Golden Futures Scholarship Announced and Awarded



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

– (EON: Enhanced Online News) — Gain:         

Two Students Receive Golden Futures Scholarship

Surprising students from Mariner and Riverdale High with this Distinguished Honor


Fort Myers, FL (April 29, 2020) – The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools is pleased to announce the recipients of the Golden Futures Scholarship, an initiative designed to identify, support, and hone the talents of Lee County high school students who wish to become teachers. Recipients Esteban Orjuele , a senior at Mariner High and Josie Smutney , a senior at Riverdale High were surprised on Friday, April 24th virtually, via zoom. 

The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the School District of Lee County have been combining efforts to recruit and retain teachers from our greatest community asset, our own students. The goal is to keep interested students who want to seek a career as a teacher here in the School District of Lee County.

The Golden Futures Scholarship Program provides four years of tuition to Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida SouthWestern State College and is awarded annually to deserving high school seniors attending a Lee County District School. Scholarship recipients must exemplify qualities of educational leadership and demonstrate a passion to teach. Recipients receive mentoring and support from members of the Academy of Teachers throughout college and into their initial years in the classroom. A condition of the scholarship requires recipients to complete a minimum of four years of service to Lee County District Schools upon graduation.  

Senior, Esteban will be attending FSW in the fall.  Esteban aspires to become an educator like his mother Erica, a first generation high school graduate and the only one in their family that has received their masters. He wants to follow in her footsteps and become a 2nd generation high school and college graduate.  Esteban’s mother and his 3rd grade math teacher Mr. S  showed and taught Esteban what a great teacher should be.  He wants to create life-long relationships with his students and is looking forward to giving back to the community, while  leaving an impact on his future students. 

Senior, Josie will be attending FGCU in the fall.  Josie has a dream of becoming a life skills teacher. She believes that in a life skills class the students are not the only ones learning,  teachers learn  life lessons of understanding and new approaches to teaching from their students.  If she does not become a life skills teacher, she would like to become an elementary school teacher and pave the way for students to reach success in their future.  Josie will become a teacher that does not just teach, she will build connections, help mold and change their lives and help them grow into wonderful students. 


The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools Surprises Two Golden Futures Scholarship Recipients/Page 2 

“Teaching is such an important profession with a lasting impact on the future of any community,” says Marshall T. Bower, President & CEO of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools. “This scholarship program helps us recruit and ‘grow our own’ teachers that will remain in our community.”

Each scholarship is paid through a partnership with both FGCU and FSW and also through sponsorships with Frank Galeana, Gulf Harbor Insurance and fundraisers through the School District. Both the Golden Futures Scholarship Program and the Grow Your Own Program are partnerships between the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the School District of Lee County.



Esteban Orjuela                                                       Josie Smutney 

About the Academy of Teachers: The Academy of Teachers, an initiative of The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools is made up of all the Lee County District teachers selected as Golden Apple recipients from 1987 to the present. The teachers meet regularly to share best practices for excellence in teaching. Their purpose is to inspire and support excellence in education.

About The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools: The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, Inc. is a private, 501(c)3 organization established in 1986. Its mission is to enhance and enrich the quality of public education in Lee County for students and educators through programs, resources, and experiences made possible through corporate, individual, and educational partnerships. The Foundation is rated as a Platinum 4-star nonprofit organization by GuideStar. Find us online at, on Twitter @FoundationLCPS, and on Facebook.



Brittany Carroll 

Marketing and Development Director



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