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Meet some of our Students

Our 2019 Thomas McCormick Scholarship Fund Recipients

Some of our 2018 recipients

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Anielya Wells Miller, 


I remember feeling astonished and surprised when I first heard the news regarding the decision.. I never imagined I that I would get the opportunity to travel to Germany, even to Europe, at such a young age for an exchange program. The next minute I found myself on the plane to Duisburg, Germany, with my friend Ryan Rowe.

It didn’t feel real until we were immersed within the crowd of hundreds at Miami International Airport on the morning of Friday, June 1, 2018. I was able to travel so far away from home because of the scholarship and opportunity provided to me by the Thomas W. McCormick Foundation, on the basis of Sister-cityship between Duisburg and Fort Lauderdale that was organized by the McCormick Foundation and the DAFN (German-American Friendship Club Duisburg) .
Soon enough we landed in Duesseldorf Int. Airport and split up to meet our host families, mine being the Dankwardts. It was a strange feeling being so happy to meet people I barely knew. 


At first it felt a bit odd but freeing to be away from home, living with the Dankwardts, but they made me feel so comfortable that my worries soon faded. My time in Germany was filled with enriching experiences that I wouldn’t change for the world. I went to school with Laura everyday and met tons of other kids. I think one of the things I enjoyed most was going to school. I loved the social aspect of it all, how much it differed from my American schooling, and learning new things their way. 

I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything else in the the world. I went from thinking I’d never travel across the world at such an early time in my life, to hopping on two planes to get to Duisburg, Germany. I will forever cherish this opportunity that was granted to be to experience a different life in. 

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Ryan Rowe

Duisberg, Germany


Nicolas Briglio

Rimini, Italy

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Hannah Cohn

Rome, Italy


Bernardo Rodela

Fort Lauderdale, USA

I believe that there is no greater education in life than traveling the world.  Traveling grows you as a person because it exposes you to the cultures and lifestyles of exotic countries.  The Thomas W. McCormick Scholarship Fund gifted me with the life changing opportunity to live and study in Rimini, Italy this summer, and it was easily the most incredible experience I could have ever dreamt of.  Italy is a country with thousands of years of fascinating history, art, and architecture, and being able to study there and travel to cities such as Florence, Venice, Bologna, and Verona was nothing short of a dream come true. I have always had a strong passion and a dream to travel and study, and the Thomas W. McCormick Scholarship Fund turned those dreams into an unforgettable reality. This trip has taught me life lessons such as adapting quickly to different cultures and having an openness to try new things. I am forever grateful for this amazing opportunity to study in Italy, it truly changed my life. 

Mary Contini, 

Broward County Public School, Italy

Ever since I was young, I had always dreamed of traveling the world and exploring new places. As a child, I could not literally travel, so for the most part this meant that I would travel through books. When I finally got the opportunity to travel and see the world by studying abroad in Venice, one of the far off, exotic places that I had read and dreamed about, I had no idea how the actual city of Venice, would quiet literally be as rich and vibrant as the descriptions of it in books. I am extremely grateful that the Thomas W. McCormick Scholarship Fund has given me the opportunity to carry out my dream. My experience in Venice was truly life changing. Venice is a magical place full of culture, history. While there, I learned a great deal and grew so much as an individual and in maturity. In addition to Venice, I was able to travel through much of northern Italy and see Florence, Milan, Bologna, and Verona. Having lived in Venice has given me the confidence to face any of life’s challenges, because I know that I was able to survive on my own halfway around the world. I will forever be thankful of the Thomas W. McCormick Scholarship Fund, because their generosity I was able to go on the adventure of a lifetime.


Cindy Ruano

FAU Student, Italy

Last year, I received the great opportunity to come to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where I was welcomed in an American high school for international exchange students and the Thomas W. McCormick Scholarship. That journey was my first experience as an exchange student, and I know that all of this would not have been possible without the help offered to me by the Thomas W. McCormick Scholarship Foundation. The foundation is led by Mrs. Nuccia McCormick, who is the Chairman of the Board, and she became my sponsor. We got to know each other so well that I decided to move from Italy and start university in Fort Lauderdale, which became my preferred City in America. This year, I applied to Nova Southeastern University to become a doctor and was accepted after completing my high school degree in Italy.

I am very happy and excited about this new opportunity that I was able to take only because of the cultural exchange that I did last year. I will always be grateful to Nuccia and the McCormick foundation for making my dreams come true!

I have always dreamed of traveling around the world and studying abroad, so I feel this chance will change my life forever.

Enea Agolli

President Youth Ambassador

Nova Southeastern University


Groundbreaking and life changing.These are the two phrases I like to use when referring to my six weeks in Venice, Italy. Six weeks which were spent not just taking in the sights and appreciating the art and cuisine, but six weeks spent reinventing myself as an independent young adult. The life lessons and aspects of my personality that I gathered in this journey are substantially important to who I am today.Having spent time away from home in a foreign land with a foreign language helps one focus to the essentials and helped me focus on the important things in life. I feel that having spent time in Italy has made me a much better person than before I left. The wonderful people of Italy and Europe taught me to enjoy life more and worry about the details a little less. The details will be sorted out on their own. I also have learned to be less judgmental one other people if I don’t know what those people are going through exactly.

