Rotary Club of Ocala Silver Springs honors five students, awards scholarships

Recipients of Rotary Club of Ocala Silver Springs scholarships, from left, are Celia Rose Jeffreys, Megan Elizabeth Griggs, Ava Helene Pizzuti, Alexandra Lynn Rudnianyn and Abigail Ann Wilke. [Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Ocala Silver Springs]

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Posted April 21, 2023 | - Staff report

The Rotary Club of Ocala Silver Springs recently honored five local high school seniors for winning Community Service Awards and presented each of them with a $1,000 scholarship.

According to club member David Kramer, chairman of the Scholarship Committee, the honorees are Celia Rose Jeffreys, Forest High School (FHS); Megan Elizabeth Griggs, FHS; Ava Helene Pizzuti, FHS; Alexandra Lynn Rudnianyn, Vanguard High School; and Abigail Ann Wilke, Redeemer Christian School.

“As a group, during their four years in high school, these five students volunteered at 31 different organizations in Ocala and Marion County. They documented over 2,100 service hours, and probably volunteered many more that were not documented.  In addition, they listed over 30 extracurricular activities they took part in during their high school years, and they held leadership positions in most of them,” Kramer stated in a news release.

He said the students were asked to draft an essay entitled “What Service Above Self Means to Me” and to highlight one organization that meant a great deal to them. The news release noted that the five organizations that were highlighted (followed by the name of the student who wrote the essay) were:

  • The Sunshine Foundation, which grants dreams for children who are chronically or seriously ill, physically challenged, or abused, and who have limited income. — Celia Rose Jeffreys
  • Young Life, which is a mission devoted to introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith and strengthening their relationships with friends and leaders while having fun. — Megan Elizabeth Griggs
  • The Children’s Miracle Network’s Dance Marathon, which funds critical life-saving treatments and healthcare services and research, vital pediatric medical equipment, and services that put kids’ and families’ minds at ease during difficult hospital stays, and financial aid for families who could not otherwise afford these health services. — Ava Helene Pizzuti
  • The Marion County Literacy Council’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, which helps non-native speakers who want to improve their comprehension of English to become more self-sufficient and engaged, better informed, and better residents of Ocala and Marion County. — Alexandra Lynn Rudnianyn
  • The Royal Family KIDS Camp, which fosters resiliency, self-esteem, hope and positive memories. The camp curriculum and activities are woven through the modality of Trust-Based Relational Intervention to ensure our children are experiencing truly life-giving activities throughout the five-day experience. — Abigail Ann Wilke

The announcements were made during a recent noon meeting of the club, which took place at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 1510 SE 3rd Ave., Ocala.

“On behalf of club President John Gibboney and the entire membership of the Rotary Club of Ocala Silver Springs, we are enormously proud of the students,” Kramer shared, noting that club members raised the money to award the scholarships.

“Getting to know these students as our Scholarship Committee members have over the past three months helps reinforce our knowledge that the schools in Marion County are doing a great job of training, inspiring, and educating tomorrow’s leaders,” Kramer noted.

Rotary International is a global network of 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves, he stated in the release.

To learn more about the club, go to

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