At last night’s Miami HEAT game, Carnival Cruise Lines presented full four-year college scholarships to 15 local high school students who are participating in the company’s innovative School to Work mentoring program operated in conjunction with the Miami HEAT and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami.  Each student also received a laptop computer.

The students, who are former graduates of the HEAT Academy, an after school enrichment program for at-risk youth, have been participating in Carnival’s mentoring program for the past three years.  Through the program, students are paired with a member of Carnival’s management team who provides a first-hand look at the business world and real-life work experience.  The program has grown from 50 student/mentor partnerships to more than 100 this year.

In the photo at left, Shenice Johnson, Miami Jackson Senior High student, and Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc and managing general partner of the Miami HEAT are pictured at the halftime presentation. In the photo at right are all 15 scholarship recipients and their Carnival mentors.

The scholarships were purchased by Carnival through the Florida Prepaid Scholarship program, which matched the cruise line’s contribution on a dollar-for-dollar basis.  Scholarships were awarded based on academic performance, mentor recommendations, and face-to-face interviews with representatives from the various organizations.

Carnival has purchased more than 100 scholarships from the Florida Prepaid Scholarship program and plans to continue awarding scholarships on an annual basis.