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Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

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CONTENTS Survival Guide 6-7 Learn the secrets to “surviving” the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market from seasoned Rotarians who volunteer at the event year after year. Look for advice on shopping, meals and the best drinks. Islamorada Rum 12 Discover the local lore behind Islamorada’s signature drink, the Rum Runner, and learn how Islamorada Distillery has added a new chapter. Find out where to get your free rum sample, too. Map 18 – 19 There’s a lot of territory to cover at this event. Find out where your favorite vendor is, the bathrooms are, and scope out the food section. Looking for a specific vendor? Find the listing on adjacent pages. Hunter’s Story 22 A John Hopkins University graduate talks about his studies, and Rotary scholarship. He’s among so many kids who receive financial aid from the Rotary club. See their stories on the following pages.

Scholarship 23 – 30 Every dollar is a dollar well spent. The Gigantic Nautical Flea Market funds Rotary Club scholarships for local students. See their stories on the following pages.

Published MMXVIII


Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

The Weekly Newspapers 9709 Overseas Hwy. Marathon, FL. 33050 P. 305.743.0844 F. 305.743.0866

About the Flea Market The signature fundraiser of the Upper Keys Rotary Club is the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market held at Founders Park in Islamorada in late February. This event has raised more than $250 million in direct scholarship aid that has benefitted local graduating students and current college students for decades. Rotarians from the other Keys clubs provide significant volunteer help to make this event a “gigantic” success. “The Rotary Club Scholarship awards result from the effort of hundreds of people in the community who work the annual Gigantic Nautical Flea Market,” said Rotarian Frank Derfler. “Held annually in February, the planning cycle ends when we award the scholarships then we get planning again for the following year.”

• DATES: The event runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25. It’s held at Founder’s Park in Islamorada, MM 87. • PARKING: Parking is at Coral Shores High School, MM 89, oceanside. Shuttle buses run continuously.

Upper Keys Office 91831 Overseas Hwy. Tarvernier, FL 33070 P. 305.743.0844

• GATE: The gate is located on the southwest end of the park at the Fire Station. Suggested admission donation is $5. Pet Friendly Food & Drink Restrooms & ATMs Kids Activites Beach Access Free WiFi

Key West Office 5450 MacDonald Avenue, #5 Key West, FL 33040 P. 305.453.6928 F. 305.509.7347

Survival Guide

to the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market By Gabriel Sanchez For more than 20 years Rotarians have been the driving force behind the scenes at the flea market. From flipping burgers and organizing parking to the hours spent conducting student interviews for scholarship awardees. Approximately 135 Rotarians are lending their time and energy to make this year’s Gigantic Nautical Flea Market the best yet. Much of the continuous success of the flea market can be attributed to the fact that volunteering Rotarians are tasked with the same duties every year; they are truly masters of their craft. Two decades of insight has molded Rotarians into experts with the savviest tips to enjoying/surviving the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market.

“You can get a delicious all-you-can-eat breakfast, with all of your favorites, for $6. In addition to the cheeseburgers, sandwiches, and conch fritters, this year we’re adding paella and turkey drumsticks to the menu. You’ll be hard pressed to find something you won’t enjoy.” — Jill Miranda Baker


Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

“I’m 95 years old and will get to the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market on my golf cart. I’ll get there early for a great breakfast, fortify myself with a Bloody Mary and scour the booths for a ship-board sextant (standard issue, Mark 8) …. or a good Plath sextant. Happy hunting and go, Rotary!” — Capt. Dick Barnes

“Stay hydrated and keep cool. Pace yourself and enjoy the day. A medical tent is located by the main entrance, to the left, and there is a roaming crew as well.” — Terry Abel

“Can you bring your dog? Sure! But, on a leash and please watch out for them on the hot, black pavement. They can burn their paws. Also, the DJ Wood and Food will be spinning an eclectic mix of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s and freedom rock. Yes, we will turn it up. No, you can’t request any Barry Manilow or Zamphir pan flute tunes.” — John Gallant

“My husband thinks this event is all about stainless steel, hardware, and rope. And he gets his fill! But, I think it’s about shopping, people watching, food, and fun. With nearly 300 vendors there is a lot to see!” — Claire Johnson

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“This is a boat show with a BEACH! Something here for the entire family. Fun and affordable. Park at Coral Shores High School and take the shuttle bus! We put returning students on the buses to talk about the benefits of receiving scholarships and to hand out guides, answer questions, and give helpful hints. Coming by boat? Anchor outside the swimming area and wade in! One secret is to come on Sunday. The crowd is smaller and the bargains are greater!” — Frank Derfler “Enjoy the variety of vendors that we showcase at the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market. There is a basic nautical theme, but you can find so much more than that. Wear comfortable shoes and enjoy browsing for unique items, gobble a great Rotary Burger and sip the best cold beer around!” — Bette Brown



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Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

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Sea You at the

Upper Keys Rotary Club

23rd Annual Gigantic


F EBRUARY 24 & 25 2018

Saturday 8am - 5pm • Sunday 9am - 3pm Founders Park • US 1 • MM 87 Bayside • Islamorada

“The Boat Show with a Beach!” • New & Used Boats • Fishing Gear • Clothing • Marine Equipment • Dive Gear • Marine Products • Electronics • Antiques • Nautical Arts & Crafts • Dock Equipment

$5 Contribution to the Scholarship Fund Kids 17 and Under Free

Rotary is ser ving BREAKFAST both days:


All You Can Eat for $6.


