter was valedictorian of Keswick High School Class of 2020, with a 4.89 GPA. She was an AP Scholar with Distinction and twice earned the Nation Latin Exam Summa cum Laude Gold Medal. She also played soccer, both in the varsity team and for the Lady Crusaders. Alexandra excelled in music. Her many achievements include placement at Interlochen Summer Arts Program as the youngest section hornist for both the Intermediate Wind Symphony and Intermediate Symphony Orchestra. She was also a member of the Lakeside Community Chapel’s Worship Orchestra and associate principal horn with the Suncoast Symphony Orchestra. She received the Wallace Gause Scholarship (2014–2019), Keswick Christian School’s Outstanding Musician Award (2014–2019), and ACSI’s Distinguished Christian High School Student Award for Fine Arts and Academics. Alexandra will be attending the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University.


Nina Dinh

The Out-of-Door School

Nina Dinh graduated in the top 10% of her class at the Out-of-Door Academy. She was a National Hispanic Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction, and a member of the varsity volleyball team. She was also recognized as the individual who had the most substantial impact on the Drama Department. Nina was president the school’s chapter of Florida Junior Classical League and a member of the National Honors Society, American Civil Liberties Union, and Key Club. She further volunteered with Circus Sarasota. Nina will attend the University of Florida, where she will major in chemistry. She hopes to learn more about the relationship between science and business in the future.


Kevin Ohrn

South Fork High School

Kevin Ohrn is a graduate of South Fork High School. He won three district titles and competed in two state championships with the South Fork Cross Country team, and won one district title in track and field. Kevin was a member of the Student Government Association, serving as vice class president during his senior year. He is also an Eagle Scout. Kevin will attend Florida State University, where he will major in sports management, with a minor in business. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in this same field at Florida State, after which he intends to provide money-management services for professional athletes and coach a cross-country team of his own.


Mariana Valencia

Palm beach Central School

Mariana Valencia, who graduated in the top 10% of her class at Palm Beach Central High School, was a member of the Student Government Association and vice-president of the National Honor Society. She started her own business, Mango Dicha, that celebrated a popular street food from Colombia. Mariana will be attending Florida International University Honors College in 2020 to major in international relations, with minors in economics and political science. She hopes to become a diplomat before later in life establishing a nonprofit organization that helps women in developing countries escape domestic abuse.



There is nothing more important than the education of our young people.


Woodrow A. Kantner,
Founder