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Take Stock in Children
Take Stock in Children (TSIC) is a 501 (c ) (3) not-for-profit organization with a solid 15-year history of providing college scholarships, mentors and educational support for income-eligible and at-risk youth in Monroe County. The mission of TSIC is to break the cycle of poverty through education. The primary objective is successful completion of secondary and post-secondary education. Our academic support strategies embed student motivation, responsibility and support, respectively, through guaranteed scholarships, student accountability and a one-on-one corps of committed mentors and role models.
Scholarship Information

Take Stock in Children Monroe County welcomes 35 new scholars!
Most of us have probably not given much thought to the year 2021. But for a group of 35 fortunate and hard-working Monroe County students, the year 2021 just became more significant. That will be the year they walk across the stage at high school graduation, knowing that a 4-year college scholarship awaits them.

Take Stock in Children, the flagship college scholarship program of the Monroe County Education Foundation, is welcoming 35 new students into the program during the last week of October. "We have a fantastic group of qualified candidates who are ready to join Take Stock in Children and work towards achieving their goal of a college education. The stakes for our county, our state, and the country couldn’t be higher,” noted Monroe County Education Foundation president Steve Pribramsky.

"Our mission is to accept all students from income-eligible families with the desire, motivation, and potential to go to college," said Chuck Licis, TSIC Program Coordinator. "These students are given the chance of a lifetime with mentoring in middle and high school followed by the scholarship that pays for four years college tuition and fees. This is simply a remarkable opportunity that is unparalleled in other parts of the country.”

Take Stock in Children is entering its 16th year in Monroe County of providing college scholarships to low-income students who meet the eligibility requirements. Take Stock scholars make a commitment to maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average, maintain good attendance and behavior, and meet weekly with a mentor.

To learn more about Take Stock in Children Monroe County or if you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Chuck Licis at 305-293-1546 or at or you are encouraged to visit our website at
TSIC Students Visit FAU
On Wednesday, October 1, 27 Take Stock in Children (TSIC) students from KWHS, MHS, and CSHS attended an admissions session and tour at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton. The students had the opportunity to eat lunch in the student dining area, speak with a 2014 CSHS TSIC graduate about what the first semester in university is really like, attend an admissions information session with the Assistant Dean of Admissions and tour the university campus. One highlight of the tour is going to the university recreation center, where there is a statue of the FAU mascot, the Owl!
MCEF Board Elects Steve Pribramsky New President
John Padget Elevated to President Emeritus
Craig Cates Named Advisor

The Monroe Country Education Foundation (MCEF) Board of Directors unanimously elected Steve Pribramsky as its new president, effective immediately.  Long-standing president, John Padget, will serve as President Emeritus, an honor which ensures his continued counsel. 
Take Stock in Children is the flagship program of the MCEF which also sponsors enrichment programs for all Monroe County students, including the Experiment in International Living (EIL) and the leadership program called LEAP (Leadership, Excellence, Accelerating Potential).
Steve Pribramsky is the owner of Pribramsky & Company, CPA’s, with offices in Islamorada and Key West.  He is the father of six children, former elected member of the Monroe County School Board, and president of the Key West Montessori Charter School.   Over the past several years, Steve has served as fund-raising chair, treasurer, and vice-president of the MCEF.   Steve holds degrees from Marquette and Stetson Universities.

Accepting his new position, Pribramsky commented “The bar of Take Stock’s success has been raised greatly in recent years, and the challenges for our future sustainability are always there.  With John Padget remaining active in the MCEF as President Emeritus, along with a strong executive committee and dedicated board members, there is no question that we will continue to make the Monroe County’s Take Stock in Children program the gold standard for the state.”

John Padget has been at the helm of the MCEF for many years, overseeing the dramatic growth of its flagship program, Take Stock in Children. Currently, Padget who is vice-chairman of the Florida State Board of Education serves on the FKCC Foundation Board and is Chair of the Lower Florida Keys Hospital District.  He is a 24 year resident of Key West.

