By Gary Nager

All too often, it seems, we hear people say, “How come there’s not a lot of good news about young people in this or any other publication?”

Well, for 14 years now, the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce (WCCC) has been doing its part to make sure that outstanding young people at every school located in the area we call Wesley Chapel receive their just due at the Chamber’s annual “Student Pride Awards Ceremony,” which was held this year on April 30 at the Center for the Arts auditorium at Wesley Chapel High (WCH).

Chamber president Jeff Novotny of American Consulting Engineers (ACE) reminded the literally hundreds of students, parents and local business and community leaders in attendance at this year’s breakfast ceremony that, when he moved to the area 14 years ago, “There were only two schools in Wesley Chapel — Thomas E. Weightman Middle School and Quail Hollow Elementary. Today, Wesley Chapel is home to eight elementaries, two middle schools and two high schools and more than 12,000 students, or about 18 percent of all of the public school students in Pasco County. We are proud to honor the top 10 percent or so (more than 100) of those local students at this breakfast this year and every year.”

Novotny said he also is proud of the scholarship funds donated to some of Wesley Chapel’s top college-bound high school seniors at the event, monies that have been donated to the Chamber by local businesses, including ACE.

“Last year, we were only able to donate four $500 scholarships and four $250 scholarships,” Novotny said. “This year, we’ve given out eight $500 scholarships and we hope to double that total again next year.”

Pasco County clerk & comptroller Dr. Paula O’Neil served as the event’s emcee this year and Paula said she was proud of not only the students, but also the parents and families of the students and the Chamber member businesses and local resident volunteers (one of each of whom was named a “Pride Partner” for each school)

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