MOACC gives out generous scholarships


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Jordyn Sheffield, left, Stephen Weaver, Patrick Anderson, Kaylee Cornish, Kyle Gonzalez, Andrew Stewart and Brady Baldree were among the students who received scholarships from the Military Officers of America Cape Canaveral Chapter.

Chris Bonanno

Military servicemen and women who already have given so much gathered at the Indian River Colony Club in Viera on July 17 to give even more as the Cape Canaveral Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America gave 10 lucky current and future college students scholarships for $3,500 each.

This year’s luncheon marked the continuation of a tradition that dates back to 1984 when MOAACC gave out one scholarship for $1,000, according to retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Gordon “Bat” Masterson, chairman of the MOACC scholarship corporation board of directors.

Since then, the program has grown as the organization has helped descendants or wards of personnel that have served in uniformed services of the United States.

“Gradually over the 35 years, we got up to 10  scholarships and this year we gave 10 new scholarships and increased it to $3,500,” Masterson said. “(MOACC has given) a total of 253 scholarships over time, a total of $665,000 so far in scholarship awards over our program history.”

Candidates are selected from a competitive field of what Masterson said was usually 15-to-25 applicants.

“You’d love to give one to every one of them ’cause they’re all so wonderful,” Masterson added. “The ones that do not get a scholarship, we invite back next year.”

This year’s recipients of the awards were:

  • Jordyn Sheffield (who is attending the University of Central Florida)
  • Kaylee Cornish (Florida Tech)
  • Kyle Gonzalez (Ohio State)
  • Leonia Hunt (Florida Tech)
  • Brady Baldree (Florida)
  • Andrew Stewart (Rollins)
  • Joseph Bosco (Yale)
  • Stephen Weaver (Grove City College)
  • Joshua Bontrager (Taylor); and
  • Patrick Anderson (Florida Tech)

Each of the recipients boasted impressive accomplishments in school and seemed to have very lofty goals for their future. Weaver, who attends Grove City College, located just north of Pittsburgh, is studying entrepreneurship and working on a business whose profits support veterans that he calls “Chute,” which turns old military parachutes into outdoor projects such as bags and bandanas, he said.

“It’s awesome. I feel very honored,” Weaver said. “(I have) a lot of respect for everyone who’s served in the armed forces. None of us would be here without them. This is going to really help me with my school.”

Kyle Gonzalez also has huge plans at Ohio State, where he is preparing to start dental school. From there, Gonzalez says he’d like to be a dentist with the Air Force.

“I was shocked. I knew it was definitely a big relief ’cause with all the out-of-state tuition going to Ohio State, it’s going to be a lot of student loans and everything so finding out over $3,000 was donated to me basically.”

Those interested in more information and/or donating to the scholarship fund can go to moaacc.org.