Tommie Smith to speak at Rotary South Scholar-Athlete Awards

April 30, 2019 CONRIC PR

His silent gesture shook the sports world 50 years ago. On his visit to Southwest Florida, he’ll seek to inspire others to do the same. Civil rights pioneer and Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith will be the keynote speaker for the 2019 Rotary of Fort Myers South Scholar-Athlete Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 16. The ceremony and announcement of scholarship recipients will run from 7-9 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Fort Myers on 13051 Bell Tower Drive.

Smith and fellow Olympian John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists on the medal stand after the 200-meter dash at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, as captured by photographer John Dominis in one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. Smith and Carlos were jeered, vilified, ejected from the stadium and banned from international competition, effectively ending their careers as track athletes.

But to many, they became heroes for their protest against inequality, poverty, lynchings and a lack of regard for human rights amid the tumult of 1968. They received honorary doctorates from San Jose State University, where they competed collegiately, and won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN.

“We are honored and privileged to have Dr. Smith speak at our program,” said Tracie Bagans, president of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South. “Our goal is to challenge the outstanding high school students who have been selected for this event to excel as scholars, as athletes and as citizens. Dr. Smith embodies those virtues and more.”

The 33rd annual event recognizes top athletes from area high schools based on athletic and academic achievement, along with strength of character. Eighteen Lee County-area high schools each nominated one top male and one top female varsity letter winner who demonstrate leadership characteristics, have GPAs of 3.2 or higher, and are involved in school and community activities. A selection committee of Rotary South members interviews nominees and selects the winners.

The 36 nominees are listed below:


Bishop Verot

Matthew Powell
Bishop Verot Hannah VanDress
Canterbury Camilo Lilleslatten
Canterbury Hannah Galbreath
Cape Coral Steven Rua
Cape Coral Kelsey Miskimins
Cypress Lake Janmikell Bastardo
Cypress Lake Jin YuHan Burgess
Dunbar Seneca Milledge
Dunbar Melanie Hardwick
East Lee County Hunter Hamilton
East Lee County Josie Altamirano
Estero   Landen Fiore
Estero Kelli Kragh
Evangelical Christian Logan Pearlman
Evangelical Christian Elizabeth Wetmore
Fort Myers High Milan Tucker
Fort Myers High   Maria Angelino
Gateway Charter Will Thorp
Gateway Charter Maylin Pino Romeu
Ida S. Baker Sam Phillips
Ida S. Baker Addison Bone
Island Coast Jordan Dovale
Island Coast   Khiarra Polit
Lehigh Senior Nicholas Perdue
Lehigh Senior Ariel Wallace
Mariner Rashawn Hunter
Mariner Taylor Yount
North Fort Myers Adolphus Taylor
North Fort Myers Emma Johnson
Riverdale Nelson Smith
Riverdale Lauren Brashear
South Fort Myers Nathan Soliman
South Fort Myers Jaslyn Cintron
Southwest Florida Christian Academy Noah Sheffield
Southwest Florida Christian Academy Abigail Thomas

For more information about the event, contact Rob Scharlau at 239-810-2554 or

Contact Us

We welcome you to contact us for more information
about any of our products or services.