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Scholarships make dreams of higher education reality for single parents

Lehigh’s Woman’s Club presents six, $1,000 awards

May 23, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The General Woman's Club of Lehigh Acres has awarded six, $1,000 scholarships.

The scholarships awarded at a May 18 luncheon are for the 2018 academic year and given to parents who are returning to school to make a better life for their children.

Recipients of the award are: Jasmyn Lee Matrullo, Tiffany Renee Smith, Shameen J. Tillman, Celisse Evans, Deyna Prudent and Linette Santiago.

Article Photos

Shameen Tillman, Celisse Evans, Diane Lashua (General Women’s Club Scholarship Committee), Jasmyn Matrullo, Tiffany Smith and Deyna Prudent.


"We are happy to be able to award these scholarships each year and give students a chance to follow their dreams towards higher education," said General Woman's Club President Betty Nottling.

Smith, who was born and raised in Lehigh, said this scholarship makes going back to school possible.

"This scholarship gave me the opportunity to enroll in classes and work towards my degree," said Smith.

Smith, who has a 6-year-old son, 10-year-old daughter, and holds down two jobs, can now pursue a nursing degree at Florida Southwestern State College.

Celisse Evans, another recipient, is currently working at Lee Health as an LPN. She is now able to work towards becoming a registered nurse and is attending Rasmussen College.

"Now I have a chance to go forward and study to become an RN, which allows me to provide more opportunities for my two children and give them a better life," said Evans.

Matrullo, who also is attending Florida Southwestern State College, is now able to begin taking the mandatory classes to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. She lives in Lehigh Acres and is the mother of six children ranging from ages 1 year of age to 21.

"When I lost my job awhile back while working in the banking industry, I saw how important it was to have a degree. I wanted to make a difference in lives of children including my own, so I decided to pursue a teaching degree. Then I can give back to the community," explained Matrullo.

Prudent, who is currently enrolled at Rasmussen, studying to become a registered nurse dreams of someday opening a free health clinic for the minorities.

Tillman is also studying to move forward in the nursing field and someday would like to become a nurse educator.

"Presently I work at Lee Health and take classes at Rasmussen. I know how difficult it can be for working parents to go back to school. Many of the classes are only offered at night, especially in nursing. I would like to give back someday and teach nursing in an evening program geared towards those who are not be able to attend day classes," Tilman said.

Following the scholarship awards, General Women's Club President Nottling presented local agencies and organizations with donations to further their causes.

"We were able to raise more money than expected this year and are happy to give these awards to the local agencies that are doing so much to help the residents of Lehigh," said Nottling.

Hope Hospice was one of the recipients which accepted the donation to be used towards funding the Rainbow Trails Family Day Camp, which provides children ages 6-17, along with their parent(s) or guardian(s), skills to cope with losing a loved one.

Other organizations awarded during the luncheon included: Lehigh Acres Senior Citizen Center, Faith Lutheran Church's Learning Village, First Congregation Community Church and the Donna J Beasley Technical Academy, which provides students a second chance at high school.

"Our students are able to earn a regular degree from Lee County, plus receive career training in trades such as HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing," said Principal Joseph Torregrasso.

The Woman's Club has a variety of fundraisers to enable the funding of the awards to show support for single moms or dads going back to school and to local organizations that give back to the community.

The General Woman's Club of Lehigh Acres, Inc. was organized in January of 1961 and incorporated in 1963. The theme for the General Woman's Club of Lehigh Acres, Inc. is - Working & Serving Together.

For more information or to become a member, connect with them on Facebook at



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