Each year the Tropical Flowering Tree Society raises funds to provide scholarships to deserving high school seniors to continue their educations. Selection is based on demonstrated achievement, character, and an interest in trees, natural beauty, horticulture, botany and/or the environment. This year the Society is gifting $4,000, with the Queen receiving $2,000, and each Princess receiving $1,000.
Nina Perez-Dubson was graduated from Westminster Christian School, where she was a National Science Foundation Honoree and an active participant in the Green Club. Nina also volunteered at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, where she has contributed over 600 hours. She had a GPA of 5.5 and is looking forward to studying botany at Florida International University. Her goal is to concentrate on helping the earth and improving its environmental health. Nina also enjoys her personal garden, a collection started when she was only 6 and that now includes hundreds of plants.
Monica Lopez was graduated from Miami Coral Park Senior High School. She loves science and plans to study biochemistry at Florida International University. Monica has a deeply rooted appreciation for plants because she grew up surrounded by and caring for ubiquitous white gingers, many lilies, and delicious and lush mango trees. From a young age, she displayed an interest in nature and the study of life. More recently, Monica has been learning more about the different species of trees and other plants, including their floral diversity and botanical attributes. She appreciates nature, and the experiences she had taking care of plants has helped her develop a keen understanding of the need to take care of our planet.
Kelly Gehrke was graduated from John A. Ferguson Senior High School, where she completed three classes towards a college degree in Early Childhood Education. Kelly plans to continue studying at Miami-Dade Community College, working in the field of education and specializing in hearing and speech pathology. Kelly also has a long and special relation with the Tropical Flowering Tree Society. She grew up helping at TFTS shows and sales, and helping at the tree planting projects that TFTS has done throughout the community over the years. Kelly’s goal is to incorporate science into early childhood learning curriculums, including teaching students early to understand and appreciate the importance of plants in our world.