Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines and its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, presented a $248,000 check earlier this week to the Florida Pre-Paid College Foundation to provide scholarship opportunities to students currently attending the Miami HEAT Academy, an after-school program for at-risk youth sponsored by Carnival. This marks the 11th consecutive year that Carnival has funded the scholarships and during this time the company has purchased 165 scholarships with a total value of nearly $2 million.

Following successful completion of the HEAT Academy, students’ grades are tracked through middle school and those who qualify are eligible to participate in Carnival’s innovative Scholarship & Mentoring Program held at the company’s Miami headquarters. The program matches nearly 100 high school students with a member of Carnival’s management team to offer a first-hand look at the business world while providing 15 seniors each year with full four-year scholarships to a Florida state college or university.

The check presentation was part of an afternoon of fun for more than 300 HEAT Academy students who enjoyed food, games and entertainment at the AmericanAirlines Arena, as well as appearances by Miami HEAT players Juwan Howard and Chris Andersen.