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Drug raids fund scholarships

Nine Citrus and Marion high school sophomores were named the first recipients of scholarships in an innovative Central Florida Community College program that converts money seized during drug raids into education for disadvantaged students. CFCC Dean of Minority Affairs Lorenzo Edwards coordinated the program with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office and the Citrus County Commission, the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Marion County Commission, and the Ocala Police Department and the Ocala City Council. The scholarships are funded by grants from law enforcement trust funds established with money taken during drug raids or profits from the sale of items confiscated during these raids. The recipients are educationally and economically disadvantaged high school sophomores who agree to remain drug- and crime-free. Upon graduation from high school, these students, who might not have had any future, are given full two-year scholarships to CFCC and get all the advantages a post-secondary education can bring.

The students are Leonard Fisher III, Lecanto High School; Eric Lockley and Antae Summerlin, Crystal River High School; Juliann Davila, Citrus High School; Jason Drayton, Vanguard High School; LeRoy Scott, Forest High School; Enza Armstrong, Lake Weir High School; Cedric Dennison, North Marion High School, and Shaneka Murphy, Dunnellon High School.

Each school chose its own recipients, according to Edwards, who placed the scholarship money in interest-bearing accounts to use as an endowment. Only the interest from these accounts will be tapped for the awards, leaving the principal untouched.

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