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INTERACTIVE MAP How do you find your way around the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market? There is a map in this guide and you can also find an interactive map online. From home, go to www.Rotarymarket. info. You can search the show by vendor name or by the types of products they sell. At the show, connect to the event WiFi by selecting the “GNFM” WiFi connection on your phone and you will be automatically routed to the interactive map. WiFi provided by

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Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

WHAT IT IS The 23rd annual Rotary Gigantic Nautical Flea Market takes place Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 24 -25 at Founders Park, Islamorada. The festival has grown from 35 vendors in 1995 to nearly 300 in 2018. Members from two Rotary clubs are among the 300 volunteers. Despite organizers’ best efforts, there are some traffic tie ups. Festival-goers are best served by parking at Coral Shores High School nearby, and taking the free shuttle to the park. WHY WE DO IT In the past 28 months the Upper Keys Rotary Club and the Key Largo Rotary Club combined have written checks totaling more than $266,000 in direct benefits for about 170 students from Coral Shores High School, Island Christian School, and locally home schooled students.


The Gigantic Nautical Flea Market has raised nearly $500,000 for direct scholarship aid for local students from 2012 to 2018. In the last 28 months, direct benefits have ben paid to 21 colleges and universities to benefit 182 students. Many students receive continuing scholarships beyond their freshman year. In addition to professional degrees, the Rotary clubs also support students in technical schools such as aircraft maintenance training, diesel engine maintenance, marine engine maintenance, law enforcement and EMT training. The two clubs also support local students by donating $60,000 each year for two years to the Take Stock in Children program. That money, matched by the state legislature, stays in Monroe County.

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Made with the usual blend of light and dark rums, banana and blackberry liqueurs, pineapple, and orange juice splashed with grenadine – the recipe hasn’t changed much since then. Until now. Islamorada Distillery is set to add another chapter to the legend of the Rum Runner with its new spiced rum. A Rum Runner made with the distillery’s exclusive stock can now be considered the rarest of the Rum Runners. The distillery has yet to agree on a name, and are asking residents and visitors alike to help come up with a name. Suggestions can be made to distillery’s Facebook page. Distillery owner Tyrone Bradley, Distiller Stephanie Harper, and co-Distiller Wes Panther toiled day and night to create the perfect island inspired rum, and are proud to share their exclusive stock with visitors of the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market. Harper, the creative palete behind the rum, has crafted a spiced rum to make the Keys proud. Islamorada Distilling’s spiced rum is made with grade A, non-GMO, high quality Pearl Select molasses. Its piquant taste is achieved with six ingredients.

TO PERFECTION Islamorada Distillery writes new chapter to the legend of the Rum Runner By Gabriel Sanchez The Purple Isles are known for its world-class sports fishing and diving, hurricane tested citizenry, and stretches of scenic ocean views. However, no Islamorada-based invention has been more widely celebrated (and consumed) than the Rum Runner. Conceived at the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in the 1950s, the tasty libation was the result of one simple problem — the bar had too much rum. As the story goes, due to an overstock of rum and flavored liqueurs, the bar had to sell the stock before the next shipment arrived. After a little experimentation with the excess, the Rum Runner was born. Distiller/Head Brewer Stephanie Harper has created the perfect bite to the very popular Islamorada Rum Runner. GABRIEL SANCHEZ/Keys Weekly


Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

First, hand cut vanilla beans are used to give the rum sweet notes and aromatic scent. Cutting and allowing the vanilla beans to saturate draws out a fuller flavor says Harper. She also decided to dial back the cinnamon for a more well-rounded taste. The three also added clove, nutmeg, all spice, and cardamom to the mix. “We wanted it to come out really balanced, and we’re really happy with the outcome,” said Harper. “We had been working with different ideas – figuring out what we liked and didn’t like – and keying in on which flavors were overpowering.” After countless hours the trio finally dialed the taste to their liking. The first Keys made spiced rum was born. Islamorada Distillery’s tent is giving out free samples of their barrel aged and dark barrel aged rum along with info about the distillery during the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market. Islamorada Beer Company will also be onsite pouring its Channel Marker IPA, Sandbar Sunday IPA, Islamorada Ale, and seasonal No Wake Zone. In the near future, the distillery will also create its first batches of gin and vodka. Follow the distillery on Facebook for the latest news and updates.

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WANT TO JOIN ROTARY? By Frank Derfler Rotary brings together people who want to use their skills, experiences, and expertise to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems — from organizing local initiatives like feeding the hungry to global efforts like eradicating polio. It all begins at the weekly club meeting, where members catch up with friends, hear what’s happening in their community, and organize club activities and service projects. It’s a fun way to connect with the people in your community who share your passion for doing good. The best way to become a part of Rotary is to reach out to a member of a local club. Here in South Florida and the Keys you’ll probably see someone wearing a Rotary T-shirt before you’ll spot a Rotary lapel pin. Membership in Rotary is by invitation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to show interest!


