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Tampa Bay Times announces 30 semifinalists for Barnes Scholarship

ST. PETERSBURG — Thirty high school seniors from across the Tampa Bay area have been named semifinalists for the 2015 Barnes Scholarship, which is sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times Fund.

This year, 371 students applied. The program provides as many as four recipients up to $60,000 to pay for four years of schooling at an accredited U.S. college or university.

From the list of 30 semifinalists, 10 will be interviewed in January and the winners will be announced in February.

The scholarship was established in 1999 and named for Andrew Barnes, retired Times chairman and CEO. It was created to serve students who have overcome significant life obstacles while still excelling academically.

As in past years, all finalists and recipients will be invited to a luncheon in April. Adrienne Holland, now an attorney in Tampa, will speak to the group. She received the Barnes in 2000.

Since the program's creation, Barnes scholars have graduated from top-tier universities and colleges across the country. Schools that recipients have attended include Baylor, Georgetown, Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania, Scripps College and the University of Florida.

The Tampa Bay Times Fund is the not-for-profit philanthropic arm of the Times Publishing Co. The fund has provided college scholarships since 1953.

The semifinalists:

Hernando County

Casey Kuka, homeschooled

Hillsborough County

Brianna Adkins, Freedom High

Yi Baik, King High

Danielle Darius, Steinbrenner High

Martha Hadley, Leto High

Luana Isaac, Wharton High

Amber Orosco, Academy of the Holy Names

Valeria Rigobon, Hillsborough High

Meng Fei Shen, Robinson High

Daniel Erickson, Jefferson High

Cameron Kocan, Hillsborough High

Ethan Malcom, Hillsborough High

Eric Martinez, Hillsborough High

Cameron McKenzie, Plant High

Alvin O'Garro, King High

Nicholas Rajcoomar, Strawberry Crest High

Manuel Tejeda, Robinson High

Pasco County

Tiana Diaz, Pasco High

Mackenzie Marques, Gulf High

Andrea Pereira, River Ridge High

Joseph Learned, River Ridge High

Jordan Wheeler, Land O'Lakes High

Donovin Widmann, Ridgewood High

Pinellas County

Austin Cheeley, Countryside High

Julia Martin, Dunedin High

Amanda Mitchell, St. Petersburg Collegiate High

Annette Rumas, Pinellas Park High

Georgina Szucs, Tarpon Springs High

Jonah Free, Gibbs High

Matthew Wanner, St. Petersburg Catholic High