MIAMI, May 16th – The Miami HEAT hosted an end-of-year celebration for 372 HEAT Academy students at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday, May 15th.
The afternoon was a carnival-style event with food, fun, and excitement for students, guests and HEAT Academy Volunteers. During the festivities, Carnival Corporation & plc and Carnival Foundation presented a check in the amount of $170,000 to the Florida Prepaid College Foundation for scholarships benefiting HEAT Academy students. Fifteen fifth-grade HEAT Academy students who go on to participate in the Carnival Scholarship and Mentoring program will become eligible for a scholarship, which matures in 2025, the fifth grade class’ expected graduating year. This marks the 16th consecutive year that Carnival has funded the scholarships, and during this time the company has purchased 240 scholarships with a total value of more than $3.5 million.
HEAT Players, Tyler Johnson and Rodney McGruder, HEAT Legends, Alonzo Mourning and Glen Rice, were in attendance for the press event. Miami HEAT PA, Michael Baiamonte, served as the emcee.
In attendance for this event were the following representatives:
- Eric Woolworth, The HEAT Group, President of Business Operations
- Linda Coll, Carnival Corporation, Executive Director of Carnival Foundation
- Stanley Tate, Founder of the Florida Prepaid College Foundation
- Senator Ron Silver, Florida Prepaid College Foundation
- Martha De La Peña Rojas, Florida Blue, Senior Manager Market Development and Community Relations, South Florida
Other activities included performances by the HEAT Dancers, Burnie, Xtreme Team and Uptown Dale. Lunch was provided by Papa John’s, along with beverages from Pepsi and Gatorade. The AmericanAirlines Arena bowl was also transformed into a HEAT Fun Zone with inflatables, games, face painting, popcorn, cotton candy and an airbrush artist from supporting partner, Florida Blue.
After the press event, the 1st Annual HEAT Academy Challenge took place, which pinned each school against each other in various field-day games and contests, with the winning school earning an Ice Cream party. Each school gave such valiant effort and deserved to be claimed as the winner, awarding each HEAT Academy program with an ice cream party prior to the end of the school year.
The Carnival Scholarships, developed in collaboration with the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, enable 15 students who are currently enrolled in HEAT Academy and go on to participate in the Carnival Scholarship and Mentoring Program to be eligible for a four-year tuition scholarship to an accredited Florida college or university of their choice upon graduating high school. Florida Prepaid College Foundation provides a matching donation to fund these scholarships. In March, the ninth HEAT Academy / Carnival Scholarship and Mentoring Program graduating class was awarded 16 Carnival Scholarships. Carnival has presented 135 students with scholarships over the past eight years.