FSPA Scholarship Program in Action

By Todd Starner, Starner Brother Pools, and Isabelle Starner

When I was approached about submitting an article for Florida Pool Pro, my first response was to laugh. Here is a first-class magazine with some of the best the swimming pool industry has to offer, what could I possibly have to contribute? Then I got my inspiration in the mail in the form of a hot pink postcard.

By the time you read this, everyone should have received this same hot pink postcard. The postcard is a reminder of one of the many FSPA member advantages, in my opinion, one of the top three advantages and one that members forget or don’t realize. The advantage I speak of is the FSPA Margaret M. Brown Scholarship Fund. I, like most, joined FSPA because of what I thought the organization could do to help me with my business, whether that be a voice in Tallahassee with legislative work or the continuing education credits we get for free, but over the years the scholarship program has become my favorite member advantage.

I am what we call in the industry a single poler and if you haven’t guessed it by now, I am a parent of a scholarship recipient. My daughter, Isabelle, has been able to qualify for the scholarship since her first year as an undergraduate at The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and is currently a recipient in her first year of her master’s program at The University of South Florida studying in the College of Student Affairs. Since Isabelle’s freshman year she has been the recipient of more than $6,000 dollars in scholarships from the FSPA. Because of the FSPA scholarship program, and the help of other scholarship programs as well as her hard work and determination, I am excited to say she was able to graduate debt-free!

So, now you know my story and see why I wanted to taut this membership advantage. I want every member, whether you are a small one poler company like myself or a company that employs many, to take advantage of this opportunity. For those members with many employees, the best part of this program is your employees, are also allowed to take advantage of this opportunity. So, I urge all of you to find your hot pink postcard or go to https://industry.FloridaPoolPro.com.  For those of you with employees, notify them of this opportunity right away. But remember the due date for all material is June 15, 2021. I want to take this time to thank the FSPA Margaret M. Brown Scholarship Fund Committee and all who make this advantage a reality. My many thanks to all!

-Todd Starner, Starner Brother Pools

Many parents know that college is a life-changing time for their children but can also be very expensive at the same time. I am a current graduate of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM), earning a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science, and a recipient of the Margaret M. Brown Scholarship. While attending my undergraduate institution I faced many challenges, similar to what many college students face with financial needs and decision making. I entered my first year of college as an elementary major but halfway through found the career path that was right for me and switched my major. Before I switched majors, I would have graduated college within three years, but now I had added an additional year due to different required classes. With this additional unplanned year of college tuition, I was very thankful to my father, Todd Starner, for sponsoring me and giving me a push to apply for the FSPA Margaret M. Brown Scholarship. Because I applied for the scholarship when I was first eligible as a freshman, I was able to pay for the additional year of expenses, allowing me to continue to stay debt-free.

With the continued support from the FSPA Margaret M. Brown Scholarship Fund Committee I graduated debt-free and was able to continue my education into graduate school. Without the scholarship helping me with my financial needs, graduate school would not have been an option straight out of undergraduate school. For the past five years, I am been grateful to be a continued recipient of the Margaret M. Brown Scholarship. This scholarship is one of a very select few that allow for former recipients to continue to apply, as well as graduate students. With only one year left in my master’s program, I owe my thanks to FSPA and the Margaret M. Brown Scholarship Fund Committee for giving me the opportunity to graduate college debt-free and to continue my education to earn a Master’s in Education focusing on College of Student Affairs. I hope all FSPA members will take advantage of this membership opportunity as it may help your children significantly in college and after college.

-Isabelle Starner