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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tools to Succeed

On Friday, Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris will award textbook scholarships totaling $10,000 through the "Bucs for Books" program to five very deserving Bay area student-athletes


Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris wants to point students towards success at the next level through the Bucs for Books program

On Friday, Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris will award textbook scholarships totaling $10,000 through the "Bucs for Books" program to five very deserving Bay area student-athletes

When Raheem Morris announced his intention in 2009 to focus the bulk of his outreach efforts on education and promoting academic achievement throughout Tampa Bay, it wasn't just words.

Here's the thing, however: When it comes to education, sometimes that's the perfect place to start.

Educational success depends on many factors, not the least of which is owning the necessary textbooks. Thanks to Morris, five college-bound students from the Bay area - five young men and women who lack funds but not the drive to succeed - will have access to all the words they need at the next level.

On Friday, the Buccaneers head coach will present the five students with college book scholarships totaling $10,000 as part of the "Bucs for Books" program. With the help of the United Negro College Fund, these student-athletes attending Hillsborough County Title 1 high schools with book scholarships for four years of college. The selected students can also thank themselves for this windfall, as all five earned it by excelling in the classroom, on the playing field and in the community. The students also successfully handled an application process for the Bucs for Books awards through the United Negro College Fund.

The deserving students are:

  • Tenoderick Bunts, a senior football and basketball player at Tampa Bay Tech with a 4.1 G.P.A. Bunts was a starting offensive guard on the football team and has performed over 100 community service hours through his church, local Community Development Corporation and National Honor Society. Bunts will attend the University of South Florida on an academic scholarship.
  • Naphtali Gilot, a senior at Lennard High School with a 4.2 G.P.A. Gilot comes from a family of 10 and has played a large role in raising her siblings while also playing basketball, running track and volunteering at a local nursing home. The senior will attend either Florida State University or the University of South Florida and plans to major in psychology.
  • Francisco Hernandez, a senior at Alonso High School who spoke no English when he came to the United States four years ago. Hernandez learned the English language, became involved in community service projects and will graduate this year with a 3.7 G.P.A. He hopes to attend Georgia Tech University and major in mechanical engineering.
  • Michael Kinsey, Jr., a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School with a 3.8 G.P.A. Kinsey overcame a foot injury to play basketball for Jefferson and will attend the University of South Florida in the fall.
  • Brennica Marlow, a senior at Middleton High School who has achieved a 5.5 G.P.A. while growing up in a single-parent home. Marlow has overcome many challenges to become a member of the Beta Club, the National Honor Society and Senior Class President. Marlow will attend Cornell University in the fall and major in Biomedical Science.

The "Bucs for Books" program was initiated to assist high school students with college scholarships by helping to pay for required books throughout the four years of college. Each student will receive a $500 scholarship in each of the next four years by maintaining a 2.5 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and demonstrating unmet financial need as verified by the college financial aid officer.

Morris will present certificates to the five scholarship winners at the 25th Annual UNCF All Star Basketball Classic at Jefferson High School on Friday night. For more information on the event, visit or call 407.896.6940.

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