Overlooking Florida A&M University quad, students lined up to celebrate their academic achievements with the first annual ice cream social hosted by the Florida Lottery. The ice cream social provided refreshments, free t-shirts and live music from DJ Loose Kid.
The celebration began at 11 a.m. with the Student Government Association President Breyon Love and President James Ammons congratulating the scholars.
Ammons said approximately $33.9 million in lottery revenue has benefited FAMU scholars and about 15,566 Bright Futures Scholarships have been awarded to FAMU students.
“There is no better lottery than the Florida Lottery because it makes sure that student education is funded,” Rep. Allen Williams, a FAMU alumnus, said. “Many of the participants in the Bright Futures Scholarship program were appreciative of the opportunity that the Florida Lottery has bestowed upon them.”
Chelsea Williams, a fourth-year theater performance major from Miami, said receiving Bright Futures allowed her to attend FAMU without taking a student loan. Although Bright Futures requires all students to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for full academic funding, Williams said the academic requirements are more than reasonable and manageable, even for heavily involved students.
The event is one of the first being held by the Florida Lottery for the Bright Futures Scholarship program. The ice cream social is also being held at several colleges around Florida, including the University of Florida, University of Central Florida and Florida Atlantic University. FAMU is the only HBCU to host a social.
Cynthia O’Connell, government-appointed Lottery secretary, said the partnership Florida Lottery has with Winn-Dixie of selling the lottery tickets within the store enables students to stay within colleges in their local area. More than 13,000 Winn-Dixie retailers nationally sell the lottery tickets.
“Hard work pays off,” Tony Massie, assistant store director of the Winn-Dixie on West Tharpe Street and a former recipient of a Bright Futures scholarship, said. “I encourage students to keep striving for excellence in academia.”