Pomp and circumstance played in the background as graduates waited for their names to be called at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Charlotte County.

Wearing masks and keeping social distance, staff held a graduation ceremony and party last week for its sixth-grade students. Five students received diplomas, and a very special high school graduate was also recognized at the event.

Danielle Meeker is a 2020 graduate of Port Charlotte High School. She’s been attending programs at the club since she was in kindergarten and she’s currently a staff member in charge of 10 kids.

She’ll be moving to Tallahassee in August to attend college. Her plan is to one day become a pediatric surgeon.

“I’ve always been interested in the medical field and I love working with kids,” Meeker said. “I’ll miss everyone here but I’m excited about my future.”

Meeker was awarded a $5,000 Great Future scholarship from the club.

“We have an agency fund at the Charlotte Community Foundation that was set up for the purpose of awarding continuing education scholarships,” said Monica Luna, director of development. “Applicants must have been a club member for a minimum of 5 years, a volunteer during high school, and must be a well-rounded student with solid grades/extra-curricular activities. Applications are reviewed by the scholarship committee and approved by the board.”

Meeker already has a job lined up at a Boys & Girls Club branch in Tallahassee.

Executive Director Lynn Dorler along with Board of Directors member John Ramirez handed out the diplomas on stage.

“I’m proud of our graduates and very proud of Danielle,” Dorler said. “I’ve known her since she was in kindergarten, and to see how far she’s come ... it’s just amazing. It’s not going to be easy to say goodbye.”

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