You can contact a local Rotary Club directly. Visit to find the website of the Rotary district covering South Florida and the Keys. It has local club news and a club locator that can give you contacts for a local club. Rotary membership has its responsibilities. Beyond attending meetings, a prospective Rotarian should look at the focus of the club. Most Keys’ clubs focus heavily on youth support, but we also work internationally in various projects. You will be expected to pay local club dues, district dues, and Rotary International dues. In the Keys that can amount to $500 to $1,000 per year, but that includes a weekly meal or other weekly club event. Rotary is made up of more than 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries. It’s hard to find a place in the world where you won’t find Rotary! Join us. Chris Trentine shakes hands with Frank Derfler, right, at an Upper Keys Rotary Club meeting. CONTRIBUTED


Gigantic Nautical Flea Market



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BATHROOMS are located at the entrance and next to the amphitheater. Also, Porta-Potties are scattered all over the park. IS THERE Wifi? Yes. Look for the “GNFM” signal on your phone for a fast Wifi connection. Call up a mobile map/list of vendors at SEE THE INDEX ON PAGE 14, for a list of vendors and booth locations. PARKING AT CORAL SHORES HIGH SCHOOL (MM 90, Oceanside) and ride constantly running shuttles.

166 165 164

Medica Tent ATM

158 157 156 155 154 153 152 151 150 163 162 161 160 159 149 148 147 146


35 36 37 38 31 32 33 34 28 29 30 27 25 26 23 24 Information Booth Lost and found



40 41 42 43

144 44 45



142 141 140 139 138

47 48 49 50 51

22 21 20 19

Baseball Diamond 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7



6 5 4 3 2 1

US 1 Bathrooms

Shuttle Stop


Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

137 136 52


135 54



59 60 61 62 63 64




132 131 13

58 71 72 73 74 70 69 68 67 66 65

Founders Beach


i Din

387 386 385 384 383 382 381 380 379 378 377 376

128 127




Rotary Food Booth 374 373 372 371 370 369 Pl ay 368 gr 367 ou 366 nd


75 76 77 78 79

122 121 80


nd ou gr ay



30 129






120 119







107 115




88 89 9190


Beer Booth Bloody Mary’s


94 95



109 108

ATM 270 269 97 98 268 99 265 100 266 267 101 264 102 263 103 262 104 261 259 105 260 106 96



257 256 255 254 253 252

364-363 362 361 360 359 358 357 356 355 354 353 352 351 350 349 348 347 346 345 344 343 342 341 340 339 338 337 336 335 334

311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 310 309 308 307 306305 304303 302 301 300299 298297 296 595 294 293 292 291 290 289 288 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280281 282 283284 285 286 287 251 250 249248 247 246 245 244243 242 241 240 239 238 237 236 235 234 233 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224225 226 227 208207206 205 204203 202 201 200199 198 197 196 195 194 193 192 191

232 231 230

Tiki Bar

228 229

Beer Booth


167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190

Entrance Tennis Courts


Space Business

Space Business

Space Business

1-10. Gtb Boat Sales 11. Erics Outboard Marine Service, Inc. & Dolphin Boats 12. Parker Boatworks 13. Sea Hunter Boats 14. Sea Hunter Boats 15-22. Boat Depot 23. Ocean-Tamer Marine Bean Bags 24-25. Key West Island Wear, LLC 26. Fathom It 27-29. Keys Deck & Dock Supply 30. Umbrellas 4 Boats, Inc. 31-33. Broward Casting Gatto Furniture 34. Southern Marine Management 35-36. Avid Sportsware 37. Crushable Hats Inc. 38. Lundy 39. Fine Stitch Embroidery 40. The Boaters Friend /Stainless Steel 41. The Boaters Friend /Stainless Steel 42-43. Stingray Steve 44. Silver Expressions 45. Top Choice Tackle 46-47. Tees By Bo Inc 48-49. Boathouse Discount 50. Past Pages 51. Dunn Sales 52. Dunn Sales 53-54. Future Antiques 55-56. Connley Fishing 57. Lundy 58. Outdoor Republic 59. Jigalode 60. Gettin’ Jiggy 61. Jim Parker Custom Knives 64. South Wind Designs 65. Seausmile lures 69. Marion Art Company 70. Closeout King 71. Islamorada Beer 72-73. All Marine Antiques LLC 74. Kip Kennedy 75. Ahoy Marine Product LED lights and aluminum T-Tops 76-77. Orlando Perez

