BRADENTON -- Two Manatee Y Technical High School students will spend a week on a college campus, learning the ins and outs of college life and earning future scholarships.
Susana Macias, 18, and Sarah Gentile, 17, will take an all-expense paid trip to the Cottey College Summer Workshop from Sunday through June 27. If the girls choose to attend Cottey College, located in Nevada, Mo., after they graduate in 2015, they'll be eligible for an annual $3,000 scholarship. The teens are attending the summer program after the Manatee Y County Association, and the Philanthropic Educational Organization Sister
hood chapters in Manatee and Sarasota counties raised money for the trip.
"This is bringing up an opportunity I never thought I'd have," Gentile said.
Both Macias and Gentile have had different circumstances that led them to Manatee Y, but their passion and dedication is what brought these two students to the attention of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, said Carol Baker, a member of the Sisterhood who helped organize the trip for the girls. Donations totalled $2,200 to cover the costs of the trip.
"This is really giving them hope they can go to college," said Baker, adding the students could also be eligible for other scholarships in addition to the $3,000 annual scholarship.
The Manatee Y Technological High School opened in August 2012 for at-risk students, including those who have dropped out of school and come back, passed through other alternative schools, endured difficult home situations or worked to overcome poverty and support their families at the same time they are trying to earn a high school diploma.
Cottey College, a women's liberal arts school, opened in 1884 and is supported by the P.E.O. Sisterhood, an organization that sponsors six international philanthropies, or projects, designed to assist women with their educational goals.
Both students said they are interested in studying literature, and both said they want to attend college after graduation, even with the issues they've faced so far in their education.
"I know that if we do go to college, we can make it," Macias said.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.