OFF awards annual scholarships; Children of fishermen reap rewards
Funds raised during the weekend long festival go right into the college funds of hardworking fishermen’s children and grandchildren. Since the inception of the Marathon Seafood Festival 41 years ago, more than $175,000 has been donated to the community, including the Organized Fishermen of Florida, Marathon chapter scholarships. Six scholarships were given to Marathon High School graduating seniors last year. Here’s an update on a few of the recipients.
By Kristen Livengood
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been chosen to receive this scholarship,” said Selena Gonzalez, whose grandfather Diego Cordova, Sr. started fishing in the Keys in 1978. Her uncle is currently a commercial fisherman. “I am so honored to be able to use this scholarship in hopes to receive my degree and return home to give back to the community that has done so much not only for myself, but many others.”
Amanda grew up enmeshed in the commercial fishing industry, helping her dad, Raymond, and brother, Justin, during the summers at the trap yard. “To watch them be so dedicated to the fishing industry helps me want to be dedicated in whatever I am doing,” she said. She is currently attending Tallahassee Community College and plans on majoring in elementary education. “The scholarship helped me so much with the first semester, to pay tuition and buy books. I am so grateful.”
Grandpa Billy Tyner, a.k.a. Capt. Kingfish, was one of the patriarchs of the Marathon fishing community and one of the original founders of the Marathon Seafood Festival, so Sydney Konrath grew up to love and respect the waters around her. “He taught me that people have to work hard and put in a lot of hours to be successful,” she said while attending University of Miami. She is studying exercise physiology and minoring in chemistry, while pre-med. “Financially it made it easier to attend because it is very expensive,” she said of the O.F.F. scholarship.
Seth is attending the University of Miami and studying biomedical engineering. “I didn’t even think I would be able to attend here,” he said. “Quite frankly, without the help of the community and scholarships like O.F.F., I wouldn’t be here.” Landry’s parents have commercial fishing licenses for lobstering, and his family is neighbors with Paul Lebo, president of Marathon’s Organized Fishermen of Florida. “I’ve learned so much from him about the fishing community,” he said.
30 2017 Marathon Seafood Festival