SCF Scholarship Helps Put Prine Elementary Student on Path to Higher Education

Isabella Chacon Ovalles brought home her first college scholarship last week when she was named the outstanding fifth-grader at Prine Elementary School. The scholarship to State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) was set up by Prine’s first principal, Bill O’Brien, who wanted to help impress upon the students the importance of education.

O’Brien set up the scholarship to recognize students who are at the top of their class in both grades and citizenship. Ovalles, the 14th recipient, will get the scholarship to attend SCF once she graduates from a Manatee County high school. The scholarship is designed to help keep students motivated as they continue their education through high school. It can be renewed for the sophomore year at SCF if the student continues to qualify.

Chloe Thomas is attending SCF in the fall and is an example of a student who stayed motivated. She received the scholarship as a fifth-grade student at Prine and still has the original certificate O’Brien awarded her nearly eight years ago.

A World War II veteran, O’Brien served as the supervisor of physical education for the Manatee School District for 17 years. He also served as principal of three elementary schools – Parrish, Palm View and Prine. An avid runner, O’Brien was president of the Manasota Track Club from 1975 to 1981 and has remained devoted to physical activity. Over the past 32 years, O’Brien has given out 64 awards to the outstanding high school male and female cross-country runners in Manatee County.  He enjoys seeing students and athletes succeed and personally presents his annual award at their high school ceremonies.

“I have always had a special interest in the youth of our community. Their interest and dedication in their endeavors provides a good foundation for their future,” O’Brien said.

Every year, SCF receives about 3,000 scholarship applications. The SCF Foundation is able to award about 900 scholarships thanks to its generous donors. For information or to start a scholarship, contact Allison Nash at or 941-752-5390.

Plantation Community Foundation of Venice Awards Grant to SCF Nursing

The Plantation Community Foundation of Venice, Florida has awarded State College of Florida Foundation a $2,600 grant to purchase suction regulators for the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota nursing program.

The grant will allow the nursing program to upgrade training and to offer additional student practice at SCF Venice. Nurses use suction regulators to ensure patient comfort and health by controlling the removal of secretions from wounds. As nursing students log clinical hours using their SCF training to practice patient care in local health care facilities, the quality of their health care training will affect thousands of patients annually.

Nursing students gain in-demand skills using the suction regulators, which are incorporated into training scenarios to replicate a wide range of real-life health care situations in medical facilities. The regulators can be used to teach nursing students to develop consistent habits of responsible practice. The more SCF can provide real-life experiences in a safe and controlled simulated clinical environment, the better prepared SCF nursing graduates will be.

The Plantation Community Foundation of Venice is composed of residents of Venice’s Plantation community and surrounding neighborhoods, and members and employees of the Plantation Golf and Country Club, whose mission is to improve the quality of life in south Sarasota County.

Medical equipment for the nursing program are among the most expensive items the college must purchase for teaching. SCF offers nursing classes at its three campuses and online. To donate to the program or for more information, contact Barbara Bourgoin, development director of the State College of Florida Foundation, at