The 25th annual Plywood Regatta was all prepared to celebrate its auspicious silver anniversary at Dania Beach, but Mother Nature had other plans and forced the cancellation of the event.
The good news was the Marine Industries Association of South Florida had a contingency plan in place and was able to present some well-deserving students with scholarship awards.
The future boat builders of the world had members of the MIASF team visit their respective schools and deliver the scholarship awards in recognition of their academic achievements. The last time the actual race took place was in 2019 before the COVID-19 lockdown forced the cancellation of the race in 2020 and 2021.
Noah Dermody, MIASF’s director of membership and events, said he was pleased to see the students recognized in front of their peers.
“Everyone involved was disappointed to have to cancel this year’s event,” he said. “However, it was still incredibly important to us that we still awarded these scholarships to support the students’ educational goals as they are the future of our marine industry. We want them to know that we are proud of all they have accomplished and support them in their future endeavors.”
Graduating seniors Andrew Price, of Cooper City High School, and Alex Valdes, of Nova High School, as well as the New River Middle School Marine Magnet program showed they possessed the right stuff with outstanding academic achievements, displaying a strong desire to pursue marine industry careers after they graduate.
The aspiring engineers will feature Price attending Purdue University for electrical engineering, while Valdes will attend the University of Florida for mechanical engineering.
The mission of the annual Plywood Regatta is to have the students build seaworthy vessels out of ordinary supplies and tools and then race them in a series of heats to determine a champion. Some of the racing fun might have been removed due to weather safety concerns, but the overall MIASF objective of “Building Boating’s Future” by supporting the educational goals and plans of serving students was met.
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The New River Middle School Marine Magnet Program was a recipient of an award scholarship. Magnet coordinator Katie O’Fallon said she was pleased to see the program and its students receive the award.
“MIASF has always been a remarkable partner and supporter of our program at New River,” she said. “We are so appreciative to receive this scholarship as it will go very far in funding our field experiences and resources needed to create hands-on learning experiences for our students. The Plywood Regatta is something my students look forward to every year and we all can’t wait to participate in next year’s event.”
The Marine Industries Association of South Florida was created in 1961 and has the distinction of being the largest trade organization in the Southeast United States.
The organization remains dedicated to promoting, protecting and growing the employment status of over 121,000 middle-class jobs in Broward County and 149,000 jobs regionally.
The economic impact amounts to $12.5 billion regionally. There are over 400 members in the association from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. MIASF is the owner of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Some of the 2022 Plywood Regatta Scholarship sponsors were Engineered Yacht Solutions, which supported Alex Valdes, Stanley Yacht Services supporting Andrew Price and the Winterfest Foundation who helped sponsor the New River Middle School.