Celebrating Diversity and Excellence

The Giovanni Vitrano Memorial Scholarship Winners

The Giovanni Vitrano Memorial Scholarship is proud to support a diverse group of exceptional student-athletes who embody the values of drive, leadership, resilience, community engagement, and academic excellence. We are honored have awarded scholarships to nine outstanding individuals from six different schools across the Tallahassee, FL, and Thomasville, GA media market.

Our scholarship recipients come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, with GPAs ranging from 3.6 to 4.6. Two of our winners will be the first in their families to attend college, showcasing their determination and perseverance. By evaluating applicants holistically and weighting each of our criteria equally, we ensure that we are supporting well-rounded students who have the passion and potential to succeed in college and beyond.

As you read through the profiles of our scholarship winners, we hope you will be as inspired as we are by their accomplishments, their stories, and their commitment to making a positive impact on and off the soccer field.

Grand Prize Winners

Martina Silva, Florida High

$6,000 Scholarship Winner, Class of 2024

Martina, born in Chile, embodies resilience and dedication. Despite navigating a new language and culture when she immigrated with her family, Martina boasts a stellar academic record with a 4.65 weighted GPA. Not only is she a member of numerous academic honor societies, but she’s also actively involved in her community, volunteering at the Tallahassee Animal Shelter. On the soccer field, Martina is a force to be reckoned with. She’s played for prestigious teams like Florida High Girls Soccer, Top of Florida, and Tottenham Hotspur. With college applications submitted to top universities nationwide and acceptance to honors programs at Florida State and the University of Florida, Martina’s future is bright

Alejandro Alonso, Gadsden County

$5,000 Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

Alejandro Alonso is a trailblazer, becoming the first in his family to attend college and only the second to graduate high school. As the Secretary of the Gadsden Future Farmers of America, Alejandro demonstrated his leadership skills and dedication to agriculture. His passion extends beyond the classroom and onto the soccer field, where he earned the title of Second-Team All-Big Bend midfielder.

Maintaining an impressive 3.6 GPA, Alejandro’s academic achievements have earned him a spot at Florida State University, where is studying Criminology. His determination to succeed, despite the challenges of being a first-generation college student, is a testament to his character and resilience. Alejandro’s pursuit of higher education and his commitment to making a positive impact in his community make him a deserving recipient of this scholarship.

Jose Gonzalez, Chiles

$6,000 Scholarship Winner, Class of 2023

Jose Gonzales is a true renaissance man, excelling in both academics and athletics. As a co-founder of the Physics Club and an active participant in Science Olympiad, the National Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta, Jose demonstrated his passion for science and mathematics. His leadership skills shone through as he captained the Chiles Boys’ Soccer Team to victory, securing the 2022 Gio Cup Championship and the 2022-23 District Championship.

With a strong academic foundation and a track record of success on the soccer field, Jose caught the attention of the University of Pennsylvania. Jose now attends this prestigious Ivy League institution, where is pursuing his interests in physics and mathematics while continuing to make a positive impact on his community. Jose’s well-rounded achievements and dedication to his pursuits make him an exemplary recipient of this scholarship.

Remaining Scholarship Winners

Meghan Roper, Leon

$2,000 Scholarship Winner, Class of 2024

Meghan Roper, a Leon High School graduate and future Auburn University student, is awarded a $2,000 scholarship. Leading by example, Meghan overcame a learning challenge (undiagnosed ADHD) to achieve a strong academic record with a 3.6 GPA. Her leadership shines not only on the Leon soccer field as team captain but also in her dedication to various clubs and organizations. Meghan served as President of the Dance Marathon, significantly increasing fundraising efforts. Meghan also held leadership positions in the Anchor Club and Interact Club and volunteered at Porch De Solomon.


Betrice Drayton, Rickards

$2,000 Scholarship Winner, Class of 2023

Betrice Drayton, a senior at Rickards High School, is an exceptional student-athlete who has made her mark both on and off the soccer field. Her incredible talent and dedication to the sport have earned her recognition as one of only two girls in Leon County to score 40 or more goals in a single season, with an impressive 41 goals in just 14 games.

In addition to her athletic achievements, Betrice has also been recognized for her academic excellence. As a recipient of the ABC 27 Scholar-Athlete of the Week award, she has demonstrated her ability to balance her passion for soccer with her commitment to her studies.

