DWC awards scholarships

For the 32nd year, the Democratic Women’s Club of Indian River County has presented $1,000 scholarships to impressive seniors attending the county’s public high schools.

This year, four young women were selected based on excellence in academics, involvement in school activities, dedication to community service, and commitment to Democratic principles.

Honored were Anika Heuberger of Vero Beach High School, Dakota Helgeson of Vero Beach High, Keiona Matthews of Sebastian River High School, and Zoe Palmer of Sebastian River High.

This year’s awards included two named: the seventh annual Albert and Josephine Gallo scholarship for study in science, technology, engineering or math and an inaugural award honoring former Sebastian Mayor Walter Barnes.

The Gallo scholarship, initiated by longtime DWC member Jo Gallo and continued in her memory by her family, went to Heuberger. This scientist hopes to pursue an education in public health policy on a pre-medicine track. The Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital volunteer has been a Junior Scientist Fellow at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and is currently conducting paid research at Syngenta Corp.  Ms. Heuberger also has interned for the Democrats of Indian River in 2019 and worked on the Nicole Haagenson campaign in 2018.

Sebastian River High student council president Matthews received the Barnes scholarship.  Established in Barnes’ memory by his daughter, Pat O’Hara, the scholarship recognizes a Sebastian River student who exemplifies the former mayor’s spirit of community service.  Future pharmacist Matthews has been a volunteer at Cleveland Clinic since 2018. She also helps tutor students at Dasie Bridgewater Hope Center and is active in her church.

DWC merit scholarships were awarded to Helgeson and Palmer.

With a goal of making positive changes and educating the population about the Earth, Helgeson is looking for a career in environmental science. She has been a volunteer at the VNA thrift store and Palm Beach 4 Planet. She envisions someday working with the humanitarian organization Convoy for Hope.

Although not yet decided on a college major, Palmer is considering pursuing journalism to “give a voice to the voiceless”.  The eldest of five children, she has another lofty goal: to be the first in her family to receive a doctorate.