Scholastic Achievement Foundation of Palm Beach County
In 1977, Clifford E. Ripley, then Palm Beach County Schools’ Assistant Superintendent, called together several key administrators from public, private and parochial schools, and proposed the idea of a dinner to recognize outstanding scholastic achievement of high school seniors throughout the county.
“With a winning football team we can fill a stadium with supporters,” stated Ripley. “What does the community do for our top scholars?”
The Scholastic Achievement Foundation was born! This committee was able to interest administrators from all of the secondary schools in the county in this recognition concept, and a sponsor was found. Since then the sponsorship has been broadened to include leading high-profile Palm Beach County businesses, foundations, civic groups and individuals that encourage Excellence in Education.
The recognition took the form of an elegant dinner held in the Venetian Ballroom of the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach to leave the students with a lasting memory. The number of student representatives from each school is in proportion to the number of graduating seniors at that school. In 2011, 175 students attended. Each student introduces herself/himself and tells of her/his plans for college and the future. The dinner closes with a keynote speaker encouraging the students to strive even higher and bring their talents back to Palm Beach County.
The Foundation later began presenting scholarships to students in attendance. While they began with only three students each receiving a $1,000 award, by 2012, that number had grown to include twenty-four students who received $1,000 awards and one who received a four-year, full tuition scholarship to Florida Atlantic University.
To date the achievements of more than 3,000 students have been recognized at our dinners with over 225 of those students receiving scholarships.