KEYS Committee Announces 2019 Awards to Students with Disabilities

Scholarships provide postsecondary boost for 18 students in tri-county area

Students with wide-ranging disabilities from schools in Leon, Wakulla, and Jefferson counties will receive support for postsecondary education and training through the KEYS to Exceptional Youth Success (KEYS) Scholarship program.

The scholarships, totaling $35,500, will help eighteen students as they matriculate in institutions of higher learning including FSU, TCC, and Lively Technical College.

“You don’t understand how much this will help me pursue my professional career and make it a little bit easier to make my dreams become goals and goals my reality,” said Chiles High School student, Peter Pappas, who wants to be a professional air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technician.

Over the past 12 years KEYS has raised $370,000 and provided scholarships to more than 176 students, realizing that those with disabilities have the same aspirations as their fellow students but often have limited opportunities and financial resources.

To qualify for a KEYS scholarship, students submit detailed applications, write personal essays, and answer questions about future educational goals and extracurricular activities. They support their applications with teacher and counselor recommendations, school transcripts, and Individual Education (IEP) or 504 plans.

The KEYS committee uses a competitive scoring process to determine scholarship awards.

“With a group of passionate community advocates who are raising children or adults with disabilities, the application review can be an emotional task, but it is one we take very seriously. We evaluate applicants and their potential for success in their selected path. We look for thorough and thoughtful applications,” remarks Allison Tant, KEYS Co-Chair.

Congratulations to the 2019-2020 KEYS Scholars!

  • Maci Blass
  • Hunter Fitzpatrick
  • Deon Franklin
  • Mira Gaitanis
  • Taylor Hancock
  • Jessie Hoak
  • Anthony Jenkins
  • Matt Jennings
  • Henry Johnson
  • Lamontrez McMillan
  • Peter Pappas
  • Tahiem Randolph
  • Daja Robinson
  • Catiana Romelus
  • Demarcus Rowls
  • Thomas Tillman
  • Avery Whaley
  • Kiara Young

KEYS strives to break down barriers to learning opportunities and provide students with disabilities the chance to pursue their dreams. To donate or learn more about KEYS to Exceptional Youth Services, please visit

KEYS to Exceptional Youth Success is affiliated with the Foundation for Leon County Schools.

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