78-79. Tackle Center Of Islamorada 80-84. Hurricane Boatlifts 85. Corkers-Falbrecht studios 86. Florida Keys Polarized Glasses 87. S & S Performance Marine 88. Esm Protection Systems 89. Nautical Antiques 90. Islamorada Beer 91-93. Marti 94. STRANDED AT SEA 95. 1967 96. Sea & Land Upholstery, LLC 97-98. Tees By Bo Inc 100. Open Card Now 101. ONE STOP HATS & Klips 102-104. PIRATE TACKLE COMPANY 107. Hot Rod Golf Carts 108. Bit-0-Beads Jewelry 109. ISLAMORADA ART 110. Blue Water Outfitters 111. Just Bones, Llc 112. Bargain Water Sports 113. Fountain Of Youth / Power 1 One 114. DCS Etched Glass Decals 115-119. Southeast Marine Construction, Inc. 120-121. Underwater Fish Light LLC 122. 123. All Keys Boat Lifts 124. ACE BOAT LIFTS 125. Anisa Stewart Designs 126. The Fouta Spa 127. Reel Salty Apparel 128. The Lazy Pirate 129. Cuda’s Customs 130. Fine Stitch Embroidery 131-132. Jen Callahan 133. H30 Sports 134. RHINELAND CUTLERY 135. Kenneth Norton 136. Ocean Rider USA 137. Capt Joei Randazzo 138. Butch Fisco 139-140. Piranha Rod Rack /Green Touch 143. Killshot Spear Guns 144. Tropical Breeze 145-147. Neptune Atlantic Boat Lifts

148-149. Big Ship Salvage 150-152. Nature Craft Jewelry 153-154. Jessica Ann Art 155. Touch of Key West Photography 156. Docktail Bar 157-158. SwingStoppers LLC 159. Tropical Expressions 160-161. Shark Tested Optics LLC 162. Eagles Nest Outfitters ENO 163-164. Gg Millwork 165-166. An Elegant Touch 167. 168. Ed & Son’s Fishing, LLC 169-171. Gary Graham Teak Root Furniture 172-173. Sherco Auto & Marine Supply 174. International Marine LLC 175. Shipwreck Furnishings 176. Used Boat Parts 178. Scott’s Discount Marine 179-181. Scott’s Discount Marine 182. 183. Bill Blade 184. Sea Dragon 185. R J Oceans 186. Miller Marine 187-189. Tiki Water Sports 190. Sheri Griffin 191-192. Stingray Steve 193. Cap Gallery 194. Los Cayos Apparel Inc. 197. Key Largo Handcrafted 198. Our Little Children 199. Chris Van Atta Photography 200. Tropical Water Balls 201. Acryfin Coatings 202. Big Skinny Wallets 203. Key West Spice 204. Native Conch Design Co. 205. kadan swimwear 207. Knot Cincher 208-210. Florida Fillet Tables 211. H2Overboard, LLC 212. 213. South Florida Marine Electrical 214. Apparel 4U, INC. 215-216. Oceanic Gear 217. Shop Uniques Unlimited

Space Business

Space Business

Space Business

218. Freewheeler Realty 219. Sea Skin 220. Mendez Artists 222. Miami Sportfish Tournament 223-224. Xcaliber Marine Inc 225. Nauti Ladiez Inc 226. 227. Someone To Do It 228. Gotta Luv It Outdoors 229. G&S Apparel Custom Screening & Embroidery 230-231. Islamorada Sun & Fun Company Inc. 232. 30 Fathom Doormats 233. Extreme Peelers 234. Our Burnt Offerings 236. Natures Treasures 237-238. Simply Savory Gourmet Blends 239-240. DB Reality Rocks 241. Isla Soaps 242. Karen Hubbard 243. Caloosa WaterWear 244. Fishin’ Chicks, Inc. 247. Laura Moore Designs 248. Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation 249. Marr-Velous Pet Rescues 250. Tow Boat U.S. 251. Fla Yard Art 252. Sporty Girl 253. Fish The World 254. Max 1 Glue, LLC 255. Gypsy Lures, Inc. 256. Ross Marine Ideas 257. CJ Expressions 259. Thunder Country and Sun 103.1 260. Gulfshore Restaurant Supply 261-262. Scuba Quest 263. Fla Yard Art 264. Sea Gear Pro Performance Fishing Shirts 265-266. Signature Marine Mfg., Inc. 267. Tober 268. Unique Arts & Crafts 269. Seatow 270. Keys Deck & Dock Supply 271. Umbach 272. Chuck Murdoch

273. Cochran 274. Cruise Planners /Voyage Blue 276. An Elegant Touch 277-278. Dirty Sports Wear 279. Marine 360 LLC 280. Mike Zelnar (Zman the Handyman) 281-282. Marine Max 283. Ugly Fish Apparel 284. Red Rum International 285. Glidecoat 286. Avesta & Co 287. Florida Keys Island Salts 288-289. Seabrooke 290. J&B Marine 291-292. The Reel Chase 293. Richard’s Custom Offshore Lures 294. Coconut Critters 295. Sportsman Shield 296. Squatshot 297. Pirate Hat Apiary 298-299. Wearraw 300. Lovely To Look At 301. Pacific Scents 302. Reelskinz 303. Freedom Handles 304-305. Xact Customs 306. Michael Hennessey dba j.r. watkins products 307. Fish Tales Fishing Reels & Nautical Antiques 308. Florida Keys Aeration 309-310. Art Sensations 311. Keys Marine Electronics, Inc. 312-314. Caribee Boats 315. Katheen Hrad 316. Apex Lighting, Inc. 317. Megateeth Fossils 318. Truong Lam 319. M & G Enterprise 320. S & E Custom Inc 321. Lovely To Look At 322. R and R Tackle 323. Innovative Marine Products 324. Fish Wings 325. Florida Keys HydroGraphics 326. Decorating Impressions 327. Coconut Critters 328-330. Gary Romanoff 331. Florida Fishing Products

