Lake Worth Dollars for Scholars chapter, part of Scholarship America, a national educational program, will hand out $129,500 to 70 students tonight at its 20th annual event.
“That’s a record amount for us,” said David Cantley, the foundation’s 79-year-old co-founder and Lake Worth High School’s principal for nearly two decades before retiring in 1999. “Last year we awarded $120,000, so this is the most we’ve ever done.”
The city’s Dollars for Scholars is scheduled to hold its free award event at Lake Worth High School at 7 p.m. About 150 people are expected to attend. The organization has awarded a total of more than $1.1 million since 1999, its founding year.
The group also operates the Barry Grunow Memorial Scholarship for aspiring teachers, named after the high school teacher who was gunned down in 2000 outside his classroom by then-13-year-old student Nathaniel Brazill.
Six students will receive $18,000 from the fund.
The foundation has several patrons, including GL Homes of Florida, Kiwanis Club of Lake Worth, Wayne Akers Ford and Dave’s Last Resort and Raw Bar, according to the group’s website.
Jeff Cain, 60-year-old son of Malcolm Cain, the longtime Lake Worth barber who did for a razor and scissors what Vincent van Gogh did for paintbrushes, started a scholarship in his father’s name. Malcolm died in 2016 from lung cancer.
He contributed $1,000 for 20 straight months to make the endowment. This will be the first Malcolm Cain scholarship. “I’m glad my dad gets the recognition,” said Jeff, a Delta Air Lines pilot who will be flying in from Washington, D.C., for tonight’s event. “I have three daughters, and I told them, ‘I want you to do the same thing in my name after I’m gone.’”
Jeff said he’s always had a soft spot for kids who wanted to go to college but didn’t know how they would go.
Cantley said raising money in Lake Worth isn’t easy. “It’s very hard to do,” he said. “A lot of the mom-and-pop businesses are gone. We have to dig hard to get this money.”
He said the group would also love to track former students to see how they’re doing and how the scholarships impacted them. “It’s hard to locate them, and the colleges won’t give us any information,” he said.
Cantley said the scholarship is doing a great service to the community. “We’re educating these kids so they can get a job and make a decent living,” he said. “We’re really excited about it.”