Having lived in Venice, also made me more conscious of my surroundings and how delicate they can be. As an architect we are constantly taught to be more sustainable and respecting of the site we built on. Venice has shown me exactly why we must respect our surroundings, otherwise we could lose or homes to powers of our own conjuring. I am deeply grateful to the Thomas McCormick Scholarship foundation for giving me the help I needed to make this experience possible. Without them I wouldn't have become the person I am today.


Angel Castillo

FAU Student, Italy

As the world rapidly continues on the path of globalization, understanding other cultures and peoples is ever more pressing; my curiosity of lands beyond my immediate surroundings led me to dreams of travel and exploration beyond the United States. My dream was finally realized in Italy: a nation embedded with history in every small village and piazza; it is a proud nation with famed artists, the most delicate wine, and an enduring scope of influence in Europe. As a student entering Italy for the first time, the experience was nothing short of humbling and frightening. Despite many cultural barriers however, I appreciated every day, every blessing, for having been able to travel overseas to learn, observe, and grow. In Italy, I was able to meet with citizens of China, befriend Germans, speak Spanish with South Americans, and integrate Italian culture as a part of my own identity. What made this journey so enriching for me was pushing the cultural barriers to better understand who I am as a student, as a woman, and as an American.

These experiences will influence and propel me forward as I continue to grow and change into the person I wish to be: an informed citizen of global affairs and active participant in culture studies. Because of this trip, I feel much more informed about the socio-political and economic realities facing Italy today and how, as an informed citizen, I am able to bridge the divide between domestic and foreign from the perspective of an American.The knowledge I’ve acquired, the friendships I’ve forged, and the many blessings I’ve received have made my trip to Italy the most momentous experience of my life. I will continue studying, exploring, and traveling, to understand not only Italy, but the world as a whole; for all we speak of nationalities, cultural differences, and social divisions, above all, I am a citizen of the world. I firmly believe that a cosmopolitan mindset is crucial to understanding how we as a people can transition from viewing ourselves not by our divisions but by our strengths. As an aspiring economist, numbers and data can only take one so far, for behind the figures are people who live, breathe, and contribute to the same world we must nurture and protect.Finally, all of this was would not have been possible if it were not for the contribution and scholarly attention that the Thomas W. McCormick Scholarship Fund offers students to pursue their education and careers. I’d like to thank each member of the Board of Directors for their kind generosity. Because of their firm commitment to promoting education and culture, I was able to bring to life my dream of traveling to Italy and studying abroad. Their patronage helped to ease the financial burden tremendously, allowing me the freedom to pursue my studies into the linguistic, historical, and cultural impacts of Italy as a whole. I look forward to helping others also achieve their dreams of studying abroad and giving back to the community which has been generous to me. Thank you.

My name is Martin Valderruten and my experience in Duisburg, Germany was incredible. I was welcomed in the Home of Freddy Gawveski by his family. It was awesome, I felt right at home and everyday we had a new experience bonding and meeting his other family members. I started school at Freddy’s high school and I got the opportunity to meet some very interesting people, everyone at Freddy’s high school was very welcoming and helped me out a lot while I was trying to learn German. The experience over all was out of this world I honestly learned so much and I know for a fact that I made a life long friend in Freddy. I wanted to thank the Thomas McCormick foundation for giving me this opportunity and taking a chance in me to be a leader and go on this adventure. It was such a thrill visiting a different country and doing all sorts of new and amazing things. The Gaweski family took me to Amsterdam and Paris it was so beautiful and I was so grateful for the opportunity. Being able to do this student exchange was by far one of the best things that could ever happen to me. I was able to experience new cultures and new languages. I got the opportunity to meet some incredible people that I will forever call my friends and most of all I received a new family. This program taught me many valuable things and it opened my eyes to the vast things our world has to offer. Seeing how I will be studying communication and public relations I could not think of a better way to enrich my mind. This experience was absolutely everything I hoped it would be. And it changed my life profoundly.

Cindy Metsker

FAU Student, Italy

Martin Valterruten

Broward County Public School


My name is Rachel Devlin, and I am about to start my first year of college at Nova Southeastern University studying Humanities. Having been one of the few people chosen to participate in the Thomas W. McCormick Scholarship Fund, I was able to study Italian in Rimini Italy while living with a host family.Before traveling to Italy I had never stepped outside of the U.S. before. I got to visit places like Florence, Venice, and San Marino. It was truly a fantastic experience I will never forget. I got to see another way of living by observing their culture, and the similarities and differences of life in Italy to here in the U.S. I feel blessed and very thankful to the wonderful family that I stayed with while in Rimini. They made my first time away from home an incredible experience that I will never forget. I feel very thankful to the Thomas W. McCormick Foundation and all the people involved in this special organization.


Rachel Devlin

Broward County Public School


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