332. FinFish Company 333. Seabrooke 334-338. Unique Marine, Inc. 339-340. The Pool Spa Billiard Store 343-344. Aquablue Marine 345. M & E Sales 346-347. AccuDock 348-350. Trident Fishing & Marine Supply 351-352. Jordan’s Outdoor Fun 353. Fish Skinz Apparel 354. Cotner Offshore 355. The Jerky Hut/Mojo Jerky 357. Bart Stevens 358. BlissSplash 360-361. The Fisher Man 362. Michael Lombardi 363. Boat Lifts of South Florida

GIGANTIC NAUTICAL FLEA MARKET CATEGORIES FOR VENDORS: Art Boats & Boat Engines Clothing, Glasses & Hats Docks, Decks & Davits Electronics Flea Market Finds Food House & Lawn Jewelry Lines & Lures Marine Antiques Marine Hardware Merchandise Non-Profit Rods & Reels Scuba, Snorkel & Swim Services

EYEING MED SCHOOL Coral Shores grad reaches for his dreams with help from Rotary scholarship

for tracking how a patient is doing, as well as using it as an outcome to measure the efficacy of clinical approaches to managing the disease,” he said.

By Gabriel Sanchez All eight Rotary Clubs of the Florida Keys have a focus on propelling local students into higher education and supporting them when they arrive. Last year alone, $100,000 in Rotary Club scholarship awards were given to students graduating Coral Shores High School and Island Christian School. Another $45,000 was awarded to previous recipients who are in their second, third or fourth year of schooling. For former recipients like Hunter Risher, the continued support has made all the difference. Risher graduated from Coral Shores High School in 2013 with aspirations of studying medicine. After being accepted to Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University, Risher decided to major in cellular biology. After graduating in May 2016, Risher has spent two years as a research coordinator with neurologist Dr. Peter A. Calabresi, tracking “changes and atrophy” in the retinas of patients with multiple sclerosis. A professor of neurology, Calabresi is the director of the school’s Multiple Sclerosis Center. The Yale- and Browneducated professor studies mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection. Retinas could play an important role in those fields, said Risher. “Because multiple sclerosis is a disease of the nervous system, and the retina is also composed of neural tissue, we believe that it can be used as a helpful bio-marker


Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

Risher is specifically researching a cancer drug called rituximab. He said he wants to see if the drug offers more or less protection to the retina. He’ll find out by measuring the rate of atrophy for the retinas over time with a device that quantifies volume and thickness of a patient’s retinas. With his research winding down in the spring, his sights are now set on applying to medical school in June. Of the 15 to 25 schools he’s reaching out to, his top choices are the University of Maryland and the University of Miami. “Oncology is something I’m really interested in right now,” said Risher. “I work for a neurologist in my current role, so I’m interested in that, too.” Aside from medicine, Risher also has a passion for baking and cooking and said he makes a mean French toast. The most interesting experience he’s had since leaving home, however, is working as a patient advocate during the summer of his undergrad years. His efforts were geared to helping patients from low socio-economic statuses gain access to basic needs. But service to others wasn’t a new concept to him.

“When I was in high school I was part of the Interact Club, which is sponsored by Rotary, and I ended up becoming the president. Through that opportunity I was able to do a lot of service projects that I listed on applications applying for schools,” said Risher. “Every year I was in college I received money from the Upper Keys and Key Largo Rotaries, and it made a difference in paying for school. If not for them I would have twice as much student debt to pay off.” He suggests students try to “diversify” their experience. “You don’t know who could help you out in the end, or what could end up being an asset in the future,” said Risher. “The Rotary Club of the Upper Keys awards scholarships to graduating seniors and to continuing undergrads based on three factors: need, academic standing, and accomplishments,” said Upper Keys Rotarian Frank Derfler. “We conduct interviews, ask for transcripts, receive financial records, and evaluate participation in community events.


People coming to the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market enjoy the bargains, family atmosphere, the beach, affordable food, and great adult beverages. But behind all that, more than 300 Rotarians and volunteers working for the students in the Upper Keys. The Key Largo Rotary Club and the Upper Keys Rotary Club award around $150,000 a year to students graduating from or who have graduated from Coral Shores High School and Island Christian School. They raise this money from activities like the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market. The Key Largo club makes a special push toward students going to technical schools and the Upper Keys club accepts applicants from students through their entire undergraduate college program. Some scholarships, particularly multiyear awards, come from benefactors such as Mariners Hospital and the Jon and Julie Landau Family Foundation. Other scholarships come from significant event sponsors such as Islamorada Beer Company, Hurricane Boat Lifts, Keys Deck and Dock, AJ Vetter, Caribee Boat Sales, and the Islander Resort. Each year we ask scholarship students to give us an update. Here is a sample of what Keys students are doing.

Education is not the learning of facts. It’s rather the training of the mind to think.

FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY CAROLYN BARROW I am a Freshman in the Pre-Nursing and Honors program. I plan to volunteer at the Florida Cancer Specialist Foundation this coming semester in addition to keeping up with my honors course work. I hope to apply to the Nursing program this Spring in order to begin in the Spring term of 2019. I am so grateful for the Rotary scholarship because it is allowing me to be able to attend a University that is helping me excel as a nursing student, so that when I graduate I can hopefully come back here and help the wonderful people of the Keys. I can’t wait to see you at the Gigantic Nautical Flea Market!

CHELSEA KHUEN I am in my third year of a Psychology major with an interest in Nutrition and Sports Medicine (cognitive therapy). After I take the GRE this year, I plan on applying to a Masters Program with an interest in Sports Psychology. I am very active and live a very healthy lifestyle in regards to nutrition and exercise. I work hard on my body because I feel it sharpens the mind. I always knew I wanted to do something in the sports field, but thanks to recent experiences and revelations, I now know what it is I want to do with my life. Healing the mind and body is important and I feel that we forget to tend to the most important person in our life: our self. I want to help athletes with more than just the problems on the field or on the court. Thank you Rotary, for all that you have done for me, and so many others. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you!

MOLLY HUNTER I am currently a Freshman majoring in Environmental Engineering. This is a picture of me in front of the library on main campus. I spend a lot of time here to make sure I get all my work done. I really like going to school here at FGCU. I have joined the FGCU swim club and am volunteering at the Food Forest here at school. I really appreciate the Rotary and all the other organizations who have helped me. NICHOLAS WAHBA I’m a first-year student majoring in Computer Information Systems. My future goals are to work at a company that is high-tech and have ways of offering new innovated and technological advances within society and to the public, such as Google or Adobe. In my spare time, I have been involved in clubs like Circle K International, a service organization through which college students can find a means of responsible student action in their communities. I am grateful for the Rotary scholarship because it has taught me how to be more responsible not only as a student but a person in my community. The lessons I’ve learned from Rotary and the impact the organization made on me allowed me to bring an inclusive sense of community to Fort Myers, to build a stronger community similar to the one I have in the Florida Keys. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had and I will never forget it. Thank you to everyone for believing in me.


Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY CAROLINE MULLEN I graduated from Coral Shores High School in 2016. I am currently a Sophomore at Florida State University where I study Creative Writing and Studio Art. I also work as a Recital Hall Technician at the Florida State College of Music where I record live concerts and work backstage. In addition to this, I am a writer for the Arts and Culture section of the campus newspaper (the FSVIEW). I’ve always wanted to have a career in the arts, whether through music, writing, visual arts, or a combination of these. Through Rotary’s immense help, I’ve had the privilege to explore and study all of these things that I deeply love, and I am eternally grateful for that. MORGAN BESTERMAN I am currently majoring in Psychology and exploring other majors that I might have an interest in doubling in later in my academic career. I do not know what I want to do for a career in the future, but the Rotary scholarship has given me the opportunity to begin to explore and expand my horizons.

EMMA UPCHURCH I am majoring in Athletic Training to go on to Physical Therapy school and minoring in Psychology. I hope to one day be a pediatric physical therapist to help children recover from any injury or surgery. While keeping up with my studies I am an active member in Alpha Chi Omega sorority and play on multiple Alpha Chi intramural sports teams. I will also be trying out for the FSU women’s club lacrosse team this spring. I am so grateful for the Upper Keys Rotary and its financial help. Everything at school is so expensive, from textbooks and online access codes for a class to club and sorority dues. The scholarship money has allowed me to not worry about finances as much and continue to stay involved in my new college community. LILI TORRES My major is Biochemistry with plans to go to dental school for graduate school and become an orthodontist. To me, my scholarship from Rotary represents reward for the past, opportunity for the future, and motivation for the present. Without the continued support of donors who are locals and small businesses owners, many opportunities would not have been attainable for me — and it reminds me of everyone who I have rooting for my education and success back home. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Go ‘Noles!

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UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI ASHLYN MARCINAK This past semester I went abroad to study ecology across Ecuador, from the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon (where this picture was taken) to the island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos. In the Galapagos I conducted independent research on the communicative functions of patterns in the barking of male Galapagos sea lions. My major at University of Miami is Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I hope to pursue graduate school for either genetic counseling or biomedical research.

SPRING HILL COLLEGE AUDREY BUTLER I play for the Women’s soccer team and I am very thankful for the Rotary scholarship because it allowed me to be able to attend Spring Hill College in Alabama and play college soccer. I plan on pursuing a career in actuarial mathematics in the future.


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FLORIDA KEYS COMMUNITY COLLEGE BEN COSME I have recently been studying nursing at Florida Keys Community College and plan on completing my program at the end of the semester. Once I am finished I will be looking for a job at Mariners Hospital to begin my career. Once I start working, I will immediately pursue my bachelor’s program, also from FKCC. Once that is complete I plan on attending a master’s program to become a nurse practitioner. I am still undecided on my area of specialty but I have a strong interest in either orthopedics or pediatrics. These next years will be consuming but it will pay off in the long run. Receiving a Rotary scholarship will help take some of the stress off of the financial stress that comes with such a program.

NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA BEN VALEN I am a freshman and majoring in Psychology and minoring in Art History with the intent of becoming a clinical psychologist! I am so grateful for the Rotary scholarship I received because it has given me the opportunity to focus more on my schoolwork without having to take out many loans. I have also been able to get more involved with school clubs and other extracurricular activities thanks to the Upper Keys Rotary!

PALM BEACH ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY CAROLINE ROSENBALM I am a Junior studying Elementary Education with a minor in Dance.  I am very thankful for the Upper Keys Rotary Scholarship since it has been a HUGE help for my different expenses here at PBA.  I am very excited to continue my education at Palm Beach Atlantic and the Rotary scholarship will continue to help these next few years!

MARINE MECHANICS INSTITUTE DAVID CALDERWOOD I am almost half way through my training in Orlando and doing well. I have learned so much and there is yet so much that I still have to learn. I have still not decided where I plan to go when I graduate, but I do know that I want to work near the water. I have talked to many companies from electrical companies to diesel companies to all marine companies. I have decided to keep my options open. My dream is to find a job that allows me to travel the world and learn the most I possibly can because there is always something new to learn. My graduation date is set for July 27, 2018 and I plan to have a job set up by then.

FLAGLER COLLEGE EMILY GREEN I am currently studying Film and I switched my minor to Graphic Design. In my free time, I visit the various art museums in St. Augustine and study the architecture. Whenever I go out and do my favorite things, I film them and make little edits just for fun aside from my class work, so I have a lot of fun with that. In the future, I plan on graduating from Flagler College and securing an internship with a company such as MTV or ABC and from there I hope to work my way up. My lifelong goal is to become a director and move to either California or New York. I am so thankful for the Rotary scholarship because it really enabled me to focus on my school work. Because of the scholarship, I didn’t have to get a job the first semester which was so nice. I was able to adjust to college life in a very smooth and painless way. I plan on reapplying to the scholarship all four years and I really couldn’t be more thankful for a community that does so much to support and believe in youth. Thank you, Upper Keys Rotary Club!

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA JADE BASILIUS My name is Jade Basilius and I attend University of North Florida. I am a Communications major with concentration in Multimedia and Journalism with a minor in Business. 

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ERIN ALLISON I am a full time student at Florida International University, aiming to receive a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies; with concentrations in Environmental Studies, Education, and Management. But I also work around 30 hours a week at a 501-C3 therapeutic equine facility, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center in Miami. I care for and educate adults with developmental disabilities through the Adult Day Training program, as well as teach children with various limitations how to ride horses.

SANTA FE COLLEGE JADY LOPEZ I am currently enrolled in my second semester of my first year. My major is Biology and I plan on transferring to University of Florida after I complete my AA. My goal for the future is to become a trauma surgeon. At the moment I am currently employed at Big Lou’s Pizzeria. I am also a part of Southern Scholarship Foundation. I hope to begin volunteering at Shands Hospital in Gainesville sometime this year. I am so thankful that I received a Rotary scholarship in order to help me be successful in my future.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LAUREN FARR I am a Florida Keys native and a Coral Shores High School Graduate. During my time at Coral Shores I was in student government, National Honors society, environmental club, Key Club, interact club, captain of the Canette dance team, and Miss Coral Shores 2016. Currently I am attending the University of South Florida with a major in Health Sciences and a minor in Dance. After my time at USF, I plan on attending graduate school to become a Physical Therapist and hopefully return to the keys and give back to the community that gave so much to me.

REED COLLEGE LAUREN RABE I am currently studying Biology and Chemistry at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. I also work part time in a pet grooming salon, which I love. My plans for the future are still pretty nebulous, but they definitely involve animals. I might be a conservationist, or a veterinarian, or a field biologist. Thankfully, due to my incredible scholarship from the Upper Keys Rotary, I can focus less on work and more on school and those future plans!


FLORIDA SOUTHWESTERN STATE COLLEGE PARIS GASSER I recently graduated from Coral Shores High School and I am now currently attending school in Fort Myers. By focusing on my studies, I have a 4.0 GPA. I also attend the events held around the school campus. This included seminars on financial stability, writing cards to children that need encouragement, and grammar workshops. I am beyond grateful for the Rotary scholarship because it allowed me to buy a computer which is a necessity to be successful in college, and also cover expenses for my second semester.

CALIFORNIA MARITIME ACADEMY SAM KRAUS I am working towards becoming a Merchant Marine deck officer. To do this I have taken all sorts of classes ranging from marlinspike (knot tying), navigation, cargo operations, and small boat handling. I look forward to studying ship handling, tug and barge and firefighting. On top of regular semesters in school I also go on training cruises over the summer. This past summer, I spent 60 days on the school’s training ship “The Golden Bear.” The ship travelled from Vallejo, California to Acajutla, El Salvador and then to Hawaii. I am so thankful to Upper Keys Rotary and the community as a whole for the scholarship money. It has greatly helped me to achieve my goals.


