Two years ago, Flagler Palm Coast High School’s Dylan Long became the first Flagler County student to be awarded a Take Stock in Children Leaders 4 Life Fellowship.
On Friday, Jan. 19, Dylan’s sister, Chloe Long, was honored as the county’s second Leaders 4 Life Fellow.
“I’m very excited,” Chloe Long said after a procession of district and school administrators, Chloe’s family and her Take Stock in Children mentor — Flagler County Judge Andrea Totten — walked in on her band class and “surprised” her with the news, bringing doughnuts for her bandmates.
The FPC senior had been selected as one of 12 finalists for the fellowships and received a MacBook Pro. As one of six winners statewide for the Leaders 4 Life Fellowships, Chloe will receive a $10,000 a year scholarship on top of her Take Stock in Children scholarship which covers college tuition. She’ll also have access to additional leadership training and internship opportunities.
“It's super exciting that she won,” said Dylan, who is majoring in computer science at the Univeristy of Florida. “I mean, it's been super beneficial for me. Obviously, the money itself is super helpful, but also you get a connection with people in similar areas of life, and every summer you get to go to a conference and hear talks from a bunch of people on industry, business and leadership.”
Like Dylan before her, Chloe wasn’t actually surprised that she had been awarded the Fellowship.
I opened Life360 (family tracking app), and I saw they were all at the school. So, it was a little suspicious.”
— CHLOE LONG
“I opened Life 360 (family tracking app), and I saw they were all at the school,” she said. “So, it was a little suspicious.”
Flagler Schools Superintendent LaShakia Moore, FPC Principal Bobby Bossardet and Flagler County Education Foundation Executive Director Teresa Rizzo were among the school officials who interrupted the band class with the news. Chloe’s mother Amy Long, siblings Dylan and Brianna, and grandparents Tim and Linette Smith were all there too as Chloe discovered on the tracking app.
Selina Hernandez, the Ed Foundation's assistant director for student services, said they received the news of Chloe’s award just the day before and knew they had to act quickly.
“I was like, we have to do it tomorrow. Everybody can’t keep a secret,” she said.
Rizzo said her first phone call was to Dylan.
“I asked him, ‘Can you skip class tomorrow?’”
‘I’M VERY THANKFUL FOR THE PROGRAM’
Chloe Long is an International Baccalaureate student at FPC. She has a 5.1 weighted GPA and a 3.95 unweighted GPA. She is the band president, a member of the National Honor Society, captain of the girls weightlifting team and a member of the lacrosse team.
She was accepted to Florida State University with a Merit Scholarship and is awaiting to hear if she has also been accepted to the University of Florida.
“The University of Florida is my first choice,” she said. “We have family ties there, so it's just kind of always been the goal, and they have a really good nursing program which is what I'm hoping to go for.”
Hernandez said over 100 Take Stock in Children seniors from around the state submitted applications for the Leaders 4 Life Fellowships, which are sponsored by the Asofsky Family Foundation. The applicants each wrote an essay about leadership and their five-year plan. The 12 finalists were required to send in a video.
Take Stock in Children is a non-profit organization in Florida that provides deserving low-income students with mentoring, college and career coaching and other services leading to a scholarship to a state university.
According to takestockinchildren.org, 92% of the students in the program statewide enroll in college.
Students enter the Take Stock program as high school freshmen and are assigned a mentor who remains with them for the next four years.
“Take Stock has been a very helpful between the college workshops that they've done with us and meeting with my mentor for the last four years,” Chloe said. “I'm very thankful for the program and everyone who's helped me out these last four years.”
‘IT’S JUST UNBELIEVABLE’
Chloe is Judge Totten’s second mentee with the program.
I'd like to think she got something out of our relationship, but I got three times as much back.”
— JUDGE ANDREA TOTTEN, Chloe Long's Take Stock in Children mentor
“I didn't get to select her, but I got lucky to get an excellent student,” Totten said. “She's just a great, warm person. She's a mentor herself amongst her peers and in her family. I'd like to think she got something out of our relationship, but I got three times as much back.”
Chloe’s younger sister, Brianna, a freshman at FPC, is also in the Take Stock in Children program.
Amy Long is a single mom who put herself through college at UCF and an online master’s degree program through Walden University while working fulltime for local non-profit SMA Healthcare and raising three children.
“Take Stock is an amazing program to have, just the extra support it offers. Dylan is two years out and he still communicates and keep ties with his mentor (Peter Sutcliffe),” Amy said.
Amy Long was a stay-at-home mom when she was married. She and her children moved to Flagler County 10 years ago.
“I was financially dependent on my ex-husband. I didn’t have a lot of skill set and experience,” she said. “I went to UCF for my undergrad in psychology and then I thought about nursing but because of raising three kids and working full-time I felt I had to do something else, so I got involved in a master’s of social work program.”
She said she has applied and expects to soon receive her license in social work.
Having two children to win the coveted Leaders 4 Life Fellowship has been a blessing, she said.
“It was amazing when it first happened with Dylan, and now that Chloe won too, it’s just unbelievable,” she said. “Even when she just won the laptop and was a finalist, it just says so much. It's a lot of validation that, even though there's been a lot of struggles in our family, obviously, something's been right. My kids are thriving, and they just continue to motivate me and inspire me every day.”