Since 2001, Take Stock’s Monroe County chapter has graduated 435 students from high school and sent them on to college, and currently serves 245 middle and high school scholars today from Key Largo to Key West.
Executive Committee.  Elected to key positions on the Executive Committee are:  Rob Silverman, PhD, formerly Vice-President of Emerson College in Boston is Vice President; Todd German, fund-raising chair, and vice-president at Centennial Bank; Robert Delaune, a Key West architect is Secretary; Diane Shelby, owner of Shelby Business Services, Inc. is Treasurer; and John Padget. 

Advisors.  Key West Mayor Craig Cates has agreed to join board advisors, Lynn Kaufelt and Jane Vetter of Key West, and Teresa Condas of Marathon.

Successful Take Stock Graduate Back in the Keys
Fausto Morales celebrated his success at ExxonMobil by having lunch in Key West last week with Edward Pitts and John Padget, both board members of the Monroe County Education Foundation, the sponsor of Take Stock in Children.
Fausto was visiting his parents--Fausto and Yanira Morales--and his younger siblings, Jonathan and Melody; both are also Take Stock scholars.  He said, "I tell my brother and sister, and all Take Stock students, you've got a wonderful opportunity; don't lose it!" 
Fausto works in Houston as an Environmental Services Project Manager for ExxonMobil.  He graduated from Coral Shores High School in 2008, and went on to get his bachelor's degree at MIT in 2012. 
"I'm giving back already," he said.  "I got my teaching certificate in both Massachusetts and Texas, and I tutor high school students when I have time." 

Pictured (left to right): Edward Pitts, Fausto Morales, John Padget
Photo courtesy of Leslie Holmes

TSIC Students Visit FIU

Forty-two Take Stock in Children students from Monroe County visited Florida International University and met with Take Stock in Children 2011 alumnus Mr. Johnny Louis, a junior at FIU pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Louis shared his experiences transitioning from high school to FIU. He talked about how he adjusted to the expectations of college and advised students to prepare for college now by “maintaining grades, improving GPA’s and doing well on the SAT and ACT.”
Take Stock in Children high school students have the opportunity to participate in three college visits: Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, and Miami Dade College – Wolfson Campus. During each visit, students tour the campus, eat in the dining hall, and meet Take Stock alumni attending the college.
“Our college visits enhance the Take Stock in Children college readiness model and provide the opportunity for our students to experience a college campus first hand,” explained Leslie Holmes, TSiC Program Coordinator.

TSIC Launches 14th Year in Monroe
Fifty-five low-income students across the Keys get  “the chance of a lifetime” with their acceptance into the award-winning Take Stock in Children program next week. Newly admitted students have already demonstrated their desire and motivation to attend and graduate from college.  They will sign contracts agreeing to minimum grades for each year in middle and high school, and they must score well enough in standardized tests like SAT and ACT to demonstrate that they are truly college-ready.  
“Once again, no student was turned away,”  according to John Padget, President of the Monroe County Education Foundation.  “We have the scholarships and the mentors, so all 55 students with good grades and meeting the income criteria were accepted.”  
“We have again raised the college-readiness criteria, and these lucky students will have to work hard,” explained Leslie Holmes, TSiC Program Coordinator.  “But their reward is life-changing.  Their scholarship will pay for all tuition and fees for four years at any of Florida’s 28 colleges and/or Florida’s 11 universities.”
“Take Stock is making a huge difference in our community,” stated Superintendent Mark Porter.  “You really see it when you look into the eyes of the students and parents, and hear their stories.  The cycle of generational poverty can be broken, and Take Stock is doing it.”  
Holmes, Porter, and Padget plan to attend all the signing ceremonies, meeting every student and their mentor, and speaking with all the parents.  Traditionally, every Rotary in the Keys honors Take Stock students during Take Stock in Children Week.  Student speakers will address all seven Keys Rotary Clubs next week.  “The Rotaries are important suppliers of mentors,  and scholarship funding,” explained Padget.  “We couldn’t do this work without them.”
“Mentors are always needed,”  according to Leslie Holmes. “We build up a mentor reserve so no child is ever without a mentor.”  To mentor, or to contribute to the 2013-14 Scholarship Fund Drive, contact Leslie Holmes at or phone 305-293-1546.
Contract signing celebrations schedule:
October 28                   10:00 a.m.   Sugarloaf School
October 29                     1:30 p.m.   Coral Shores H.S. (includes PKS & TVM)   
October 29                     3:30 p.m.   Key Largo School
October 30                     1:45 p.m.   Marathon Middle & High School
October 31                     8:30 a.m.*   Key West High School  
October 31                    10:15 a.m.*   HOB Middle School (includes Sigsbee)  

