Three local high school seniors, Desuanda Ellis from East Gadsden High School and Olivia Fletcher and Walt Kelleher from Robert F. Munroe, will be receiving Fred Biletnikoff scholarships Saturday night.
Sheriff Morris Young held a press conference at the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) Tuesday morning to announce the Gadsden County winners.
He talked about going to the award ceremony last year and not seeing any representation from Gadsden County. He decided to contact the local high schools and encourage seniors to apply for the scholarship.
The scholarship is provided through the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation and is presented each year at the Biletnikoff Award ceremony held at the University Center Club.
This year, Brandin Cooks from Oregon State will receive the best receiver trophy.
The three seniors were chosen from over 100 applicants for the scholarship and are among 16 Big Bend recipients.
The club has raised $850,000 for the scholarship fund.
Kelleher has a 4.0 GPA and is salutatorian of his class. He played football at RFM and plans to attend FSU and study chemical engineering. He said he was thankful to receive the scholarship.
Fletcher, a varsity cheerleader, tennis and volleyball player at RFM with a 3.5 GPA, plans to become a lawyer but has not chosen between West Florida University and FSU. Fletcher said she felt very blessed about receiving the scholarship.
Ellis, who is on the varsity track team, is a dual enrollment student at East Gadsden High School and TCC with a 3.5 GPA. She plans to go to FSU.
GCSO Major Tommy Mills told the three recipients that he knew they were going to represent their community well and encouraged them to love what they did as a career.
Investigator Ulysses Jenkins told them that college was about time management and to concentrate on what they were there for.
Captain Timothy Ashley said they should strive to be the best Child of God they could be.
Henry McGill, who serves in the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office Truancy Program and who worked at Florida State University during the time Fred Biletnikoff played at FSU, told several stories about taping Biletnikoff’s ankles prior to football games.
Sheriff Young stated that these local high school winners would serve as a catalyst for more students from Gadsden County to apply for the scholarship in years to come.
Steve Wynn, a foundation trustee, told the three young people to encourage others to apply for the scholarship. He said that the award ceremony would be broadcast on ESPN.