Viner scholars set a new record for college-bound kids


 You could feel the joy in the room as Eda and Cliff Viner handed out four-year college scholarships to 36 kids like Savannah Gonzalez.

The West Boca High grad is headed for Florida State. She wants to be a doctor. That’s Savannah with her mentor, Laurie Carney, senior development and research director for Florida Atlantic University.

“Your mentors will be there every step of the way,” Cliff Viner said at the Eda and Cliff Viner Community Scholars Foundation presentation. “We are a family, and we want you desperately to succeed. We began in 2015 and we’ve grown to 135 students attending college.”

The Viner foundation has trained 180 mentors so far, Viner added, among them Dr. Evan and Stacey Packer.

“For people starting out now, keep pushing forward,” Pietro Arata, a Viner scholar about to graduate as a civil engineer from the University of Central Florida told the group.

Each student could bring one or two family members.  Monica Agenord brought her mom Monique. She’s going to Palm Beach State College and plans to go into nursing.

They sat with her mentor Nikie Moraldo, who owns College Hack Consulting and belongs to Rotary Club Downtown Boca Raton. The club provides four Viner Scholarships, and Alan Kaye attended, as did fellow Viner board member Dan Paulus.

This was a record year for Viner with the 36 scholars chosen from 11 high schools, said executive director and daughter Niki Knopf, citing their high grade-point averages.

All the scholarships are for Florida’s public colleges and universities. So, students headed to each school were called up in groups and posed with a school pennant.

“We’re here by the generosity of this community and it’s leadership,” Viner said to acknowledge County Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth. He was there with his wife Pam Weinroth, who runs Boca West Children’s Foundation. Viner called the foundation “a generous benefactor.”

Among other major Viner supporters are the Zenker and Rubin families, the Lubetkin family, Jemina and Marc Frohlich and Cliff’s business partner Rob Printz and his wife Hiromi. Scholarships in memory honored their son Brian and Cliff’s father Melvin.

By Marci Shatzman



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