*Please note time change  

TSIC Graduation 2013
Florida Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett will be the guest of honor and speaker at the 13th Take Stock in Children graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 1.   “I’m very excited to be part of this ceremony and looking forward to my first visit to Monroe,” Dr. Bennett said.  “With the support of their Take Stock mentor and their families, these graduates have excelled and become models for all of their peers.”   
“We’ll be honoring  the accomplishments of the 52 graduates in the Class of 2013,” explained Mark Porter, Superintendent.  “Take Stock provides an unbelievable opportunity for motivated scholars from lower-income families to realize their dreams.  Having Dr. Bennett here will make the event very special.”  
For nearly 30 years, Dr. Bennett has dedicated his life to educating students.  He began his career in southern Indiana as a high school science teacher and basketball coach.  He was appointed Commissioner of Education in Florida last summer. He is a national leader  who has worked to set up the Common Core State Standards. 
Take Stock graduates from across the county will come together to share and celebrate their accomplishments in a single ceremony at Marathon High School. The processional begins at 11:30 a.m. and a reception follows.  Families, friends, and mentors will all be there and the public is invited.
There are 250 active Take Stock students in 12 different schools in the Keys and 52 are graduating this year.
John Padget, President of the Monroe County Education Foundation, will present the students with their medallions and recognize the top students with “named scholar” certificates.  “This designation recognizes each donor who has contributed $25,000 or more to our scholarship fund this year.  It is with great excitement that I will be recognizing 12 different high performing students as our 2013 Named Scholars, says Padget.  “Collectively, members of the Class of 2013 are receiving four year tuition- and fee-paid scholarships worth $1,716,000 at today’s prices!  We couldn’t be prouder of them.”  
To become a donor and or a mentor, please contact Leslie Holmes at the Take Stock in Children Office – 305-293-1546 or

Monroe County Students to Study Abroad This Summer
Thirty-five students from Monroe County High Schools are preparing for their adventures overseas in July.  These students are participating in the Experiment in International Living cross-cultural experience.  Twenty of these high school students are in the Take Stock in Children (TSiC) program and will travel abroad in a cultural immersion program within 14 different countries. 

For more information and a list of students participating this summer's EIL program, click here.

61 To Be Inducted Into Take Stock in Children
The week of November 13 students in grades 7-10 will be signing their contracts with Take Stock In Children.  Ceremonies for each student are being held at schools in Sugarloaf, Marathon, Key West, Coral Shores, and Key Largo.
These 61  handpicked students are being given the "chance of a lifetime" to further develop their skills and graduate from college.  All the students with the desire, motivation, and potential to go to college, from low-income families in Monroe County, are awarded scholarships. 
Each student in the program is matched with a mentor and Take Stock in Children is looking for new mentors to be matched up with our new students.  TSIC is looking for caring, compassionate adults who would like to devote time to these scholars.  Weekly mentoring sessions range from 30-60 minutes and occur on school grounds.  If you are interested in becoming a mentor you can contact Jeremy Wilkerson at 305-293-1400 ext 53303.
Take Stock In Children is a ten-year program beginning in the seventh grade with the formal contract signing.  Students must keep their grades at the A, B, or C levels through high school, obey the code of student conduct, stay crime- and drug-free, and meet their mentor once each week. 
In return, Take Stock In Children and the Monroe County Education Foundation promise to pay all tuition and student fees for all 4 years of college.   Students can choose to attend any of Florida's 28 community colleges for two years, followed by two more years at any of Florida's 11 state universities.  They finish the program as proud university graduates with their Bachelor's diploma. 
"We are helping these students break the cycle of poverty," explained Leslie Holmes, program coordinator.
To get involved as a mentor or donor, or for more information, call Leslie Holmes 293-1400.
Contract Signing Week:
  • November 13 – Coral Shores High School (To Include Plantation Key & Treasure Village) at Coral Shores High 1:30
  • November 13 – Key Largo School 3:30
  • November 14 – Marathon High School 1:45
  • November 15 -  Key West High School 9:00
  • November 15 – Horace O’Bryant to include Sigsbee and Key West Montessori 4:00
  • November 16 – Sugarloaf School 10:00

