Meredith Dropkin

The Massaro Kozak Art Scholarship Fund Awards 2016 Scholarship to Student of The Out-Of-Door Academy

left to right Angela Massaro Fain Maria Francesca Massaro Serenna Jones and Jill Gass 2 web resolutionThe Massaro Kozak Art Scholarship Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, proudly announced Serenna Jones, a current senior at The Out-Of-Door Academy (ODA), as the recipient of its 2016 scholarship. “It is an honor to represent ODA with this scholarship and carry the training I have received during high school into college, where I will continue to grow even more in my studies as both a student and musician,” said Jones.

Currently a senior at ODA, Jones plans to attend DePauw University to major in vocal performance (classical voice) and minor in either Italian or German. Jones is passionate about music and performs with ODA’s choir, in competitions and at the Sarasota Opera House, most notably as “Annette” in the Sarasota youth Opera’s production of Brundibar and the “Pastore” solo in the Sarasota Opera’s production of Tosca. “Being a music major requires buying countless music books and sheet music throughout the year,” said Jones. “This scholarship will help me alleviate these expenses.”

The Massaro Kozak Art Scholarship Fund was created in 2014 to provide scholarships to students at The Out-of-Door Academy (ODA), located in Sarasota, Florida, who embody the creative spirit of our youth in their pursuit of a four-year degree in Arts and/or Communications. The fund is distributed to one student annually, with $1,000 made payable to the accredited educational institution of the recipient’s choice.

The fund was inspired by ODA art teacher Ms. Paula Kozak, who encouraged and motivated ODA student Maria-Francesca Massaro-Guglielmo to pursue a career in art. Following her graduation of ODA, Massaro-Guglielmo enrolled at Winthrop University, where she applies passion, creativity and artistic expression in her college studies and the creation of original pieces."I believe that students can go further with this scholarship, whether it's buying art supplies, books, etc.,” said Massaro-Guglielmo. “Ms. Kozak was a one-of-a-kind teacher who helped me achieve my dreams and encouraged my drive and creativity in the art field. So in honor of her, I want to help students achieve their own dreams and passions."

Scholarship applicants must apply prior to January 30th of a calendar year and meet the following criteria:

1.    Be working toward a four-year degree in Arts and/or Communications
2.    Be accepted to an accredited 4 year educational institution
3.    Have a 3.0 GPA or higher
4.    Be a resident of Manatee or Sarasota County

In addition, an applicant’s community involvement, educational activities, career objectives and financial need will be taken into consideration along with an essay describing why they should be the recipient of the grant. Scholarship recipients are selected by the Manatee Community Foundation’s Application Review Committee based on the criteria stated above and a personal interview. In the event there are no qualified applicants that calendar year, the scholarship will not be awarded.

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About The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund
The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund was created as a charitable fund under the larger umbrella of the Manatee Community Foundation. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life in and near Lakewood Ranch by promoting philanthropy, connecting the charitable interests of donors with the ongoing needs of the community, and granting funds. For more information, visit or call 941.556.5442.

About The Manatee Community Foundation
The Manatee Community Foundation was established in 1998 as a charitable organization that provided the opportunity for individuals to create low-cost permanent charitable funds, the income of which can respond to needs in all areas: arts and culture, education (both public and private), the environment, health care, and human services. Further information may be obtained by contacting the Manatee Community Foundation at (941) 747-7765.

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