Gigantic Nautical Flea Market

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA BROOK IRWIN I am a junior at the University of Florida. I am double-majoring in Economics and International Studies with a minor in Spanish. I am a “U Matter We Care” Ambassador, dedicated to spreading a culture of care at UF through presentations and tabling. I link students in distress to resources that can help them. I also work at Harry’s restaurant as a hostess and will soon begin training to become a server. I plan to apply to internships for this coming summer in preparation for my senior year. Rotary has made a huge difference on the quality of my college experience. Without the generosity of this club I would be under much greater financial stress. Thank you Rotarians for continuing to do a great job serving the community and its students away at college! CARLA GONZALEZ I am a third-year college student majoring in Nutritional Sciences and I am on the Pre-Med track. At the moment, I am working as a Research Assistant for a health psychology research team, serving as a recruitment director for Gators March for Babies, and volunteering weekly in the pediatric oncology unit at Shands Hospital as the Vice President of the Footprints Buddy and Support Program. This semester I am also studying to take my MCAT in order to apply for medical school this summer. I am working hard to achieve my dreams of becoming a future physician and I am grateful that the Rotary scholarship has helped put me on this path!

JORDI HORTENSI Currently, I am working at a 3D design/ prototyping agency in Berlin, working on prints and marketing strategies. We make things like a life-sized scale print of a skull to be used by a surgeon to prepare for an upcoming operation. Also, I have just been notified that I’ve secured a short-term position working at an embassy here in downtown Berlin. I will return to the U.S. in mid-June to attend the University of Florida. NOELLE PERRY I am currently in my third year pursuing an Applied Physiology and Kinesiology bachelors degree at the University of Florida. While attending classes, I am also working part time coaching gymnastics at Balance 180, which is a non-profit gymnastics gym that specializes in kids with differing degrees of disabilities. I am also a volunteer at Shands Hospital. Over the past two years, once a week, I have been working in the NICU cuddling babies when they are crying, helping parents who aren’t able to come as often as they would like to. I have also been serving on the UF club gymnastics team as a member of the executive board. My job is to organize our home meet that we put on for other teams across the nation each year.


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UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA BRIANNA CALDERWOOD I attend school at the University of Central Florida for International and Global Studies with a minor in Intelligence and National Security. With this I am hoping to work directly with policymakers or policy itself, either in Washington D.C. or abroad in an embassy. When I’m not studying for exams and doing homework, I am working at Petland in customer service, specializing in small animals. Easily one of the best parts of the job is getting to interact with all the different animals. Thank you all so much for your support of the Rotary Club, as they allow students like myself continue to go to school and chase our dreams. I cannot wait to see what these next few semesters hold for me! CAITLIN COX I am currently a junior and I have just finished my first semester in the college’s nursing program! I spent the semester learning the fundamentals of nursing and have applied these skills to my clinical location at a senior rehabilitation center and I will begin my hospital rotations next semester at Florida Hospital. I became involved in the Student Nursing Association where I have volunteered through the college and intend to run for an executive board position in the spring. I plan to apply to work as a Nursing Student Intern at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital when I return to school so I can get a foot in the door for my future career as a pediatric ER nurse! The generosity


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and continued support from the Upper Keys Rotary has made all of this possible for me, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me as a result! MALLORY EAKIN I am in my Sophomore year majoring in Biology, following the Pre-Veterinary track. I am an active member of the Pre Vet Society here, where we have guest speakers from all over the field of study share with us. (We also get to do neat hands on things such as necropsies). In March I will be visiting Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine for an annual symposium with some of my fellow club members and am so excited. One of the many reasons I am so thankful for Rotary’s scholarship is that in addition to keeping me motivated and focused on my academics, it has helped tremendously with financials considering the long road of schooling I have ahead of me to pursue and fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian. JULIA NEDIMYER I graduated from the Health Sciences/ Pre Clinical program in 2017, and am currently submitting my application for the University of Central Florida’s Medical program. While participating in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, I had the opportunity to spend a year living and studying in Germany. I shadowed a handful of medical experts for a month, including cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Andreas Psiesser. I’m not sure which field of medicine I want to study, cardiothoracic surgery was my favorite to watch, but I want to excel.

VALENCIA COLLEGE DAVIA LOWRIE I graduated from Coral Shores in 2017 and I am currently attending college in Orlando. I am majoring in Biology to pursue my career as a Veterinarian. I plan to transfer to the University of Central Florida after my second year. I do most of my studying around campus and at a botanical garden. I am beyond grateful for the Rotary scholarship because it has allowed me to have the opportunity to receive access to necessary resources. For example: textbooks, a computer and tuition. Receiving a scholarship from the community I come from allows me to feel supported more than 300 miles away, which gives me the confidence to strive and succeed. MORGAN LJUBA Although I am currently at Valencia College, I intend to transfer to University of Central Florida. My major is Health Sciences with the hope of one day becoming a pediatrician. I am working and studying hard to get good grades. I am trying to get a job at a doctor’s office to help me start my future in the medical field. I am so grateful for the Rotary scholarship because of how much it helped me pay for classes and my books. Without the Rotary scholarship I would’ve had to take out student loans, adding to my burdens in college.


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