Shortage of Mentors at TSIC
"Applications for the Take Stock in Children program are higher than ever," according to Leslie Holmes, the newly appointed coordinator. "But, we are short of mentors, especially in the Lower Keys."
Holmes explained, "We never accept new students unless we have a committed mentor for each student."  This award-winning program normally signs contracts with new students in mid-November.  "We have scholarships available for at least 50 new scholars, and now we are appealing to the community to help out so we can accept as many as possible," Holmes said. 
Any caring, compassionate adult can be a mentor; it takes up to an hour each week and the mentoring is done on school campuses.  In the Lower Keys, the locations are:  Key West Montessori, Sigsbee School, Horace O’Bryant Middle, Key West High School, Key West Collegiate Academy, Keys Center Academy, and Sugarloaf School.  Mentors are trained and briefed before they start.      
"Our mission is to accept all students from low-income families with the desire, motivation, and potential to go to college," said Holmes. "These students are given the 'chance of a lifetime' with mentoring in middle and high school followed by the scholarship that pays for four years college tuition and fees. 
"We're matching up mentors with their mentees before the end of October, so we'll be able to offer the Take Stock opportunity to more students in November," said Jeremy Wilkerson.  "If you can help, please contact me at 305-293-1400 ext 53303, or email"
"We are helping these students break the cycle of poverty," explained Holmes, program coordinator.
"If you want to get involved, call me or Jeremy Wilkerson at 305-293-1400.

Take Stock in Children and The Community Blood Center of Florida Partner for the students of Monroe County School District
Thank you to Community Blood Centers of Florida for their partnership and donation of over $13,000. If you would like to help, for every unit of blood donated at any Monroe County School District hosted blood drive,  CBCF donates $20 to Take Stock in Children. For those who are already blood donors, please  donate when the Bloodmobile is at one of the MCSD  schools or District office.

Click here to view the press release.

KWH Freshman Elected Class President
Congratulations to Stephanie "Ofy" Baloy TSIC Class of 2016, elected as Freshman Class President! 
FCAT 2.0 Results
The 2012 FCAT 2.0 results are in and Take Stock in Children shows why it continues to be a great investment in our students.

Click here to see the results.

Take Stock in Children’s students continue to improve their scores each year. It shows that the mentoring and pushing for true college readiness is working for them.
College is getting more expensive and more competitive for students. It is important to set a path to achieve high test scores, high GPA, community service hours, and outside of school activities to ensure students get scholarships and grants such as Bright Futures. Take Stock in Children has developed a Pathway to help guide the students that qualify for the program. Through mentoring and student advocacy, the students of Take Stock in Children are succeeding above others.

Fausto Morales Prepares to Graduate from MIT - Great Return on Donors' Investment!
When looking for a great return on your investment, look to Take Stock in Children. Scholarships, Mentors and Hope is what students are afforded with the TSIC opportunity.
While on a brief visit home with his family, Take Stock graduate Fausto Morales took time to meet with John Padget, Monroe County Education Foundation President, and Edward B. Knight and shared wonderful stories about what it takes to succeed and his plans after graduation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  

For more information about Fausto's story, click here.

+ Casamayor, Lynne
+ Fry, Erin
+ Licis, Chuck
+ Moore, Lindsay
+ Quintana, Karla
+ Wiatt, Katrina
Click on name to see details.

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