Music Scholarships Help SCF Students Meet Their Goals

Beverly Wright saw exactly what she was looking for in Devon Chiodo, a bright music student heading to State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF). Wright, who created a memorial music scholarship in her husband’s memory, looks for students with a positive attitude, a lifelong commitment to music and, of course, talent.

For the third time in the seven years the scholarship has been awarded, it will go to an SCF student. Chiodo, a percussionist, instrumentalist and singer who plans to devote her career to students with disabilities, won the scholarship based not only on her talent, but also on her positive attitude and her plans to continue in music once she graduates from college. Scholarship winners do not have to teach music or become performers to win, but they do have to have a commitment to stay involved in music.

 The Music Program at SCF offers a solid music foundation for a student to successfully transition to a four-year college music program. It is more affordable than other music programs and offers a full array of music credits, including music theory, music history, music therapy, music composition, vocal studies, jazz studies and ensemble.

The Andy Wright Scholarship goes to one student each year who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement and intends to continue using their musical talents during college. A graduate of Juilliard and Columbia University, Andy Wright taught music at Sarasota High School for 35 years. He was inducted into the Florida Music Education Association (FMEA) Hall of Fame and was named the FMEA Teacher of the Year. He also was Sarasota County Schools’ Teacher of the Year twice. He took music students to Europe, including Switzerland and Austria, to perform. He retired from Sarasota High School in 1991.

His father wanted him to be a doctor, but after serving in Europe’s Battle of the Bulge during World War II, the last major Nazi offensive in World War II, he decided to pursue music when he came home from the war. Wright’s skills on the piano and trombone led to him touring the country for more than two years with the Shep Fields Band and landing on the same bill as Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell and the Ink Spots.

He met his wife of 58 years, Beverly, in Virginia Beach, Virginia during his time touring and they made plans to move to Florida where they could put roots down together. Wright started teaching in Fort Walton Beach in 1952 and four years later came to Sarasota.

In addition to his teaching career, which included a stint as an adjunct jazz professor at SCF after he retired from teaching high school, Wright was also a member of the Florida West Coast Symphony for 25 years, a member of the Sarasota Concert Band and was a charter member of the Sarasota Jazz Club. He died in 2011 at the age of 86.

“He came as close to doing what he wanted his entire life as anyone I know. He was a happy camper,” Beverly Wright said. “He woke up looking forward to going to work every day.”

Beverly and her son, Andy Wright III, created the scholarship application with an emphasis on work ethic, as well as musical talent. Other scholarship recipients from SCF are Camden McLean, who won in 2014 and Ricardo Zamarripi, who won in 2015.

“Andy believed that you can have talent, but if you don’t work it, it doesn’t go anywhere,” Beverly Wright said. “We want music to remain important to them for the rest of their lives.”

For more information on SCF’s music programs, visit

Dental Hygiene Program Receives Grant for Equipment

The Dental Hygiene Program and Clinic at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) recently purchased two VELscopes, which help detect oral cancer early, with a grant from the Arthur T. Esslinger Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

The two VELscopes, purchased with the $3,990 grant, will help students learn how to use the equipment integral to many dentist offices and will be a critical tool in patient screenings at the dental clinic.

The Dental Hygiene Clinic at SCF provides teeth cleanings, oral examinations, dental X-rays, fluoride and sealants to patients ages 6 and older. Clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Friday. Clinic appointments during the spring semester are available Monday through Friday. Care is provided by SCF students under the supervision of licensed dental hygiene instructors and dentists. The cost ranges from $10 per quadrant for sealants to $52 for adult complex cleanings with x-rays. No insurance is required.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the SCF Dental Hygiene Clinic at 941-752-5353. To support equipment purchases for SCF’s health programs, call Barbara Bourgoin, development director, at 941-752-5398 or

Foundation Awards $20,000 for SCF Studio for the Performing Arts

The Ralph S. French Charitable Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to the State College of Florida Foundation for an acoustically correct music practice studio in the new Studio for the Performing Arts at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF).

The practice studios, which allow for one-on-one tutoring as well as individual practice time, are essential for students to meet their coursework requirements. Plans for the new building include a total of 10 practice studios. The 13,400-square-foot building at SCF Bradenton will support the growth of music, art and theatre programs in Sarasota and Manatee counties. It also will provide an outreach to all populations, including those with limited access to such amenities, meeting a critical need for SCF and the community.

The French Foundation was established to support organizations that educate and empower individuals to help themselves and others in need. Ralph S. French was a doctor who owned a home on Anna Maria Island. He believed not only in helping people, but also empowering them to help themselves.

The building where music students currently practice is more than 50 years old and will be demolished once the new Studio for the Performing Arts is complete. The older facility was originally designed for classrooms only, offers minimal functionality and has poor acoustics. In 2010 the Department of Education performed a facilities study, and based on the results, determined it was not suitable for college music program needs. The college received state approval for replacement, but without funding.

The $3.5 million Studio for the Performing Arts is designed to be an educationally sound and inviting space for both students and the community. SCF offers the only open-door access higher education music program in the region. It serves approximately 500 general education students annually taking music classes, including 80 music majors.

To donate to the Studio for the Performing Arts or other programs, or for more information, contact Barbara Bourgoin, development director, at or (941) 752-5398