By Selene Raj
After seeing Tamarac graduates recognized in a local newspaper, Commissioner Mike Gelin felt compelled to celebrate them, officially, on behalf of the city.
“We talk about the importance of education, but we don’t do enough to publicly acknowledge high achievers,” said Gelin.
At their most recent commission meeting, he requested proclamations for four highly accomplished local graduates—and on July 20, he paid them all personal visits to congratulate and present them with a proclamation that honored each graduate with a day in their names.
Charles Wynter, who graduated from J.P. Taravella with a 5.36 GPA as valedictorian. During high school, he was part of the Science National Honor Society, where he earned a certification to be a medical administrative assistant and competed in the HOSA Bowl. He will be attending Stanford University on a full scholarship, where he’ll study Human Biology.
Jillian Bourdage, a Tamarac resident who graduated with a 5.2182 GPA from Florida Virtual School as valedictorian. She was runner-up for the U.S. Golf Association Girls Junior Golf Championship in 2019. She will be attending Ohio State University on a full scholarship and play Division 1 Golf for the university. She plans to major in Air Transportation, and become a professional pilot.
Kenia Virgo, who graduated with a 5.01 GPA as salutatorian of Blanche Ely High School. During her high school career, she was a member of the National Honor Society, the president of Mu Alpha Theta, the Secretary of the Student Government Association, and the Questbridge National College Match Finalist. She is leaving Ely with a full scholarship at Vanderbilt University, where she plans to study Medicine.
Ajay Seedoo, who graduated with a 5.2304 GPA, as the salutatorian at Atlantic Technical College and High School. While in high school, he completed his associate’s degree from Broward College and served as vice president of the Programming Club. He also placed first in the state competition for web development. He will be attending Florida Atlantic University, where he received a full scholarship.
Along with a visit from Gelin and proclamations in their honor, students also received gift bags.
Bourdage, who met Gelin at Tamarac city hall, thanked him and said the experience made for a very special day.
Gelin said had it not been for COVID-19, he would have invited everyone to city hall to publicly recognize the students—but, he was still grateful that he could celebrate them in this way.
“I wanted to personally recognize our outstanding Tamarac students, and wish them well in the future,” said Gelin.
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- Selene Raj is a writer and a Florida International University graduate. Born in Trinidad and raised in America, she completed her Master's in Mass Communications in 2020, and has been living in Coral Springs since 2004. She is passionate about the communities she lives and works in and loves reporting and sharing stories that are as complex and meaningful as the people who live in them.