Betrice’s hard work and determination have paid off, as she has been accepted to West Florida College, where she will continue to pursue her academic and athletic goals. Her outstanding accomplishments and leadership skills make her a worthy recipient of the $2,000 Giovanni Vitrano Memorial Scholarship.

RJ Hosay, Maclay

$2,000 Scholarship Winner, Class of 2023

RJ Hosay, a senior at Maclay School, is an outstanding student-athlete who has excelled in both academics and soccer. As the Editor-in-Chief of The Andalusian School Newspaper, RJ has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and a passion for journalism. His commitment to academic excellence is further evidenced by his membership in the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, and All-Florida Scholastic Press Association.

On the soccer field, RJ’s talent and dedication have shone through, as he scored an impressive 44 goals throughout his varsity career at Maclay. His exceptional performance earned him the title of ABC 27 Scholar-Athlete of the Week, recognizing his ability to balance his athletic pursuits with his academic achievements.

RJ’s hard work and well-rounded accomplishments have been rewarded with his acceptance to the University of Florida, where he will continue to pursue his academic and athletic goals in the fall. His outstanding leadership skills, commitment to excellence, and passion for both journalism and soccer make him a deserving recipient of the $2,000 Giovanni Vitrano Memorial Scholarship.

Ethan Stewart, Leon

$1,000 Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

Ethan Stewart, a graduate of Chiles High School, is not only a talented soccer player but also a true embodiment of the values that the Giovanni Vitrano Memorial Scholarship represents. As a teammate of Giovanni Vitrano, Ethan experienced firsthand the camaraderie and family-like bond that Gio fostered within the team.

In Ethan’s own words, “When I first got the call to varsity my sophomore year, Gio was the first person to come to me. He really taught me that in soccer, your team is family, and you can’t really have anything like that. So being able to receive a scholarship that’s in memory of Gio is awesome. It means I have a part of him that’s always going to be with me.”

Ethan’s heartfelt tribute to his teammate and friend showcases the profound impact that Giovanni had on those around him. It is evident that Gio’s legacy lives on through the lives he touched and the values he instilled in his teammates, like Ethan.

As a recipient of the $1,000 Giovanni Vitrano Memorial Scholarship, Ethan not only demonstrates his own exceptional qualities as a student-athlete but also carries forward the spirit of camaraderie and leadership that Giovanni embodied. This scholarship serves as a fitting tribute to Gio’s memory and a testament to the enduring bond shared by teammates who become family.


Lawre Bradley May, Maclay

$2,000 Scholarship Winner, Class of 2024

Lawre Bradley May from Maclay School is awarded a well-deserved $2,000 scholarship. Lawre, who will attend Auburn University, is a multi-talented young person with a 4.52 GPA. Beyond academics, Lawre excels in athletics, participating in lacrosse, tennis, and cheerleading while also being a standout on the Maclay soccer team (earning MVP honors). Her dedication extends beyond the field, with involvement in clubs like National Art Society, National Honors Society, and Key Club. Lawre’s commitment to academics and community service is further highlighted by her numerous awards, including the Scholar-Athlete Award, English Student of the Year, and History Student of the Year.

Maddie Kopka, Florida High

$2,000 Scholarship Winner, Class of 2023

Madeline “Maddie” Kopka, a graduate of Lincoln High School, is an inspirational student-athlete who has overcome physical challenges to become one of the most accomplished soccer players in the Big Bend area. Her determination and perseverance have earned her the prestigious title of 2022 All-Big Bend Girls Soccer Player of the Year, a testament to her exceptional skills and unwavering commitment to the sport.

Off the field, Maddie’s dedication to her studies is equally impressive. With a strong 3.9 GPA, she has demonstrated her ability to balance her athletic pursuits with her academic responsibilities. Her hard work and resilience have not gone unnoticed, as she has been offered the opportunity to continue her soccer career at Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Maddie’s journey serves as an inspiration to all, showcasing the power of perseverance in the face of adversity. Her ability to excel both academically and athletically, despite the challenges she has faced, makes her a worthy recipient of the $1,000 scholarship. As she embarks on the next chapter of her life at Trinity Washington University, there is no doubt that Maddie will continue to make a positive impact both on and off the soccer field.