Lee County School Board Chairman Mary Fischer addressed Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce foundation members, regular members, scholarship recipients and parents of the honored students at the non-profit organization's monthly meeting at DiamondHead Beach Resort Thursday.
"The first thing I'd really like to do is bring congratulations to the scholarship recipients," she said to the 27 college-bound students or active college students that collected monetary accolades.
For the 22nd year, the Beach Chamber Foundation has offered scholarships to students who desire to continue with their higher education program.
Lee County School Board Chairman Mary Fischer discusses education and the gains students can make in the world upon college graduation.
FMB Chamber Foundation President Fran Myers introduced Fischer, who was elected to the school board for District 1 on Nov. 2010, by saying her friend has contributed greatly to Southwest Florida community service.
"Mary has become a huge leader in the field of child advocacy and family literacy," she said. "She is active on bully prevention, peer mediation and preventing child abuse."
A Lifetime Achievement Award recipient winner from the Lee County School Counselors Association, Fischer focused on the achievements of the future leaders in the room.
"We are here today to recognize the accomplishments of young people, our scholarship winners," she said. "As I thought about what I wanted to say, I wanted to find some motivational or inspirational words. But, the truth is kids, you inspire me."
Labeled as the high-tech generation by television journalist Tom Brokaw, the scholarship winners will enter a world without boundaries upon graduation.
"You can pursue excellence beyond the entrance of Internet and technology and make contributions to your own community," said Fischer. "If you focus your energy on being nonviolent, understanding, working hard and respecting the differences of others, you will craft your own unique family, vocational and career paths."
The Cape Coral resident and grandmother of eight children knows everyone moves from one learning experience to another. It's what one does with the collective experience that counts.
"Essentially, we are students for life whether we like it or not," she said. "College provides you the opportunity to test yourselves to see what you can achieve. It opens your eyes and allows you to see numerous possibilities. It's possible to make a difference in the world."
Fischer told the students to believe in themselves and be true to themselves and reiterated to give back to their respective communities.
"The world is before you. Step into it, embrace it and you will make things happen," she said. "As Walt Disney said, 'If you can dream it, you can do it.'"