Two graduate students and a freshman have received Ralph D Smith Memorial Scholarships for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students at area colleges.
Trince McNally, 27, of Bethune-Cookman University, received the top award, $1000. Austin Stanley, planning to attend the University of Central Florida, and Christopher Funk, taking pre-med courses at Daytona State, each received $500.
The annual grants were awarded by the Volusia-Flager Rainbow Alliance, which has operated the scholarship program for five years. The alliance announced the awards on June 29 after receiving nominations from a panel of retired educators.
Trinice, who is pursuing a master’s degree in transformative leadership at Cookman, helped organize Standing in Your Truth, a gay straight alliance. She serves as the organization’s adviser. She also provides counseling to the school’s “It Gets Better” group.
Austin, 18, graduated from Matanzas High School in Palm Coast, and is starting studies at UCF. A trombone player, he was captain of his high school’s symphonic and marching bands. He also has been a peer counselor to fellow students struggling with orientation problems.
Chris, a 26-year-old Daytona State graduate in Port Orange, continues post-grad work at DSC to prepare for a medical graduate program. He heads a campus chapter of the American Medical Association and leads the GLBT Community Center in New Smyrna Beach.
The Rainbow Alliance also distributes small matching grants to help other organizations do outreach to the GLBT community. This year’s grants, so far, include a $300 donation to the 2014 Volusia Pride festival, scheduled for Oct 25 in New Smyrna Beach, and $200 used for the Kaleidoscope Gay-Straight Prom at Stetson University.
The scholarships honor the late Ralph D. Smith, an attorney who did volunteer work for Stonewall Democrats and other gay organizations in Daytona Beach. His relatives in Washington, D.C., and Maine continue generous support of the program.
The Alliance is a nonprofit coalition open to anyone interested in local GLBT solidarity and equality. Board members are Rev. Susan Roth, Tom Brown, Paul Edson, Russ Van Allen and Roxanne Williams. It meets quarterly at New Church Family in Daytona Beach. Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to Volusia-Flagler Rainbow Alliance, PO Box 1936, Daytona Beach FL. 32115. Information: 386-527-5952.